Sunday, November 30, 2008

Re: David Amano - Creativity 2.E

C2eCreativity 2.E

The Evolution of Creativity is Underway. Which Side Are You On?
Are you a Planner who thinks about design? Maybe you are a designer who obsesses about the business impact of your designs. Or you might be an Information Architect who thinks about motion, transitions, multimedia, and uses tools like storyboarding and visual scenarios. Or how about a Developer who comes up with the “big idea”?

If you haven’t noticed, creativity is evolving.

The perception of creativity itself is slowly but surely transitioning into a mutated and adapted life form. In the traditional world, a “creative” person usually meant someone with savant-like talents excelling in a specific creative discipline defined by fairly concrete parameters. Copywriters wrote copy. Art Directors directed art. There are still talented visual designers who can make anything look good. Brilliant copywriters who can come up with that magnificent tagline which stops you in your tracks. And don’t forget about smart, methodical Information Architects who devote their existence to usability and being an advocate for the end user.

These skills, talents and abilities are needed—no doubt about it. But what’s also needed is the evolution of them—the next iteration. But what does this look like? An Information Architect who completely grasps Human Computer Interaction but can also think fluidly—can do things like rapidly create prototypes, facilitate user testing, understand visual design and occasionaly write copy. This kind of individual possesses a multi-dimensional creative brain that has evolved over time.

This type of mind is capable of creating customer experiences which provide competitive advantage in a fast moving world where customers are increasingly calling the shots.

In this world marketing/advertising/technology/and customer experience all blur together. So what does this mind look like? I have a perspective:

Mind

With consumer behavior evolving toward a more empowered status—the definition of creativity has shifted from one-dimensional skills to a four-dimensional type of creativity that blends logical thinking with creative problem solving. Individuals possessing this “New Creative Mindset” blend Analytical, Expressive, Curious and Sensual qualities into their thinking process. The result is a holistic approach to creativity that is effective across multiple touch points and experiences.

Can an Information Architect embody this kind of mindset? What about an Account Director? I think as human beings we are all capable of thinking like this. But as designers, communicators, marketers and creators of experiences—for us, it’s even more critical to become multi-dimensional creative thinkers and problem solvers. I’m not the only one talking about this. Tim Brown from IDEO evangelizes “Design Thinking” and “T-shaped People”. Both principals are related. Design Thinking encourages Designers to think past aesthetics and design simple solutions for complex problems. T-shaped people have a core competency but branch out into other areas and can do them well (thus forming a T). And of course there is the new kind of collaboration that comes with this—where we combine people with diverse skill sets who often times speak very different languages but need to come together to make their collective and diverse skills work together. This kind of collaboration sounds easier than it actually is, because when you get a few T-shaped people together, they tend to “play in each other's sandbox”. Translation? Ego’s need to be unlearned. In short, it’s not just about T-shaped people.

It’s about how we work together to create something that people will want to use, experience and ultimately—compel them to take action.

You could call this kind of collaboration—T-Shaped Creativity:


Tcreativity

I don’t think that any of this is very new. It’s been happening for a while. In my time spent at agency.com, we developed pageless prototypes, pushed technology like Flash + Ajax and created human-centered “web applications”. But with the rapid and pervasive nature of Web 2.0 going mainstream—it’s becoming mandatory to be able to think and execute like this. Need proof? Take a look at this collection of thoughts + work from a recent grad of the IIT Institute of Design. Notice anything about how he approaches his work? He’s a “designer”, but aesthetics are only one small part of how he exercises his creativity. In fact, this brand of creativity is more like creative problem solving vs. the way many people still traditionally view creativity. And what about the teams? Aside from this evolved creative individual, what kind of team is needed to drive the next generation of communication, interaction and marketing engines? There’s not a clear answer to this question, but signs are heading toward smaller interdisciplinary teams composed of individuals possessing complimentary skill sets and overlapping talents.

Tteam
So where does this all go from here? If you feel like you fit the bill, you’re probably thinking about how marketable you are right now. And remember, we’re not talking about a “jack of all trades” here. “Creativity 2.E” is not about doing everything and learning every application under the sun. It’s about being curious, empathetic, analytical, insightful and expressive all at the same time. It’s about being willing to do anything to get into the heads of your customer/user. It’s about adopting new tools, techniques and artifacts to help make your case for creating the right kinds of communications, interactions and experiences. So what to do if you’re feeling left out?

