4/9/2019 0 Comments
Being a Futurist can be an intensely frustrating adventure. You're looking at the data for the next 3-5 years and see why we must act now on climate change. China, Germany, Kenya, Finland, Sweden, Morocco, the UK, South Africa and a host of other countries are making big moves on this. But the United States, 4% of the world's population but putting out 25% of the world's carbon emissions, is essentially sitting on the sidelines watching the world go by. Of course, that doesn't apply to everyone in the States. There are great efforts being made by private and public organizations seeking to get us organized and focused on this issue. But collectively, we're stuck. Why? Some would like to blame this on the government, but the reality is that there is some disconnect in the everyday population. Here are four reasons why that is.....
Slios. There are so many causes and issues we're seeking to address. From mayoral elections, to school board issues to racism to student debt. All of these things are critically important, but they mean nothing if our food, water and air infrastructures break down due to droughts, floods, extreme weather and heatwaves. Suggestion: All of these pressing issues must be folded into the climate change agenda to save the future. We should demand the mayoral candidate have a climate change plan if they want to be elected. We can drill down on racism by creating green jobs in communities of color that transform the community into smart neighborhoods, etc.
We think it's too far away. Any discussions that say the real effects of climate change will be felt in our grandchildren's lifetime need only read the latest headlines about bomb cycles, historic flooding, intense hurricanes, melting glaciers and deadly heatwaves all over the world right now. Suggestion: Keep daily weather developments at the top of conversations you have with friends and family. There is some kind of weather occurrence almost every day in the news that can be attributed to climate change. Don't let others put this conversation in the "I'll be dead and gone" ghetto.
"I'm just trying to survive." Fair enough. That's a real challenge in communities of color and other disenfranchised groups. But let me offer another take. Suggestion: If there was ever a time to break from the survival mode of living into a thriving one, it would be in re-imagining the way forward and using climate change as a platform to create jobs, redevelop communities and leverage innovation. The Chinese and the Germans are certainly doing it. To mitigate climate change, we need all shoulders at the wheel. That means bringing in resources to create opportunities.
We don't know what to do and are overwhelmed. That is a legitimate argument. Popular media has been defining the challenge over the past few years, but now it's time to lay out things the average person can do in their day to day lives to help. Suggestion: In a couple of weeks, I'll be starting a video series, produced with the help of CBSNews4 called Change: The Subject. It will provide real world, tangible, everyday things you can do to help mitigate climate change. Stay with me. I'll have more information next week.
3/31/2019 0 Comments
In my third book, Think this, Not that -- It's time to update your conventional wisdom, I talk about how really bad, uninformed and egregious cultural myths have led to some really bad policy and decision making. Even when it seems there are more people who are guided by ignorance, the truth is that we're in the middle of a shift away from those "fake" myths:. This has been trending for the past few decades. Here are some of those myths that are being overturned
"The Bible says God helps those who helps themselves". There is no biblical scripture that says this.
Evolution says humankind came from monkeys. Nope. It only says we share a common ancestry.
Columbus discovered America. You can't "discover" someone else's home, especially when that someone else (Native Americans) has actively lived in that home for thousands of years. Besides, the closest Columbus got to what is now the United States was landing in the Bahamas. Even more, Africans and Vikings beat Columbus to this area of the world by about 500 years.
Here is another conventional thought that's being overturned...."the harder you work, the luckier you get". Make no mistake. I truly do believe in the power of hard work, thanks to the careful guidance of my two entrepreneurial and hardworking parents. But maybe hard work isn't telling the whole story for each of us.
While it is true Americans work harder than any people anywhere in the world....
......we have been trending toward becoming poorer, more stressed and less healthy.....
Perhaps becoming luckier is also about a healthy environment and support structures that empower. Even more, perhaps it also means rethinking mindfulness and how it suggests our real power is in working less....not more.
The current shift we're in away from fraudulent myths and cultural stories may pave the way for a rethinking of work and the future of work.
