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
Thursday, September 14, 2006  

Mining Your Silver Lining on Google’s Earth

Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

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

"Experiences are as distinct from services as services are from goods. Services are intangible activities performed for a particular client. Goods are tangible products that companies standardize and then inventory. Commodities are fungible materials extracted from the natural world.”

B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, “The Experience Economy”

DOUBLE NICKEL RANCH. You might want to take advantage of the rising demand for rental property in urban and suburban areas after late 2008 and for retirement home purchases following the migration pattern towards exurbs and small towns, many of which will continue to hold most of their value through the decade-long downturn. In preparation for your next chapter, is it time to cash out or hold on, move and rent out your paid-off home?

Journal of 2020 Foresight: With so many things to consider, how do you go about making the right decisions that you won’t regret?

Eagle: Well you can start with broad regions – tropical, in the Western or Southern U.S. like we are, for instance. And mark out your prime geographical target area and zoom in on detailed maps of various sections within it.

J2020F: Like we did in Colorado?

Eagle: Yes. And, since we didn’t care too much about the state lines, we included the northern part of New Mexico too, as we passed through the Four Corners region.

Explorer: Like us, you may want to contact the local chamber of commerce for names of different sections and neighborhoods and most importantly, their zip codes.

Eagle: I prefer Google maps, especially their “Google Earth” application, for switching back and forth between graphical maps and satellite images – it gives me an added dimension for sorting through regions of interest.

J2020F: So, getting zip codes seems to be the key to a lot of information.

Eagle: More so than ever on the Web. It’s today’s equivalent of maps to buried treasure – where “X” marks the spot. Like the story Mark Twain told about the Whiteman fortune near Mono Lake.

Explorer: That was hilarious. In larger metropolitan areas, though, with multiple zip codes, check out the Claritas lifestyle profiles to determine which neighborhood you'd prefer to live in.

J2020F: You’ll want to consider neighborhoods where you’ll find clusters that match “Premier Resort”, “Maturing Resort”, “Resort Suburbs”, or “Distant Exurbs” or their counter parts in wealthy suburban or urban areas like “Exurb Society”, “Affluently Elite”, “Digitally Mobiles” and “Portfolio Locals”.

Eagle: Hey, what about me? I’d target the “Small Town Burbs”, “Satellite Cities”, “Rustic Eagles” and “Rural Country” – especially in the beginning of my search.

J2020F: If I weren’t going to live there, but wanted to invest in urban areas about to undergo a renaissance – then, I’d consider finding communities with “Interim Middle Managers”, “The Cutters”, “Urban Trapped”, and those “Starting Over” renters.

Explorer: Next decide how many miles you would care to commute from there, to work, each day. Or how far you’ll need to travel for doctor’s visits, shopping trips and recreational amenities.

Eagle: Add one half again, as a safety factor to allow for possible changes in your plans later.

J2020F: So in the previous era, when maps were printed and folded up if you possessed a certain amount of dexterity, you’d draw a circle surrounding your probable neighborhood with the commuting distance as the radius.

Explorer: Now there’s a memory. It's as if you used a compass from elementary school.

Eagle: Sure. You measured the distance on the map corresponding with your commuting distance and stuck the sharp pivot point on your new house and twisted the compass to draw a circle with the pencil on the second leg of the compass.

Explorer: The entire circle, then, represents your prime geographical area.

J2020F: What’s next using your virtual compass and virtual map?

Explorer: Your goal, like a detective, is to gather every bit of intelligence available on every economic activity operating within that circle -- and as quickly as possible.

J2020F: Like what?

Eagle: This means not only the obvious kinds of organizations, but also the variety of human activities that take place within such entities as:

Local governmental agencies,

Educational institutions,

Professional and other associations,

Private entrerpreneurial kinds of operations.

Explorer: You want particularly to learn about the different types of organizations or operations in your prime geographical target area. Can you find the right fit for your talents? How many start-up, rapid growth, sustained growth, mature, declining or reinvention opportunities can you find?

J2020F: How do you gather such information?

Explorer: Ferret it out from all available information sources, traditional and on the web.

Eagle: You’d be surprised what’s out there: directories of business firms in the area, of R&D firms, of government agencies, of educational institutions, of not-for-profit institutions, of associations, etc.

Explorer: These can be found on the internet or directly available from Chambers of Commerce locally, from city, state and county government agencies, from private firms, from Planning Boards, from Economic Development agencies, from trade and professional associations, Boards of Trade, etc.

J2020F: I take it you two aren’t opposed to asking your local librarian for help.

Explorer: Of course not. Use the Yellow Pages on the web and in the form of a telephone book.

Eagle: It's useful as a method for figuring out the scope and range of the economic activities in your chosen area.

J2020F: What about the subscribing to the leading local newspaper in your chosen area and or receiving it online?

Explorer: You won’t be looking so much on the front-page for news, as in the business and community news pages for clues and leads to interesting activities in town.

Eagle: One of the resources I’ve found very helpful is – Local News for the World.

J2020F: How does it work?

Eagle: You can search by ZIP or chose from their list of local news channels. Not only do they pull content from local providers, they also grab it from any other source commenting on the community you are investigating.

Explorer: I’ve set up RSS Feeds – Really Simple Syndication – so I’ve designed my own news channel made up of all the different communities I monitor.

J2020F: Which means?

Explorer: Which means I don’t have to log on to every day.

J2020F: I imagine you will inevitably learn vital facts about local expansion plans of certain organizations, right?

Explorer: Yes, and development plans to introduce new types of activities which might well be of vital interest to you later.

Eagle: Topix, like Sperling’s Best Places, has added a forum feature still in it’s infancy. Together they might just give you that reason to move or to remove that location from further consideration.

J2020F: So, most of this kind of information can be gathered at a distance first, can’t it?

Explorer: True, but you must make every effort to visit at least your top geographical preference whenever possible, before you get started on your actual job search, career change, entrepreneurial, real estate investment or retirement campaign later.

Eagle: Take a vacation trip there, or better yet plan on visiting during different seasons of the year. Nothing can be so useful to you as your own personal on-site reconnaissance mission.

J2020F: What about talking to a banker at the town headquarters?

Explorer: Good point, they’re better informed with the kind of information you need that they at a branch office.

Eagle: Talk to the reporter on the local paper, preferably the business editor. Other possible conversations to conduct: with the mayor, plus city and county department heads; the heads of rotary, Kiwanis, and the Lions kinds of clubs.

J2020F: So, while your map might show that “X” marks the spot, you’ll have to actually dip your pan into the stream there to find the “knowledge nuggets” you value most.

Eagle: And that “X” in these days can be found where the four overlapping circles – the current and future economic business cycles, your own stage in your lifecycle, your future employer’s or client’s lifecycle and the quality-of-life community’s lifecycle -- you’ve defined reveal your very own sweet spot! Where the rainbow meets the road!

J2020F: Or your vein of silver? Your very own silver lining?

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

6:18 AM

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