I would normally put a link to another article as a short post in the sidebar, but I consider these two articles too important to leave there. All the comments in the articles do not need to be agreed with, but it is the overall challenge that is important to grapple with (thanks to Cheryl for finding them for me).
Article 1: Ten theories about change.
Article 2: Ten mistakes people make when thinking about the future.
I cannot do justice to the articles here but to try to give a short summary I hope will be helpful.
Article 1 suggests that almost any theory of change can be sorted into one (or, occasionally, more) of a set of ‘bins’, that change will take place because of:
1. Progress. ‘The social and economic conditions of the world will consistently get better.’
2. Development. ‘We will continue to see networks of expert change agents emerge to manage increasing complexity.’
3. Technology. ‘Biotechnology and new sustainable “green” technologies will create the biggest changes in how we live.’
4. Ideas. ‘Better ideas will be promoted by greatly improved media. The world will become more enlightened as human consciousness grows.’
5. Markets. ‘The world will generally continue to become more consumer-driven as standards rise in less-developed countries (though there may be bumps along the way).’
6. Cycles. ‘Progress depends on our ability to learn from the past, and use that knowledge to surf the change waves as they come.’
7. Conflict. ‘Conflicts over resources, and by smaller countries who will try to assert growing independence.’
8. Power. ‘There will be a continuing consolidation of control over nations and industries by the powerful’.
9. Evolution. ‘We will either come to terms with our responsibility to nature, or risk extinction.’
10. Chaos, Complexity, and Criticality. ‘Nobody can really understand all the variables at work; but those who take the time to study a system and its interactions may get an upper hand.’
I recognise in me (of course totally sanctified!!) aspects of ideas, networking, and how conflict will be major shapers on the future.
The second article suggests we will miss a clear vision when we do not realise:
1. The future won’t be like the past. Research by academic futurists has found that the expected future really isn’t the most likely outcome at all.
2. Trends end. The longer a trend has been going on, the more we tend to assume that it will never end.
3. Avoid groupthink. The longer the existing set of operating rules has been in place, the more pressure people feel not to question that.
4. If it’s taboo, it’s probably important. The elephant (in the room) only has power as long as we refuse to talk about it. When we finally confront it, its power becomes ours.
5. Any useful idea about the future should sound ridiculous at first. If you’re not coming up with ideas that sound a little crazy on their surface, it’s a sure sign that you’re stuck in too many conventional assumptions.
6. Ask: What stays the same? There are also constants, things that don’t change from era to era, or that change very slowly.
7. The other side is not always wrong.
8. Be aware of different change theories. (Article 1.)
9. Don’t think in five or 10 years. Think in 100 or 500 years.
10. Don’t assume it will be hard. Don’t assume it will be easy. Better yet: don’t assume anything, ever.
So there you go – everything sorted (best pronounced sor’ed).