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Futurevision: scenarios for the world in 2040 [Kindle Edition]

Richard Watson , Oliver Freeman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

The future is not what it used to be. In this volatile era, with the world changing rapidly, people are more curious than ever to know what lies ahead.

Will relentless consumerism end up destroying our planet? Or can science and technology allow us to innovate our way out of trouble? Perhaps a greater social consciousness and community-based living will take over — or, conversely, the competition for limited resources may result in everyone fighting for themselves.

Drawing on these four possible futures, Richard Watson and Oliver Freeman invite us to examine critically the risks and opportunities to come. They discuss the key factors, trends, critical uncertainties, and wildcards that will shape the future, guiding us to a greater awareness of long-term problems and possible solutions — and empowering us not only to adapt to what might happen, but also to shape our future and to generate change.

It’s impossible to know for certain what the future holds, but we can remove some of its surprises by engaging in a meaningful debate about the choices we face now. This book shows us how.

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Product Description


'A rich, provocative, imaginative, and rigorous guide to thinking about the future' --Peter Schwartz, futurist and co-founder of the Global Business Network

'In 2040, shops will talk to you before you even enter them. Your reputation will precede you like a criminal record and the world you move through will be covered in smart dust ... If you want to know more about what life will be like in 2040, this analysis of four major scenarios [is] highly readable, entertaining, thought-provoking and full of informed forecasts it would be foolish to ignore.' --Caroline Baum

'Reads like a slick business lecture but also draws on such diverse sources as E.M. Forster and Blaise Pascal. --The Age

About the Author

Richard Watson is a writer, speaker, and strategist who works with leadership teams to challenge existing thinking about what is obvious or inevitable. He is also the founder and publisher of Whatís Next, a website that documents global trends, and the co-founder, with Oliver Freeman and Andrew Crosthwaite, of Futures House Europe, a specialist scenario planning consultancy. Richard is the author of the bestselling book Future Files (Scribe), which has been translated into 14 languages. He lectures regularly in London Business Schoolís Executive Education programmes. Oliver Freeman is a career publisher and the joint chairman of Third Millennium Publishing Australasia. He is also the co-founder, futurist, and leading scenario planner at the Neville Freeman Agency. Oliver has chaired boards for the Copyright Agency, Viscopy, Publish Australia, and UNSW Press, and is a co-founder of digital companies, Leagle, The Larrikin Post, and homepageDAILY. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Technology Sydney Business School, and has worked extensively with Richard on various scenario-planning projects.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 824 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1922070092
  • Publisher: Scribe (29 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009HIOY9Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #529,289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Richard Watson spends most of his time thinking. He works with various governments, corporations and nonprofit organisations on strategic foresight and scenario planning projects. He is also a regular speaker at conferences and other events worldwide. He has recently returned to the UK after 8 years living in Sydney.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Refining your Future Vision? 6 Nov. 2014
The first part identifies and explores four ‘seeable futures: Imagine – a world of intelligence; Please Please me – a world of greed; Dear Prudence – a world of temperance; and Helter Skelter – a world of fear. In reality the world today all the elements and the critical question is how the balance will alter under the influence of the drivers of change over the next 25 years. The second part examines the four stages of scenario planning: Developing Framing Questions; Examining the Environmental Influences; Building Scenario worlds; and finally Creating Transformational Strategies. In addition, the epilogue explores ten game-changes (wild cards?) for 2040. A readable book for all seriously concerned with our future, although the last thing the authors would claim would be for the book to be the last word on the subject.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars addictive title 25 Jan. 2013
By Pen Name - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
A great scenario based, thought provoking, science fact look at the world we might have in 2040.

Written in an engaging narrative style Watson and Freeman allow a fusion of their thought provoking images of possible futures and your imagination. From a utopic positive future to a dark fearful picture of humanity, each of the scenarios dare you to imagine you living through in them!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How do you plan for a world that is in constant flux? 30 April 2014
By Ron Immink - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Should you plan at all?
How do you plan for a world that is in constant flux? We are getting that question a lot. Should you plan at all? What timeframe do you plan for? And how do you make an organisation fluid enough to respond to constant change and volatility? BIG questions. No easy answers.

Do you have a plan?
A lot of companies have a plan. Sometimes it is a strategic plan. What is scary, that some, and it is particular endemic in small companies, do not have a plan at all. Which means that the company is ruthless, without any sense of direction. Which in a perverse way, in a world of chaos, makes some sense. You go where the winds blows you.

