Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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From time to time we'll keep you posted about up and coming workshops, presentations and media appearances
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React, Manage or Create - three pathways to the Future
Wednesday 1 November 2017
Short article over at the Centre for Australian Foresight looks at Three approaches to dealing with the emerging Future
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Fixing the O-Bike Disaster
Wednesday 27 September 2017
And trust me, it really is one. The O-Bike is another example of Theft of the Commons. And it needs to stop. Now!
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The Basics of BitCoin and Digital Currencies
Wednesday 30 August 2017
Blockchains and Bitcoins? There's some great benefits among all the hype and yes there are risks. Perhaps the single most underrated element of the promise is the inability for any one or a handful of players to manipulate or 'game' the system. The keys to note are:
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The Increased Reach of Private Equity
Friday 25 August 2017
Was lucky enough to have joined some invitees at Grant Thornton's Private Equity conference. Three well run days with good speakers looking at aspects of potential for engagement in specific companies and areas (themes). As investment vehicles in various Industry sectors, PE is a clear Futures Focused area of endeavour.
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The Future of TV
Thursday 27 July 2017
This chat with Joseph Thomsen on @ABCGoulburnMurray was a look at the issues facing old school commercial TV networks in Australia, especially given Channel Ten's woes. There's a clue for Channel Ten right at the end which I doubt it'll will act on!
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Towards an Advanced Society - the Paradox of Development
Tuesday 30 May 2017
In 2010 I wrote a paper, the summary of which included an assessment of the emerging challenges facing many societies around the world, simply that multinationals failing to pay sufficient dues to enable a society to develop, will see a backlash from which they may not recover. That time is upon us
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New Australian Food Labeling Laws Finally Make it to Market
Wednesday 3 May 2017
Some of you may have noticed Federal Government advertising for the Food Labeling Laws. What few people will know is that the model being put out there is pretty much the EXACT model I proposed back in the year 2000. Which just goes to show that to predict the future, sometimes all you have to do is wait. Well not quite but
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No, all is NOT Lost!
Monday 27 February 2017
It's been a significantly busy couple of months looking at how Industries and Government Agencies are preparing for change. The Companies versus Climate Change conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in November/December, and a meeting with the Political Science Department at the University of Hawaii (Manoa) in January show that positive action is happening, despite some of the headlines
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2017: The Year of Disconnection
Saturday 31 December 2016
Many of you know that each year I make an observation about what I think the year will bring. The track record suggests I'm usually a couple of years ahead of the curve. With that said I'm calling 2017
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Profiting from Sustainability & Climate Change
Monday 12 December 2016
In Ft. Lauderdale USA I recently attending a delightful provocatively named 'Companies Versus Climate Change' conference. And the message is clear - companies, BIG well known companies are tackling the issues of climate change, sustainability and their carbon footprints and both making and saving VAST sums of dollars. The simple take away message from the presentations over the three days could not have been more explicit - tackling climate change pays off big time!
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The difference between Social & Engaged Media versus old school Push & Passive media
Friday 4 November 2016
Explained In one Simple 10 second clip. Highlights why most old school TV news, Newspapers and even some companies still don't get 'social'
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Skills for a Future Career - the C.A.P.A.B.L.E Future
Thursday 27 October 2016
This is Part One from this year's chat where I suggest they need to develop a C.A.P.A.B.L.E. Future
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Planning Tips for Local Government Agencies
Thursday 22 September 2016
I'll be helping to kick off the Local Government Corporate Planners Conference in a couple of weeks, offering some thoughts about emerging issues for Councils and an approach to planning that should alleviate some issues for them. You can find details in
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Why the LAST Thing You Want Your Organisation to be is 'Resilient'
Wednesday 10 August 2016
I'm surprised at how prevalent the idea of 'resilience' is in the organisational and leadership landscape. It's as if the key ingredient to success is 'resilience'. But I think the reality of what is needed is SUBSTANTIALLY different. Taken to the logical conclusion, the last thing most organisations need is to be 'resilient'. The problem I believe lies in the language leaders are using when it comes to setting a framework for how a business goes about doing what it does. Instead
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The Four Phases of an Adaptable, Resilient and Sustainable Organisation
Friday 15 July 2016
There are four phases of thinking that every organisation MUST have available to them if they plan to be resilient to challenges, adaptable to changing circumstances and able to sustain themselves over time. The Phases are Strategic; Operational; Execution; and Evolution. If you miss any one of them or underplay an area, sooner or later you are going to get bitten. HARD
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Sometimes there's no Ying and Yang, It's all Yang or All Ying But it's STILL a Choice
Thursday 23 June 2016
One of the challenging things dealing with some executive teams or leadership groups is what to do when there is an expectation, either explicit or implied, that there will be a 'good' option. But the reality for many organisations is that there will come a time when no matter which way you look at things, the choices still look bad. The question is what you do at that point
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Signal or Noise? Overcoming the 'distraction problem'
Monday 6 June 2016
There's an ebb and flow in decision making as much as there is with execution of strategy - your decisions aimed at achieving your stated intentions. That ebb and flow is significantly influenced by your organisation's ability to differentiate between mere 'noise' that is distracting you, and a true signal of potential change. The critical question that you must answer and then respond to is 'how good are we at separating mere noise from a true signal?'
