Wfs Conference Welcome Address By Michael Lee


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Welcome Address to inaugural conference of World Future Society of South Africa, 6-7 May 2010

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Wfs Conference Welcome Address By Michael Lee

  1. 1. energy, environment, education and economics: Imagineering South Africa’s Future to 2030 Welcome Message By Michael Lee Founder & Chairman Towards a 2030 vision for South Africa
  2. 2. Futures Thinking…by Joe Public Tomorrow never comes…wishful thinking…rumours…myths
  3. 3. Futures Thinking…by Woody Allen “I am interested in the future. It’s where I plan to spend the rest of my life.”
  4. 4. Futures Thinking…by the Military “The military are always planning to fight the last war over again with better weapons.” Harold A Linstone, US Futurist
  5. 5. Futures Thinking…by Eskom “Eishkom” status LOAD SHEDDING STATUS The Price of Future Denial = R50 Bn* *NERSA’s estimation of power crisis of 2007-2008 BUT…Change is in the air…..
  6. 6. Futures Thinking…by Mel Gibson “Passive adaptation to a deteriorating environment is a road to disaster.” Jamshid Gharajedaghi, Systems Thinker and Futurist
  7. 7. Futures Thinking…by Business Only one of the original companies in the Dow Jones index participated in its centenary celebration in 1996 – death is common in business! During the 2008 credit crisis, the five largest U.S. investment banks, with combined liabilities or debts of $4 trillion, either went bankrupt (Lehman Bros), were taken over by other companies (Bear Stearns & Merrill Lynch), or were bailed-out by the U.S. government (Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley). In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with nearly $5 trillion in mortgage obligations, were placed into receivership.
  8. 8. Futures Thinking…by our Government “Lack of a coherent long-term plan has weakened our ability to provide clear and consistent policies. It has limited our capacity to mobilise all of society in pursuit of our developmental objectives. It has hampered our efforts to prioritise resource allocations... In addition, weaknesses in coordination of government have led to policy inconsistencies and, in several cases, poor service delivery outcomes. This Government is determined to fix these weaknesses.” Green Paper “National Strategic Planning”, August 2009
  9. 9. Futures Thinking…by Futurists “The future can be explored, colonized, imagined and created.” Richard Slaughter, Australian Futurist and complier of the Knowledge Base for Futures Studies
  10. 10. Futures Thinking…by Futurists Future time is a conceptual space for design, for for plans, for strategy, for dreams…it may be the most under-utilised resource on the planet. it contains multiple possibilities which can be expressed as scenarios.
  11. 11. Futures Thinking…the Paradox of Time The PAST can be known but we are powerless to change it, whereas .. the FUTURE cannot be known yet it can be changed… SO….
  12. 12. ….Become a Future Activist! “Those who act with sustained and strong intention are the creators of the future.” Bertrand de Jouvenel, The Art of Conjecture
  13. 13. Activism, South African Style!
  14. 14. Future Activism in Alignment  Fly at equal following distances  Fly at same speed  Fly inwards towards centre
  15. 15. Future Activism in Focus “Let’s not solve the wrong problems.” Gibbons and Voyer, Science Council of Canada, 1974
  16. 16. Five Future Activism Focus Points = The Castle of Good Hope ETHOS ENVIRONMENT ENERGY EDUCATION ECONOMICS
  17. 17. Path-finding for South Africa to 2030 ETHOS ENVIRONMENT ENERGY ECONOMICS EDUCATION
  18. 18. Foresight–Based Decision-Making Emergent Context Resources Objectives Good Future-Directed Decision-Making
  19. 19. Foresight–Based Decision-Making Cold War New rocket & Win space computer race, win cold technologies war President Kennedy’s Moon Vision
  20. 20. Foresight–Based Decision-Making New prosperity based on oil economy Create new new petrol- mass market for driven cars; 15 million vehicles Model Ts by 1928 Henry Ford’s Vision of a People’s Car – The Model T (1908-1909)
  21. 21. Foresight–Based Decision-Making Fossil fuel depletion – new energy order Create new Renewable & localised, Nuclear power sustainable wealth sources President Zuma’s Vision of a Renewed South Africa
  22. 22. Final thought …. A key principle of systems thinking is that the logic which led to a problem cannot solve that problem – a higher order of logic, a different kind of thinking, is required to move forward. Become a future activist by being an agent of positive, foresight-based change. But what is your road map for the future?