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
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
All In The Family: Where the Rainbow Hits the Road
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
"In 1802, Jefferson had read Alexander Mackenzie's published account of his journey across Canada to the Pacific in 1792-1793. In his conclusion to the book, the Scotsman urged the British government to seize control of the Oregon Country in order to dominate the lucrative fur industry of the region and trade with the Orient. Jefferson was an Anglophobe, and the possibility that a rival and potential enemy would control this country and its trade, caused him such consternation that he moved from wishing to doing concerning an American expedition across the continent."
James J. Holmberg
Journal of 2020 Foresight: I had a lot to think about. I'd be committing to a timeshare investment covering the timeframe between 2004 and 2034. I recalled my conversation with the groom's neighbor when he asked where we were staying and when we told him, he said, "Oh, yes. The whale in the pool."
After our champagne glasses were filled, he answered my question about his timeshare by telling me he picked up two from the county of San Bernardino.
He paid $1,000 in a tax sale for timeshares in Palm Desert, California. "We've never stayed there," he said. "They only pay a yearly maintenance fee and an association-trading fee to go to wherever is listed." Explorer interrupted my thought pattern.
Explorer: You asked us how our scenarios turned out and if we updated them. I'd have to say we believed the future we co-designed would unfold faster.
Eagle: I've always been five years ahead of the market. I'm afflicted with the ability to visualize how trends unfold. So, when I see where we're all headed I want it to happen in 2004 instead of in 2009 when the mass market materializes.
J2020F: So it sounds like in hindsight, you've adjusted your plans based upon Joel Barker and Harry Dent's s-curve models?
Eagle: Now I'm bucketing key indicators into Dent?s Innovation, Growth, and Maturity percentiles.
J2020F: Do you mean you track indicators as forces move from .1% to 9%, then from 10% breakout to 25% and from 50% to 75%, and then to 90%?
Explorer: We do, but it's not an exact science. It's more of an art form. But, we're using his innovation, early growth, mid-growth, and late-growth, early maturity classifications in new ways.
Eagle: You've already covered technology diffusion lifecycles and the stages of an organization's lifespan using his categories. Now we're subscribing to his migration growth rates to select the best opportunities for lucrative jobs, entrepreneurial ventures and real changes in lifestyles.
J2020F: If I follow you, you're using the s-curve turning point percentages for the third set of options --managing a portfolio of tangible and intangible assets to produce income for a lifetime?
Explorer: Yes. Back when we crafted the original four scenarios, I felt content to do what I loved in my same geographical region. Now, I?m witnessing classical late maturity indicators -- my resort suburb comes with a higher cost of living, more real estate development, growing traffic congestion and a growing number of less healthful smog days.
On top of that, as the weeks and months go by more and more employers downsize their operations locally. As part of cost cutting programs in reaction to the state's business climate and their industry consolidation forces, they're moving to other more economical geographic locations.
J2020F: So, as the once stellar quality of life tarnishes, you're taking the time to find the next best place in which to live and invest?
Eagle: Well, for me, Dent said it best, "The business, career, and, especially the real-estate opportunities are likely to be much stronger in the best boomtowns and cities."
Explorer: We find, more and more of the expeditions in Basecamp focus on a making a major lifestyle change. A lot of people are fed up. A lot of people feel trapped and permanently temporary. A lot of people hate what they're jobs have become and long for something else.
Eagle: While the numbers we've tracked so far describe baby boomers at a crossroads in their lives, we find others aren't waiting to make the same kinds of decisions -- parents with a new family in their early twenties, for instance.
J2020F: By numbers, you mean the top 10 out of 100 predictions and trends?
Eagle: That's right. Boomers, together with their children and grandchildren in some cases, and their parents represent the social and demographic agenda for decades to come.
J2020F: It's all in the family -- the blended, extended family.
Explorer: So this is a great time to sit down with your spouse, extended family, relatives or friends and really consider where you would want to live.
Eagle: Then assess how the next 5 or 6-year boom can open up your opportunities -- before it's too late -- not just for lucrative jobs or entrepreneurial ventures, but for a real change in lifestyle. How will technology allow us to live in a place we might not have considered?
