Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

Upgrading the System

Guten Morgen.  This morning we’re going through the laborious process of upgrading all of our security software, and while we might gain some peace of mind later today, for right now it’s destroying any productivity in the office!

A little bit later we’ll be working once again on the upcoming piece on technological drivers for Hawai’i’s futures.  It can be difficult to get decision makers to focus on a longer term view just now, but these technologies have the potential to significantly change the social and physical landscape in Hawai’i, and in reality most decision makers know little-to-nothing about them.

Think about tomorrow.


Filed under: Uncategorized

Planning 101

Aloha kakahiaka.  While many are probably lamenting the double blow of a Monday morning and the first day back from spring break, we’re actually looking forward to today.  We’re editing some client strategy this morning as well as working on a new short piece, “Five Technologies Rewiring Society.”  Today also has a fair amount of ‘catch-up’ work going on this afternoon.  But the end of last week and this past weekend were excellent days and turned up some great discussions and connections for our work and for this year’s Summit, which we can announce is now themed: “Hawai’i: the Reboot.”  While we will be posting updates here and on our Facebook page, you can also check out specific news at SummitNet.

And we’re happy to announce a new short piece on planning: “Six Questions to Ask About Planning.”  It’s a quick diagnostic for organizations, a sort of ‘safety check’ for their plans and planning process.  Enjoy.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Planning, Summit

Extracting Lessons from the Economic Crisis

Morning, folks! This morning’s post is really simple enough: we’re working this morning on building some new framework pieces for the upcoming Hawai’i Futures Index.  Cool stuff, but always a challenge to create something that is both intellectually rigorous but also speaks directly to the things about Hawai’i’s future that our decision makers and community leaders really care about.  If it’s important enough to do, then it’s probably challenging!

But on the planning front, we can already start to extract some planning and strategy lessons from the current financial crisis and economic downturn.  While the following is not actually a new idea for strategic thinking, it’s one of those ideas that gets completely lost during our long periods of economic expansion.

Basically, let’s look at the first of what we call Standing Scenarios: very simple, almost generic yet challenging situations that we use on a regular basis to “wind tunnel” an organization, its assumptions, and its strategy.  We also use Standing Scenarios to remind clients of basic uncertainty and bring their attention back to a longer-term view of their actions and assumptions.

So, the current crisis gives us the Sudden Falloff scenario: sales/revenue falls off unexpectedly by 25% in one year, and then by a further 50% the second year.  Simple, brutal.  The first question is: what does this mean for you, what are your reactions to it, and what are your priorities?  The second question is: what are all of the plausible (not probable, but plausible) series of events and interactions out there in the world that could have produced this?

When was the last time your organization played some of these scenarios?

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: foresight, Planning, scenarios, Strategy, Summit,

Futures Index and Social Media in Education

Good Morning, everyone.  Well, now that we’re getting our writing projects back on track and reorganzined, and particularly because we’ve entered a first full swing in Summit 2009 planning, today we’re working once again on the Hawai’i Futures Index.  Meant to be something of a issues barometer and set of indicators for Hawai’i’s desired futures, we survey the attendees to the Summit each year and then build the Index up from there.  A challenge is staying away from the typical ideas about what to track, like visitor stays and construction permits, and build a set of indicators that really taps into the issues that decision makers and thought leaders care about that relate to the futures they actually desire.  And, being futurists, we need a broader and more nuanced (foresightful) set of relationships and impacts to consider, again, beyond just the traditional, “what is California and Japan’s economy doing?”

Also, we want to put a shout out for the new book out by Jeff Piontek (head of the charter school Hawai’i Technology Academy).  We toured the school yesterday (in my old stomping grounds of Waipahu) and their tools and approach are simply fascinating and impressive.  Jeff will also be one of our speakers at this year’s Summit.

His new book is Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts, Oh, My! And please note that the Amazon info on publication date and availability is wrong: the book was just published and is actually in print.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Education, futures, Hawai'i, Summit

Hawai’i Futures and Strategy

Aloha kakahiaka.  It’s a wonderful Monday morning (spring break!), and despite the rather long task list for today, we have some cool work to do today.  We’re meeting with some charter school folks today, following up on a wonderful future of education discussion we facilitated in January, and possible people who can contribute some exciting ideas to this year’s Summit.  We’re also polishing a presentation for another client for a seminar next month, and that has helped us get back to organizing some of the company’s original products, such as scenarios about Hawai’i’s future and more artful and more useful ways to approach planning and strategy.  And speaking of which, we’re still working on the future of nonprofits project, and the base scenario should shape up nicely this week.  For those interested, we’re going to be talking about the things nonprofits in Hawai’i need to fix in order to better fulfill their mission on one of the forums on SummitNet.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Hawai'i, Nonprofit, scenarios, Strategy, Summit

Presentations, Project R, and Social Media

Morgen, ladies and gentlemen.  Most of today is devoted to working on a presentation that we’re giving next month, and I’m in the process of building a useful but simple strategic context around the core topic, as well as trying to impart a deeper sense of how the audience should be more regularly employing such contexts in their own decision making.  In the process, I’ve had to delve a little deeper into understanding our current financial and economic crisis than most of us normally want to.  Everyone, including senior decision makers, work off of mental models of the outside world, and oftentimes our job is to challenge and expand that model in various ways.  It’s easy enough to just find some provocative data or graph and throw it at people, but people need answers in a context, something that gives the answer its meaning and importance, and something that allows people to start to construct other answers as well.  Thus, developing the framework for such presentations can often take up more time than finding the neat graphs and cute pictures.

