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Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

Busy day plotting strategy

Good (early) morning, folks!  Today’s going to be another busy day, but while yesterday was chock full of more tasks than you could shake a fist at, today is full of meetings in which we’ll be helping to map out some high scale strategies.  We’re meeting with a couple of different groups today to discuss some new project ideas, and one of them deals with what I’ve taken to calling the “garage video” industry.  We’ll actually be looking at establishing an ecosystem of companies to develop a wider array of businesses and jobs within a couple of key industry sectors.  It’s yet early in the planning, but we’re all pretty excited.  In conjunction with this, we’ll be seeing if we can get our hands on some reliable and explanatory data on the current local economy and the array of business development policies that exist today.  We might ultimately be mapping out a high scale “strategy”; really articulating what is probably a disjointed collection of programs and policies.

Later today we’ll be entering into another session of our Energy Working Group that came out of last year’s Summit.  Today’s session ought to be fairly productive with some decisions on near-term deliverables.  The purpose of the group is to promote a clean energy future for Hawai’i, and we are at the point of articulating a clear and simple strategy for this year and linking that to some success objectives.  For anyone interested check out SummitNet.

Think about tomorrow.

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Filed under: Business, Economics, Energy, Summit

Admin day

‘Ano’ai everyone.  Today is the first day back to work after a long weekend and it looks like it’s going to be a very full day cranking out admin tasks and catching up on those small ‘wrap-up’ things that always hound you!  The task list is long, but the spirit is roaring today!

One thought though, before I get back to our work.  Over the weekend we were having conversations about the economic stimulus coming down from the feds.  Recent articles and blog posts have of course questioned the efficacy of this package, and of the strategies in general.  It got us to thinking, if you took the viewpoint of the average person or a small business owner, what is the single most important thing that could help in the next 6 – 12 months?  Interest rate reductions, tax breaks, cash payment… what?  The question is essentially: what strategies would do the most direct good to the greatest number of Americans?  Amid all the press coverage of homelessness and job loss, we cannot help but wonder if there shouldn’t be an entirely different approach to mapping out strategies for 2009.

We’re going to keep talking about this.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Economics,

Thinking like nature

Good morning and Happy Valentine’s Day!  I haven’t posted the last couple of days just because the pace has picked up, and I didn’t have a good chance to sit down and write something coherent.  But it’s Saturday morning and while I’m contemplating the household chores that need to be done, I’m also mapping out the afternoon work that has to be finished, so it’s a good time to post a note.

Our nonprofit scenario project has some interesting concepts to wrestle with, largely around the idea of organizational and service innovation, with each linked quite explicitly to the challenge of acquiring the resources necessary to accomplish a mission in a time of severe budget reductions and funding loss.  I think we’re finding that it’s certainly not impossible to identify and acquire the resources that a local nonprofit needs, but that it does require some serious organizational soul-searching and some tough questions about clients, organizational ego, and a healthy dose of foresight.  The kind of innovative thinking that can find and align resources with the activities that produce outcomes is truly ‘out-of-the-box’, as in “don’t assume that Hawai’i needs another 50c(c)3 to add to the current list of like 7500 that are out there.”  If you’re really client-focused and mission-driven, then you should not assume that a traditional corporate nonprofit is the necessary vehicle for effecting social change.  Just one of the realizations emerging from the project.

This past week we also started discussions with another group about taking a serious big-picture look at the current and future healthcare system in Hawai’i, in all its illogical glory.  It looks like we’ll be having some prelimary discussions soon on additional local stakeholders, concrete outputs, and a timeframe.  Despite the current media focus on daily economic crisis reports, there are other major systems, such as healthcare, which are in serious need of structural change and strategic innovation.

And we came across an article on how a Duke University ecologist has been organizing discussions using ecosystems and adaptive organisms as models for analyzing issues like homeland security.  The professor, Rafe Sagarin, also co-edited a volume entitled: Natural Security: a Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Nonprofit, scenarios, Security,

Another talk with Nassim Taleb on Risk and the Crisis

Morning everyone.  Yesterday we had a wonderful working session in the morning on the nonprofit future; I daresay we may have genuinely innovated for nonprofits in Hawai’i.  The project is moving along as it should and we expect it to be ready on time at the end of the month.  It’s challenging scenario we’re creating for nonprofits, but if they get the message, it should be a very useful wake-up call for them to innovate and begin to think strategically rather than just operationally.

