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.
The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Outpost Expeditions: Inside Tourist Cell Networks
Chapter Three: The Outpost
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 Lewis and Clark Expedition is one of America’s great sagas. It touches the American spirit. It appeals to the adventurer and explorer in all of us… Just as its mission was to acquire knowledge two hundred years ago, we have the opportunity to gain knowledge of it and our heritage today.”
James J. Holmberg
Journal of 2020 Foresight: My first impression? This is a lot different than waiting for Trailblazer and gasping for oxygen on a Ridge high up at a mountain resort in the eastern Sierras.
Now, I’m doing all my waiting in lines. Showing my passport. Getting patted down by anti-terrorist security agents. My belt buckle and Levi’s buttoned-down-fly set off the bells and whistles.
Finally, off the ground and cruising at 30,000 feet on the Alaska Airlines run down the coast from Los Angeles and LAX. Stretched out below, the Pacific Ocean and the Baja desert.
I’m looking forward to seeing Lone Eagle again. Let’s see. I pull out my laptop and fire-up my e-mail. Here’s his note from the Outpost.
“I’ll pick you up at the Airport after you get your clearance through customs. Pack light. And, by the way, expect a 90-minute presentation on timeshares. You’ll see why. Lone Eagle.”
I wondered if I’d finally get to meet the elusive Grey Owl.
Lone Eagle: Welcome to Cabo. How was your journey?
J2020F: Quite an adventure – getting through LAX International Terminal under a homeland security code Orange alert. But, once in the air I caught up on my reading and reflection.
Eagle: What did you read?
J2020F: Oh, a series of articles on the 200th anniversary and celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition. I forgot Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Corps of Discovery after failing three times earlier, dating back to 1783.
Eagle: Interesting. Didn’t they begin their expedition up the Missouri River in 1804?
J2020F: Well, actually they began sooner than most people remember – having set up their base camp in what is now known as Clarksville, Indiana on the Ohio River in October 1803.
The group that left the Louisville, Kentucky and Clarksville, Indiana base camp on October 26, 1803 formed the nucleus of the Corps of Discovery.
Eagle: Talking about discovery expeditions, how is Trailblazer? We see less and less of each other, although we’re both active in the tribal territories’ virtual community. At least we get some face time at our exotic quarterly gatherings.
J2020F: Brilliant. We covered a lot of territory on that snow-capped peak overlooking the Great Basin and the four corners territories -- Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. I absorbed a lot and welcomed the reflection time on the flight here.
Eagle: Trailblazer and Lost Explorer love the summer backpacking country and the winter skiing and snowboarding. Pathfinder and I share an affinity for the beach and tropical climates.
J2020F: Which explains why you chose to be interviewed here in Cabo San Lucas. Did you and Pathfinder choose Dana Point for our first group meeting?
Eagle: Actually, Lost Explorer lives somewhere in south Orange or north San Diego counties – not too far from the Camp Pendleton marine base. But, we all met originally, as you recall, for the first Baby Boomer Boot Camp at a Dana Point resort.
J2020F: And, you and Lost Explorer formed your own expedition in the Outpost back in 1997?
Eagle: We had a lot in common. We both wanted to do what we loved. He fit the Trapped and Permanently Temporary scenario initially, while I fit the scenario that has my name – Struggling Lone Eagle – Overpriced for the Local Market.
J2020F: What takes place in the Outpost?
Eagle: The Outpost in one way is the third leg of our journey. In Basecamp, a learning expedition maps out a destination. They agree on a compelling vision of the future for them. They survey their past for insight and hindsight to better understand their collective strengths and weaknesses.
J2020F: Trailblazer told us at The Ridge, through the strategic exploration of 100 trends, a learning expedition scans the horizon to view the terrain ahead. Their challenge, before coming off the mountain, is to anticipate threats and opportunities.
Eagle: Here, in The Outpost, we have to figure out how to proceed into the great unknown while creating better opportunities for those individuals and teams who follow us.
J2020F: In 1997 you and Lost Explorer teamed up in the Outpost to lead an expedition focused on the doing-what-you-love story lines?
Eagle: Yes, he chose to shoot for the “Staying Put, Doing What You Love.” I challenged myself to target the “It’s Wired, Doing What I Want – Anywhere Anytime.”
J2020F: Trailblazer described Lost Explorer’s project with the HR Executives. We found out about the four talent scenarios and how they fit – or don’t fit – in different life stages of an organization. Was that the way you two figured out how to create better opportunities for the rest of us?