3/26/2019 0 Comments
Speaking at a luncheon with the Apartment Association of Denver last fall, I made the prediction that we would be talking about a recession within 18 months. Eight months later, here is one of this week's headlines:
Frankly, predicting a recession or an economic slowdown is low hanging fruit for most Futurists. The economy, as it is structured, works in cycles. These are not natural cycles, but artificially created, and often stimulated by bad decision making. The heavy lifting in Futurism is in understanding how trends come together and how they will impact society. and the world, on the whole. To get to that understanding, I go to three sources: trends in investments, legislative/regulatory direction and social developments. In our society as it is currently structured, where money goes provides a pretty good indicator of where the country is headed.. Legislation and regulation usually follow the money because legislators have a close relationship with the money people. Then, the social impact of this energy comes after that. Here are sources I check out almost every single morning to follow these three areas.....
Investor's Business Daily
Wall Street Journal
National Conference of State Legislatures
The Washington Post
The Young Turks
South China Morning Post
The Daily Beast
Often times, it's more if I wish to follow a story down a rabbit hole of links. It's a good mixture of conservative and progressive, news and entertainment, business and science, pop and government, spiritual and religious. The real challenge of aggregating this information is making sense of it all...looking for repeated messages from various writers , reporters and data, then coming to a simple, tangible prediction.
For example, I saw five different sources that pointed to re-insurers (those that insure insurance companies) are raising their rates for insurance companies because their forecasts see climate change causing even more crises around the world. The recent historic flooding in the American Midwest and in Zimbabwe may have spurred this action. That means insurance rates will go up for everyone as insurance companies pass the increase down to you. From my intuitive self, based on information I've gathered earlier, this also means it's going to become more and more expensive to live along the coasts or in wooded areas. In my mind, this fuels in-country mass migration for the middle class and working poor who don't have those resources and also for the very rich who DO have those resources and can afford to simply leave.
I also saw the dairy industry seeking more precise legislation to slow down the growth of plant based milk-alternatives. They want to keep Almond, Rice and Soy milk producers from using the term "milk" in their branding. The dairy industry sees this as hurting their business. It's true --- dairy milk producers market share has taken a dramatic dip while plant based alternatives have surged., but name branding isn't the only reason. More people are concerned about digesting cow's milk as part of a healthy diet. This could mean lower milk prices as the dairy industry will seek to compete. It could also mean higher prices as the dairy industry seek to make up their losses.
It's one thing to get information. It's another thing to interpret what that information means to the average person now and in the future. That's my job. Sometimes I miss it. Part of the occupational hazard. But it's important that we get clear, thoughtful analysis in an age of "fake news". My job is a mixture of formal journalism training, metrics analysis and intuition. I hope this helps those of you who were wondering "what makes you say that?"
3/23/2019 0 Comments
This may frustrate many of my motivational speaker friends, but I'm offering a perspective based on observation.
A report just came in that said, for the third year in a row, life expectancy in the United States is going down. This is unheard of in a modern, industrial country. That hasn't happened in 100 years when this country faced World War II and the massive flu pandemic. The "tools of despair" (suicide and drug overdose) are the main causes of this trend...
In the face of all this, we are inundated with motivational speakers and positive thinking gurus with books and tapes who will tell you if you just think differently, life will work better for you.
Let me offer another perspective.
The idea behind hiring a motivational speaker is to have the speaker provide you and your working colleagues with motivation to go above and beyond the usual. I would contend that speeches are not enough. It's really an issue of whether or not you have tools and resources that allows you to do great things in this time of dramatic societal transition. Pay attention to the message that's coming out of the Universal Basic Income tests done around the world...
"Anecdotal evidence and nearly all empirical research has shown that unconditional cash transfers help people help themselves. Recipients often use the income to pay for their kids' school fees, buy medicine, repair their homes, and invest in their small businesses to further grow their wealth. While some use the money for so-called "temptation goods," as economists call them, the majority of recipients defy the stereotype that people in poverty somehow lack moral character or responsibility." -- "A village In Kenya Is quietly disproving the biggest myths about basic income". Business Insider, December 30th, 2017.