Resist the urge to become defensive and territorial—put that energy into developing an acute sense of curiosity and optimism. Become like a child.

Participate in the emerging media. Start a blog, update your site or if you don’t have one—set it up. Dive into the digital social communities and be willing to do what your customers do. Try methodology that you might not ordinarily consider. PowerPoint isn’t just for presentations. Flash isn’t just for motion. Move past boxes, arrows, colors, layouts, charts, funnels, and metrics.

Creativity 2.E is both old and new—and like evolution, will continue to change and modify over time. The question is will we?

Movie - Refined

Monday, November 24, 2008

Animatic V2.0

video

Re: Seth Godin - Watching the Times struggle (and what you can learn)

Watching the Times struggle (and what you can learn)

Page by page, section by section, the influence of the New York Times is fading away. Great people on an important mission, but their footprint is shrinking and the company is losing stock value and cash and power and the ability to have the impact that they might.

Today's Sunday magazine has a cover story on Jennifer Aniston. Of course!

"All the News That's Fit to Print" is the heart of the problem. It was never that, of course. It was "All the News That Fits." The entire mindset of (every) newspaper has been driven by the cost of paper, the finite nature of paper, the cost of delivery and the cycle of a daily paper. You run enough articles to fit as many ads as you can sell.These are artifacts of a different age, one that today's consumer doesn't care a whit about.

Lots of organizations go through this analysis. How do you leverage your brand or your customer base to get to the next level, to enter new markets or new technologies--and do it while running your old business. And almost without exception, organizations are run by people who want to protect the old business, not develop the new one.

When you think about your business, realize that it is a combination of assets and constraints. The Times understood both, but suddenly, the constraints changed. Now, it's possible for a single individual with a Typepad account to reach more people than almost any newspaper in the country can. Loosen one constraint and the game changes. That leaves you with the assets, for a while anyway.

When in pain, the answer is not to pander to the masses and undo the very things that made you special.

Ten years ago, the paper knew what it had to do. They had a shot at inventing the future, but compromised their way to it instead of leading. Here are some simple ways they could think big instead of merely failing to defend the status quo:

1. Use their influence and brand to enable users to spread their content:
Why, precisely, aren't the Zagats guides a NY Times product? Or Yelp? That's a quarter of a billion dollars worth of value that the paper with the most influential restaurant reviews page didn't create. Why didn't they build Wikipedia? Or a platform to influence the way politicians govern?

Hiring and promoting David Pogue is a great example of expanding that base into the online world. Buying about.com was smart, but being afraid to put the Times name on it was an error... an opportunity for leverage, wasted.

2. Leverage the op-ed page and spread important ideas:
Sure, Tom Friedman and a handful of other columnists have a large reach and influence. But why doesn't the Times have 50 columnists? 500? Tom Peters or Jim Leff or Joel Spolsky or Micah Sifry or Pam Slim or Patrick Semmens or Dan Pink would be great columnists. Why not view the endless print space online as an opportunity to leverage their core asset?

What would happen if the huge team of existing Times editors and writers each interviewed an interesting or important person every day? 5,000 or 10,000 really important interviews every year, each waiting for a sponsor, each finding a relevant audience...

3. Build a permission asset:
Times readers are among the most informed cultural consumers in the world. They tend to have money to spend and are eager for new ideas. What an opportunity to build 10 or a 100 or ten thousand silos. Carefully focused free email newsletters, and then blogs, each with an editor and plenty of relevant and useful ads. Well-written ideas, delivered with authority, are as important as ever. The Times sat back and let hundreds of other micro-sites deliver this instead.

4. Keep score:
The New York Times bestseller list used to matter a great deal. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy, because bookstores discounted and promoted the bestsellers, which helped them sell more.

We still want to know what the bestsellers are, but the Times works hard not to tell us. There are literally a thousand categories of media that people want to know about (top blogs, top DVDs, etc.) and the Times abdicated their ability to keep score, to be the trusted referee and to drive the short head in almost every form of culture.

Consider this for a moment: Oprah is able to sell ten times as many copies of a book than the New York Times can. The Times abdicated their role as the leader of the conversation about books.

