Think Like a FuturistKnow What Changes, What Doesn't, and What's Next
Push past resistance to discover and own new business territories Think Like a Futurist shows how to track changes, explore questions, and engage in new thinking that connects today's pressures with tomorrow's realities. Cecily Sommers shows how to apply long-term focus and strategies to needs as diverse as industry forecasts, innovation challenges, leadership development, or future-proofing a brand. By understanding intersecting potentials that one day may impact your organization, you can readily spot emerging trends and market shifts, uncovering opportunities on the horizon. Think Like a Futurist explores such questions as: Where will new markets emerge over the next 5-10-25 years? What will be the big issues of the day? How will lifestyle, social mores, and policy adapt? And what role do we play in that future? Offers a clear framework for thinking like a futurist, and direction for how to integrate it in high-pressure corporate environments Explains how the social, economic, and environmental crises of our time spring from just four constant and predictable forces Reveals the three dramatic disruptions on the horizon that should be a part of every strategic conversation Written by Cecily Sommers the Founder and President of The Push Institute, a non-profit think tank that tracks significant global trends and their implications for business, government, and non-profit. Filled with tools and models for a new world, this book should be required reading for strategists and innovators across disciplines. "Refreshing. A book that does not follow today’s push to be ‘innovative’ just to snag attention because of the current hot trending keyword. Matter of fact, Cecily Sommers’ book works to get us away from simply identifying and going for a ride on the latest trend(s) in our respective industries. Quite the contrary, rather than avoid a scientific or tactical discussion of trend identification, she works to give us the ability to go beyond trends and into the future. Cecily has drafted a book providing a nice blend of practical reality, philosophy, and practical execution. It speaks well to current discussions about how to drive ‘innovation’ or, better, creativity within your businesses—however large or small. All in, this is a book 254 pages long, including index, that is written at a practical level that, after closer study following an initial read-through, provides a methodology for anticipating the future and taking action to meet it. Provides a methodology for anticipating the future and taking action to meet it. Think Like a Futurist is a good read for anyone struggling with how to move their organization forward. Business leaders, product and program managers, service providers will all find the concepts Cecily introduces to be well laid-out with a reasonable amount of supporting content."—The source is a blog: http://jtpedersen.net/2012/11/15/what-ive-read-lately-think-like-a-futurist/
Introduction ix Part One: Know—The Four Forces of Change 1 1 The Four Forces of Change 3 2 Resources 11 3 Technology 21 4 Demographics 33 5 Governance 47 Part Two: New—The Zone of Discovery 63 6 Higher Learning 69 7 Phase I: Define 77 8 Phase II: Discover 87 9 Phase III: Distill 97 10 Who Are You? 107 11 Where Are You Going? 145 Part Three: DO—The 5 Percent Rule 175 12 The 5 Percent Rule 177 13 Tinkering: The Genesis of General Mills’s Idea Greenhouse 181 Conclusion 213 Part Four: What’s Next Toolkit 219 The Futurist’s Mind-set 221 Overcoming Resistance to Change 227 Notes 239 Acknowledgments 245 About the Author 247 Index 249
“In Think Like a Futurist... [Cecily Sommers] raises questions and points out realities that anyone fascinated with the future of the global economy should be following.” —Adam Belz, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Cecily Sommers is the founder and president of The Push Institute, a non-profit think tank that tracks significant global trends and their implications for business, government, and the non-profit sector. A global trends analyst and popular speaker, she helps organizations understand and prepare for emerging technologies, markets, and ideas. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Think Like a Futurist is the ground-breaking book that shows how to engage in new thinking in order to connect today's pressures with tomorrow's realities. Drawing from more than a decade of work with clients, noted futurist Cecily Sommers shows what it takes to apply long-term focus and strategies to needs as diverse as industry forecasts, innovation challenges, leadership development, and future-proofing a brand. In all her work, she shows how the skills and methodologies needed to think like a futurist can be taught to anyone, how they follow a clear, replicable structure, and how they can be scaled for groups of all sizes. Her book shares the same tools and techniques she uses with individuals and organizations to help them become unstuck from the "Permanent Present," the natural–and often disastrous–bias for projecting current conditions out into the future. Clearly and deftly, Think Like a Futurist explains how the social, economic, and environmental crises of our time spring from just four constant and predictable forces. Once you understand how they work together to drive change, you can stake out a territory that is yours to invent and own. Think Like a Futurist also reveals future-directed activities designed to spark creative epiphanies, push past resistance, and bring the power of foresight to strategy and innovation, resulting in fresh answers to the ageless questions: Who are you? Where are you going? and What's your territory? This is not a book about identifying trends, but rather transcending them, which is crucial in today's fast-paced world where success is often defined as movement from deadline to deadline (and crisis to crisis). Throughout, Cecily shows how to make your perspective both more elastic and comprehensive. With her approach, you'll find the long-term vision needed to see opportunities onthe horizon and understand how to realize them.
Praise for Think Like a Futurist "Put down your Magic 8 Ball and pick up Think Like a Futurist. In its prescient pages you'll discover how to short circuit the habits that blind us to future trends, how to break through the walls of resistance to change, and how to find the tools you'll need to face the future with confidence." —Daniel H. Pink Author, Drive and A Whole New Mind "At last! A book that brings a practical and disciplined approach to creativity and future thinking that can be immediately applied." —David Kuehler Founder, The Clay Street Project at Procter & Gamble "Futurism isn't just a profession for an elite few, but a way of thinking that the fast pace of twenty-first century life requires for many of us. Cecily Sommers teaches us what we should have learned in business school or kindergarten—how to apply futures thinking to the challenges of daily life and enterprise." —Howard Rheingold Author, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online "Demonstrating a rare blend of heart, foresight, and leadership, Cecily Sommers makes her mark with Think Like a Futurist." —Andrew Zolli Curator, Pop!Tech; author, Resilience