"After Ontario launched its pilot, recipients began detailing how their lives had changed; the funds had afforded them healthier food, warm clothes for winter and even a long-postponed visit to the dentist. Others used the funds to go back to school or invest in their own businesses." -- Ontario's new Conservative government to end basic income experiment The Guardian December 1st, 2018
"The Finnish researchers also did a survey of treatment and control group members at the end of 2018 to assess their subjective sense of well-being after two years of the experiment. The survey showed significant improvements in how people felt about their health and prospects if they received the unconditional income." --- In Finland, Money Can Buy You Happiness -- Bloomberg, February 9th. 2019
From Canada to Kenya to Finland, the evidence has shown that the real driver for people to pursue their dreams, live a better quality of life, develop a better sense of well-being and go above and beyond what they usually would do is not a good speech, but good and reliable resources.
I would submit that the Nordic countries don't have motivational speaker Tony Robbins visiting them more than any other country, yet they have the highest standard of living in the world and register the happiest societies with the highest investment in social welfare for their people...
No one had to walk on hot coals to create this quality of life.
The world we're moving into requires more than a pep rally or mind over matter tricks, but a new set of values, ideas, visions and tools that are agile enough to navigate climate change, income inequality and automation unemployment.
Don't get me wrong, motivational speakers can be entertaining and exciting to your audience, but that doesn't mean you can't hold them to a higher standard as demanded by the times we live in. Here are some questions you should ask:
1. Does the motivational speaker offer advice based on the world that was or the world that's emerging?
2. Do they bring takeaway tools and resources that can be used to invest in your people or organization?
3. Do they have a diversity of experiences to draw from to reflect your diverse organization?
4. Can they credibly talk about the level of change that's happening in society or is it beyon them?
5. Do they have an inspiring vision forward, filled with humor, courage and possibilities?
Before hiring your next motivational guru, make sure they come with resources with their finger on the pulse of the immediate future to empower your team . A good speech is nice. Resources and a vision forward are better.
3/21/2019 0 Comments
I'm going to keep this conversation fairly simple, because most of us are not economists. We're simply trying to make sure the bills are paid, there is food on the table and the lights are kept on.
There is a fairly robust conversation going on in the US about a different approach to how our country uses money. The conversation is between how our government usually operates and how it should operate going forward, facing massive challenges. This new consideration is called Modern Monetary Theory. In a simple, short understanding, MMT is the idea that since the US prints it's own money, it should develop an approach to put more money in the system to deal with the challenges ahead. That's what the US Treasury Department was designed for in the first place as a currency issuer ---- to issue currency to put into the system (currency users) to make the system work better. It would be like using money more like a utility that helps everything else to work. Think of it as Chet's Ice Cream company. I invent a special Chet ice cream that my supply chain enjoys.
I am the issuer of the ice cream. My supply chain is the user of the ice cream.
Suddenly, there is more demand for my ice cream. My responsibility to my company is to make more ice cream, which produces more revenue that can be used to help me make more ice cream, give to the family in need down the street, keep the streets clean and generally make life better for everyone. In an MMT system, it is the government's responsibility to make sure there is plenty of liquidity in the system, in spite of the debt, to make sure demands are met, thus producing more tax revenues. The debt part may seem counter-intuitive to many of you, but remember -- the Treasury Department was not originally created to run like our household (currency user). It was designed to function uniquely like something else (the currency issuer). Somewhere along the way, we forgot that.
Here are some of the formidable demands we're facing over the next few years that a Modern Monetary Theory approach could work effectively.
Climate Change. Decades of inaction on climate change has led us to the need for a massive program like the Green New Deal. Of course, we could say we cant afford it. This would be the result...
Reparations. 400 years of systemic denial and racism has created a crisis of collapse inside of the African American community. In the Road to Zero Wealth report, without some level of government intervention, African American communities will have zero wealth in a few years, which will create a disastrous future for everyone.
