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Turning the Future Into Revenue: What Business and Individuals Need to Know to Shape Their Futures Hardcover – July 28, 2006
“It was clear, well-written, and the points followed logically from each other.” (Long Rang Planning, July 2007)
"...clear, well written...we can thoroughly recommend the book as it covers an important topic in an informed way." (Long Range Planning, 40/2007)
“We can thoroughly recommend the book as it covers an important topic in an informed way”. (Long Range Planning , March 2008)
From the Inside Flap
In business, it always helps to know what's coming. How can you take advantage of the business opportunities of tomorrow if you aren't planning for that tomorrow today?
In Turning the Future into Revenue, noted futurist and business consultant Glen Hiemstra explores the global changes that will revolutionize business and reveals the ways individuals and organizations can profit from those coming developments. Surprising demographic shifts, energy shortages, new technologies, environmental changes, and issues of race and religion will change the way we live. They will also lead to new and exciting business opportunities. Only those who foresee those opportunities will be in position to take advantage of them.
Hiemstra begins by offering a primer on the most important and surprising trends of the future and what effects they will have on people and businesses. Then he describes the kind of organizational planning required to be fully prepared. He outlines a structured three-stage future planning process that involves developing the ability of foresight, choosing a future direction, and deciding on a set of strategies that will get you there. This isn't the kind of planning you can manage over the course of a weekend retreat or during a round of golf. It takes time and effort.
What about the kind of short-term planning that affects the bottom line every day? Turning the Future into Revenue shows that short-term planning is generally much more effective when it's based on a long-term vision of the future, rather than on a quest for quick profits or market share. Hiemstra shows that the best way to develop short-term strategy is to work backwards from your long-term vision. It may seem contradictory, but the future isn't a one-way street; you can shape it with the right strategies today.
The most successful companies over the long-term will be those that not only anticipate near-term economic shifts, but those that take a much longer view than the current emphasis on organizational speed and agility encourages. Whatever comes, the future will certainly be a challenge. If you and your organization want to seize that future first, Turning the Future into Revenue offers invaluable insight on what will happen nextand how to predict, shape, and profit from it.
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As a future expert, Hiemstra describes both obvious and unobvious features of the future - like the population, oil, aging, nanotechnology, etc. That part of the book is fascinating and a great read in itself. But instead of just describing possibilities and probabilities, he explains how we create the future, and how the future in turn creates the present. That's where it really gets interesting. He even explains how to "be your own futurist," and how to create your career based on where the future is. It's truly inspiring. I was one of those people who never bothered to think about 15 or 20 years down the road, but now I realize that I MUST think about it. Honestly, this book changed my life. Very exciting!
Definitely check out this book. Even though the title is about profiting from the future, this book isn't just about profit, it's really about creating the world we want for ourselves (and creating some wealth while we're at it) - as individuals, and as a society. Highly recommended.
The third story offers Glen's own personal perspective on the primary events, developments and trends (or EDTs) that will shape all of our futures, and how to start adapting today to take advantage of them. In particular, two concepts stand out. The first concept is the very real threat that global warming and pollution pose to the environmental balance of the planet and why reversing this threat now will both help us survive as a species and provide remarkable business opportunities as well. The second concept is the importance of equity; of sharing the abundance of income, goods and services, education and information that our modern high-tech global economy can generate more widely across the world's populations. Doing so successfully will defuse many potential friction points before they have a chance to emerge and create even greater problems for the world, particularly if this resentment feeds into fundamentalist movements of any ideology. Glen ends his volume with a stirring cry that we "start the twenty-first century all over again" (p. 210) and return to a spirit of optimism that can make a better future for the entire planet. After all, "[t]he future is something we do." (p. 211)
I highly recommend this volume to anyone who is curious about the future and how to prepare for it both personally and for the organizations to which they belong. I recommend it even more emphatically to those who do not now think about the future; after reading this book they will quickly realize how vital it is to do so. It is definitely worth the time.
I highlighted the heck out of it - Glen goes beyond mentioning the trends to helping readers shape their future. I like Glen's distinction of a vision versus mission versus plan and I like the examples and structure he offers to help us create and move toward our preferred future.
The final section is a great call to action.
The second part of the book was disappointing. It basically summarized what dozens of other books have already covered about defining a strategic vision, strategy, and short term wins to help move towards the future.
The third part of the book was just downright atrocious, with the author injecting his personal views about religion. For a classic book that does much more to cover the details of setting strategic direction, read "Competing for the Future" by Gary Hamal.