Chapter 5. The Do Loop – The Eight Skills of Adaptive Foresight

Skill 5. Execution (Production thinking).

The next great type of foresight thinking is concerned exclusively with production and action. As we’ve said, this skill shares the title with strategy as the central foresight skill, because without execution, strategy is lame, and without strategy, execution is blind.

We have assigned the Management & Leadership specialties to the execution skill, as we think all foresight students need to understand good practice in both of these, and use them in their work. But as we’ve said these two are also meta-specialties, like foresight itself, and we’ll address them as such through out the guide.


Bossidy&Charan (2011)

Bossidy&Charan (2011)

For organizations, a key execution specialties are Product, Service, and Project Management, a broad set of activities that can include operations, engineering, sourcing, logistics, IT platforms, knowledge management, and anything else necessary to production. A a great management professional association is the American Management Association (AMA), which addresses all of these subjects, and offers training and support in execution skills.

But there are also specialty practitioner communities for product, service and project management that a good foresight practitioner should be aware of and consider joining as appropriate. For Product Management, the Product Development and Management Association has 3,500 members and offers a very simple New Product Development Professional certification. For Service Management there are a few similar emerging professional associations. IBM has proposed a curriculum in IT-aided service science, management, and engineering (SSME), but the field barely exists today.

Project Management is by far the best developed of these three execution-oriented functions. A leading text is Harold Kerzner’s Project Management: A Systems Approach, 2013, now in its 11th edition. It is aligned with the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam, offered by the Project Management Institute. The institute also produces the Product Management Body of Knowledge, a dryer read than Kerzner’s text. The PMP exam costs $400 (paper version). Roughly 600,000 people have gained a PMP certification to date. Certification won’t necessarily improve your execution thinking and behaviors, but if its lessons are internalized it has a potential to do so. If it also raises your credibility in a monetizable way, and thus may be a good development strategy.

PMI’s PMP Certificate

PMI’s PMP Certificate

For foresight consultants, execution may revolve around production of specific foresight products or service (research, modeling, workshops, training, publications, etc.) for the client, or it may involve diagnosing and fixing execution problems with the client’s team. We’ve listed a number of good books on producing foresight work at the end of Chapter 6 (Methods and Frameworks) and in Appendix 3 (Resources) as well as in context throughout this Guide.

Scrum is an excellent workflow management system for small teams.

One final management specialty, workflow management is critical to both good foresight production on small teams, and for our clients, to empowering and motivating the team to get things done. Sutherland’s Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time (2014) is an excellent set of cyclic workflow management techniques for maximizing adaptive execution for small teams, each of which should be small enough (typically five to nine individuals) to engage in one or more daily fifteen minute “scrum” meetings. Scrum has a cyclic structure that fits elegantly with the Do loop, and we recommend that foresighters, managers, and leaders all use both systems as core practice skills with their teams and clients. We discuss scrum at several points in this Guide.

For execution in general, Stephen Covey’s First Things First (1996), is a great introduction to both strategic prioritization and to getting started with things, which for many is the hardest step with execution. It reminds us that doing more of the right things is just as important as doing the best we can. As Covey would say, our compass is as important as our clock. For prioritization and execution, recall also the journaling and task management habit mentioned in Chapter 2 (Personal Foresight). Bossidy and Charan’s Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done (2011), is another good resource for improving this core professional skill.

Endurance and focus are also key attributes of great executors. For endurance, we recommended Schwartz’s Be Excellent at Anything (2011). Cycling rapidly between execution and rest-recovery phases (high-intensity interval training) may be the very best way to build endurance for execution, both in physical exercise and mental work. For focus, we also recommend Goleman’s Focus (2013).

Another key to successful execution, covered in Bossidy and Charan’s work, is being able to reach out to experts when you run into trouble. There’s almost always someone with specialty talent who can help you when you get stuck. Finding such talent has never been easier with the modern web. Start improving your execution today, and be sure to record your best strategies in your journal, then make them a habit.


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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