Chapter 1. Introduction – Our Emerging Foresight Field

The Do Loop – The Eight Skills of Foresight Practice (Adaptive Foresight)

Let’s look closer now at the Eight Skills, and consider some of their typical specialty practices within the organization, colored in gold below. We will explore the skills and their specialty practices in greater depth in Chapter 5 (The Do Loop) and Chapter 6 (Methods and Frameworks).

The first four are foresight skills and practices (strategic foresight), and the second four are action skills and practices. It is only when we use all Eight Skills, in a continual foresight and action loop, that we are practicing adaptive foresight, which we define as foresight that results in successful, adaptive action.


  1. Learning (Accounting & Intangibles, Intelligence & Knowledge Mgmt, Learning & Development) – Investigative (Divergent) thinking


  1. Anticipation (Data Science & Machine Learning, Forecasting & Prediction, Investing and Finance, Law & Security, Risk Management & Insurance) – Probability (Convergent) thinking
  2. Innovation (Alternatives & Scenarios, Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship, Facilitation & Gaming, Ideation & Design, Innovation & R&D) – Possibility (Divergent) thinking
  3. Strategy (Analysis & Decision Support, Strategy & Planning) – Preference&Priority (Convergent) thinking


  1. Execution (Product/Service/Project Management & Leadership) – Production thinking
  2. Influence (Sales & Marketing Management) – Market thinking
  3. Relating (Human Resources & Performance Management) – Team thinking


  1. Reviewing (Auditing & Change Management, Benchmarking & Quality) – Adjustment thinking

Again, the Eight Skills are composed of Four Foresight Skills and Four Action SkillsWe will occasionally call the Four Foresight Skills by their acronym, LAIS, which we can remember as the first four letters of the phase “LAISsez faire”, the entrepreneurial freedom that enabled capitalism and the industrial revolution.  We can remember the EIRR acronym by recognizing it also stands for the Economic Internal Rate of Return, a measure that helps social planners understand the full cost or benefit of a project to the economy.

You can also can remember the Eight Skills as “LAISEIRR”, a vowel-laden misspelling of “laser,” and the phrase “Only a LAISEIRR focus gives us success in life.”

Alternatively, you may like the phrase “Love, AI, Self-Empowerment, and Internal Rate of Return” as key factors in the 21st century that will work together to create adaptive foresight for society, for organizations, and our personal lives.

The Eight Skills, as they are derived from cognitive science, seem directly applicable to each of the first three (Personal, Organizational, and Global-Societal) of the POGU foresight domains. The specialties apply to all three domains as well, though less precisely. While the titles of the twenty specialties are taken from the literature of Organizational foresight, consider that versions of them apply to the domains of Personal and Global-Societal foresight as well.

For example, an individual who uses an online behavior-monitoring platform as part of their exercise regimen (Fitbit, Strava, etc.) is engaged in Accounting & Intangibles and Intelligence & Knowledge Management (both Learning specialty practices) and the platform and individual are using Data Science & Machine Learning and Forecasting & Prediction (Anticipation practices) to understand and motivate the user. The platform and individual are also doing Analysis (a Strategy practice), Performance Management (a Relating practice) and Auditing (a Reviewing Practice). Successful individuals must also engage in continual Project Management, Sell and Market their ideas for next actions, take care of themselves and their relationships (Human Resources), and engage in the rest of the foresight practice specialties on a regular basis. It is easy to argue that societies must do all of these things as well, to be long-term successful. So while the names and total number of our twenty specialties will surely be somewhat different when we derive them for Personal and Global-Societal foresight, they are at least a useful place to start in those domains as well, until we develop better models.

Below is another graphical version of the Do Loop, split into the Four Foresight Skills and the Four Action Skills, with graphical representations next to each skill to show the kind of thinking (divergent, convergent, redivergent, reconvergent, translational, radiative, integrative, and cyclical) that is the primary thinking mode of each skill. We’ll explore these Eight Skills in more depth in coming chapters. In my view, they are the most critical practices for adaptive leaders and teams.

The Eight Skills of Adaptive Foresight – The LAISEIRR Practices of Adaptive Leaders and Teams

Learning (understanding the relevant past and present) is a critical step in foresight preparation, and the three skills in blue, green, and purple above (Skills 2, 3, and 4) are the three main types of foresight production. Foresight output is most fundamentally always about either predicting-protecting, creating-imagining, or strategizing-planning (“leading, managing”) (seeking probable, possible, and preferable futures). Each of these activities can at times be in competition with the others in the organization.

Of course, foresight without action is useless. We need to execute our strategies, influence others, build relationships with our teams and clients, and review our work. Good foresight professionals must use all Eight Skills personally and on their teams, to keep their organizations adaptive. We also use them in a continual cycle, which we call the Do loop. Using all eight skills consciously and well is level of mastery that many practitioners still need to achieve.

We can now offer a second, more specific definition of a foresight professional: anyone who self-identifies as commonly using at least two of the four foresight skills (LearningAnticipation, Innovation, and Strategy), and at least one of the four action skills, for an organization or client, for the majority of their work week.

This seems a good starter definition, at a time when many foresight practitioners don’t yet understand all the skills that strategic and adaptive foresight actually encompass. Again, we propose that foresight professionals must use and be at least minimally proficient in all Eight Skills in order to be adaptive, to do useful and effective work. We need to realize all the key skills we need to be successful, and ask ourselves if we are using them all well. Often, we aren’t.

The Three Gears of Enterprise: Product, Market, and Team

Some futurists would consider Skills 5, 6, and 7, the traditional Product, Market, and Team functions in an organization, to be outside the scope of our profession. But that would be an oversight, as every foresight professional, even if they are a sole practitioner, must execute good work (our Product or Service), must have influence on our clients (our Market), and must relate to, motivate and treat ourselves, our coworkers and our professional colleagues well (our Team). We must also continually review our work, if we wish to make it better. Both we and our clients need strong expertise in the Four Action Skills for our work to be an effective and adaptive activity. Many foresighters overlook these last four skills, and their impact suffers.

Other foresight practitioners might consider specialty practices like Learning & Development, Intelligence, Ideation, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Design, Risk Management, Strategy, Planning, Benchmarking, Quality, and Change Management to be outside the boundaries of our profession. Again, that would be an oversight, as these are all critical ways that good firms presently negotiate the future. Ignoring them just puts us out of touch with the most popular foresight functions being used today, and less able to help our clients.

Our narrowness of vision regarding the scope of foresight is historically understandable, given our field’s youth and its current lack of strong theoretical grounding. But the danger of such parochial perspectives is that they relegate foresight to an ineffectual corner of organizational practice, rather than recognizing it for the universal that it is, the set of all the best tools and methods we presently use in our thinking and actions toward the future.

Sadly, the field of professional foresight is so underdeveloped today that a few foresight professionals even argue, in writing, that forecasting and prediction skills are not a part of our profession!

Exposing this dated view as both incorrect and damaging to our field, is one of several reasons I decided to write this Guide.  Prediction may not interest some of us as individuals, but probabilistic thinking is one of the three core future thinking types in our profession. I’ve used the word “predicting” in the subtitle of this Guide, as a stand-in for the Anticipation skill, to challenge the widespread societal and professional bias that the future can’t and shouldn’t be predicted.

If we neglect any of the Three Ps, our foresight thinking is unstable, and incomplete. A tripod is a stable structure, and it requires all three legs to be strong and well-built. This Guide will help you apply Three Ps thinking, the Four Foresight Skills, and the Four Action Skills better than any other you might read on foresight practice today. You will need to use and balance all Eight Skills to build a maximally effective and inclusive foresight practice.

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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