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
Friday, August 25, 2006  

Injecting Disruptive Reds: The Art of Skipping Tracks to the Inner Circle

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

"The old voice platform (phone) did not lend itself well to innovation. But when you put voice on an Internet platform, all sorts of innovative options for collaboration become possible.... Companies will compete over SoIP (services over the Internet protocol); who can offer you the best videoconferencing while you are talking over your computer, PDA or laptop; who can enable you to talk to someone while easily inviting a third or fourth person into the conversation; who can enable you to talk and swap document files and send text messages at the same time, so you can actually speak and work on a document together while talking."

Thomas L. Friedman, “The World is Flat”

DOUBLE NICKEL RANCH. The prescription for decline, usually purchased during advanced stages of the “Mature Matrix” disease, is to bring in a new management discipline and the talent that can re-capture breakthrough product innovations while outsourcing non-core competencies.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: It looks like as we follow the path of least resistance around the edges of our Agent, Athlete, Associate and Academic model, we come full circle to the red quadrant.

Explorer: Yes. By now the original two Agent talent tribes, the “Breakpoint Inventors” and “Commercial Innovators” vacated the premises a stage or two ago. And, most likely three of the four types of Athletes “Marketing Athletes,” “Resilient Project Teams” and “Core Business Groups” followed them out the door, but at later dates.

J2020F: Is it probable that the “square” along the bottom of our chart is vulnerable as well?

Explorer: Highly probable. The “border” Associate sub-talent tribe, the “Agile Tiger Teams” next to the Athletes – who introduced exceptional products when rapid growth got too out of hand – are indeed next in line to look for better opportunities.

J2020F: I find it highly improbable that you will entice any of the disruptively innovative agents or the rapidly prototyping Agent-Athletes back into the fold, so the model breaks down here, doesn’t it?

Explorer: Actually, it dives straight down and circles like a spiral from left to right, as you’ll see a little later. Agents? Yes, but a special kind of Agent and that’s not all.

J2020F: So, with the exception of returning to our “starting red square” we completed the squares connected to the “outer black circle” in our model. Can we pull out of the Decline?

Explorer: Yes, but if the organization continues to extend what they’ve always done, but get much better at doing it they fall victim to what Joel Barker calls paradigm blindness.

J2020F: Oh, not the “P” word!

Explorer: I know. It’s similar to phenomenon Danny Miller wrote about – how an over-extended strength becomes a fatal flaw. The point is the organization can’t see what is necessary to pull out of its decline. And the longer it takes for leaders of the organization to recognize that they are on the path to disaster, the more disruptive the solution becomes.

J2020F: So, you’re saying that it takes a new path beginning with a new niche discovery and into the inner circle to recover in time to grow?

Explorer: Exactly. And timing is everything!

J2020F: Or what, you decline into a sea of red tape?

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