CRISIS ON ASIMOV: A VISION OF 2085
A Futurist's Strategic Perspective
Dr. Sheila R. Ronis
The following discussion is about the many processes that constitute "visioning." Automotive Industries magazine published a part of the following scenario here in the United States and the Financial Times Automotive World published it in London. It is called "Crisis on Asimov." It is based on one of the visioning processes described. It uses elements of a U.S. Department of Defense visioning process which I had the privilege of working on and helping to further develop. One visioning process, or the series of techniques that created Asimov tests the assumptions made in it. This discussion also explores the rationale behind why visioning is an important tool in the corporate planning cycle.
There are an infinite number of potential futures, so a vision of the future is not a forecast or a prediction but a planning tool to think about events that could happen in the future before they occur.
A vision is actually a description of a future state and the role an organization will play in that future. For that reason, the future state needs to be, what I call, a 360 degree look at life in a particular time frame. One of the easiest ways to do that is to create a family in the future and explore their life. That way, you usually can see what role your product or service will play in their lives. It is a customer view of the future, and you can watch and learn. In Asimov, it is the role of Benson Chadwick, his wife, Yoshiko, and their two children, Peter and Anna that are fully explored with regard to everything. We not only look at transportation, but also medicine, manufacturing, education, telecommunications, business, leisure, food, politics, and the values of the time.
Visioning is part of strategic management. Done correctly, visioning is a disciplined process that helps organizations answer the questions they need to ask themselves in order to be prepared for the future. If a CEO cannot answer these questions, it is likely that his organization is not prepared for the future.