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Inflection Points

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Morning keynote presentation at the 2010 Earthquake Engineering Research Institute annual meeting. Focus is on futures thinking tools, along with an overview of key drivers for the next few decades.

Published in: Technology

Inflection Points

  1. 1. INFLECTION POINTS Jamais Cascio Research Fellow, Institute for the Future February 4, 2010
  2. 2. What’s Our Vision of The Future?
  3. 3. “Legacy Futures”
  4. 4. Photo by Jason Tester
  5. 5. Is there, perhaps, a more structured way to do this?
  6. 6. Is there, perhaps, a more structured way to do this? Yep. “Strategic Foresight.”
  7. 7. Scenario Planning
  8. 8. Scenario Planning… Tells stories about the future Forces divergent thinking Allows straightforward comparison of outcomes Creates memorable examples But… Tends to over-simplify Becomes obsolete quickly Tends towards the “cinematic”
  9. 9. Foresight Mapping 10
  10. 10. Foresight Mapping… Emphasizes connections Allows complex relationships Focuses on “signals” and early indicators Tends to remain useful over time But… More difficult to understand at a glance Less likely to elicit surprises Doesn’t demand internal consistency
  11. 11. Immersive Futures
  12. 12. Immersive Futures… Trigger visceral reactions Emphasize experience Create “plausibly surreal” artifacts of the future Use provocation as a way of eliciting insight But… Can be a challenge to do well Require time to “live in” the future experience Can provoke unexpectedly strong reactions
  13. 13. 50 YEARS
  14. 14. What we often think of...
  15. 15. GLOBAL CLIMATE DISRUPTION climate disruption
  16. 16. PANDEMIC DISEASE
  17. 17. ECONOMIC DISLOCATION
  18. 18. RESOURCE COLLAPSE resource collapse Photo by Stuart Candy
  19. 19. TERROR the rise of the post- hegemonic era
  20. 20. GROWING STATE POWER
  21. 21. WAR
  22. 22. AND EVEN...
  23. 23. AND EVEN...
  24. 24. But we have to also imagine...
  25. 25. NEW WAYS TO LIVE
  26. 26. CHEAP, DISTRIBUTED ENERGY
  27. 27. “LEAPFROG” DEVELOPMENT
  28. 28. NEW ECONOMIC MODELS
  29. 29. EMERGENT POLITICAL NETWORKS
  30. 30. NEW TOOLS FOR WATCHING THE WORLD
  31. 31. COLLABORATIVE CREATIVITY
  32. 32. NEUROSCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS
  33. 33. HEALTHY LIFE EXTENSION
  34. 34. ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSPARENCY filters and awareness • AR
  35. 35. TRANSFORMATIVE MATERIALS
  36. 36. REVOLUTIONS IN MANUFACTURING
  37. 37. REVOLUTIONS IN COMPUTING
  38. 38. CRITICAL TENSIONS FOR THE NEXT HALF-CENTURY
  39. 39. Tension #1: new innovations undermine core institutions Bottom-up drivers enable greater collaboration and participation, but also greater instability. This is a future of Open Source Design and Global Guerillas. This is a world where power comes from the Commons.
  40. 40. Tension #2: new technologies co-evolve with new rules Technology-driven changes enable more sharing of information and ideas, but abandon the remnants of old intellectual property and privacy rules. This is a future of the Smart Cities and Augmented Reality. This is a world where power comes from Connections.
  41. 41. Tension #3: big-picture challenges force radical choices Catastrophe and Opportunity combine to drive the creation of new economic, political, and social models. This is a future of Massive Disruptions and Unanticipated Consequences. This is a world where power comes from Creativity.
  42. 42. CO THE COMMONS TY VI N N TI EA EC CR TI O N S
  43. 43. Using Foresight Thinking
  44. 44. AS A “WIND TUNNEL”
  45. 45. AS A “WIND TUNNEL” Testing Strategic Options Seeking Adaptation Evolving within a Dynamic Environment
  46. 46. AS AN “IMMUNE SYSTEM”
  47. 47. AS AN “IMMUNE SYSTEM” Testing Implications Seeking Points of Influence Uncovering Longer-Term Results of Present Choices
  48. 48. AS A CHALLENGE
  49. 49. AS A CHALLENGE Clarifying Goals Offering Perspective Connecting Purpose and Intent Over the Long Term
  50. 50. Jamais Cascio cascio@openthefuture.com Twitter:@cascio

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