Early 2018 Reading List


Update January 22nd: I am adding a book just released to this short list – Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution

I’m often asked for book recommendations that aid with future thinking exercises. A good source in 2018 for this type of exercise is Fast Future Publishing, whose goal is to profile the latest thinking of established and emerging futurists, foresight researchers and future thinkers from around the world, and to make that thinking accessible to the widest possible audience. Their innovative publishing model bypasses most traditional publishing channels and accelerates time to market. Two books that I’d recommend for early 2018 are described below, and a new book due out in the spring is also included.

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An Uncertain Future


I have used this Emerging Future visual to demonstrate the overwhelming number of combinations that will conspire to create our future. The science and technology foundation converges with societal, political, economic, and environmental forces to build towards a very uncertain future. A future that I believe represents the third massive tipping point in human history.

This very short animated video describes the visual.

Strategy and Multiple Futures


I recently engaged with fellow futurists on an article for Digitalist Magazine titled Why Strategic Plans Need Multiple Futures. I think the authors truly captured the challenges of strategic planning in a world where pace and the sheer volume of change makes our emerging future anything but predictable. The focus on story telling as the most effective way to communicate potential futures is powerful, and the Lowe’s example really brings that point home. I recommend this articles to leaders everywhere. Here is a powerful quote:

“Companies like Lowe’s are realizing that standard ways of planning for the future won’t get them where they need to go. The problem with traditional strategic planning is that the approach, which dates back to the 1950s and has remained largely unchanged since then, is based on the company’s existing mission, resources, core competencies, and competitors.

Yet the future rarely looks like the past. What’s more, digital technology is now driving change at exponential rates. Companies must be able to analyze and assess the potential impacts of the many variables at play, determine the possible futures they want to pursue, and develop the agility to pivot as conditions change along the way.”

A Future Thinking Canvas


Our exponential pace is due in part to the overwhelming number of building blocks available to innovate. Understanding how these building blocks combine provides a glimpse into possible futures. In this visual, dots connect to portray the building blocks that are likely to extend our healthy lives – a key emerging future scenario.

Healthy Life Extension - Combinatorial

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The Timing of Future Scenarios


Timing. It’s one of the most difficult facets to consider when thinking about the future. We know that convergence across societal, political, economic, science and technological forces is creating many future scenarios. We also know that enablement is happening at an exponential pace. Some believe (present company included) that the coming macro-level tipping point is likely to impact humanity on a scale only experienced twice in human history (hunter-gatherer to agriculture and agriculture to industrial). There will be many micro-level tipping points on the journey towards an automated society – and the timing of those tipping points is impossible to predict.

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Discussing the Future of Sports


This story was posted this morning to promote a fund raiser that I am participating in on Tuesday evening, June 13th at 6:00 p.m. We will be discussing the future of sports, and its implications to fans, stakeholders, arenas, the athlete, humans, and the sports themselves. Here is an excerpt from the article by  and a glimpse into what I will be presenting.

This event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday night in the Brown Recruiting Pavilion behind the south end zone, with proceeds to benefit the Rutgers women’s soccer team. Details for the event can be found here.

Join us if you live in New Jersey.

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Reimagining the Future: Week Two of the Online Course Launched


Week two of Reimagining the Future has just launched! Week one drew a large audience and generated great dialog. A big thank you to those who have participated so far. As discussed in the course, we must collectively take control of creating our future. Our hope is this course and related dialog are just one small step on that journey. There is still plenty of time to take the full course, you can enroll here.

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Our Journey Forward: Thoughts from Futurists


I had the great fortune of working with three very accomplished futurists in the production of our upcoming course titled:  Reimagining the Future – A Journey through the Looking Glass. SAP’s Susan Galer interviewed these futurists in support of the course launch on May 23rd. The SAP Post provides a glimpse into the course, with thoughts from futurists and industry leaders. Here are several quotes from the post.

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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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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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2017 Predictions


“I am blown away by how palpable the feeling of exponential change has become. I’m also certain that 99.999% of humanity doesn’t understand or appreciate the ramifications of what is coming”

-Peter Diamandis

On Wednesday January 4th, I participated in a Game Changers radio program focused on predictions for 2017. The program, hosted by Bonnie D. Graham, included 15 other guests in an hour long show made up of four segments. A rebroadcast can be found here.

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Reimagining the Future


The future is arriving faster than most people think.

I invite you to rehearse along with me – enjoy this journey through the looking glass. Expand the window below to view via PowerPoint online.