Based on what?
If it is a strategic plan, it is very likely to be internally driven (SWOT, growth, market definition and focus, segmentation, etc.). There is a competitive analysis (invariably it is weak and does not take into consideration the once that will come from left field) and there is trend analysis. Sometimes only internal trend analysis, which is scary. Figures are no prediction of the future. Quantitative forecasting is based on the past.

Future babble?
In fact, you can’t predict the future at all. You can spot the trends, but you can’t predict. Every fu-turologist has been wrong. It is all “future babble”. What you can do, is develop a range of scenar-ios based on these trends. These scenarios are than the basis of the strategic planning. Which means that there is not just one strategy, but a number of strategies based on the scenarios. And that exercise makes the business more fluid and capable of dealing with change a lot better. Win-win-win. Better strategy, better people, better business.

Future vision, by Richard Watson and Oliver Freeman dealt with how to plan scenarios. Richard Watson is one of my favourite futurologist. He wrote “Future files” and “Future minds”, books we still use with our clients, when we do session on innovation, change management and strategy.

Tomorrow not yesterday
“Most organisations create strategies that deal with yesterday’s problems”. The same argument that Clayton Christensen uses in “Disruptive innovation”. You can’t afford that any more, particu-larly now, when we are moving from “disruptive innovation” to “big bang disruption”. The faster things move, the further you need to look ahead. The further you travel the more you will see.

Scenarios and strategic options
And this is not just about scenario planning the future, it gets brought back to today and the current strategy and explore the strategic options in the here and now. A wonderful exercise not from a strategy perspective but also as an exercise in competitive analysis, innovation, technology, and future business models.

4 basic scenarios
To help you do that, Futurevision gives you 4 basic scenarios of the world as a whole:
1. A world of intelligence
2. A world of greed
3. A world of temperance
4. A world of fear
Fantastic scenarios on how the world could look like in 2040. From utopia(ish) to a living night-mare. The real one is likely to be a combination of all. It doesn’t matter. It is about the place of your business in that wold. Any or all of them.

Some concepts:
It would take to long to describe all of them. I will just highlight some of the concepts:
- Smart dust
- Time of day or user mood filters
- Lifestream and self tracking (recording every second of your life, useful for finding back things)
- Elderburbia (seniors living inside schools) or company retirees living on company compounds as catalyst for innovation
- Biohacking
- Checkout (suicide boots)
- Nano solar
- Reverse colonisation of Europe
- Animal voice implants
- Synthetic biology
- People miles (miles quota for travel)
- Ban on bottled water
- Virtual water or embedded water (volume of water absorbed by product of service during its creation)
- Precision agriculture
- Slow media
From what we have read about technology, none seem to be far fetched.

Become a trend watcher
To develop your scenarios, Futurevision suggests you become a trend watcher yourself and seek the unusual, to boldly go where no one has gone before. In this it does not differ much to “The sci-ence of serendipity” and “The moment of clarity”.

To give it focus you need some framing questions:
1. The big picture
2. Will cards (the unexpected events)
3. If you could ask the Delphi Oracle
4. What keeps you awake at night?
5. Unusual fellowships and alliances
6. Missing links
7. Major constraints
8. Now or never. What critical decision need to be made soon
9. What are the core values
10. What lasting contributions would you like to have made

It is then about what you are not seeing, following your feelings and understanding the emotional under current. It is about what others are seeing. It is about looking backward to understand how we got there. Map a series of events and timelines, showing key inventions and “extinction events”. What is tacit and explicit knowledge in the business? What stories are being told?

Examine ideas, nature, society, politics, economics, culture and technology (INSPECT is the new PEST).

Develop the scenarios
Then you cluster influences and starting with “This is a world in which….. you paint a picture to the broad future. You then pick the strategic domains you can influence and brainstorm the implica-tions. The final part is to define the preconditions that are needed to unfold the scenarios and the precursors or warning signals.

Then start scanning:
- Small signs of change
- Look to your customers customers
- Look to your suppliers’ suppliers
- Your competition
- Changes in industry
- Policial situation
- Changes in attitudes and values
- Economic policy
- Anomalies (fast failures, fast successes, oddities, things that don’t make sense)

The wild cards
To keep it fresh and teach the unexpected, you throw in the unexpected:
- A second American civil war
- Children born today need never die
- Oil hits $500 a barrel
- Bird flue pandemic kills 500 million worldwide
- The internet collapses
- Louis XX crowned king of France
- Energy becomes free
- Water is the new oil

And that is why I like this book. The unexpected. if you combine this with another book Richard Watson wrote “The future, 50 ideas you really need to know” and you have a blueprint for develop-ing some real strategic options, a way to engage staff in thinking about the future and make your business more fluid and capable on dealing with volatility.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 8 Dec. 2014
By Lydia Forsythe - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
love it!
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