Chapter 3. Career Options - Great Ways to Be a Foresight Leader

4. Nonprofits


Nonprofits contribute around 5% to US GDP, and account for about 10% of jobs. Like some of their lesser known for-profit cousins (public benefit corporations, for-profit social entrepreneurship firms), nonprofits are formed to provide social, political, environmental, or spiritual benefits in addition to any economic benefits they may deliver, and many are funded substantially or primarily from philanthropic contributions. As with for-profit startups, small non-profits may be launched in larger numbers on the way out of economic recessions. Whether this is true or not, such firms are obviously dependent on the size and strength of economies.

Like education and health care, nonprofits are presently also growing faster than the overall economy in eight of our wealthiest countries, and now contribute over 5% to GDP in six nations. For more, see Global Civil Society and Volunteering (2013). If global science and technology, economic wealth, connectedness, resiliency, transparency, and social justice efforts continue to accelerate in coming years, as I would predict, in the next two decades nonprofits may grow to double their current economic and political influence (10% of GDP, 20% of employment) in the US and other leading democracies. Star Trek’s prediction that “we won’t need money in the future” still feels far too utopian, but a world where substantially more of us can pursue interests that don’t involve directly generating a profit seems right on the money.

image65image66Whether all our coming wealth will lead to more or less income inequality in coming decades is a question of economic justice, to be addressed politically in each country by the interactions of governments, lobbies, voters, and activist nonprofits. For nonprofits working on income equity, see the centrist National Bureau of Economic Research (US) and Equality Trust (UK), or many left-wing nonprofits. For nonprofits working to ensure that economic growth and entrepreneurial freedom continue to grow, see the centrist Council on Competiveness, the Kauffman Foundation, or many right-wing nonprofits. No matter your social issue or political bent, you can almost always find a nonprofit addressing it, or start one if none exists.

As with for-profits, you’ll have a very different work experience depending on whether you join a large (500+ employees), mid-size (100-500 employees), or small (under 100 employees) nonprofit organization. Large foresight consulting nonprofits include Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) like MITRE (founded 1958, 7900 employees), and top sci-tech and policy think tanks like SRI International (1946, 2500 employees) and RAND (1948, 1700 employees). Mid-sized foresight leader nonprofits include think tanks like the Center for Strategic and International Security (1962, 220 employees), the Rocky Mountain Institute (1982, 100 employees) and media companies like TED (1984, 100 employees). Smaller foresight nonprofits include consultancies like Institute for the Future, the Institute for Alternative Futures, foresight development organizations and professional associations like The Millennium Project, the World Future Society, most of the associations professionalizing and networking practitioners of the Twenty Foresight Specialties, and other nonprofits listed in Appendix 2 and at

If you can’t find a nonprofit working on your passion, consider finding one that would be a good fit and proposing your issue as a new initiative, or joining one and proposing your initiative once you’ve gained credibility as a great employee. If you really want to be an entrepreneur, consider starting your own. The Nonprofit Business Plan: A Leader’s Guide to Creating a Successful Business Model, David La Piana (2012), can help with the latter path. With our newly global social networks and crowdfunding platforms, it has never been easier to find both fans and funds. But before you launch, look for a great partner (or several), test out potential customer response to a specific business model, and make a good initial plan. Organize your plan around a particular product or service that you strongly believe philanthropists or customers will fund, and be sure to test that assumption with frank feedback from potential funders and customers.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice