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Books about the future of Futurist Tools
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26 Futurist Tools

. Books about the future of Futurist Tools

The Wisdom of Crowds
by James Surowiecki

In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant - better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

This seemingly counterintuitive notion has endless and major ramifications for how businesses operate, how knowledge is advanced, how economies are (or should be) organized and how we live our daily lives. With seemingly boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose, Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular culture, psychology, ant biology, economic behaviorism, artificial intelligence, military history and political theory to show just how this principle operates in the real world.

Despite the sophistication of his arguments, Surowiecki presents them in a wonderfully entertaining manner. The examples he uses are all down-to-earth, surprising, and fun to ponder. Why is the line in which you’re standing always the longest? Why is it that you can buy a screw anywhere in the world and it will fit a bolt bought ten-thousand miles away? Why is network television so awful? If you had to meet someone in Paris on a specific day but had no way of contacting them, when and where would you meet? Why are there traffic jams? What’s the best way to win money on a game show? Why, when you walk into a convenience store at 2:00 A.M. to buy a quart of orange juice, is it there waiting for you? What do Hollywood mafia movies have to teach us about why corporations exist?

The Wisdom of Crowds is a brilliant but accessible biography of an idea, one with important lessons for how we live our lives, select our leaders, conduct our business, and think about our world.

Presence : An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society

by Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers

Presence can be read as a both a guide and a challenge to leaders in business, education, and government to transform their institutions into powerful agents of change in a world increasingly out of balance. Since business is the most powerful institution in the world today, the authors argue, it must play a key role in solving global societal problems. Yet so many institutions seem to run people rather than the other way around. In this illuminating book, the authors seek to understand why people don't change systems and institutions even when they pose a threat to society, and examine why institutional change is so difficult to attain.

The authors view large institutions such as global corporations as a new species that are affecting nearly all other life forms on the planet. Rather than look at these systems as merely the extension of a few hyper-powerful individuals, they see them as a dynamic organisms with the potential to learn, grow, and evolve--but only if people exert control over them and actively eliminate their destructive aspects. "But until that potential is activated," they write, "industrial age institutions will continue to expand blindly, unaware of their part in a larger whole or of the consequences of their growth." For global institutions to be recreated in positive ways, there must be individual and collective levels of awareness, followed by direct action. Raising this awareness is what Presence seeks to achieve. Drawing on the insights gleaned from interviews with over 150 leading scientists, social leaders, and entrepreneurs, the authors emphasize what they call the "courage to see freshly"--the ability to view familiar problems from a new perspective in order to better understand how parts and wholes are interrelated.

This is not a typical business book. Mainly theoretical, it does not offer specific tips that organizational managers or directors can apply immediately; rather, it offers powerful tools and ideas for changing the mindset of leaders and unlocking the latent potential to "develop awareness commensurate with our impact, wisdom in balance with our power." - Shawn Carkonen

Assumption-Based Planning : A Tool for Reducing Avoidable Surprises
by James A. Dewar, Jr., Charles Wolf

Unwelcome surprises in the life of any organization can often be traced to the failure of an assumption that the organization's leadership didn't anticipate or had "forgotten". Assumption-based planning (ABP) is a tool for identifying as many as possible assumptions underlying the plans of an organization and bringing them explicitly into the planning process. This book presents a variety of techniques for rooting out those vulnerable, crucial assumptions. It also presents steps for monitoring the vulnerable assumptions of a plan by taking actions to control them where possible and preparing for potential failure where control is not possible.

How Industries Evolve: Principles for Achieving and Sustaining Superior Performance
by Anita McGahan

From Xerox to K-Mart to Sotheby's, great companies have failed to translate extraordinary innovation into better profitability. Why does this happen?

Anita M. McGahan argues that great companies fail to profit from investments in innovation when they break their industries' rules for how change can take hold. In this book, she shows how to develop a strategy that is aligned with the rules of industry change. By understanding and operating within the rules, executives can better appreciate the tradeoffs that are unique to each company's evolutionary path-and consequently improve performance by making smarter, more profitable strategic bets.

How Industries Evolve is based on extensive statistical studies of 700 global industries and more than twenty-five case studies. McGahan identifies four models of industry evolution-progressive, creative, radical, and intermediating-and shows how a company can diagnose which model most closely describes the trajectory of change in its industry. The book then explains how company strategists can use their understanding of this model to carefully coordinate choices about R&D, alliances, internal venturing, leadership style, compensation, modularization, and time-to-market.

McGahan uses a favorite futurist tool, the 2x2 matrix, to uncover how industries evolve based on threats to core assets, core activities, or both.

By supporting executives' efforts to recognize and respond to shifts in industry structure, this book will ultimately help companies to achieve and sustain superior performance.

Corporate Radar: Tracking the Forces that Are Shaping Your Business
by Karl Albrecht

In a world where economic woes in the Philippines can reverberate in Denver... where the Internet spills forth an unstoppable avalanche of cheap information ...and where globalism is paradoxically creating segmentation rather than homogeneity, how can a company safeguard its competitive position? It's a big, perplexing, and absolutely essential question that every business leader confronts.

Now, Karl Albrecht, one of America's premier business thinkers, has brilliantly transformed this dynamic, excitin - yet often chaotic and threatenin - landscape into a place that's understandable and readable.

Written with the vision of a futurist and the practicality of an entrepreneur, Corporate Radar shows you how to reach beyond the standard business parameter--to analyze the events, trends, and forces that can radically alter your future. You'll scan for potential opportunities and threats in eight key environmental sectors, using a set of figurative "radars:"

1. Customer radar: Understand your customers not only in demographic and behavioral terms, but also by the psychological factors that motivate them. 2. Competitor radar: Evaluate your firm against your primary and secondary competitors, then use your strengths to differentiate yourself. 3. Economic radar: Assess how GDP, employment levels, interest rates, inflation, and currency exchange rates can create or destroy opportunities. 4. Technological radar: Learn about the effects of technological innovations - including what the Internet can and CANNOT do for your business. 5. Social radar: Understand the key social drivers - attitudes, beliefs, emotions - that affect the market acceptance of your "value package." 6. Political radar: Analyze the effect of politics - not just the lawmakers and laws, but the entire "control system" that can influence your business. 7. Legal Radar: Develop an effective legal radar that detects and avoids risks before they crop up. 8. Geophysical radar: Study the physical, tangible world around you - spotting potential problems and forming viable backup options.

This is solid, hard-hitting advice that every business leader needs. There are no doomsday prophesies or sugar-coated visions of the future here. Instead, Albrecht uses the discipline of careful cause-and-effect thinking to help you answer specific, relevant questions about what may happen in your future.

Packed with crystal-clear insights and real-life examples, Corporate Radar gives you a broader worldview, more astute perceptive abilities, and the tools to knowledgeably assess opportunities and threats. You'll improve your strategic thought processes and decision-making abilitie--and become your own deep-thinking futurist...without getting lost in the ozone.

ADVANCING FUTURES: Futures Studies in Higher Education
edited by James A. Dator

What is Futures Studies, what are the theories and methods underlying the field? What are its basic concepts and metaphors, and how is it related to other academic fields? These are the core questions addressed in this book by a comprehensive assembly of distinguished scholars. They explore the enigma of why Futures Studies, despite its growing maturity as an intellectual endeavor, after more than three decades of groundbreaking work, still struggles for institutional acceptance. Together these contributors paint a picture of Futures Studies not so much a product of the stale intellectual heritage of the 20th century, but as a vibrant harbinger of intellectual perspectives sure to gain wider currency in the 21st.

Forecasting Principles: A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners

Principles of Forecasting summarizes knowledge from experts and empirical studies. The resulting evidence-based principles can be applied in fields such as economics, sociology, and psychology. It applies to problems such as those in finance (How much is this company worth?), marketing (Will a new product be successful?), personnel (How can we identify the best job candidates?), and production (What level of inventories should be kept?).


Bad Predictions

by Laura Lee

A funny collection of serious statements that did not come true... I laughed at nearly every page... Small wonder bacteria steak or plankton-burgers didnt catch on! Or how about houses built on turntables to catch the morning/afternoon sun? Pills to cure phobias? Disposable clothes? Flying houses that migrate with the seasons? Man will never fly is a familiar phrase, but did you know that the Wright brothers father, an Episcopalian bishop, said so?... There is pathos in Bad Predictions as well, like the prospector that sold his claim in South Africa for $20, a claim that turned out to contain 70% of the worlds supply of gold... Struggling authors will be entertained by the muddle-headed editors who intoned: Your book will never sell who then saw that work make millions for another publisher. Even Stephen King was so crushed when his first novel, Carrie, was rejected, that he hid it in a drawer for 10 years. Sports fans will enjoy the chapter on what was said about great athletes. Inventors will be exposed to new (old) ideas. Trivia nuts will learn a wealth of new material. In short, theres something in this book for almost everyone.

