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Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

The Reboot, Speakers, and Human Nature

Good Morning, all.  Diving back into Summit planning today, going over our roster of speakers for the Reboot and wrestling with the fun logistical details like venue, menus, and costs.  Oh what fun.  But also spending a little attention on our very cool set up for Day 2, which our participants will really enjoy and from which they will derive important insights.  Intrigued?  Register!  Well, it’s a bit early for our registration process (the online services aren’t turned on yet), but please visit SummitNet and sign up to be included.

Speaking of the Reboot, we’re building our list of possible dynamic speakers for the Summit.  Engaging speakers with truly innovative ideas, concepts, or thinking, in relation mainly to the areas of Hawai’i’s economy, education, and infrastructure.  And individuals who can present in 20 minutes!  Got any suggestions?  Please let us know.

Human Nature

Here’s a few minutes of discussion by renowned psychologist Steven Pinker speaking on human nature and his specialty, language.  Check it out.

http://bigthink.com/ideas/what-do-you-do-38

Think about tomorrow.

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Filed under: Human Nature, Summit,

Culture and the Futures of Hawai’i

Aloha kakahiaka, everyone.  I hope everyone had a great weekend; we certainly did!  Today we’re catching up on updating some tactical plans for a client and then we’ll be working on more original writing and presentations, namely the nonprofit futures project and working further on a Summit presentation.

Over the weekend we helped a client facilitate a session they had discussing culture, tourism, and ideas and issues related to marketing (with some emphasis on the visitor industry).  Coming away from the event, it got us thinking more about the broader issues surrounding ‘culture’ and different possible futures for Hawai’i.

Culture is a very interesting, and I think, challenging concept, particularly the way it is used in most conversations.  It is a contested and often ambiguous idea, and yet people often refer to ‘culture’ as an object, like the great black monolith in the classic movie “2001,” something that we are given and something that we point to as if it were a concrete, tangible thing.  It is also often referred to as a sacred, inviolate object, much like the monolith.

The problem is that the things that we are trying to reference with the term ‘culture’ are much more fluid than that.  From the also-ambiguous term ‘worldview’ to beliefs to practices to values, culture is always changing; and it’s supposed to.  Human life today is the result of a great co-evolution: that between biology and culture, each affecting the other.  Humans are the result of a long biological history on this planet.  That biological evolution has in essence primed us for a hunter-gather lifestyle, a mode of living which represents 99% of human history.  It is only in the last 1% of our shared history that we come into both agrarian and industrial lifestyles, where cities were born 5000 years ago, and where the cell phone emerges as a tool of communication.

In this context, the ‘culture’ that we all think of when we employ the term and the ‘cutlures’ that we normally revere, are what humans have been evolving in just the last few thousand years in order to innovate beyond our biology and adapt to a variety of habitats and situations for which our biology has not had time to adapt.  In comparison to biological evolution, which is usually very slow and largely undirected, our cultural evolution can happen very quickly and can spread very quickly.

Because culture (which for the moment we’ll look at as innovation we evolve to overcome what biology cannot) can evolve so quickly and spread across populations so quickly, we increasingly have a world in which the classic western academic notion of singular monolithic cultural identities is fading.  Increasingly we have individuals whose individual cultural fabric is composed of threads from many sources.  Humans adopt and adapt beliefs, outlooks, values, and practices from all of their experiences, and as globalization (read: integration) proceeds, more and more people are adopting those cultural ‘innovations’ that they feel will help them succeed ( in the broadest sense) in life.  Increasingly, people have multiple identities and complex, beautiful individual cultural fabrics, a uniquely tailored weave of innovations that allow them to move through the varied spaces of 21st century life and adapt to the expanding range of challenges confronting them on local, regional, and global levels.

Culture is innovation, it is an adaptation that allows us to overcome the limits of biology and to adapt to the world when it would otherwise take our biological evolution far too long to respond.  Classic monolithic culture and singular identities can be taken for granted when life and society presents us with a relatively stable and unchanging environment.  But in a world of interaction, exchange, and constant challenge, our strength will come from having both a diversity of cultures to draw upon as well as a much more nuanced view of individual culture and identity.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Culture, Human Nature, Identity

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, ,

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,

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


SummitNet

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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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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