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It's a Simple Question of Focus
Sunday 8 May 2016
Sometimes we get too caught up in making our current state of business more complex than it needs to be. And yet most of your business issues will come down to honestly answering just two simple questions -
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Singapore's Driverless Taxis - a Mistake in the making?
Friday 15 April 2016
Sometimes what seems like a really good idea turns out to be less so. Despite all the potential benefits I have a strong personal view that any push to take the Singapore Taxi service into the realm of driverless vehicles would be of significantly less benefit to Singapore than what it thinks. And though Driverless vehicles in Singapore seems a straightforward step, taxis would be the wrong area. Here's why
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Why Updating Your Business Model is Critical to Success
Friday 25 March 2016
The following story explains what happens when you take assumptions from a previous model of the world, and retain them through your ongoing business development. It's a message for how you end up treating your customers with disregard. If you store ANY data on your mobile phones, including messages that may have contractural or legal standing, you'll want to read it. The story context is'Death' and 'Bereavement' but trust me when I say it has implications way beyond that
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A Fork in the Road for the National Party
Thursday 10 March 2016
Life is full of interesting and not so interesting choices. Some seemingly mundane or innocuous choices turn out to be life makers (and breakers). Occasionally the noisy intensive choices turn out to be little more than a passing zephyr carrying dust. The National Party in Australia have just been presented with a 'Fork in The Road' moment. Tony Windsor's decision to run in the Seat of New England against the incumbent National Leader Barnaby Joyce. The 'Fork' looks like this:
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A Common Mistake That Kills Your Ability to Achieve
Wednesday 24 February 2016
It probably does not get much simpler than this - no MBA required, no advanced training needed. And rather than give you the 'mistake' I'll just give you the solution which is this: NEVER mistake the positiveness of Your Intent...
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To Manage Your Expectations, First You Need to Know What They Are
Thursday 28 January 2016
We all use words that tell us about the results that were achieved and whether our expectations were met, missed or exceeded. Surprised? Disappointed? Delighted? The only way you can experience these emotions and others like them, is to have an expectation in mind. And the ONLY way you can teach your organisation to learn from the future, is to first, identify what your expectations are...
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Xmas and all that paper
Friday 25 December 2015
In parts of the world it's Christmas day, a time for excusing your retail spending on a 'worthy cause'. Which is fun in some ways and delusional in others :-) Don't allow my grinchness deter you from enjoying today. As for me, I'm delighted that a) my present was wrapped in old newspaper and b) the gift
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There's No such Thing as a Normal Future
Wednesday 9 December 2015
The last couple of months have been hectic to say the least, with a myriad of client engagements across an array of industry sectors. And as you can see from the list below one thing is clear: EVERYONE wants to understand what is shaping their future and how they might be able to influence that more to their liking. And that is one of the reason I love what I do - being involved in facilitating a deliberate search for understanding. Many thanks to all of the clients both past and ongoing for providing that opportunity
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I'm nominating 2016 as The International Year for Consumer Fightback
Friday 20 November 2015
Those of you that have been tracking this website for a while will know that towards the end of each year, I nominate the following year's area of focus. For instance I declared that 2015 would be the International Year of Battery Technology, and as the news stories, product research and renewables push shows, it was a pretty good call to make. So next year I'm sensing a driving focus on Consumers standing up to the rubbish service, faulty products and price gouging that's they've endured in many areas for too long
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Curing Brain Cancer One Fund-Raiser at a Time
Saturday 17 October 2015
I'm wrapped to be acting as EmCee for the third year in a row at Blackwood 8's Celebration of Hope event, raising money to find a Cure for Brain Cancer. And delighted that the event has sold out. But fret not - you can still bid for some great auction items online or make a fully tax deductible donation through the website
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Memo PM Turnbull - Your First 100 Hours
Tuesday 15 September 2015
The major party in Australia's dual party Government, the Liberal Party, has removed their leader Tony Abbott, replacing him with the previous leader, Malcolm Turnbull. PM designate Turnbull may be inclined to spend the first few days appeasing and reassuring his party members that everything will be okay. And that would be a mistake. Public polling saying Abbott was dead in the water showed it's the PUBLIC who need reassuring so here's what PM designate could do in his first 100 hours.
