What's Next?

What's Next? is a compendium of thoughts from fifty illustrious members of the Global Business Network. Their thoughts dwell on the world ten years from now, the same timeframe as the Edinburgh Scenarios.

If you're not familiar with GBN, just reading the membership list will be a treat. Where else are you going to find the likes of William Gibson, Laurie Anderson, Jaron Lanier, Eric Drexler, Doug Engelbart, Stewart Brand, Danny Hillis, Bill Joy, Michael Porter, Clay Shirky, and Michael Murphy in one place?

At the heart of scenario thinking is the importance of challenging our own assumptions about the present and the future by seeking out different, provocative, even unorthodox perspectives from “remarkable people.” This term, coined by philosopher G.I. Gurdjieff, described “someone who stands out from those around him by the resourcefulness of his mind and knows how to be restrained in the manifestations which proceed from his nature, at the same time conducting himself justly and tolerantly toward the weakness of others” (Meetings with Remarkable Men).

GBN’s president Eamonn Kelly sets up the interviews by making a convincing argument that complex times call for deeper understanding to underpin our decision-making. "This in turn, is key to gaining adaptive advantage: the ability to anticipate and sense change, and the capacity to respond quickly and coherently."

Everywhere I turn recently, I find myself tripping over complex adaptive systems. Business flows, everything is connected, we don't see the whole picture, surprises are on the way. I'm tempering my view several months back that the "science of complexity" is simply another way of saying "You don't get it." Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah-nyah.

The "new terrain" posited by What's Next? is composed of these categories, which also organize the chapters of the book:

    • Cutures & Socities
    • Values & Belief Systems
    • Civilzation & Infrastructure
    • Environment & Sustainability
    • Technology
    • Science
    • Economics & Finance
    • Geopolitics & Governance

Constructed largely of 500-word quotes from GBN members, What's Next? is perfect bathroom reading. Unless I succomb to diarrhea, I won't finish reading it until mid-month.

Posted by Jay Cross at January 3, 2004 12:10 PM | TrackBack

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