Eagle: Well, not exactly. Sure, we traded knowledge, but our two individual crossroads decisions differed.
J2020F: In what way?
Eagle: The path I chose leads to moving my primary residence to a resort community, while Lost Explorer remains in his local community – a resort suburb in a late growth cycle.
J2020F: As I recall, Lost Explorer dabbled in the consulting option, but found an internal position. So, he decided to “stay put, doing what he loved.”
Eagle: That’s right. Initially, we both focused on the Working-for-Self options, but he discovered consulting allowed his employer to “try before they buy,” and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
J2020F: Is that the position Trailblazer described, the one with the R&D group in an emerging high technology company?
Eagle: Yes, together they charted a highly uncertain 5-year laser technology and marketing roadmap using our story-telling scenario technique.
J2020F: So, he joined an organization offering a product leadership value proposition struggling with the breakpoint between start-up and early growth?
Eagle: Very good. Yes, while his work preceded the Talent scenarios, he had his hands full shaping the culture with all the tribal warfare among Agents and Associates, and Athletes and Academics – the so-called toxic talent clusters.
J2020F: How did he do it?
Eagle: Actually, he turned to us – Pathfinder, Trailblazer and me – for design principles.
J2020F: Design principles? What do you mean?
Eagle: Well, this was during the time when the war for talent in a knowledge intensive industry, like his, became cutthroat. He needed to integrate both the Work Life and the Life Work variables into a cohesive culture capable of attracting and retaining key talent.
J2020F: You’re referring to the “future-by-life-design map” found in the cabin?
Eagle: Yes, the variables we played with fit on the right hand side of the map.
J2020F: Such as?
Eagle: Work Life – a way of assessing an employer or a client organization:
Their position in their market --declining, growing, static
Gaining or losing core customers, appealing to new customers and retaining them
Reputation among investors, bankers and financial sources
Shareholders expectations, confidence -- institutional and small -- capitalization
Suppliers -- reliability, sole source, contracts
Alliances for innovation, distribution, marketing
Industry shifts in balance of power, regulations imposed
Entrance of new competitors, consolidations
Strategic inflection points, disruptive innovations
Multiple forces converging simultaneously e.g.: political, competitive, economic, technological, demographic -- perfect storm effects
Scientific discoveries - breakthroughs in basic science
Health of planet earth, environment
Universe and multi-universes - cosmology, physics, or metaphysics
J2020F: It would appear that certain of these variables might align around divergent industry indicators and others around convergent indicators. And from your collective assessment, you came up with design principles?
Eagle: That’s true. Later we’ll talk about how to apply Harry Dent’s Innovation (.1%, 1% and 10%), Growth (10%, 50%, and 90%) and Maturity (90% to 99.9%) research to the other half of the future-by-life-design set of variables for managing the third crossroads option -- our own Portfolio of Tangible and Intangible Assets.
But, the design principles we created apply to both Breakpoints in an organization’s lifespan – Start-up and Reinvention.
J2020F: So, you came up with a handful of principles to shape the culture in such a way to satisfy the industry and marketplace demands, attract and key talent, all in a turbulent environment?
Eagle: Well, seven principles, actually. But, yes. These principles build a highly resilient workforce committed to change and competition:
Succeed at the competitive challenge
Continue in business by making a difference
Achieve maximum results with minimum resources
Empower individuals to synchronize teams to synergize networks
Accomplish both short-term objectives and long-term initiatives
Produce the highest quality, customer-valued products & services
Maintain a CREATIVE Climate for Continuous Innovation
J2020F: By the way, are we going to stand and yak in the baggage claim area all day, or are am I actually going to get to enjoy myself in your Outpost resort?
Eagle: No, you’re right. Let’s go. I’ve arranged for transportation. See that man waving to us over there?
J2020F: Which one, everyone wants our attention.
Eagle: No, over there. Nearest to the exit and the ground transportation.
J2020F: Is that Grey Owl?
Eagle: No, it’s Oscar.
J2020F: Who is Oscar?
Eagle: He’s part of Cabos’ tourist cell network. In the short term, he’s our transportation Trojan horse. For 90 minutes of your time what he’s offering is a glimpse into the next two decades from 2003 to 2020: correction, boom, bubble, burst, bust, correction, bear / depression.
J2020F: So we'll figure out guidelines for investing in the third set of options -- a portfolio of tangible and intangible assets.
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