Below is another video including Nassim Taleb of the The Black Swan, this time with Daniel Kahneman.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Economics, Human Nature, scenarios, ,

New week and strategic views

Aloha kakahiaka, people.  Today looks to be another relatively quiet day, but a couple of things will get completed and I’m feeling pretty good about the outputs for today.

For those of you interested in truly strategic thinking, one of the better thinkers to emerge in the literature in recent years is Thomas Barnett, a former worker in the national security arena and writer of provocative frameworks for understanding America’s role in global security and development.  His latest book is Great Powers: America and the World After Bush, and this morning he did a spot on Diane Rehm’s radio show on NPR.

The morning interview with Barnett:

Diane Rehm interview of Thomas Barnett

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Security

Economic justice?

Morning, everyone!  I didn’t get around to posting yesterday due to being a little overwhelmed managing an information deluge (that’s going better today) and being immersed in my paper.  But along these lines, if you enjoy looking at lots of information and what a new way to organize and centralize your feeds, check out Netvibes.

Back in November Thomas Friedman, the well-known author of The World is Flat, wrote in his New York Times column about the (then) proposed auto bailout.  He quoted another writer who suggested that if the government (read: society) bailed out the auto companies, then the leadership should go and investors should lose their equity.

Recently in Davos, Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan and writer about risk and uncertainty (particularly in finance), summed up the financial bailout in wonderfully simple (and politico-economic) terms: in bailing out the banks, we kept profit privatized while socializing loss.  It was, he said, the worst of both capitalism and socialism, and one for which taxpayers bear the worst burden.

I think both of these are examples of an often much-needed step back from issues to see them in their larger (and unfortunately to the hyper-pragmatists in life) and often philosophical contexts and consequences.  We talk about these economic recovery plans as acts of government, but forget that government is in fact a creation of society and an agent for society’s benefit.  Many of these very large, complex issues need to be reframed in terms that illuminate larger issues of societal fairness and responsibility, referring to both private businesses and government.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Business,

Ecosystem Services

Guten morgen, everyone!  The coffee is steaming and streaming, so the day is looking bright!

Today the company’s work will slow down a bit (although it rarely truly stops) as a hunker down to work on my paper.  The website project, though, looks like it got a green light yesterday, so very soon it should go “live.”  For a panel discussion on using technology in government and (though they may not realize it) the move towards governance, please visit SummitNet.

For those interested in more environmental matters, in December the US Department of Agriculture announced the creation of the Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Civic Media, Food

Managing web-based media

Aloha kakahiaka.  Today looks like it will be a fairly quiet day (fingers crossed).  Yesterday was eventful and valuable, and today should allow me at least to get some good thinking and writing done.  Busy is actually fun, but people actually need uninterrupted stretches of time to do really good research and writing, so I’m looking forward to today.

I just installed and will be trying out ScribeFire for Firefox, which allows users to post to their blogs from their browser without having to open up their blog homepage.  Just another step in the never-ending quest to manage and control information collection and dissemination.

And for those interested in energy futures, here’s a bit from Tech Review on using independent agents in an adaptive system to manage energy use.

And, we may be shortly adding something to our SummitNet site for the Hawai’i Futures Summit to collect ideas from people on topics and content for the 2009 Summit.

Filed under: Energy, Summit

Tuesday uphill

Good morning (and a blustery and cold one, it is!). We had several meetings yesterday, one of which was regarding this year’s Summit; planning has already begun! There’s been some long days and nights recently, and it looks like many more are to come, but we’re looking forward to it. Part of our discussion yesterday turned to the future of the visitor industry in Hawaii, as well as the future of agriculture. It’s unclear to us the future of these two is as simple and clear cut as the ownership of the visitor industry wishes (for their industry) or as obvious and singular as the proponents of ‘food independence’ believe. As with all things futures, most people dramatically reduce actual complexity to just a small handful of issues or factors in order to feel comfortable with staking a position. But reality is a lot messier and more complex.

We’re meeting with potential clients downtown today and later I myself will be back at work in the office, moving harder and harder on my paper, the outlines of which are becoming much clearer.

And the website project is hopefully nearing a good greenlight stage. We’ve been exploring a different take on the project and we’ll see soon if it’s the final direction or if we’ll be reverting back to some of our original ideas. Things are always in flux.

But along those lines, we came across a cool new web app: blist.com. Check it out.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Summit

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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