Automation Unemployment. We could be staring at 30 - 40 % unemployment in the next decade due to the continued march of automation. A massive job guarantee program through MMT could be the answer. Our inability to create a coherent collective approach to this challenge is only making it worse...
I'm not saying that an MMT approach is the only approach that could solve the massive challenges we're facing . What I am suggesting is that if you're going to deal with challenges of scale, make sure you have the right tools. Business as usual is a recipe for disaster.
3/18/2019 0 Comments
Based on my estimation as a Futurist, the next 3-5 years will determine the next 100 - 1.000 years. But I'm not alone in that assessment. Check out the other predictions:
The Pentagon's profoundly dark and deeply dystopian look at the future gives us up to the year 2025 to make any meaningful change to the disturbing trajectory of mass chaos we're now on....
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says whatever we're going to do to save the planet from climate change catastrophe, we need to do it right now.
Most estimations are that up to 40% of jobs around the world will be lost due to automation unemployment...
I didn't provide you these shocking views of the world ahead to immobilize you. On the contrary. Those are all possible and trending outcomes. But as I regularly say, trends are simply decisions. That means, we can change our minds and decide something else. It's important for you to know that a window of opportunity exists over the next few years and we simply cannot take the next few years for granted. We must summon the power to collectively and individually re-imagine the next 3-5 year period as we lay a foundation for a new kind of human existence. It is important to have a vision of what that new world could look like. Here is my take. NOTE: This is based on a model in the United States, where I live.
I would introduce a Universal Basic Income that covers the nation. Right before the Conservative government ended the program, a UBI program in Hamilton, Ontario was showing dramatic success. Everything from reduced mental health stress, food security to increased entrepreneurship came from two years of the program.
I would incorporate the African philosophy of Ubuntu (we are all connected) into the very fabric of society. I'd have it taught in schools along with other philosophical ideas. I'd do a national campaign to share it's ideas, similar to the Smokey Bear campaign conducted by the USDA Forest Service.
I would leverage the best emerging block chain technology to create a secure digital voting system so you can voice from your smart device.
I would rally the Department of Education to foster and support NATIONAL online education credentialing, badging and institutions in the same way the Department of Defense currently creates bidding and support programs for defense manufacturers.
I would implement community based climate change adaptation programs that everyone in the UBI program would be encouraged to participate in a few hours each week. If you are able-bodied, you will have an array of climate change adaptation programs to participate in, from cultivating hydroponic gardens to installing solar panels to planting trees.
I would reduce the work week from 5 days a week to 3 days a week to reduce commutes.
I would give significant tax credits to anyone participating in mindfulness practices (yoga, meditaiton, sabatticals, etc).
I would provide even greater tax credits to those who telecommute from a small town, thus, encouraging more people to move to smaller towns instead of sprawling urban areas.
I would create a national campaign (like the anti-smoking campaign or the war bonds campaign) around Meatless Monday, where we would, as a society, skip meat on Mondays. This would include restaurants as well. This would dramatically reduce the methane produced by cows.
LIke the Youth Conversation Corp of years gone by, I would provide a way where jobless youth can participate in a "Save The Planet" corp. These young people would bring support to catastrophic floods, fires and disasters destined to come with climate change.
Okay, so this is my start, however imperfect, at creating a responsive society to the challenges ahead. What's yours? Send them to me and I'll share them in this blog across the globe. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
3/10/2019 0 Comments
If you're in a room with a business or corporate "trainer" and you hear them talk about a "winning attitude" or "swimming with the sharks" or "go big or go home", leave the room immediately. They are working with a 1990s playbook that is horribly outdated. Welcome to the new world of climate change, inequality, technological advancement and a basic paradigm shift of how the world works. Allow me to share with you five things you must do in order to help your business, your side hustle or gig survive and thrive.