We’re also slowly working on a new project, Project R, which we will be unveiling in pieces this summer at various meetings and presentations.  In its full form, we will using it this fall at the 2009 Summit, where it will fit in nicely with our emerging theme (more on that later).  Suffice it to say that we are pulling in thoughts, images, and strategies from a number of sources and topics to create (surprise, surprise) a new framework and context for people.

And speaking of the Summit, we’re planning a Summit pau hana for next month where members of SummitNet will jam on ideas for this year’s Summit, and where they’ll get a preview of the program and theme.  Check out our Ning site to find out more details and RSVP.

As for the Social Media in today’s title, it’s obvious to anyone who is really into social media sites that while the overall economy may be hurting, the field of niche social media sites is exploding.  Not unlike the 90s when rags like Industry Standard and Business2.0 made a living off of weekly tracking the internet start-ups and mergers, today keeping track of new sites, new applications, and interesting new experiments is a daily effort.   Each day brings news of new ways to network, find things, share things, store things, and get things done.  Out of the plethora of sites that go up, millions are experimenting, signing up, and inviting their friends to try them out too.

But we’ve started to wonder about a sort of consumer-like product drift and fatigue.  While the power laws still seem to apply, with a few sites dominating attention and usage (think Facebook, Twitter, and Delicious), what’s been most interesting is to watch people’s attention caught by the latest site or service, sign up and get others to join, then drift away from using the service as they quickly move onto the next sites to go up.  Again, a few sites remain social media anchors in the larger field, sort of keystone species in the larger ecosystem, perhaps.  But, because of the currently high rate of experimentation and evolution in social media applications, we wonder about a kind of “social media attention distraction,” referring not to a person’s moment-to-moment attention itself, but to their constantly shifting from one social media service to the next.  One can imagine the detritus of personal information and usage data that users are leaving across the Web as they continually migrate from one service to the next.  If nothing else, because of the intense attention and energy currently in using the web as a platform for daily living, the ‘social media’ space is a fascinating phenomenon to watch.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Summit,

Looking forward to the Summit

Morning folks. Amidst everything else we’re taking care of right now, the Summit is slowly moving up the rankings of our priorities. We’re in discussions on venue and we’re actively working on the format and program, which will have some tweaks this year. One of the biggest changes will be to Day 1 which, while staying true to our practice of using the first day to pump a lot of new ideas to participants, will be modified to feature a slew of speakers this year, rather than our traditional two or three. We’re in the process right now of identifying and working with possible speakers, and each one chosen will have some exciting new ideas to fit with our theme this year (more on that later).

And probably most exciting to everyone, with our change in format, we’ll be able to lower the registration fee considerably, something sure to please everyone in the current climate!

If you’re interested in staying in the know about the Summit this year, or if you are planning on going, skip over to SummitNet and sign-up for the contact/invitee list.  Truthfully, we were going to post the sign-up on this site as well, but WordPress has issues with allowing certain types of code…

Got ideas or practical suggestions for the Summit?  Hit the same sign-up and leave us some suggestions in the process!

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Summit

Good strategy sessions

Aloha kakahiaka, everyone.  We spent the last couple of days running a strategy session for a client and had the opportunity to help with what turned out to be some very good conversations about their purpose, customers, and unique approach to creating value.  It was a very productive and useful two days and today we’ll be drafting up the first iteration of the strategy map.  It is often interesting to help with these conversations because it can really drive home that, quite frankly, most organizations are so focused on meeting crises and fighting fires that they themselves don’t have many opportunities to sketch a bigger picture for each other and reconnect with each other on basic beliefs, priorities, and ideas for shaping positive change across the organization.

And just as a tidbit, I came across the following document that comes recommended as an excellent introduction and overview of the current financial crisis.

Filed under: Economics, Strategy, ,

Strategy this week

Morning, everyone. While I’m slipping back into the saddle, we’re still a bit crazy around here, so this will be short. We’re finishing prep today for a couple of days of client strategy this week. While always interesting, this will also be so because our client is part of a larger group that itself is undergoing ‘strategic planning,’ and the comparison/contrast/alignment of two sometimes very different notions of ‘strategy’ and how to organize planning efforts is always very interesting. We’re usually disappointed in other efforts, not so much because of the templates and report layouts they use, but because of the way they think about the strategic conversation.

We’re also disturbed by how often local organizations hire consultants from the mainland to help them with planning. Made in Hawaii must only work for food and crafts:)

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Back in the saddle

Morning folks.  It’s been a little while, and I spent a week sick (like everyone else, it seems), and I’ve been jamming on the Paper.  But we have important client work coming up next week and, using some new approaches, ought to be some very interesting discussions.  We’re also working again tomorrow on the nonprofit future project, which definitely has some cool little ideas in it.  We’re also in early discussions to develop a future of healthcare project with some local stakeholders, and while healthcare has been off the front burner for a while, there remains tremendous challenges and opportunities in healthcare for an astounding future.

We’re also heavy into planning the Summit for this year, and I think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised and will be looking forward to it.  We are!

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


Vision Foresight Strategy

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

To learn more about how we can help you, visit www.kikilo.biz


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