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Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

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

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

What are Scenarios?

Scenarios are stories about the future.  But, they are not predictions.  Rather, they describe possible futures that we might experience.  They are explorations of the different ways in which the world could change, providing us an opportunity to examine how our lives and our businesses might be different.  But there are some important differences between scenarios and other kinds of ‘stories’:  scenarios are informed by foresight; they come in sets, not singles; and their greatest value comes from creating them, not reading them.

From a futures perspective, foresight is having insight into the challenges and opportunities the future may offer.  Put another way, it is having insight into how things may change.  Good foresight requires some understanding of change, broad exposure to possibilities, and a healthy dose of creativity.

Good foresight first requires some explicit understanding of and exploration into how and why things change.  Whether we are talking about a local community, a corporation, or a regional economy, we are always relying on some set of assumptions about how things work, how they change.  These are the mental models that we use in part to make our decisions.  There are, of course, an infinite number of models about how the world works, how different things in life change.  Each of us has our own unique model (based on our unique learning and life experience) and researchers in most fields have produced a variety of formal models to explain change.  Regardless of which model you choose, knowing your model, and being familiar with the models of others, is the first step in developing foresight.

Foresight also requires broad exposure to possibilities.  The technological development occurring today, in fields as diverse as renewable energy, fabrication technology, and cognitive science, is almost overwhelming.  Global connectivity intensifies this, enabling us to share ideas, learn from each other, and create unanticipated combinations of new technologies and practices.  The potential for disruptive technical and social changes, arising out of areas that have nothing directly to do with us, is increasing every day.  By continuously exposing us to these changes, foresight enables us to continually refine our notion of the possible.  Good foresight allows us to take advantage of the full range of possibilities that lie before us.

Good foresight also requires a dose of creative thinking.  The future is unwritten, which means that the trends you’ve been monitoring do not (and cannot) predict what will happen tomorrow.  This also means that you have a hand in writing the future.  Your choices interact with the choices of others and with the changes already in motion.  A little ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, like seeing novel combinations or untried approaches, often allows us to create opportunities.  Foresight is also about seeing how the future can be shaped to a better end.

More on this later.

Filed under: foresight, futures, scenarios

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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Summit Net is the network for people who are concerned with the big picture, rule-changing possibilities for Hawai'i's futures.
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