5. Stringers:

The Times has always used freelancers and stringers to report and contribute to the paper. But how many? Why doesn't the paper have 10,000 stringers, each with a blog, each angling to be picked up by the central site? You wouldn't have to pay much per story to build a semi-pro cadre of writers and reporters. When you organize the news (delivering unique perspectives to people who want to hear them) you influence the conversation.

6. Create new platforms for advertisers:

The Times has profited longer than most newspapers because of New York. New York is an efficient place to be a newspaper. Lots of people, lots of advertisers, lots of spending, influence all over the world. But even that isn't enough to support the failing economics of dead trees and delivery. The only reason a paper exists (from a business point of view) is to sell ads.

So, what sort of ad-rich, ad-centric media could they build? From directories to pdfs to coupons to promotions, the list is nearly endless.

• • •

Instead of building something that dominates in this century the way they did in the last, the editors at the paper are pandering to the masses (and failing). Today's Magazine not only features the aforementioned volumes of insight about Jennifer Aniston, but it also includes yet another lame Ethicist column (they run it because they always have) and a weak interview with David Lynch (which no one will talk about on Monday). It also features recipes (we don't need more recipes, thanks, we now have an infinite number of recipes) and their latest affectation, which is overdesigned typesetting that is unreadable. All of these efforts are placeholders, not bold moves to create something that matters.

The people I know at the Times are smart, driven, honest and on a mission to do great work. The people didn't fail the system, the system failed them.

Do the people running the Times know more about running a newspaper or building ideas that spread profitably online? How about the people running your organization? Odds are, they're great at yesterday's business.

I guess it's about the difference between:

  • senior management playing defense, supporting and protecting the status quo and avoiding offending the elders upstairs vs.
  • using existing momentum and clout to build assets for the next business.

Re: Bruce Nussbaum - Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson Needs To Think Like a Designer To Fix The Financial Crisis.

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson Needs To Think Like a Designer To Fix The Financial Crisis.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on October 13

The failure to employ the methods of innovation and design thinking to the current financial mess is prolonging and deepening the crisis. It is now clear that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and leading members of the Bush Administration and Congress are trying to solve an entirely new financial problem by using models from the past that fit their comfort levels and current levels of understanding. After 30 years of a market paradigm (governments are bad, markets are good), the effort to find market solutions to the credit crunch has sent the U.S. lurching from one plan to another, each so complicated that it can’t be implemented quickly. And so the crisis deepens. Markets are great for many things, especially sorting things out efficiently, but not in a credit meltdown built on highly opaque, complex financial instruments. Sequoia Capital has a great slide show showing how we got into the mess and how to survive it.
It took new thinking from Britain over this weekend to clarify the crisis and show the way out of it. Britain looked to a very different paradigm, a government, not a market solution. Simply invest taxpayers money directly into banks to boost liquidity. Take non-voting equity stakes so the people get their money back, if not profit, from the resulting rebound in the banks and the economy. This was out-of-the-box thinking. Perhaps it is an overstatement, but Britain has been one of the key leaders in the world recently in applying design thinking to non-business, civic society problems such as transportation. Coming up with a new choice, not making a better choice among existing options, is at the heart of that process. Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, recently talked about design and the generation of new models.

We live in a period of ambiguity, volatility and complexity—perfect for design thinking which thrives in this environment. We need to employ the tools and methods of design to get us into the future. More later.

Animatic

video

Treatment 3 - Style Frames

Treatment 3
Get your own at Scribd or explore others:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Treatment: Revised

1) Jogger running through forest.
2) Tree branches start folding in on jogger, wrapping around his arms and legs. He tries to keep running but the branches are holding him back. He begins sweating profusely, struggling against the resistance.
3) Shoes start to light up.
4) Glow starts to emanate from shoes, enveloping jogger.
5) Branches start to fall away, and jogger continues running easily.

Timo Arnall: The Web in the World

http://www.slideshare.net/tmo/the-web-in-the-world-presentation

Re: Seth Godin - Too good to be true (the overnight millionaire scam)

Too good to be true (the overnight millionaire scam)

You probably don't need to read this, but I bet you know people who do. Please feel free to repost or forward:

Times are tough, and many say they are going to be tougher. That makes some people more focused, it turns others desperate.

You may be tempted at some point to try to make a million dollars. To do it without a lot of effort or skill or risk. Using a system, some shortcut perhaps, or mortgaging something you already own.