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The Outsider's view of the Inside Futures
Thursday 27 August 2015
As a consultant, one of the great puzzles I consistently discover is the mindset many clients hold with regard to their own abilities to conceive of and pursue, their own approach to futures thinking. I know this is not an issues restricted to futurists as where some clients have a 'not invented here' approach to rejecting ideas, many others hold the 'can't invent it here' view of their own capabilities. And that means that
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The Quick Low-Down of Corporate Visions and why they Fail
Friday 3 July 2015
I've just read an article about Corporate Visions and getting employees on the same page. And as happens so often, I shook my head because it offered the same flawed advice about what a leader needs to do to get their employees to buy into the Vision. And therein lays the fatal flaw
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How California can Learn from the Australian Experience of Drought
Thursday 4 June 2015
As the drought in California continues to bite hard on the lives of millions, a recent article on Triple Pundit suggested that many people want to help save water, they just don't know what else to do. Which is why California needs to look beyond its borders to the driest inhabited continent on the planet - Australia. And specifically, to the recently drought ravaged State of Victoria
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Will a Change in Greens Leadership make the Nationals Redundant?
Wednesday 6 May 2015
With the moderately surprising news that Christine Milne had decided to step out of her current political life, Dr Richard Di Natale moved into the driver's seat for the Greens. And I flag that this spells trouble for the National Party because this shift, this change in voice and style, connected to similar passions, will offer the traditionally National voting rural constituent, the 'go signal' for change. And here's why:
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Why most Strategic Plans are little more than wish-lists
Wednesday 22 April 2015
In fact I'll go one step further and say that many Strategic Plans are DELIBERATE methods for NOT Progressing. In far too many organisations, the process of Strategic Planning is about compliance to a process of 'having a plan' and typically it has nothing to do with achievement of the outcomes listed in the Strategic Plan. They are at best a wishlist of hoped for outcomes. More often however they are used to hide a major lack of accountability and progress
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Why Battery Technology will force Power Companies to embrace domestic supply
Thursday 12 March 2015
Around Australia and parts of the world like the USA, some governments and especially many large scale power utilities, are pursuing a campaign to prevent domestic solar from being fed back into (sold to) the grid. I'm assuming that the (fundamentally flawed) thinking is that by denying additional energy production points, they'll prop up or sustain their own margins and profits. Which was probably accurate until the 2015 International Year of Battery Technology got into its groove
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Men, What Will Your Legacy Be?
Tuesday 24 February 2015
I'm male. You may like to take that into consideration with the rest of what you read as, a) I'm part of the problem b) Whatever I say cannot, no matter how well intentioned, be in anyway able to represent women
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The Future of Energy
Friday 20 February 2015
On a day when The Age front page ran a story of mass disconnections of householders struggling to pay their domestic electricity bill, Futurist Marcus Barber and ABC Goulburn Murray's Joseph Thomsen discuss the future of energy - what's happening now, what are we going to see in the future and what can consumers do to deal with the ever rising costs
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Eat OR Extract? You CANNOT do Both
Friday 6 February 2015
With Farmland across NSW, Queensland, & the Northern Territory under pressure from the mining sector, the quality of discussion as to which land use is of best outcome or most suitable seems to go astray. I've been flagging the 'Eat' OR 'Extract' challenge for a few years now and this radio interview is one example
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2015 will be the International Year of Battery Technology
Wednesday 31 December 2014
For the past few years I've decided to declare each year to be something I think the world needs or is likely to see. It's not so much about the prediction but more about the likely focus that will benefit the world. So I'm declaring this year to be the International Year of Battery Technology
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Why Uber is not part of the Sharing Economy
Thursday 18 December 2014
I keep reading posts that Uber is an example of the 'sharing economy', the one in which people freely share what they have with others. But it's NOT - it is instead part of what I call the 'Utilisation Economy' which is about use of spare capacity. About 15 years ago I began writing about the emerging generations being more likely focused on 'Access to', rather than 'ownership of', products and services and this was a reason why big ticket items were of less appeal. Access to was the early sign of the sharing economy which works more like this - if I can borrow a friend's camera/car/house/surfboard why do I need to buy one?