Get rid of the success model. Remember back in the day when you could create a widget, have success, enjoy the fruits of that success for a good 5 years, then have to develop something else to top that success? Those days are long gone, yet the myth of it lives on in the minds of entrepreneurs without experience. The emphasis was on sustaining success. Now, you must create your success, while at the same time create it's replacement and the rollout at the same time. Technology is driving a different kind of model for businesses and it means a much more innovative approach.
Trade "will power" for infrastructure. Will power is like a sprinter. It's great in short bursts, but completely unsustainable in the long haul. Now is the time to create infrastructure that helps automate what you were trying to do through sheer force of will all by yourself.
Re-imagine who you are and what you do. You are not a maker of widgets. You are the provider of solutions. That sounds a little Zen, but it's true in a new world. You must now think about different applications for your widget and see how it can work across platforms, communities, countries. Your real success is not necessarily your product or service, but the infrastructure you put in place that allows you to move your product or service from you to your clients.
Incorporate mindfulness. Leveraging mindfulness (staying present and grounded through practice tools like yoga, meditation, sabbaticals, etc) may be your greatest not-so-secret weapon. Mindfulness has a way of helping you and your fellow employees tap into their creative selves. It is that creativity that will make the difference in the end.
Save the planet. If your product or service has the ability to help mitigate the challenges being brought on by climate change, it is now your time. Climate change will simply be the biggest story across the planet for the next 10 years. You can ride the wave of this development by being part of the solution.
The rules to running a successful enterprise have changed and will continue to change. I'll continue to provide you with more of those changes in real time in A Futurist's Briefing.
3/4/2019 0 Comments
Forbes writer Randall Lane who recently declared that Capitalism is "the greatest system ever conceived"https://www.forbes.com/sites/randalllane/2019/3/4/reimagining-capitalism-how-the-greatest-system-ever-conceivedand-its-billionairesneed-to-change/ must not be aware of the fact that we're facing an extinction level event called climate change that was born, bred and raised in the very heart of Capitalism via the Industrial Revolution. See graph below.
I would argue that any system that leads humanity to an existential threat would not qualify as "the greatest system ever conceived." To Lane's credit, his article did advocate for a re-imagining of Capitalism as we know it. The only reason he and others are even having this discussion is because of the social, humanitarian, moral, spiritual and now environmental crises occurring in the wake of "the greatest system ever conceived". I would submit that the greatest system Lane is wishing for is being conceived right now.
Once you step away from the political "isms" constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries, you open the door to something new, bold, abundant, empowering and very much 21st century. We have technology now that we couldn't have imagined just a few years ago. We have the wisdom of ancient cultures at our fingertips. We have more information available than at any other time in human history. It would seem this potent brew provides us with all of the necessary tools to re-imagine how humanity can live from a better, higher and more abundant place. And yes, we can do that even in the face of climate change. Climate change, along with the automation evolution via AI and income inequality are prompts telling us to do something else. They give us the opportunity to intend societies that work better than we could have ever imagined, and for more people. I would often say to students in my workshops "we must go beyond cliches of the time because the challenges of the day are asking us to. Instead of saying 'think outside the box', you must now recognize there is no box. You are no longer tethered to the conventions of the past and are free to explore innovative solutions."
"Instead of saying 'think outside the box', you must now recognize there is no box".
The world has never experienced this number of people inquiring about a new way forward without a global world war happening. These aren't college philosophy classes. These are people asking questions about the paradigm shift we're in. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/21/regenerative-economy-holism-economy-climate-change-inequality
Here are some samples of the thinking going on in the world.
Here is the Caring Economy http://caringeconomy.org/june-7-free-panel-event-toward-caring-economy-beyond-capitalism-socialism/
Here is the Circle Economy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCRKvDyyHmI
Here is an explanation of Universal Basic Income https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl39KHS07Xc
There are many others emerging. If there was a time to entertain new ideas in a new world, it's now.
2/28/2019 0 Comments
When U.S. residents talk about the mass migration of millions of refugees seeking a better life due to disasters, they tend to think of places far away. The exponential speed of climate change is changing that. The U.S. is now staring at one of the biggest mass migrations since African Americans left the South for the North and since the movement during the Dust Bowl years.