The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World
by Peter Schwartz

"Artful scenario spinning is a form of convergent thinking about divergent futures. It ensures that you are not always right about the future but-better-that you are almost never wrong about the future. The technology is powerful, simple, and enjoyable, and so is Schwartz's book." -Stewart Brand What increasingly affects all of us, whether professional planners or individuals preparing for a better future, is not the tangibles of life-bottom-line numbers, for instance-but the intangibles: our hopes and fears, our beliefs and dreams. Only stories-scenarios-and our ability to visualize different kinds of futures adequately capture these intangibles. In The Art of the Long View, now for the first time in paperback and with the addition of an all-new User's Guide, Peter Schwartz outlines the "scenaric" approach, giving you the tools for developing a strategic vision within your business. Schwartz describes the new techniques, originally developed within Royal/Dutch Shell, based on many of his firsthand scenario exercises with the world's leading institutions and companies, including the White House, EPA, BellSouth, PG&E, and the International Stock Exchange.

Forecasting, Planning, and Strategies for the 21st Century
by Spyros G. Makridakis

Mike Pagidas General Manager, S. C. Johnson & Son (Hellas) Ltd. Makridakis pounds conventional wisdom about planning and forecasting into dust. The book is rich in case studies and historical examples which Makridakis uses to catalog the characteristics of success and failure. He concludes with solid basic truths about avoiding failure and sustaining success. This is must reading for all managers who are dedicated to the search for new foundations for tomorrow's business.

The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment
by Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton

In their previous book, The Balanced Scorecard, Robert Kaplan and David Norton unveiled an innovative "performance management system" that any company could use to focus and align their executive teams, business units, human resources, information technology, and financial resources on a unified overall strategy--much as businesses have traditionally employed financial management systems to track and guide their general fiscal direction. In The Strategy-Focused Organization, Kaplan and Norton explain how companies like Mobil, CIGNA, and Chemical Retail Bank have effectively used this approach for nearly a decade, and in the process present a step-by-step implementation outline that other organizations could use to attain similar results. Their book is divided into five sections that guide readers through development of a completely individualized plan that is created with "strategy maps" (graphical representations designed to clearly communicate desired outcomes and how they are to be achieved), then infused throughout the enterprise and made an integral part of its future. In several chapters devoted to the latter, for example, the authors show how their models have linked long-term strategy with day-to-day operational and budgetary management, and detail the "double loop" process for doing so, monitoring progress, and initiating corrective actions if necessary. - Howard Rothman

Shell Global Scenarios to 2025
by Jeroen van der Veer (Editor)

For over 30 years, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group has used these scenarios to identify business risks and opportunities in ways forecasts cannot. Now for the first time these scenerios are available to the public. This book portrays three plausible futures with contrasting economic, political, and regulatory features and distinct implications for the energy system.

Scenario Planning: Managing for the Future
by Gill Ringland

Scenario Planning Managing for the Future Gill Ringland "Nobody can ignore the future. This book is a must-read for any manager aspiring to put scenarios into practice." Arie De Geus, Former Director of Shell International Petroleum and author of The Living Company "Never since the great geographical expansions of the eighteenth century has so much latent potential been met with tools so ill-fitted to harness it. Information technology will change how, where, when we work. Scenario Planning offers us a mechanism by which to bring structure to this and other forms of complexity; offering us the vital ability to understand the dynamics of change." Oliver Sparrow, Chatham House Forum Business today operates in a world of major change. Economies, commerce and lifestyles are constantly shifting but it is the information revolution which will prove the most radical since its agricultural and industrial counterparts. It cannot be constrained by borders but is simultaneously reaching across the world. In this environment, the techniques for planning business over the past decades are no longer sufficient. Forecasts based on current trends, or estimates of growth based on history are in danger of becoming obsolete all too quickly. The idea in the early days of mainframe computers that 'every major country will need one' demonstrates how uncertain the future can really be. The scenario planning techniques described in this book will enable anyone to think about uncertainty in a structured way.

Key features are:
* detailed 'how to' look for early indicators of directions, and identify possible courses of action for those new to scenarios.
* extensive case studies, including ICL, British Airways and United Distillers.
* includes 'do' as well as 'do not' examples to aid practitioners; tells you what works when and why.
* takes a conceptual, rather than a mathematical approach.

The overall message of this book is that scenarios are not predictions or forecasts, but they are powerful weapons in managing the uncertainties of the future.

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