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Victorian Election - who should you* vote for?
Wednesday 26 November 2014
Part of being effective as a futurist is being able to assess potential issues and their impact over time. The Victorian State Election is on this Saturday and though many say that State elections have little bearing on issues we face, our system means that the fluctuations at a Federal level are often countered by voters choosing the opposite at a State level. Call it a quirk of the system. So what do I sense lies ahead here in Victoria? Read on
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Incumbent models are vulnerable to leapfrogging technology. Here's why:
Sunday 9 November 2014
One of the reasons I founded The Australian Strategic Planning Institute was to ensure that high quality futures perspectives were included in the Strategic Planning process. Typically they were not which meant too many businesses and organisations were planning for futures that just would not exist as expected, meaning wasted resources and sometimes and marked increase in Risk profiles. Over at the TASPI website I've been prompted by scientist and futurist Melissa Sterry to write an article, after looking at her involvement with the Leap Frog project in the Philipinnes
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Down the Drain with a Four Minute Shower - redux
Wednesday 22 October 2014
As Victorian edges its way into a new drought phase and plays catch up to other parts of the country, I've been pushed to remember an article I wrote about our then State Government's push to get people to reduce the length of their showers. The Four Minute Shower was an attempt to highlight just how much fresh water we sent down the drain every day. But here's the thing - in my piece below, I said we needed a rethink. What we should be aiming to do was INCREASE usage while DECREASING consumption. It may sound counter-intuitive, and as you'll read, it is surprisingly simple. And important
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A 2003 Prediction about 2015 One Step Closer to Coming True!
Wednesday 15 October 2014
Sometimes when you look at enough assorted pieces of information a clear pattern emerges. In a previous role I was tasked with looking at the Future of Education, a topic I delved deeply into for almost 3 years. And in 2003 in a piece titled 'The Future of Commercial Education' I predicted that by 2015, a National Student Draft would exist in Australia as a way for employers to attract tertiary graduates. Today's Australian Government announcement bringing the corporate sector explicitly into the secondary school sector, brings my prediction to the cusp of reality
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How Digital Agencies Will Fail Everytime
Wednesday 1 October 2014
Tomorrow I'll be at the State Library of Victoria as part of the #V21 Digital Summit. In my futurist, pragmatist role I'll be presenting few ideas about why 'Your Future is NOT an App', then later in the day facilitating an onstage debate about Disruption's role in Innovation. And if it is anything to go by from last year's event, I'll have an opportunity to learn a significant amount. But back to the headline about Digital Agencies Failing -
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Picking the Right Futurist for Your Strategic Insights
Friday 12 September 2014
When I look at my overall client types, it seems to me that I have two main types of client. The first is a client that has a good business and is generally successful and wants a futurist to help keep them ahead of emerging issues and opportunities. The second main client type is one that feels their organisation has or is hitting a brick wall, that has experienced a lack of success through past approaches to developing insights and strategy and that the 'something's gotta change' mantra has emerged inside the executive team. Which is why the brief becomes important
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Leading with One Hand Tied behind Your Back
Tuesday 5 August 2014
There's a few problems with the successful leadership lists that bounce their way around the internet. In my opinion they lack context - the reality check that only comes by having a full appreciation of an individual organisation's particular circumstances. Unfortunately many of these lists of 'required leadership behaviours' offer shallow quick fix advice that fails to address the difficulties of decision making in the real world
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Why Coal's biggest problem right now, is not renewables
Friday 25 July 2014
There's no doubt that coal has a legitimacy problem with large swathes of the public around the world. Once a darling of energy and still in relative abundant supplies, Coal provides significant levels of energy per gram consumed. Yet the end outcome is now known to be incredibly harmful to localised communities needing to breathe air filled with particulates, as well as the climate heating properties of its use. With renewable energy sources being positioned for rapid uptake, it'd be easy to think that Coal's major problem is renewable energy alternatives. But if you're in the coal Industry and thinking you need to hold the tide against renewables, you're fighting the wrong tide
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#V21 2014 Conference coming up in October
Thursday 24 July 2014
The line up for this year's #V21 Conference has just been finalised. I'm delighted to have been asked back again after presenting to a packed house last year. The link to the conference site is below, along with my summary of all of last year's presentations. I'm also going to facilitate a panel session aimed to spark some more ideas for the audience to finalise the day.
