Looking Back at Looking Forward

sharing knowledge about organisational foresight

Get there early

Have just started reading Bob Johansen’s Get There Early – fabulous so far. Bob’s mental model of foresight…the VUCA acronym and the ‘foresight to insight to action cycle’ … resonated with me.

The future is highly changeable – there is a constant state of flux and change – the future cannot be predicted, there are many possibilities – things could go this way and that. In other words there is volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Scary for some…many would rather take flight than begin to understand the many inter-related issues.

The way around this is to take what many do – sensing what’s new – to another level. That is, make sense of it (insight) … developing an understanding and clarify what is happening in the present. Out that a clear sense of direction can be formed (vision) so that timely responses or resilience to events (agility) can be actioned. In other words, instead of taking flight, VUCA empowers you to fight!

Drawing on his service as CEO of the Institute for the Future, Bob is doing us all a favour in authoring this work.

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January 17, 2008 Posted by | foresight | , , | Leave a comment

Machiavelli

I read Ross King’s biography Machiavelli over the break. I found it a fascinating and insightful view of Machiavelli and life in 15th century Europe. How things have changed….and remained the same!

King identified an inherent conflict in Machiavelli’s thinking which I feel is very profound. On the one hand Machiavelli held that “Men are unable to master their own natures” (p176) effectively stranding the individual in a form of perpetual stasis.

Whatever influences through birth or environment work to forge the individual, once developed norms of behaviour are hard to change. Unable to learn either from the past or adapt that which is emerging they act as passive vessels… mistakes and history are repeated.

So much for freedom of action. How can a Prince dispense wisdom and advice to others and expect them to change.

There are obvious parallels with operationalising strategic thinking and achieving organisation change. Perhaps it is better to act in collaboration with like minded individuals working through interconnected networks.

January 13, 2008 Posted by | knowledge networks, philosophy | , , , , | Leave a comment