Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Tuesday, March 25, 2003  

It’s Wired, Doing What You Want – Anywhere, Anytime

Chapter Two: The Ridge

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

"In the knowledge society the most probable assumption for organizations -- and certainly the assumption on which they have to conduct their affairs -- is that they need knowledge workers far more than knowledge workers need them."

Peter Drucker

The Polls are open. We’re asking people like you to rate trends and predictions that have the greatest direct impact on your livelihood and future plans.

Today’s polling results:

7 – The Internet will reach 90% penetration of urban and suburban households by 2010. (Dent)

4 – Basic innovation in communication technologies is allowing more people to relocate their homes to small towns and exurbs, and telecommute to business. (Dent)

Register your vote

Journal of 2020 Foresight: So far we’ve discussed the high points of three scenarios: Trapped & Permanently Temporary and Staying Put, Local Support for a Calling. and Struggling Lone Eagle. How is “Doing What You Love, Anytime, Anywhere” qualitatively different from the other three?

Trailblazer: In 1997 Lone Eagle and Lost Explorer developed their plot line around the affluence of the baby boom generation at the peak of their spending and saving years.

J2020F: How so?

TB: They focused on the three-way interaction among technology, economic, and social forces. They envisioned two decades of the knowledge era during which time collaborative tools and networks brought together project teams of experts from around the globe on behalf of an enterprise.

J2020F: A kind of stay at home just-in-time expert system?

TB: In a nutshell.

J2020F: So, the Internet matures into a commercial medium capable of secure financial transactions.

TB: Yes. And with a little ingenuity and some helpful pointers it becomes easy for anyone with entrepreneurial drive, ambition, and marketable expertise to build a business primarily operating online.

J2020F: Isn’t this the “Struggling Lone Eagle” scenario, then?

TB: In terms of mobility, yes. But, this story depends more upon the technology. In this scenario, boomers have amassed enough capital to leave corporate life in favor for small, out of the way towns with affordable infrastructure to keep an online business up and running.

J2020F: They heed their small voice and act on their options.

TB: Right. With the ability to operate anywhere there is a" wired" infrastructure, the boomers begin their move to smaller towns and rural regions, the penturbia migration.

J2020F: So, they master the newer rules of operating online. The Web or Net makes it easy for infopreneurs to find and enlist people of similar interests.

TB: And, the economic climate supports their aspirations. Since the boomer generation moves through their peak earning and spending years they command center economic stage for 2 decades. The general U.S. economy prospers before the crash.

J2020F: Tell me more about the economic climate. What about real estate?

TB: Even though there are fewer buyers coming into the real estate market, the low inflation rate and low interest rates make housing affordable. The quality of life costs less and is well within the reach of middle class boomers.

J2020F: With a lower cost of living and more discretionary income, what do they do next?

TB: Boomers purchase second homes and luxury cars once the kids are out of the home and graduated from college. Investments provide positive returns and the stock market rises to new heights. The U.S. economy leads the rest of the world.

J2020F: You said demographic, economic and technology. How does technology play out?

TB: The impact of the global information economy primarily transforms industries into knowledge networks. The network is the computer. Organizations undergo reengineering and restructuring to continuously leapfrog the competition.

J2020F: So, knowledge work takes on primary role in the economy? How so?

TB: Knowledge workers become the driving class of society. Even though boomer knowledge workers specialize in ever more fragmenting, splintering niches of expertise, the Internet features make sourcing their expertise easy with robots and services that act as middlemen, indexes, and clearinghouses.

J2020F: So, if I’m following this story line, more and more work is done on a project basis with team members separated by location and time.

TB: Exactly. A suite of affordable technology tools enhances the collaborative aspects of work with common, shared spaces.

J2020F: Won’t organizations feel threatened by exposing their secrets to outsiders?

TB: Initially, perhaps. But they will already have come to the conclusion that except for only core processes, most work is outsourced out to the web supported network of knowledge workers who plug and go with each project.

J2020F: Then it follows that project management tools become critical for core organizations to manage their consultants and experts engaged for specific projects. What about the pace of innovation? How does that play into this scenario?

TB: That good old time-to-market argument. Those organizations that can recognize new product and service niche opportunities when all their competitors perceive is random noise gain an upper hand.

J2020F: Right. If they can act sooner with incomplete information, they can get to market sooner, and enjoy higher margins.

TB: These are organizations able to navigate breakpoints on a continuous basis. And once they’ve mastered that practice they will be in a better position to cause breakpoints.

J2020F: So, a core organizational capability then becomes the ability to master anticipation skills. They’ll want to practice alternative scenario planning to explore the implications for them and their competitors on an ongoing basis.

TB: Employees of the core organization commands a small network of online specialists on retainer that significantly increase their value-added to the core organization. This provides the ultimate in customized, customer-intimate businesses.

J2020F: So, in this scenario U.S. companies maintain their technology advantages?

TB: They will prosper to the degree that they can access any information, knowledge and expertise that they require just before they need it. Except for specific proprietary information, it won't be necessary to archive information available on the net.

J2020F: What about customer service and quality?

TB: Companies feel even more under the gun to meet ever-increasing customer expectations in value, quality, and customized/personalized service ... and other values boomers march to.

J2020F: So boomers as both providing expertise and by consuming services. How does that unfold?

TB: Service workers, experts, and eventually search robots will become more and more responsible for refreshing information that employees need at the point of customer engagement to minimize customer sacrifice.

J2020F: So in this scenario technology and expertise makes the collective know-how of a value-web, the entire stakeholder community, available to serve the customer. What about the next set of four scenarios, told from the point of view of a future organization?

Got Knowledge?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

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