J2020F: With that new sense of urgency, you mentioned earlier, right?
Explorer: Of course,
Eagle: In the Outpost we build on the decisions and insights gained in the previous two locations.
J2020F: What do you mean?
Explorer: In Basecamp Pathfinder helps us to assess our past, present, and future -- lessons we've learned in hindsight, together with our aspirations for a better, more enjoyable future.
J2020F: So for example, Dent's prediction of the great population shift, as a result of the new American Dream?
Explorer: He defines it as earning big-city incomes, but living in small towns. We've already discussed how as this migration trend picks up it will drive a decade-long real estate boom in customized-lifestyle communities.
J2020F: So, we should do what? Invest in locations at various growth stages of S-curve growth?
Explorer: Or at least consider opportunities never available to us before.
J2020F: So, we don't have to be trapped in the same old grind?
Explorer: Dent predicts that working at a distance from centralized corporate offices will become an increasingly -- popular alternative for all kinds of business people, not just for the writers, consultants, salespeople, and entrepreneurs who enjoy this freedom now."
Eagle: At the Ridge, Trailblazer helps us assess the 11 options we might consider by helping us anticipate how external forces will likely play out -- either to accelerate or hinder the progress along a chosen path.
J2020F: So, in the Outpost you implement your plans and decisions? Can you give me an example?
Eagle: Sure. Pathfinder helps us surface what's important to us in our life. From the spiritual and personal side, we reflect on what's important to us at our particular lifecycle. We consider our current situation in terms of
Generational issues and challenges.
Explorer: In addition to what's important to your personal life, he has us examine our Values -- what we want in terms of our private life in our Neighborhood and Communities: our life as
Consumers, as members in
J2020F: Right. And the chosen path, one of the 11 options, has to satisfy your personal and professional aspirations? The chosen path has lifestyle implications, then, right?
Explorer: Yes, that's correct. We believe more of us will be able to earn big city incomes by doing-what-we-love with birds-of-a-feather in higher quality-of-life communities.
Eagle: What we'll spend more time on here are the second and third set of options:
Work for self -- Start a business, buy a business, buy a franchise. Develop a consulting practice or pursue a portfolio career; and
Maximize tangible and intangible assets to buy independence and free time, volunteer, or live off investments and freelance to supplement income.
J2020F: So, this is where the rainbow hits the road?
Explorer: It's where all the puzzle pieces come together to form a pattern, and then a strategy. With some preliminary research and intelligence gathering, the expedition moves forward on the best path towards their destination.
Eagle: The half of dozen puzzle pieces -- for a big city cash flow in a higher quality of life community -- starts with some basic preferences:
Type of living environment -- climate, lifestyle, density preferences
Presence or absence of certain professional infrastructure and services: what has to be in place to provide business opportunities for starting or buying a business?
Will you be able to meet cost of living and income needs that fit your interest, expertise and most enjoyable / transferable skills?
J2020F: So, in the Outpost, individuals and teams begin with research and intelligence gathering about broad regions based on climate, lifestyle, and general growth potential?
Eagle: That's right. We begin like those fishermen over there -- see them casting out their net?
Eagle: We cast out a wide net, and then narrow them down the best choices for us to pursue.
Explorer: The mistake most of us make is fishing with a small net.
J2020F: So, we screen out a lot of fulfilling opportunities without realizing it?
Eagle: If there's one point we want to get across, it would be this. Simply put, we now have the flexibility to live anywhere we please and not be beleaguered by a long commute between home and office.
Explorer: If you've been following everything up to this point in the journal, you'll see our research and intelligence gathering concludes that with the onset and acceptance of new technologies, means of communication, and energies, almost any geographic area can support both or personal and professional goals.
Eagle: Harry Dent offers some things to look for: "a new look that includes intelligent town planning for increased human interaction; and abundant open space; flexibility in home design; planning for safety; shared facilities; and high-tech communications infrastructure."
J2020F: So, the only real question becomes, which one is right for you?
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