Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

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

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.

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, ,

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

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