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How do you handled 'the unsettled' transitions?
Saturday 12 July 2014
At almost every stage in a shift in the way societies and organisations operate, there comes a period of extreme 'unsettled-ness'. This period may show itself in the form of the doldrums (where things seem unusually calm but nothing seems to be happening) or in busyness (where there's lots of activity but nothing seems to be happening). In many cases there will be a call for a re-think of direction, of purpose and of activity. So when should you maintain the course, and when should you take a step back?
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Things I Should Have Said But Didn't
Wednesday 18 June 2014
Sometimes when we have the chance to say something, we don't. About two years ago one of my uncles died and I should have spoken at his funeral. This personal post is what I should have said to the public gallery that attended
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The Loud Secret: Underestimating your Internal Skill Sets
Friday 13 June 2014
I've just posted a quick overview on LinkedIn called The 'Loud Secret' - Underestimating your internal skill sets which you can find at the link below
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Queues - coming to an Emergency Department near you
Friday 2 May 2014
Health Care costs in Australia are rising and are likely to continue doing so as our population both grows and ages. Which means attempts to address this issue are warranted. Equally warranted is an assessment of the impacts for addressing or ignoring the issue. If, as has been mooted, the Australian Government introduces an $8 or $15 fee to go and visit the GP, appears in the upcoming budget, what are some of the implications?
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Towards the one step replacement of damaged DNA & promise of living forever
Sunday 13 April 2014
We've been getting far more effective at understanding the way our brains work especially as they relate to the idea of 'mind'. Simply, the idea that we make decisions based on our conscious understanding, appears limited at best and highly flawed at worst. And now, the step towards longevity, perhaps even the fountain of youth, is being unpacked. Just recently a medical research team announced that they had successfully rewired a living organ (a thymus), such that an aged one began operating as new. The next piece of this puzzle is a one step fix of faulty DNA
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The next great space age - inside the human brain
Wednesday 19 March 2014
In a recent piece in the New York Times, Thomas L Freidman's article 'If I had a hammer' discussed the new book by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee's new book 'The Second Machine Age' and the development of computing power now making even complex employment positions redundant. Whereas in the first machine age, human muscle was supported and enhanced, the second age depicts work without the need for human intervention. Which though fascinating, sounds a bit bleak for the large majority. And at the same time, the computation advances are opening up the next space race - the area inside your brain.
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Jobs of the future - some advice for parents
Tuesday 18 March 2014
I was interviewed for this article earlier last year and now it seems it has more currency than ever, so I'm reposting the link here. As a parent, what steps can you take to ensure
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When Organisational Visions are Statements of Delusion
Monday 3 March 2014
For over a decade I worked with organisations in for profit, not for profit and government sectors. I've advised organisations in Europe, North America, Asia and beyond. Some organisations have been multi nationals, long standing, privately owned, publicly held, socially aware, profit focused and more. I've managed million dollar portfolios and client accounts of just one. I've been engaged for a mere hour up to projects lasting a number of years. And of all areas of operation, I've discovered just one area that connects all organisational types - the Organisation's Vision
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Robotics, Ageing, and Employment - where are we and what's next?
Friday 28 February 2014
The link to the article below will take you to an overview of how robotic design is developing towards a more 'natural' form of human movement. To a larger extent, this is part of the normalisation process so that those of us exposed to robotics can be more accepting of their presence. This is indeed a very good sign - a move away from a capability focus toward an acceptance framework should speed takeup of robotics especially in more socially demanding areas like hospital assistance and aged care. And there's one layer that is yet to be included:
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What type of Homework should kids be doing?
