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, October 28, 2003  

Outpost Itineraries: Kitchen Sinks and Wally World, or Routes Less Traveled

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

“This obstacle to further progress in 1803 actually proved beneficial. Those months in the resource-rich vicinity of St. Louis and Cahokia allowed more information to be gathered, logistics worked out, and the men – by now some thirty in number – to be formed into a more disciplined and cohesive military party.”

James J. Holmberg

Journal of 2020 Foresight: What each of the Western-states learning expeditions discovers and shares with others in the BOF Knowledge Base, becomes even more valuable for the rest of the community. You both said it’s as easy as answering a few questions about the right fit. What preferences do we have given the current stage in our own individual lifespan? What do enjoy about your neighborhood and area given its lifecycle? And, if we choose to work for an organization or consult to an organization – what problems at its current lifespan do we enjoy solving?

Explorer: True. By overlapping those three lifecycles, anyone can zero in on opportunities to do what they love in a business, social, and quality of life climate that they’ll thrive in. Of course, shifting economic cycles, bursting bubbles and political events help or hinder our ability to capitalize on those opportunities.

Eagle: Which is the point for spending time in The Outpost – to gather more information, get logistics worked out, and to fine-tune both personal and collective strategies.

J2020F: In various conversations we’ve had, you’ve described The Outpost as a field location – a place where expeditions can explore various scenarios, monitor leading indicators, and figure out how to stretch limited personal resources to gain what they want.

Explorer: That’s right. Look, as good as Trailblazer is, no one can predict the future with 100% certainty. But, can you anticipate how the future will unfold, and if it unfolds as you anticipate, can you take advantage of opportunities other people overlook? Absolutely!

J2020F: So, that’s why you call them learning expeditions? They still have to identify clues needed to anticipate and counter threats overlooked from the Ridge's vantage point? A learn-as-you-go approach?

Eagle: Anything can happen and often does. We subscribe to the 80 – 20 rule. By fleshing out 4 scenarios, you can anticipate the critical 20% of threats that account for 80% of the obstacles to our success. But, as individuals we frequently come face-to-face with personal challenges to be our best, to stretch and to grow beyond our past. Some of those challenges stem from our weaknesses. Some of them result from practicing bad habits. Some of them come from not knowing what to do next.

Explorer: We like to say the purpose of The Outpost is for developing error-free strategy to travel light, gathering intelligence for an information advantage, trying various initiatives and finally, learning from your mistakes.

J2020F: The image I’m seeing is that of the family vacation. You can only take so much with you in your vehicle – more if it’s a SUV I suppose. But, with maps in hand, some printouts from the Internet and some travel brochures to guide you, you have an itinerary sketched out.

Eagle: But, the map isn’t the territory.

Explorer: No matter how much preparation you do -- talking to friends about places to stay, destinations to visit, and reservations suited to your budget – the journey doesn’t begin until you leave the safety of home behind – and hopefully, the kitchen sink.

J2020F: So the BOF Knowledge Base is a resource, kind of like the AAA with local travel guides to give you advice and provide alternative routes, so you reach your destination within your budget and the timeframe you set?

Explorer: Sure. On vacation your itinerary is your strategy for fitting in as many fun things as time and distance allows. We like to say at The Outpost, a great itinerary or a great strategy is an elegant solution to a complex puzzle.

Eagle: Only that complex puzzle isn’t static. It’s in constant flux. Your tire could blow out on a deserted stretch of highway in the desert. A flash flood could close the road between Vegas and your destination. A freak snowstorm at the continental divide could shut down traffic for hours and days.

J2020F: So that means the four scenarios you completed before you launched your journey into the “great vacation unknown” can provide alternative routes?

Explorer: Right. You’ll still get to your destination. And, you may end up discovering something better on that alternate route. By taking a road less traveled out of necessity, frequently you discover the one thing that you remember most about your vacation.

Eagle: We call that converting threats into opportunities.

J2020F: So, the Outpost is all about organizing your luck?

Explorer: In the sense that luck occurs when preparation meets opportunity.

Eagle: And, the thrill of a vacation adventure comes from undertaking the journey without full knowledge of the potential results.

J2020: As in Chevy Chase’s classic trip to Wally World?

Explorer: Well, you can certainly learn what to include in your “vacation scenarios” as a result of watching all the things that can go wrong!

Eagle: And, as each vacation sequel illustrated, Chevy didn’t learn from his past experience. He didn’t starve his weaknesses or reverse his failure habits.

J2020F: So, you’re saying if he had “learned-as-he-went” he would have invested his “strengths” and “resources” more wisely the next time around?

Eagle: Instead of an entertaining movie, he could have produced better and better vacation experiences shared by members of his family.

Explorer: Based upon his family’s values, interests, and preferences, he would have applied his past vacation experiences to a new strategy. If he did, as the strategy or itinerary unfolded, it would have increased everyone’s quality of life and health – both in the short and long term.

J2020F: I take it that learning expeditions in the Outpost take advantage of the knowledge and experiences made available by all the others who learned something from their itineraries, as they act on their own initiatives and tactics?

Eagle: Yes. For a vacation you usually canvass all the people planning to go with you to find out what they want to do. Then you figure out where you can go so everyone can experience the fun they anticipate. You ask around. You read travel articles. And, based on the information gathered and recommendations from friends and associates, you put your itinerary together.

Explorer: But, when the journey begins by backing out of your driveway in your overloaded vehicle you’re on your own. You make tactical corrections when you discover you underestimated the time it would take to get to your first night’s lodging. You strike up a conversation with other travelers at breakfast to find out as much as you can about the next leg of your journey.

J2020F: So, the strategy is the whole itinerary of your vacation. The initiative may be the route you take highlighted on the map. And the tactics depend on what you hear and experience along the way about the road ahead?

Eagle: After a few days into your vacation journey, you can tell more intuitively how well you are doing. You can guess which shortcuts to take and which side trips to avoid. You sense how far you can go without refueling, stopping for food and water breaks. You feel more comfortable loading and unloading your vehicle at each hotel.

Explorer: Once the initial stress of last-minute packing and the first long day in a cramped vehicle passes, you can settle into a more refreshing pace. As you travel you gain a much better understanding of your strategy. Everyone feels more comfortable pitching in as they learn to share a common vision of their trip. Even doing the mundane chores becomes part of the vacation experience. Overcoming obstacles stretches everyone, but also provides a bonding experience long remembered and shared after the vacation ends.

J2020F: Are you warning me about what to expect when we return from Cabo?

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

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