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
Monday, March 03, 2003  

Staying Put, Doing What You Love

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

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 top five:

30 – The basic science is now in place for five great waves of technology - personal computers, telecommunications, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and alternative energy - that could rapidly grow the economy without destroying the environment. (Schwartz & Leyden)

29 – Everything comes with a small, cheap silicon brain. Tasks like handwriting recognition become a breeze. (Schwartz & Leyden)

26 – By about 2005, high-bandwidth connections that can easily move video have become common in developed countries, and videophones finally catch on. (Schwartz & Leyden)

25 – People working in all kinds of fields the professions, education, government, the arts - begin pushing the applications of networked computers. (Schwartz & Leyden)

24 – Understanding of our genetic makeup triggers a series of breakthroughs in stopping genetic disease. Around 2012, a gene therapy for cancer is perfected. (Schwartz & Leyden)

Register your vote

Journal of 2020 Foresight: You told us the rather bleak scenario for the “Trapped & Permanently Temporary,” how about one a little more upbeat?

Trailblazer: Okay, how about “Staying Put, Doing What You Love?” We’ll cover “Struggling Lone Eagle,” and Doing What You Love, Anytime, Anywhere” in upcoming conversations.

J2020F: This one doesn’t relay so much on the success of the Internet, I’m guessing.

TB: That’s right. It doesn’t play a central role like it does in “The Wired, Anytime, Anywhere …” scenario.

J2020F: And, I’m guessing this one isn’t as vulnerable to the disruption that one industry or one larger company brings in a poor economy.

TB: That’s true. This story takes place in close proximity to a diverse mix of employment and business opportunities within a short commute. It is a geographical region capable of supporting boomers, and anyone else, as they answer their call with non-conformist career changes and lifestyles.

J2020F: What kind of profile are we talking about?

TB: The region has a diversified mix of emerging and growing companies to support a variety of specialized services provided by boomers and for boomers. Employers don't feel external pressure to cutback in order to compete. If they do, they provide more than enough contract work that boomers replace their lost income with higher cash flow.

J2020F: How does technology play into this story?

TB: The Internet doesn't materialize into the one-to-one or one-to-many, or many-to-many commercial entity that entirely supports a small, third bedroom business. It may provide leisure diversion and hobby browsing, but it doesn't live up to the hype.

J2020F: So, more income is generated spinning yarns in more conventional magazines about the fantasy and the “virtual hype” than actually generated online.

TB: Baby boomers only have a passing interest in the Internet. It remains generational and gender driven. The smaller 30-something and growing 20-something generations spends the more time on it in chat groups and game playing. The Internet doesn't seriously replace other forms of entertainment, communications, and financial services in a broad, mass market way.

J2020F: That means, then, while the Internet has an impact, it enjoys only a small market share in the mix of options. Perhaps what cable networks are to the broadcast mass market, the Internet is to cable channels?

TB: It's major application is e-mail, with a lot of particle niche applications. It doesn't materialize into some renaissance, cottage industry. America Online, Microsoft, and perhaps another business entity grab market share pushing everyone else out.

J2020F: But, the Internet has been around for quite awhile. This isn’t some overnight technology revolution.

TB: True. The old Internet guard protests about the new influence of, the big corporate web sites, and AOL newbies – but, like the Grateful Dead they become more and more irrelevant as time marches on.

J2020F: Since this is a local region scenario, how does it play out without a big Internet influence?

TB: The business in the region grows and consulting assignments flourish for boomers who parlay their experience into specialized niches. Enough customers in the niche support their business.

J2020F: If most consumers use the Internet for a source of free information and the convenience of E-mail, what are the investment opportunities?

TB: The killer investments are in the 10% breakout innovation products that the baby boomers spend discretionary income on. The technology stock areas and the U.S. stock market in general remain great investments.

J2020F: So pay attention to the toys they buy for their kids moving through adolescence. What about real estate?

TB: One boomer spouse who works won't want to move. So couples plan to wait until age 55, at a minimum to receive retirement benefits and a pension, before downsizing into a retirement home.

J2020F: They delay their move to a second home?

TB: They would be interested in planning their finances to move to a property in Colorado, for instance. And, most likely buying land before it was too late.

J2020F: Because, this story takes place in a geographical region capable of supporting boomers, and anyone else, as they answer their calling with non-conformist career changes and lifestyles, boomers feel little pressure to move according to somebody else’s schedule.

TB: That's right. You can see that while the first two scenarios took place in a geographical, they yielded two distinctly different stories of how the future would unfold. The next two factor in a mobility dimension.

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

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