Reimagining the Future – A Journey Through the Looking Glass


openSAP Promo Slide

I have spent the better part of two months filming an online thought leadership course focused on our emerging future. The free course will be available starting May 23rd. I had the pleasure of working with futurists Gerd Leonhard, Gray Scott, and Chunka Mui. In addition, I was joined by Element Fleet Management executive Michele Cunningham, as well as TCS CTO Ananth Krishnan, and BRP CIO Hassan El Bouhali.

A video promo of the course along with the course description are available here. I hope you take the time to journey with me through the looking glass. course summary and bios for my guests are also included below.

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How will we Interact in the Future?


In recent post on the transformation of interaction, I talked about the changing ways in which we interact with our machines and each other. These changes combine with the emergence of ecosystems to complicate the experience journey. Well, if you saw my last post on our possible future, that journey could get very complicated. I’ve expanded my original visual to incorporate three additional categories of interaction, and some of what science and technology have in store (potentially) for our interaction paradigms. The original visual can be found in the transformation of interaction post above.

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A Glimpse into a Possible Future


I saw a glimpse into a possible future in a book titled Homo Deus, written by Yuval Noah Harari in 2016. Before his journey forward, the author explores the past. His conclusions challenged my core belief system in a very uncomfortable way. His arguments were logical and thoughtful (whether I agree with them or not), and based on a foundation of life science, algorithms, and biotechnology.  This look forward once again raises the question of Ethics. The author himself makes this point when he says:

“The rise of AI and biotechnology will certainly transform the world, but it does not mandate a single deterministic outcome. All the scenarios outlined in this book should be understood as possibilities rather than prophecies. If you don’t like some of these possibilities you are welcome to think and behave in new ways that will prevent these particular possibilities from materializing.”

I’ve given the main themes of this possible future a label and provide a quick look using excerpts directly from the book. You decide for yourself if this future represents an enhanced or diminished humanity.

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See the Future, Rehearse it and Adapt to the Inevitable Shifts


In my last post, I described a Sense and Respond model that sits at the heart of several activities, including scenario, opportunity, and risk analysis. As complexity and pace continue to intensify, uncertainty increases. To survive in this Emerging Future, we must embrace a framework for future thinking,  and an organization that can adapt as it shifts. In essence, we must see the future, rehearse it, continuously monitor for shifts, and adapt as the shifts occur. A sense and respond model sits at the core of the framework – but represents the biggest cultural challenge.

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Uncertainty Drives the need to Sense and Respond


“The rhythm of technology is changing the rhythm of business, and we’re all going to need to adapt”Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden, Authors of Sense and Respond

Back in 2013, in a post on sense and respond systems, I talked about the drivers that would push organizations towards a sense and respond paradigm. There are no bigger drivers than volatility and uncertainty, and nearly four years since that post, that fact is becoming clearer. In a recent book by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden, they elevate sense and respond to a position that is core to achieving an adaptive enterprise. They see feedback loops and a movement away from command and control as the enabling mechanisms that allow us to thrive in the digital age.

Management expert Gary Hamel summarizes the challenges we face as the structures of the industrial age collide with the digital age:

“Modern management is one of humanity’s most important inventions. But it was developed more than a century ago to maximize standardization, specialization, hierarchy, control, and shareholder interests. While that model delivered an immense contribution to global prosperity, the values driving our most powerful institutions are fundamentally at odds with those of this age – zero-sum thinking, profit-obsession, power, conformance, control, hierarchy, and obedience don’t stand a chance against community, interdependence, freedom, flexibility, transparency, meritocracy, and self-determination. It’s time to radically rethink how we mobilize people and organize resources to productive ends”.

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Intersections Promise to Drive Multiple Paradigm Shifts


Since the time I completed this post on Disruptive Power and Intersections, it continues to receive attention. It is by far the most effective component of any Future Thinking effort. Given the continued traffic to this two year old post, I am updating with current content. By way of reminder, the anchor emerging futures visual is available via this PDF. An expansion of the science and technology foundation is visualized via this PDF. The visual below connects the intersections of 8 combinatorial scenarios. This is not an exhaustive set of connections; it is strictly intended to describe the scenarios at a high level. This visual can be downloaded via this PDF.disruptive-power

Figure 1: Intersections amplify both power and impact

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