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Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

Friday’s accomplishment challenge

Happy Friday, everyone.  While today was originally supposed to be a relatively quiet day and good for writing and productivity, it looks like we’re going to be a little more challenged in getting things done.  We’ve got some meetings now this morning, and so this afternoon looks to be a race across some strategy documentation for one of the nonprofits, some basic decisions on the civic media project, and tying down some questions with our Energy Working Group and future clients.

In the meantime, we still are working on completing the Hawai’i Futures Index and the original Energy Narrative.  These should be out soon, and I know some of you will find them very interesting.  And we have gotten the nonprofit future project officially rolling, so work on that has now begun.  Yeah!

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Civic Media, Energy, Nonprofit, scenarios

Looking for survival, and ultimately, growth

Morgen, folks.  A tad slower on the boot-up this morning, but the caffeine is beginning to kick in!

One of the things that we’ve been noticing in working on several different projects with a variety of different decision makers and thought leaders locally is an interesting confluence: on the one hand many people, decision makers included, are concluding that we (Hawai’i, the US, the world) need some transformative change and now actually have a small window of opportunity.  They are looking for it, but like many of us, the breadth and scale of the issues interacting to create our current immediate crises and longer-term vulnerabilities is overwhelming from an analytic standpoint.  It’s just hard to make sense of things and figure out what actions might really lead to successful systemic change.

At the same time, first- and second-hand feedback seems to show that people all over the place are hungering for, dare I say it, vision.  And not the airy-fairy vision statements most organizations and communities make, and not vague statements of purpose or topic, but a truly compelling vision of clarity and breakthrough thinking.  People do want hope and they do want (need) something to believe in, especially in these times.  But as has been shown the last several years, particulary in Hawai’i, such clear and compelling vision has been absent, from the government, from business, and from community.  We’ve gotten good at our ‘politics of protest’ and striking out after what we in narrowly defined groups want to protect, but we’ve either lost or abandoned our capacity for creating and articulating a collective vision.

And right now, from the vaunted World Economic Forum in Davos, to the communities and meeting rooms here in Hawai’i, people sense there is a short window of opportunity for meaningful change and they are looking for the clarity and foresight that might lead them through it.

Along these lines you might check out a number of recent articles and postings all relating to this, but this morning a couple in particular would be good:

  • Robert Scoble writes about the lack of focus on supporting small business through our various economic recovery plans
  • and Scoble notes small business owner Andrew Field who offered a new plan for bringing the economic stimulus straight to small businesses in a form they need
  • and the NYT Magazine has an interesting article on the economy and economic recovery
  • and an interesting visualization of the economic stimulus plan

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Business, Change, Economics, Vision, ,

Crossing Wednesday and the economic stimulus

Good morning, everyone. Today we’re looking at a split schedule, which works very well some days, and unfortunately not so well others. I myself will be working on my paper this morning, further drafting elements of my political design framework, incorporating lines of thought from classic political science, public administration, and futures studies. Hopefully, the resulting building blocks will be properly futures-oriented and practical enough that future designers will have a good springboard from which to launch.

This afternoon we’ll be working more on the website project more, and while getting this relatively straightforward site up and running quickly can be a challenge, the long-term potential for the site as a core of a larger system of sites and applications designed to support greater civic engagement is actually very exciting (especially for a political scientist like me). Again, if anyone knows of any good ‘civic media’ sites, sites (and applications) designed to support civic participation and engagement, please let us know.

And here’s an interesting article, a preview from the NYT Magazine about the economic stimulus and a variety of takes on economic growth, recovery, and issues related to our economic performance.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Civic Media, Economics, Governance, Hawai'i

Managing the Flood

Good morning, everyone.  Last night we had a very good conversation on the future of education in the state, and I think some of the ideas that went around the room have a reasonable chance of getting a higher profile in the current discourse.  And thankfully, while there are serious obstacles to systemic improvement, just about everyone present seemed to genuinely want to see changes and improvements, and they seem committed to working on implementing them.  Interestingly, nothing truly radical (at least from a futurist’s perspective) in the ‘fixes’; structural changes to be sure, but apparently nothing that isn’t already heard in education and reform circles.  If anyone has any suggestions for concrete changes in our local educational system (explicitly linked to producing the kind of citizens that we want), we’d be happy to through them on the wall for future discussions.

And in line with some of our later conversations from last night, here’s an upbeat video about managing tasks and information, something we’re all struggling to do everyday.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Managing the Flood“, posted with vodpod

Today, we’re launching the first part of the ‘nonprofit future’ project, and we’ll be conducting our initial working session this afternoon and likely coming up with both cool ideas to consider as well as scoping the focus of the exploration; it will definitely deal with the operational life and reality of local Hawai’i nonprofits.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Education, Nonprofit, scenarios

The week starts in education and economic stimulus

Aloha kakahiaka, folks.  Last night I had a surprisingly good time at a special awards event, where I got to meet President Obama’s sister.  Like just about any event, what really made it good was the people you got to connect with, and last night was wonderful in that respect.  But I can tell you that, based on conversations list night, the future will bring some interesting and provocative events.  Cool.

The week looks like it will kick off with a special session we’re involved in looking at the future of education.  We’re prepping for this today, and we expect another very interesting discussion drawing in several views about what the priorities are and how we can address change.  Much of the rest of the week will be devoted to getting the website project rolling at full speed.  This is cool little project, and as soon as the beta is ready, we’ll be blasting it out to everyone.  I think you’ll be interested in the possibilities.  We’ve appreciated all of the suggestions for web developers and connections to people interested in larger civic engagement.  Mahalo.