When we look around us, we see a world in which digital is now woven into the fabric of our lives. Where convergence of paradigm shifts is now the new norm and the pace of change is accelerating exponentially. We are now living in a looking-glass world; where everything we think we know is being challenged, including our long-held notions of success and failure. At the same time it’s a world where we can imagine, create and enable like never before.

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What’s Next for Your Business? Ask A Futurist!


I will be participating in another radio show brought to you by Coffee Break with Game Changers. The show is hosted by Bonnie D. Graham tomorrow 7-12-16 at 10:00 am EST. You can listen live or at your convenience after the show.

Episode Description

The buzz: Need X-ray vision? Business and social cultures are changing faster and in more ways than we ever imagined! Take Brexit, where an economic, political and social ripple disrupted the world after a majority vote by UK citizens to leave the EU. Compounding this, new technology innovations – i.e., virtual reality systems, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things – are transforming every company, while new business models are transforming entire industries. How can you see “around corners” and be proactive? Ask a Futurist for the secrets behind their long-range lens. The experts speak. Frank Diana, TCS: “The future started yesterday and we’re already late” (John Legend). Gray Scott, Futurist: “It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution” (Alvin Toffler), Kai Goerlich, SAP: “The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.” (Oscar Wilde) Join us for What’s Next for Your Business? Ask A Futurist!

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Intuition Resets


Will our fundamental beliefs be challenged in the coming decade? In a recent book titled No Ordinary Disruption, the authors talk about the need for an intuition reset, where everything we thought we knew about the world seems to be wrong. They see our world changing radically from the one in which those intuitions that drive our decision making were formed. Skeptics abound, but I for one see the writing on the wall. In the future-of-business series kick-off, I focused on Future Scenarios as a major force in altering the future of business. Let’s continue the series by focusing on other forces.

In the book referenced above, the authors compare the coming transformative period with the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries – where one new force changed everything. As I have tried to depict in my future scenario Visual, we are dealing with multiple forces or shifts that are converging. In their analysis, the authors conclude that our world is undergoing an even more dramatic transition due to this convergence. They focus on four forces (urbanization, technological change, aging, and connectivity) and deem that any of them would rank among the greatest changes the global economy has ever seen. Compared with the Industrial Revolution, they estimate that this change is happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale, or roughly 3,000 times the impact – digest that as you consider whether our fundamental beliefs will change in the coming decade. Here is a quote from the book: “Although we all know that these disruptions are happening, most of us fail to comprehend their full magnitude and the second and third-order effects that will result. Much as waves can amplify one another, these trends are gaining strength, magnitude, and influence as they interact with, coincide with, and feed upon one another. Together, these four fundamental disruptive trends are producing monumental change”

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Future Thinking


I’m struggling with the term disruption and its effectiveness in driving urgency. Most definitions describe a radical change in an industry or business strategy, and most involve the introduction of a new product or service that creates a new market. My struggle is not with this decades old view of disruption, but its application in the context of our exponential world. The word disruption is viewed through a traditional lens. I end up in debates about the validity of a disruptive scenario as viewed through this lens, versus the massive implications of these future scenarios viewed through an exponential lens. The ensuing dialog focuses on:

  • Coming up with disruptive innovation before our competitors do
  • Embracing protectionist behavior to block a disruptor
  • I’m not worried, regulatory hurdles in my industry block the impact of disruptors
  • I’m safe, my industry is very stable

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Anticipating 2025 – Part Two: The Future of Medicine


Part two of Anticipating 2025 will summarize the second section of the book. This section focused on three broad topics:

  1. Will advancing technology make doctors unemployed?
  2. The future of medicine and the convergence of nanotechnology and biology
  3. Rejuvenation Biotechnology program

It is fascinating to view this section through a disruptive and transformative lens. The acceleration of scientific advancement intensifies the degree and speed of change, thus positioning the type of paradigm shift that we have not seen since the steam engine. As this recent Forbes article points out, even The Acceleration is Accelerating.

The first topics author is Maneesh Juneja, Digital Health Futurist, and Founder of the Health 2.0 London Chapter. In the opening discussion, the author focuses on technology advancement and the future role of doctors. He describes a backward healthcare system that focuses on treatment versus prevention, and the difficulties of solving this problem when there is no profit in prevention. In researching systems from the past, the author looked at ancient China, where it is said that doctors only received payment while their patients stayed healthy. The author then explores the technologies projected to change the practice of medicine:

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