Making a difference

The Future can be mapped and analyzed like any other system.  However, being able to reveal important strands of the future is only the beginning.

I have spent the last thirty years researching how the future works – analyzing it as a system just like any other.  Back in the 1980s I developed an early version of techniques that these days around the world are used to analyze how social systems – whether corporations or governments or countries or economies – are most likely to develop, adapt to changes, and react to pressures.

When someone analyzes such hidden “system-dynamics” for a given organization or global system they are, in effect, decoding important strands of its future.

As a result, these days the most common question that leaders of corporations, government bodies, and global institutions tend to ask me is: “Can you tell us our future?”

The simple answer is: “Some important parts of it, yes.”  But I am afraid that such a simple response is the correct answer to the wrong question.

It turns out that the techniques for unraveling the dynamics of a social system – once you have first cracked the code – can with enough time and effort be taught to anyone who is interested.  Difficult though it can be, decoding the future is not actually the hardest part of the analysis.

What is even harder is working out how to improve on that likely outcome; in other words, how to do something that actually makes a difference.

In my experience, there is a particular type of person that – as soon as they understand enough of the probable future to see that there are problems looming – feels a passion to change what otherwise is likely to happen if things largely just carry on in the direction they are headed.  These people’s immediate instinct is to make a difference.  They at once feel a responsibility to change the future into something better.

What these (potential) leaders often do not realize is that they can only do that by Breaking the Rules.