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

5. Organizational Foresighter

[Examples: Natalie Ambrose (OECD), Marco Bevolo (Philips), William Busch (EUCOM), Sheryl Connelly (Ford), Mara Der Hovenesian (VAM), Emily Empel (Disney), Dave Evans (Cisco), Mark Finnern (SAP), Peter Garretson (USAF), John Geis (AFRI), Michael Gilliland (SAS), Ted Hailes (USAF), Joseph Hargrave (Arup), Bob Harrison (POST), James Hughes (IEET), David Jarvis (IBM), Brian David Johnson (Intel), Steve Jurvetson (DFJ), Charles Kennedy (NBC), Annalie Killian (AMP), Chris Luebkeman (Arup), Bjorn Lomborg (CCC), Gil Meyer (DuPont), Riel Miller (UNESCO), Jeffrey Millican (USNR), Bernie Myerson (IBM), Ian Pearson (BT), Ulf Pillkahn (Siemens), Noah Raford (UAE), William Ruh (GE), Natalie Schoch (Kellogg), James Schofield (Shell), Reto Schneider (SwissRe), Jim Spohrer (IBM), Joe Tankersley (Disney), Alexander van de Putte (DBK), Angela Wilkinson (OECD), James Wisecup (USN), Lina Yang (Hershey)]

Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Co.

Sheryl Connelly,
Ford Motor Co.

Folks who lead (have social influence) or manage within an organization and who also must look to and analyze the future make up the largest group of foresight professionals. We could usefully split this class into business, governance, and nonprofit foresight leaders, but that level of detail will be avoided at this time.

Members of the other four classes who also lead or manage in organizations are all potential members of this fifth class. Working to shape the preferred future of an organization, or a team within it, and taking some leadership role to do so, implicit or explicit, is of primary importance to organizational foresighters. Professor Andy Hines paper, An Audit for Organizational Futurists (PDF), Foresight 5(1) (2003), explores the various ways foresight professionals can position their roles inside organizations.

Unfortunately, only a small minority of organizational foresighters presently self-identify as foresight professionals. Helping such leaders to see themselves as members of our community is thus one of the great opportunities to grow the formal membership, diversity, and impact of our profession. Once a leader recognizes that they use foresight skills in their organization, they may decide to learn and apply other skills and models from our field, and hire more subject-matter experts (SMEs) and business method experts who are also self-declared foresight practitioners.

Organizational foresighters might have any formal job title, including a C-title, director, manager, forecaster, planner, analyst, strategist, and even “resident futurist”. The latter phrase is often considered pompous and problematic, as foresight is truly everyone’s job in any organization that expects to survive in the modern world. Facilitating collective foresight in their organization is a big part of the role of the foresight leader. Organizational foresighters may also be consultants, scholars, creatives, innovators, entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, but these are secondary roles for them. What motivates this type of professional the most is bringing more foresight to their organization, using whatever methods and influencing skills they find most effective. Good organizational foresighters like working with teams, can take direction and deliver results, are constantly learning, think strategically, are good planners, and know how to manage up (their managers) and manage down (their direct reports).

It is very rewarding and revelatory for the organizational manager or leader to learn to see themselves as a foresight practitioner or professional. They become aware that there is a long history and community of practice in foresight, and an emerging or established community of foresight practitioners within their industry. They become eager to learn more, and they add great diversity to our field.

Which of these roles might you want to explore formally and full-time? Which informally or part-time? For a fulfilling career, seek out roles that will be a good fit for your unique skills, passions, and personality.

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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