Monday 17 February 2014
Occasionally I see a post that leads me to slap my forehead with the sheer simplicity of its brilliance. The post in the link below discusses the idea of homework for kids and I flag that I'm on the School Council of my kid's Primary School, where this discussion runs rampant.
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Environmental Factors and the Future Consumer
Thursday 23 January 2014
I'm part way through a small research piece for an FMCG company that is interested in exploring the future consumer and what kind of environmental factors might influence their purchasing decisions. Interestingly enough toward the end of last year I had three FMCG firms approach me about a similar challenge, so 'Future Consumers' must be 'flavour of the month' (pun intended). When talking consumers, an Environmental Factor refers to the things that influence the consumer, especially at point of sale and delving into some of the emerging developments in this space is delightfully interesting.
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A quick look at the 'Repeal Day' concept - almost right
Thursday 16 January 2014
The Australian Government has announced a 'Repeal Day', intended to be used to axe the existence of hundreds of outdated laws. The concept is a good one, though for me, doesn't quite get the Australian Parliament into a forward looking setting in how it could develop FUTURE legislation. So what could be done instead and what are the Repeal Day risks?
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2014 - The International Year of Food Security
Tuesday 31 December 2013
Continuing his run of suggesting an annual theme and idea of world focus for the year ahead, Futurist Marcus Barber has declared 2014 to be the International Year of Food Security. 'The year ahead is going to bring into sharp focus, what has often been seen as an 'other-world' problem' Barber says. 'For a number of decades, lack of food and lack of access to food has resided in the domains of the developing world. With the confluence of climate impacts, land becoming unfit for food production, water stress, and costs, for perhaps the first time in living memory, these issues will be present in developed countries too'
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Coming up on New Year's Day - a look ahead to emerging issues
Monday 30 December 2013
Yes I know, committing to an early morning chat on ABC Radio on New Year's Day may to some seem tinged with the 'what were you thinking?' bug, but hey, what better time is there than chatting about the future, than at prime New Year's Resolution time? You'll be able to listen to the stream out of Queensland by heading off to the ABC Radio website where Craig and I will be looking at some of the more interesting ideas you'll likely see more of in the near future.
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How your Company Vision is doing you harm
Wednesday 27 November 2013
The Australian Strategic Planning Institute website has a new article on why Visions, rather than being useful shining lights, end up being 'ruts' for organisations.
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Unlocking the promise of 'teleworking'
Wednesday 20 November 2013
One of the great things about technology (especially of the instantaneous 'social' kind) is the ability to attend a conference without leaving your office. Which is a salient point because yesterday I followed a number of the presentations looking at the idea of tele-working or remote workers, and did so by following the tweets of people in the room at the time. I have an interest in this concept and those of you who were at the RSCA conference in Canberra in 2007 would have seen me speak about the challenges that work-forces face, and why we were yet to capture the gains possible through teleworking. Six years on, and we're still yet to do so - why?
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Keeping your Future, grounded to Reality
Tuesday 19 November 2013
About once a week I get a call from a client or a media group asking if I can tell them what the future will be like. The conversation usually goes something like this - Me: can I ask what you're trying to discover? Journalist: Oh you know, something really catchy, about how the world is changing and how we're all struggling to keep up, that sort of thing'; Me: Is your audience interested in knowing how to check whether their assessment of the future is grounded in reality, or what they can do to make it reality?'; Journalist 'Um, I guess but I was really after a few interesting facts...'. With the client calls the request can often be couched in a need for a 'prediction' of the future. The challenge is over the difference between a theoretical future and a strategic future.
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The 2013 Melbourne Cup - a Futurist Decides
Monday 4 November 2013
Now before any of you rush out and stick your hard earned on anything I say here, please note that a) I'm answering this because I get asked every year and b) My track record is appalling. Still I've put a bit of thought into a near term prediction to see who you might like to back come cup time tomorrow - take it with a fine grain of salt!