There are countless infomercials and programs and systems that promise to help you do this. There are financial instruments and investments and documents you can sign that promise similar relief from financial stress.

Resist.

There are four ways to make a million dollars. Luck. Patient effort. Skill. Risk.

(Five if you count inheritance, and six if you count starting with two million dollars).

Conspicuously missing from this list are effortless 1-2-3 systems that involve buying an expensive book or series of tapes. Also missing are complicated tax shelters or other 'proven' systems. The harder someone tries to sell you this solution, the more certain you should be that it is a scam. If no skill or effort is required, then why doesn't the promoter just hire a bunch of people at minimum wage and keep the profits?

There are literally a million ways to make a good living online, ten million ways to start and thrive with your own business offline. But all of these require effort, and none of them are likely to make you a million dollars.

Short version of my opinion: If someone offers to sell you the secret system, don't buy it. If you need to invest in a system before you use it, walk away. If you are promised big returns with no risk and little effort, you know the person is lying to you. Every time.

Work hard, make money. Well, not always. But it's a start.

Bruce Sterling

mobile futures

“In this nearly 27 minute video Bruce Sterling, a leading futurist, speaker, columnist and science fiction writer, shares his vision on where mobile is heading. Preaching his story from a somewhat unconventional place, the pulpit instead of the stage, he managed to silence the audience. Check the video to see what he had to say to the Mobile sinners.”



Highlights from Bruce Sterling's speech:

'[Cellphones have] become a kind of remote control. And it really is becoming the real world answer to 20 year old computer science theories about ubiquitous computing.They're the portals of Ubi-Comp, these devices, these "handsets" '.

'We're used to thinking of the digital world is on this side of the glass, and the analog world is on that side of the glass, we're sort of touching the glass...I really think that's going away'.

'We live in a volcano, we live in a digital tech world...if you're talking about the social impact of digital technology...those who live close to the volcano are those who get covered in volcanic ash'.

'These things you are putting into peoples hands, these are not phones...You are putting banks into people's hands, you are putting clinincs into their hands. These are not phones, even with an "i" in front of [the name]'.

'Revolution eats its young'.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Treatment

1) User jogging on the highway
2) Begins going up hill, struggling
3) Shoes light up
4) Gel in shoes redistribute, straps adjust to provide more support
5) User jogging more comfortably.

Bullet Points for Product

RUNNING 2.0

1) Monitors body motion
2) Communicates with user
3) Display lights up

World Economic Forum in Dubai Day 2--The Design Manifesto.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on November 09

Here is the “manifesto” of our Global Agenda Council/Design group that came out of an amazing day of discussion in Dubai about the financial/economic crisis and what design thinking can do to help reshape the big issues of the day. It is an excellent summary of the state of art of design and innovation.

To structure the discussion among 68 Global Agenda Councils, the World Economic Forum asked each to focus on answering two questions on the issue before each GAC:

1) What is the state of the world on this issue and how is the economic crisis impacting this issue?
2) What should be done to improve the state of the world on this issue/region/industry and by whom?

Here is the Design GAC’s response:

“ON DESIGN

Throughout history, design has been an agent of change. It helps us to understand the changes in the world around us, and to turn them to our advantage by translating them into things that can make our lives better. Now, at a time of crisis and unprecedented change in every area of our lives – economic, political, environmental, societal and in science and technology – design is more valuable than ever.

The crisis comes at a time when design has evolved. Once a tool of consumption chiefly involved in the production of objects and images, design is now also engaged with developing and building systems and
strategies, and in changing behaviour often in collaboration with different disciplines.

Design is being used to:
· Gain insight about people’s needs and desires
· Build strategic foresight to discover new opportunities
· Generate creative possibilities
· Invent, prototype and test novel solutions of value
· Deliver solutions into the world as innovations adopted at scale

In the current climate, the biggest challenges for design and also its greatest opportunities are:

· Well-being – Design can make an important contribution to the redefinition and delivery of social services by addressing acute problems such as ageing, youth crime, housing and health. Many designers are striving to enable people all over the world to lead their lives with dignity, especially the deprived majority of the global population - “the other 90%” who have the greatest need of design innovation.

· Sustainability – Designers can play a critical role in ensuring that products, systems and services are developed, produced, shipped, sold and will eventually be disposed of in an ethically and environmentally responsible manner. Thereby meeting - and surpassing - consumers’ expectations.