And we came across this post this morning and thought people would be interested in another look at how economic stimulus money will be allocated across the states in the union.  It looks like we’ll be receivng the lowest category (no surprise), less than $5 billion.  According to the map, we look to get $2.33 B, with 10.58% going to balancing the state budget.

Filed under: Economics, Education, ,

Sunday morning work (yeah, that’s right)

Good morning folks.  It’s Sunday morning and like any publicly self-respecting Gen-X business owner I’m looking over the things that need to be addressed before the Monday morning work session.  Basically, the day looks like:  a morning review of the posts and feeds, followed by a nice breakfast (it is Sunday afterall), then it might be time to draft some initial strategy mapping for a local nonprofit.  They are a small organization, but they were totally engaged in the planning session and had a very good conversation about who and what they are and how they think they can achieve their vision of the future.  It was very refreshing.  After that, I may have some time to get to a new project concept we started looking at yesterday: garage video.  Stay tuned for this one; it’s cool!

The afternoon will be devoted to more political design work, now looking at how making decisions and implementing change have to be aligned in the design process.  Oddly, a poorly developed subject, world wide.

And since we’re now looking at the 2009 Summit in October, it’s possible that we’ll be interweaving a vision component.  So, check out the short clip below, which looks at some radical and interesting visions for South Korea’s urban future.  This is something that we in Honolulu truly need to take a long, hard look at, and something that actually should make the construction industry salivate over the possibilities, but we seem to need more attention to our urban future.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Built Environment, futures, Governance, Hawai'i, Summit

Looking for education

We’re prepping right now for an upcoming session on the future of education, and we’re pretty excited about the potential for provocative conversation and frank discussion of how to make positive change. A bit of research, a bit of briefing notes, and we’re looking for any really good sites people know about that have (serious) prescriptions for both improving as well as overhauling the education systems in the US. If you’ve got any to suggest, please let us know and we’ll happily check them out.

Tomorrow we’ll also be stopping in for some of the HCEI workgroup meetings, something that, if we can follow through on, could open up Hawai’i’s potential futures tremendously. It’s of course related to the energy working group on community engagement that emerged out of this past year’s Summit, the next meeting for which is on February 25. Good folks with serious hope for change. If you’re interested in learning more, sign on to SummitNet and we’ll start getting you connected.

Oh, and we’ll also be meeting on some other potential ‘future-of-Hawaii’ sessions for later this year, so if anyone has any suggestions as to what kind of work would be most inspiring to people, please let us know.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Change, Education, Energy, Hawai'i, Summit

Intersecting dissertations and futures work

As many of you know, even as the company is working on a variety of futures and strategy projects with various clients and partners in Hawaii, I myself am continually working on my dissertation.  And during this semester my week gets chopped up into days for dissertation writing and days devoted to working on things like mapping out present and future states of subjects like economic industries and energy infrastructure.  Some days, like today, you get pulled in two directions: wanting to crank on projects for clients, which are very interesting questions; and needing to focus on deep thoughtful dives into topics like ‘how consitutionalism gets redifined in the emerging global era.’  Tough, but never dull!

Well, today (first thing this morning) we’ll be doing our final roundup for possible developers for our web project, and I think we’ll have some new mock-ups for tomorrow.  But before getting that done, we were doing our early morning futures scanning (it’s like breathing for futurists), and we came across another interesting hit: a video of Dan Ariely, who recently wrote Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. Mr. Ariely is a behavioral economist, a relatively new area of economics that has been trying to understand human behavior based on actual experience and observation rather than elegant assumptions (as in traditional economics).  We find it very useful in our work, and I find it useful in my academic work.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is an interesting video exploring how people make decisions and behave, but the funniest thing (for me at least!) was some of his comments in the very beginning, where people are telling him he needs to publish his work first before he can go and publish other things.  It’s a refrain I’ve heard a lot in the last few months as professors, partners, and friends have all pushed for my dissertation to be the first priority even over our client work.  Well, the end, at least, is actually in sight!

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Economics, Human Nature,

Web design and business plans

A colleague asked me to drop in on a college course he teaches to help watch and critique student business plans last night.  I have to say that it was nice to see some good work and good thinking in these plans, at times a fair bit more thinking than we unfortunately find in existing businesses.  I was impressed with the detail of some of their operational plans and with the thought they had given to some of the unique operational flows that their businesses would require.  We’re referring some of them to an organization one of our client/partners suggested today in a meeting.  Not that I or anyone here needs anymore things to do, but it might be nice to touch bases with each of the major programs in town that formally help students and residents develop business plans and employ some social media to create a network and collaboration site for start-ups, if it hasn’t already been done.

On another matter, we’ve been talking with a number of people for potential web developers for a project we have going that will be developing a web site to promote and harness more local civic engagement in general, and understanding of our government in particular.  It’s a modest project, but an extremely worthy one based on a very simple but interesting idea.  We’ll be making choices in the next couple of days, so there’s still time for people to suggest some local web developers who would be interested in participating.

Also, based on some direct feedback, we added a couple of designs last night to our VFS Apparel line: some long-sleeve shirts and women’s tanks.  If you have any suggestions or request, just let us know and we’ll be happy to work on putting them together.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Business, Democracy, Wealth

Ireland by-the-numbers

Here’s a really interesting presentation of the current economic situation in Ireland, another place hard-hit by the global financial and economic situation.  Visual and broad, it does a really interesting job of presenting an array of data in a very short presentation to give audience members a sense of everything that is being affected.

I’d like to see something like this for our local situation and data points.

Anyone seen anything like this recently?

Filed under: Economics

Hawai’i: the Reboot

2 days. 200 innovators. A new future for Hawai'i.


The Hawai'i Futures Summit 2009 October 16 and 17, 2009


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Vision Foresight Strategy

We work with organizations to anticipate strategic change and to craft the strategies that will shape their desired futures.


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