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Celebration of Hope fundraiser for Brain Cancer
Friday 18 October 2013
Tonight I have the privilege of being the MC for Blackwood 8's Celebration of Hope Gala Ball at the Manningham Function Centre in Doncaster. Blackwood 8 raise funds to find a cure of Brain Cancer and are strong supporters of Dr. Charlie Teoh's Cure for Life foundation. With a crowd of around 300 it's going to be another great night, and on the entertainment list
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Marcus Barber's Presentation from the V21 Digital Conference in Melbourne is available
Thursday 3 October 2013
I've just spent a delightful day learning about digital issues at the v21 Digital Conference at the State Library and my presentation at that conference is now available at the link below. My all too brief summary of presentations is also provided
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The ever increasing computing power replacing jobs by the thousands
Tuesday 24 September 2013
When it comes to 'anti-technology' thinking, a term often thrown disparagingly at people is 'Luddite'. Luddites were indeed anti-tech BUT contrary to modern day thinking, they had a particular dislike for technology that would put people out of work. If technology helped keep people employed or created more jobs they were all for it. Which brings me to current computing technology and in particular, the potential long-tail impacts on cities and towns
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Australia's 2013 Election – LNP in a Landslide
Saturday 7 September 2013
Or is it? ...Over the past six years, the mainstream media polls have consistently shown the Liberal Party /National Party Coalition as well ahead of the Australian Labor Party. Those polls turned out to be wrong last time around when Tony Abbott failed to get enough of the vote to defeat Julia Gillard. Or should we say that when three independents interviewed both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, it was Gillard's vision for Australia they sided with. Simply put, mainstream media got it wrong.... So are the mainstream media's polls right this time? The alternative media voice – social media, has been incredibly active offering alternative views. As a side event, this election may well be a lot less about the battle between the LNP and ALP and much more about the relevance and weighting of old media versus new media.
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Looks like some Soaps kill off more than Germs!
Friday 30 August 2013
In my view ALL futures thinking about 'big issues' starts with futures thinking about personal issues. The idea that we take for granted the way our lives operate has for millennia been shown to be a high risk assumption. From the food we eat, to where we live, to products we use (and how we use them). Simply put, our assumptions about our personal safety sometimes increase the risks we face. In this chat with Vicki Kerrigan on ABC Darwin we consider the rise of the marketing driven 'anti-bacterial' soap phenomena. One that as it turns out, could well be killing us
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Innovation has to start somewhere, but where?
Tuesday 6 August 2013
How do you innovate? Where do you innovate? Why do you innovate? How do I start innovating? These and a truckload of other similar questions are often tied to the idea that innovation is the silver bullet or panacea to mediocrity in organisations. And maybe it is. There's a whole raft of ways in which innovation can occur, some more hit and miss than others. One good place to start (it sure is not the only one) is 'build your awareness'. Which is why the City of Greater Dandenong's South East Business Networks unit is running another MIIdAS session
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Preparing for the Upswing & a Change in Direction
Sunday 21 July 2013
From an organisational perspective it is pretty common for senior managers to spend significant energy considering when to upgrade plant and equipment, be it machinery, vehicles or IT infrastructure. The upgrades can occur on the run (in response to a surge in demand for instance), as a result of necessity (say as a result of a breakdown or unexpected damage) or as a planned development. The farming sector are very good at upgrading equipment in response to expected demand whilst also having a great handle on plant servicing and repairs. The current manufacturing sector is more cautious and most will upgrade as needed, holding off for as long as possible until confident a surge in demand is emerging. But what about your people? How many organisations 'upgrade' their people talent in time?
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Why your Race for Talent should be a 'Slow' one
Monday 8 July 2013
If you've seen me speak before you already know I take a provocative stance when it comes to areas like personnel development, training and recruitment. Clients also know that once we've opened the door to thinking differently, they're guided through some significant 'of course' moments in terms of how they approach developing their people and attracting and retaining talent. The '8 Factors model' is just one of those approaches and in the following conversation with ABC Darwin's Vicki Kerrigan I discuss two others:
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Has The Age Editor called for the wrong resignation
Monday 24 June 2013
I flag from the outset that I haven't been a regular readers of newspapers for almost a decade, only slightly less than my giving up on mainstream TV News shows. As such you should take this with a grain of salt, coming as it does from someone who reads maybe a paper a week and even then only to delve into the puzzles as my preferred section of the newspaper. That said, on Saturday I read The Age editorial calling for Julia Gillard to stand aside.
