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Future, Inc.: How Businesses Can Anticipate and Profit from What's Next Hardcover – December 14, 2006
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“... Cleverly illustrates both how to incorporate future planning scenarios into business strategy development and the benefits of doing so.”
-Competitive Intelligence Magazine
“Beyond amusement, the value of this book is usefulness as a guide to evaluate trends that may evolve into opportunities.”
“Garland is imaginative but also a bit of a pragmatist in recognizing the usual forces that exert themselves upon human behavior, and this approach informs most of his work. Also, he's a good writer, so his prognostications are presented in a pleasantly entertaining manner. Beyond amusement, the value of this book is its usefulness as a guide to evaluate trends that may evolve into opportunities….Garland provides an interesting perspective from which to evaluate events and project their possible future outcomes.”
Foreword by Joseph Coates
In the next 50 years, new technologies, shifting global economics, and many other factors will present innumerable changes for business and society to navigate. Starting now, leaders need to be more flexible, responsive, and decisive than ever before. Unfortunately, most people are not trained in the type of critical thinking required to anticipate what lies ahead. This groundbreaking book will change that.
Futuring is not a matter of tea leaves and crystal balls -- it is a rigorous science based on time-tested analytical methods. Future, Inc. translates the proven techniques of professional futurists into accessible language and shows how to:
* identify what is and what isn’t changing at a given time, and how even small changes will affect whole businesses
* use forecasting -- not ""predictions"" -- to pinpoint tomorrow’s realities by looking at today’s trends
* employ scenarios to test the validity of potential strategies
The author illustrates his advice with examples of companies whose foresight has given them an unparalleled advantage and identifies significant trends that will impact businesses in the future. Companies can’t afford to be caught unaware. In order to survive and succeed, they need to look ahead. <i>Future, Inc. </i> provides the tools to bring the future into focus.
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Thus, if you were trying to determine what future recruitment for you company might look like you would consider these areas and what their impact might be on recruiting. For example, society might include, Gen Y considerations, talent shortages, demographics, migration patterns, and educational shortages. Technology might include the impact of Internet recruiting and video resumes. Economics might include inflation, cost-of-living, and relocation expense. Ecology might include "green" considerations and your company's reputation. Politics might include federal and state legislative changes that would change discrimination definitions. If you get nothing else out of this book other than the use of this tool it will be well worth the price of the book.
Garland then finishes the book with his take on what he calls the "Drivers of the Future." He discusses: Aging, Information Technology, Health Care (versus what we do today which is 'sick care'), Biotechnology, Energy, Nanotechnology, Media and Communications, and Ecology and Sustainability. All of them are important, but for the HR professional the first three are of particular importance.
The key point of his book is to view the world as a system and to realize that there are multiple impacts on whatever you are working on and to be effective in anticipating the future you must consider this system. That is why the STEEP tool is so effective. This can be put to use today in ALL HR departments and it will have an immediate impact on how you view the strategic aspect of your job and how you are viewed as a contributor to strategy.
Very interesting and well written. Connects directly "future studies" with "strategic planning". Introduces the concept of System Thinking, analizes trends and go through scenario generation, all ilustrated by good cases.
I have to admit that I was skeptical at first that a guy calling himself a "futurist" could be taken seriously. Fortunately, I read it on a recommendation, and I'm more than willing to admit that I was wrong. What Garland is writing about could just as easily be called something more respectable, like "trend analysis." I've found, however, that futurism is a developed discipline, and I think I'm way too late to get them to change the name of their clubs, magazines, and the titles on their literature. Garland's book establishes that futurism is not a subset of business--it is a holistic way of thinking, which, in a fast past, increasingly integrated world, should permeate professional thinking. This may seem like a truism, but, as Garland points out with example after pitiful example, very smart people have failed to succeed on this point.
If you have a job where you have to make decisions or plan (I am a long-term planner for a large organization), you will find this book useful. I read it with a stack of post it notes, marking the concepts that I later used in the workplace, impressing co-workers. I haven't decided if I will tell them about Garland's book, or let them believe that I'm just a genius. The book has very good strategies for conceptualizing the "system" of factors that will impact an issue in the future, for identifying (to the extent possible) all relevant factors in the "system" that related to the issue that you are looking at, and also tools to help avoid falling into the trap of giving the answer we want, or the answer that fits best with one's own prejudices. He also explores some of the major demographic/technological trends that are likely to impact the world we live in, and which need to be taken into consideration in planning for the future. In my view, this book provides an effective tool for anyone who wants to be a successful innovator rather than a of a victim of circumstance.
As far as the writing, this book is written in a very accessible manner--first writing person with lots of jokes and color. While, in places, I would have rather had more "high falutin" tone, I think that would have done a dis-service to readers. As is, this book could be used for anyone's reading at home. The font was also very readable, which would make it ideal for assigned classroom reading. I was able to race through in one Saturday, and started using some of the ideas in the book at work the following Monday.
Garland's comments on future trends appeared to be only the surface level of much deeper thinking. The level of detail was appropriate for this volume--a "primer" or "textbook" view of futurism. That said, I'd have been interested to get more detail on Garlands thinking on key issues that will impact our future, and he believes they're likely to change the world. I suppose he doesn't want to give away all of his trade secrets...