A lot of people along the East coast and Gulf states will be moving inland because their homes are rapidly loosing value due to frequent flooding caused by rising tides due to climate change. This doesn't even take in the aspect of the increasingly devastating hurricanes. https://features.weather.com/collateral/flood-iq-city-list-2019/
Unfortunately as a country, the U.S. is not prepared for this level of change...https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-23/climate-may-force-millions-to-move-and-u-s-isn-t-ready-report
People with mountain homes in California are picking up stakes because they're finding it harder and harder to get insurance. https://psmag.com/environment/as-fire-seasons-intensify-california-homeowners-struggle-to-stay-insured
Midwest and mountain states are the destinations for many (especially those with resources), but no place is really safe....https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/24/americas-era-of-climate-mass-migration-is-here
While all of this may seem deeply challenging, it actually provides an opportunity for us to re-think and re-imagine the immediate future. This takes a special kind of leadership.
2/24/2019 0 Comments
It was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel who leveraged the age old adage "never let a serious crisis go to waste". The origins of this phrase came from those who saw crises as opportunities to boldly do what you would never do in "normal" times. Unfortunately, this phrase has also been the philosophical foundation of, what Journalist Naomi Klein refers to as "Shock Doctrine Economics" --- a process that exploits desperate situations to advance a profit agenda at the cost of those dealing with the disaster. Such examples include the gentrification of the 9th Ward in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina made it impossible for people with little means to stay there. Or the selling off of public assets in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. With more disasters on the horizon because of climate change, is it possible to flip the script on this process and re-imagine old systems to create new tools for the greater good? This conversation is trending and has picked up it's own name: "Empowerment Doctrine Socioeconomics". Here are some possible suggestions of how it could work:
Flip The Prison Industrial Complex. When a country that has 4.4% of the entire world's population, yet 22% of the world's prison population, and spends more on incarceration than education, yet the crime rate has been going down since the late 1970s, something is incredibly, systemically wrong. That is the United States in 2019. Since climate change is going to require the building of mega-projects and labor on massive scales, why not create a pathway to sentence abatement through a paid "green labor force" option for non-violent offenders? It would kill the Prison Industrial Complex and address climate change at the same time. Here are some mega projects in Africa that could be implemented around the world...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsb1LFUrSPA
The Black and Brown New Deal. While the Green New Deal proposal does provide financial support for those who will be impacted first and hardest by climate change, namely communities of color working class families, it could go further. Tech companies testing new technology for climate change adaptation should be testing these products out in communities of color first. Making arrangements in these communities would mean testing and investing in the communities, should these technologies take off.
A Vice Tax For Meat. I know there is a giant lobby in place that would fight this tooth and nail. That's fine if they want to argue this point while we all live underground, but here is something to consider right now. Reducing our red meat habit is the single most powerful thing any of us can do to reduce carbon emissions https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth.... while at the same time improving the overall health of billions of people. https://www.foxnews.com/health/10-benefits-of-eating-less-meat. Since many countries subsidize their farmers, we should subsidize poor meat producers in emerging countries to grow hemp. Just a thought.
Teaching Ubuntu. Business schools would do well to expand their curriculum to include the socioeconomic impact of Ubuntu as a socioeconomic system, especially in times of need. Ubuntu is a philosophical construct from Southern Africa that says "we are all connected", thus we must create systems that reflect this thought. Simply put, the scarcity model of individualism may be the last idea you want to promote in a time of climate change desperation. Without the idea of shared purpose, connectedness and the greater good, teaching students that it's all about the individual could ignite fear and anxiety which could send a society into chaos. https://theclimatelemon.com/individual-collective-fixing-climate-change/
Some sections of our society would look at these bold ideas as "too radical" and "dangerous". But we have to constantly remind ourselves that it was their ideas and their defense of those ideas that have brought us to this moment in time in the first place.
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at email@example.com