· Learning – Design can help to rebuild the education system to ensure that it is fit for purpose in the 21st Century. Another challenge is to redefine or reorient the design education system at a time of unprecedented demand when thousands of new design schools are being built worldwide and design is increasingly being integrated into other curricula. Designers are also deploying their skill at communication and visualization to explain and interpret the overwhelming volume of extraordinary complex information.

. Innovation – Designers are continuing to develop and deliver innovative new products at a turbulent time when consumer attitudes are changing dramatically thereby creating new and exciting entrepreneurial opportunities in the current crisis. They are increasingly using their expertise to innovate in new areas such as the creation of new business models and adoption of a strategic and systemic role in both the public and the private sector.”

I was fortunate to be able to work with an amazing group of people in the Design GAC: Chris Luebkeman, director of global foresight and innovation for ARUP, was our chairman. Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Brian Collins who now runs his own ad/marketing company in his own name, Tim Brown of IDEO, Toshiko Mori of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Chris Jordan, a photographic artist, Alice Rawsthorn, design critic at the International Herald Tribune, Milton Tan, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council, Ministry of Informatin, Communications and the Arts and Arnold Wasserman, chairman of The Idea Factory in Singapore.

Others in the group who couldn’t make it to Dubai were Hillary Cottom founder of Participle in the UK, Kigge Mai Hvid CEO of Index in Denmark, Chris Bangle, director of design for BMW, Larry Keeley of Doblin, John Maeda, President of RISD and William McDonough.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/

Re: Seth Godin - The sad lie of mediocrity

The sad lie of mediocrity

Doing 4% less does not get you 4% less.

Doing 4% less may very well get you 95% less.


That's because almost good enough gets you nowhere. No sales, no votes, no customers. The sad lie of mediocrity is the mistaken belief that partial effort yields partial results. In fact, the results are usually totally out of proportion to the incremental effort.

Big organizations have the most trouble with this, because they don't notice the correlation. It's hidden by their momentum and layers of bureaucracy. So a mediocre phone rep or a mediocre chef may not appear to be doing as much damage as they actually are.

The flip side of this is that when you are at the top, the best in the world, the industry leader, a tiny increase in effort and quality can translate into huge gains. For a while, anyway.


In a highly competitive job market, being qualified isn't enough anymore. Companies are looking for whoever will go above and beyond the requirements, all of the time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Advertising Slogans

Don't Walk, Run

Run Smarter


Jogging 2.0

Run Into Tomorrow

Smarter, Faster

Running on Smarts

Jog Your Thought

Taglines

Reebok - "Run Easy"

Dell - "Dude, you're getting a Dell."

Adidas - "Impossible is Nothing"

Ford - "Built to Last"

Wheaties - "Breakfast of Champions"

Avis - "We Try Harder"

Mr. T for Beginners: Treat Your Mother Right

Re: A Thousand Tomorrows - future of our socio-political systems

future of our socio-political systems

In preparation of the upcoming US presidential elections, now only days away, both WIRED and Monocle did the exercise and laid out the cards of their ‘dream’ cabinet … not necessarily of politicians, of people running for power by choice, but of individuals they see most fit for the job to solve at least some of the most pressing challenges that US society is facing. It would be all too easy to dismiss their move as technocratic dreamery. Times are achanging and systems of governance, leadership and societal problem solving are not immune to that.

It is an interesting thought experiment to ponder over the future of our socio-political systems, yet it is also true that the person who dares to ask ‘what comes next, after democracy?’ can be fairly sure to be looked upon in disbelief, fear or outright insult. We use the term democracy often lightly - and in the meantime do not always do justice to its complexity by dumbing it down to but the folk notions that fill the airwaves - as if the concept has remained the same since it was coined in the stoas and on the agoras of ancient Greece. The term has remained the same throughout the ages but what the complex denotes has changed and continues to change. To remain in sync with the dynamics of contemporaneity and those of times to come, systems (need to) change. Change does not necessarily mean that good characteristics of the current system will disappear (nor bad ones, sic) yet reinvention ought to aim for the best fit not on where we are but also in view of where we wish to go. So what are the images people have of the future of our socio-political and institutional systems? How far can we and do we dare to look ahead?

