Looking Back at Looking Forward

sharing knowledge about organisational foresight

Motivation to go forward

I’ve just come across a great quote from Theodore Roosevelt that I so relate to:

“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievements; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither defeat nor victory”

Strategic thinking, scanning, forecasting and reporting involves thought experiments, testing perceived patterns and inter-relationships with others, making mistakes along the way…and emerging with insightful analysis.

Thanks to Rob at 3eep for sharing this.


May 29, 2008 Posted by | collaboration | | Leave a comment

Lagging behind present realities

I’ve started to read Common Wealth by Jeffrey Sachs and was delighted after having read the first page. Mr Sachs topic is economics for a crowed planetobserved that “for the past two hunddred years, technology and demography have consistently run ahead of deeper social understanding”. There is “a pace of change unprecendended in human history” and that “our philosophies, as a result, consistently lag behind present realities”. Quite so.

A similar dilemma exists for organisations in coping with the pace of change as it impacts on the entities functions and relationships. Structures and strategies are based on what has gone on in the past – an increasingly lag behind present realities. As my last posting observed, foresight helps people see what is going on in the present with more clarity.

I’m looking forward to reading through Mr Sachs book…and looking for ways that others may percieve that foresight helps to cope with today’s major challenges such as climate change, energy policy and income disparity. Mr Sachs states that ‘global cooperation will have to come to the fore”. Quite so again!

May 5, 2008 Posted by | collaboration, foresight | , | Leave a comment

Digital Business Ecosystem

Came across this European Commission initiative today. The DBS is an open, web-based collaborative research and software development forum to development applications for small-to-medium enterprises. Participants are from research institutions and business.

Interestingly the DBS applies systems-thinking to its task. The intention is that, like all ecosystems, users can learn, interact with others, adapt applications to suit and continue to have these applications change and evolve over time. Of course this involves complexity – through the constant interaction between users and applications.

To quote the site, the most exiting development is “the use of software applications and services that are able to ‘evolve’ and to organise themselves in a way that is optimised for the end user.”

This initiative is commendable but it is not clear how successful it has been. I have come across online research/collaborative communities that appear to have been launched with a great deal of enthusiasm and vision…only to trail off to disappointment.

Still, this is one to look further into.

December 16, 2007 Posted by | collaboration | , , | Leave a comment

a thousand tomorrows on climate change

Today’s email from the ‘a thousand tomorrow’s blog described four scenarios on responses to climate change developed by Open the Future. One of the critical uncertainties was between centralised and decentralised control – seen as fundamental uncertainties about how the future will play out over the next few decades.

In the decentralised control scenarios collaboration dominates.

This analysis is very close to Vision 20/20.

November 27, 2007 Posted by | collaboration, foresight | , | Leave a comment


During my recent vacation I read Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams. All about the transfer of power from institutions to distributed networks. The trend to distributed networks is very powerful as the ability to innovate, enhance, and share – the positive feelings/reputation enhancing/business development/economies of scale opportunities, and agility and responsiveness are all very compelling.

So I’ve been tracking the wikinomics website and am looking at the Wikinomics Playbook (a peer produced guide to collaboration in the 21st century. I’m interested in the value systems and generally accepted rule of behaviour that govern online collaboration. In the Tower of Google the statement is made that those who trust collaborate better… and trust is mostly a question of shared value systems.

Well, two apparently diametrically opposed thoughts come to mind:

  • how can there be mass collaboration in a world of fragmented value systems?
  • does mass collaboration mean there is a ‘global value system’ that distributed networking is tapping into?

Cause for some investigation I think.

November 8, 2007 Posted by | collaboration, knowledge networks | , , , , | Leave a comment

Clash of cultures or world economy?

Fascinating article by David Brooks (New York Times) on the theologian John Mcmurray’s influence on Tony Blair.

There’s a quote from Blair “Globalisation begets interdependence, and interdependence begets the necessity of a common value system to make it work” and later “We are witnessing the beginnings of a new doctrine of international community”. While economic globalisation is mature, the politics are not. What is needed are multilateral institutions to act in pursuit of global values.

This ‘international interdependence leading to world community’ view prompted thinking at the local community and organisational level. As far as politics go, this view suggest there is a need for collaborative institutions between Federal and State governments in Australia.

In a policy sense there are indicators of advancing multilateral collaboration such as the inter-governmental work on anti-spam. The driver is again global with the internet being an international network of networks. Jurisdictions are realising they share recurring internet security and privacy issues. What’s more, the creative and innovative thinking behind e-security initiatives are attributable to informal networking.

At the organisational level, a similar ‘clash between cultures’ occurs. Divisions internally are barriers to whole-of-organisation, or multiple line area collaboration. The resolution of these problems is to have informal networking foster coalitions of understanding and self-help on mutual interests.

May 12, 2007 Posted by | collaboration, Globalisation, knowledge networks | , , , , | Leave a comment