In times in which big, familiar ideologies are fading or have stopped reinventing themselves and the political landscape looks bleak, covered with visionless or populist rubble, in times in which change is fast, challenges are huge and increasingly exceed election cycles and national borders, imagine a future where perhaps not party-politics but projects to tackle challenges define the team and the dynamics of the game of governance and leadership, where not politicians but a diverse mix of people takes the lead , where management vs. innovation of the nation and its systems are perhaps two different games played by different groups of people, within different timeframes, where … There are many aspects of our current system that could be different in the future. A thousand tomorrows are possible for those who set their mind to it.

WIRED MAGAZINE: 16.10

The 2008 Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To

09.22.08

Dear President _________,
Congratulations! Now brace yourself for an avalanche of advice — from the 21 people in your Cabinet, from dozens of advisory councils, hundreds of members of Congress, thousands of lobbyists and pundits, and millions of voters. Everyone's got an opinion on what needs to be done. But the policies that emerge from such groupthink tend to be weird mashups of conflicting interests or warmed-over slabs of conventional wisdom. Enough of that. The country needs fresh directions and crisp action plans on intractable issues like climate change, energy, security, and defense. To help shape your thinking, we've come up with a Smart List of 15 Wired people with big ideas about how to fix the things that need fixing. Hail to the new chief — and please listen up.



video

Re: A Thousand Tomorrows - wfs outlook 2009

wfs outlook 2009

The World Future Society recently published their top ten of future developments to keep an eye on in view of 2009 and beyond:

  1. Everything you say and do will be recorded by 2030.
  2. Bioviolence will become a greater threat as the technology becomes more accessible.
  3. The car’s days as king of the road will soon be over.
  4. Careers, and the college majors for preparing for them, are becoming more specialized.
  5. There may not be world law in the foreseeable future, but the world’s legal systems will be networked.
  6. The race for biomedical and genetic enhancement will — in the twenty-first century — be what the space race was in the previous century.
  7. Professional knowledge will become obsolete almost as quickly as it’s acquired.
  8. Urbanization will hit 60% by 2030.
  9. The Middle East will become more secular while religious influence in China will grow.
  10. Access to electricity will reach 83% of the world by 2030.
As 2008 flies by and 2009 approaches, prepare for more lists.

From the original site:

  • Forecast # 1: Everything you say and do will be recorded by 2030. By the late 2010s, ubiquitous unseen nanodevices will provide seamless communication and surveillance among all people everywhere. Humans will have nanoimplants, facilitating interaction in an omnipresent network. Everyone will have a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. Since nano storage capacity is almost limitless, all conversation and activity will be recorded and recoverable. — Gene Stephens, “Cybercrime in the Year 2025,” THE FUTURIST July-Aug 2008.
  • Forecast #2: Bioviolence will become a greater threat as the technology becomes more accessible. Emerging scientific disciplines (notably genomics, nanotechnology, and other microsciences) could pave the way for a bioattack. Bacteria and viruses could be altered to increase their lethality or to evade antibiotic treatment.— Barry Kellman, “Bioviolence: A Growing Threat,” THE FUTURIST May-June 2008.
  • Forecast #3: The car's days as king of the road will soon be over. More powerful wireless communication that reduces demand for travel, flying delivery drones to replace trucks, and policies to restrict the number of vehicles owned in each household are among the developments that could thwart the automobile’s historic dominance on the environment and culture. If current trends were to continue, the world would have to make way for a total of 3 billion vehicles on the road by 2025. — Thomas J. Frey, “Disrupting the Automobile’s Future,” THE FUTURIST, Sep-Oct 2008.
  • Forecast #4: Careers, and the college majors for preparing for them, are becoming more specialized. An increase in unusual college majors may foretell the growth of unique new career specialties. Instead of simply majoring in business, more students are beginning to explore niche majors such as sustainable business, strategic intelligence, and entrepreneurship. Other unusual majors that are capturing students' imaginations: neuroscience and nanotechnology, computer and digital forensics, and comic book art. Scoff not: The market for comic books and graphic novels in the United States has grown 12% since 2006. —THE FUTURIST, World Trends & Forecasts, Sep-Oct 2008.
  • Forecast #5: There may not be world law in the foreseeable future, but the world's legal systems will be networked. The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), a database of local and national laws for more than 50 participating countries, will grow to include more than 100 counties by 2010. The database will lay the groundwork for a more universal understanding of the diversity of laws between nations and will create new opportunities for peace and international partnership.— Joseph N. Pelton, "Toward a Global Rule of Law: A Practical Step Toward World Peace," THE FUTURIST Nov-Dec 2007.

A Crisis or an Opportunity? What Makes the Difference?

The critical difference is whether you are prepared. If you're aware of possible developments… if you see changes coming… you can take action and prepare yourself. In a rapidly changing world, new opportunities are emerging everywhere. If you get an advance notice of these possible changes, you can be ready. You can ride these waves of change to benefit your career, your business, your family and your investments.




The news — even instant news — is recent history. But understanding trends and possible future developments is some of the most valuable knowledge you can have. It enables you prepare while you still have the opportunity and time to act.

DNAHere are a few more thought-provoking forecasts…

  • Forecast #6: The race for biomedical and genetic enhancement will — in the twenty-first century — be what the space race was in the previous century. Humanity is ready to pursue biomedical and genetic enhancement, says UCLA professor Gregory Stock, the money is already being invested, but, he says, “We'll also fret about these things — because we're human, and it's what we do.” — Gregory Stock quoted in THE FUTURIST, Nov-Dec 2007.
  • Forecast #7: Professional knowledge will become obsolete almost as quickly as it's acquired. An individual's professional knowledge is becoming outdated at a much faster rate than ever before. Most professions will require continuous instruction and retraining. Rapid changes in the job market and work-related technologies will necessitate job education for almost every worker. At any given moment, a substantial portion of the labor force will be in job retraining programs. — Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies, "Trends Shaping Tomorrow's World, Part Two," THE FUTURIST May-June 2008.
  • Forecast #8: Urbanization will hit 60% by 2030. As more of the world's population lives in cities, rapid development to accommodate them will make existing environmental and socioeconomic problems worse. Epidemics will be more common due to crowded dwelling units and poor sanitation. Global warming may accelerate due to higher carbon dioxide output and loss of carbon-absorbing plants. — Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies, “Trends Shaping Tomorrow's World,” THE FUTURIST Mar-Apr 2008.
  • Forecast #9: The Middle East will become more secular while religious influence in China will grow. Popular support for religious government is declining in places like Iraq, according to a University of Michigan study. The researchers report that in 2004 only one-fourth of respondents polled believed that Iraq would be a better place if religion and politics were separated. By 2007, that proportion was one-third. Separate reports reveal a countertrend in China. — World Trends & Forecasts, THE FUTURIST Nov-Dec 2007.
  • Forecast #10: Access to electricity will reach 83% of the world by 2030. Electrification has expanded around the world, from 40% connected in 1970 to 73% in 2000, and may reach 83% of the world's people by 2030. Electricity is fundamental to raising living standards and access to the world's products and services. Impoverished areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa still have low rates of electrification; Uganda is just 3.7% electrified. — Andy Hines, “Global Trends in Culture, Infrastructure, and Values,” Sep-Oct 2008.
How to Spot Important Trends Years Ahead of the Crowd

World Future Society members have access to the work of futurists around the world in the pages of THE FUTURIST magazine.

In the age of the Internet and 24/7 news, there is a serious glut of information, making it hard to determine what's really going on. THE FUTURIST gives you a way to make sense of our rapidly changing world. Each issue of THE FUTURIST will brief you on the most important trends that affect your business, career, family, investments, and the world in general.

We present the most significant trends divided into six sectors that are commonly used by professional business planners.

The sectors are:

  • Breakthrough Technologies — You'll see the impact of new technologies and the latest innovations, discoveries and new solutions on the horizon.
  • Economic and Business Forecasts — You'll get vital updates on major economic, business and consumer trends, and investment and financial outlooks.
  • Environment and Resource Outlook — New ideas and reports on natural resources, habitats, sustainable communities and more.
  • Social Trends — Changes in values and lifestyles and topics such as religion, entertainment, sports, arts, language, sex and family.
  • Demographics — The latest trends on population, immigration, births, deaths, marriages, and other vital information.
  • Government and Regulatory Trends — The impact of laws, regulations, taxes, politics, diplomacy and war.

This “Six Sector” analysis of trends saves you time by compressing a massive amount of information into six major categories. What you get in each issue is a careful selection of the most interesting and significant current reports on trends, forecasts, and potentially important developments.

This is where I editorialize.