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Renewable Energy Technology faces same challenges as new carbon tech - fact or fallacy claims
Monday 17 June 2013
In the search for fuels and energy sources that act as a replacement to Oil, there's much hype and claims that need to be tested. In much the same as claims about carbon capture technology being built onto existing coal fired power stations seem to lack both viability and credibility (in my view), the same assessment criteria ought to be applied to things like wind energy. Which is why this article at Gizmag has earned a place here as a recommended article for reading. Titled 'Dodgy Wind? Why 'innovative turbines' are often anything but' it tackles the hype
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A Counter to Doomsayers of Manufacturing in Australia
Tuesday 4 June 2013
Every day people in positions of 'opinion authority' make choices about what 'opinions' they will offer on a whole array of subjects. And it would be fair to say that over the past five years or so, many of those 'opinion authorities' have been significantly negative on Australia's manufacturing sector. There's no doubt that the sector is undergoing change which includes a shrinking base and fewer employees. And allowing me to counter with just one observation - it seems to me that the vast majority of these 'opinion authorities' have NO CLUES as to how well some areas of Australian Manufacturing are going,
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The Trucking Industry is facing a crisis. It needs to Act. NOW
Tuesday 28 May 2013
The Trucking Industry, as a key part of the wider Supply Chain and Logistics Industry is coming to the end of an era, right at the time when it should be being refreshed. Put simply, there just aren't enough drivers for trucks, and to date, attempts to recruit more drivers have been less that what is required. The immediate result is two fold: trucks are getting bigger with more trailers being added; and drivers are facing ever tougher delivery times. And that leads to a further impact -
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Why does Facebook think it's okay to treat Violence against women as acceptable?
Wednesday 22 May 2013
In case you haven't had time to keep up with these events, here's a quick overview of the Everyday Sexism project's attempts to hold FaceBook to account for its explicit support of sexual violence against women as portrayed in the many permitted Facebook pages that promote rape, rape culture, and violence against women. Facebook appears to think that allowing a 'satire' or 'humour' tag for these pages somehow condones what these pages clearly reflect - a deliberate, hateful commentary. And right now there's a major push-back against Facebook which is VERY quick to take down images of women breastfeeding but more than happy to allow 'humour' depicting women as victims of violence for failing to do what men ask them to do
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Emerging Consumers: Fact or Fiction?
Monday 20 May 2013
As a futurist spending much of my time assessing emerging developments and their implications across an array of industry sectors, I am frequently asked for a view on 'consumer trends'. Common questions are 'what will consumers want in the future?' 'Does our product (service) have a place?' 'What is driving consumer behaviour?' 'How can we get ahead of the changing marketplace?' and so on. But what if they're the WRONG questions? For anyone who has seen me facilitate a public session, you'll know that I play part court jester, part voice of conscience to provoke they way people think. So allow me a little provocation for you:
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Is your Personal Bio-Waste Stream a source of Potential Income?
Wednesday 15 May 2013
Without putting too fine a point on it, most of us pay little attention to what we 'deposit' in our toilets each time the body needs to exit our bodily waste. And yet with a looming phosphate shortage around the world (along with other useful components) our personal waste streams are worth billions of dollars every year. The ability to 'mine' large volumes of human waste has been improving over the past decade and in this conversation with ABC Darwin's Vicki Kerrigan, we push the envelope so to speak by considering personal waste streams as a source of income
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How the 'Perfect Plan' can lead you to Disaster
Tuesday 14 May 2013
Today I have a bee in my bonnet, so please look away if my frankness might bother you. In the last couple of days I've had yet another conversation with a Local Council planning team manager about Strategic Planning for their Council that bothered me a great deal. What really has me bothered is that the conversation indicated that the reason that this particular Council had not managed to achieve its outcomes was the belief that their previous plans were not perfect. This is NOT the first time a similar suggestion from a Local Council has been offered.
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Micro Drones & Your Privacy
Monday 29 April 2013
Whilst many people have heard about Drones in terms of their military applications, the concept of micro drones and their use in civilian settings is not quite so well known. It appears that the surveillance capability that technologies like Drones provide, are edging their way into more social environments. That may or may not be a good thing. The questions are always around potential implications, especially in area such as personal privacy. It's no possible to have a camera equipped micro-drone for around $50 and depending on your desired filming requirements or range of operations, prices and complexity of a drone increase from there.
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Assessing the Opposition's Alternative NBN plan
Thursday 18 April 2013
The link below will take you to the audio of the discussion I had with Annie Gaffney on ABC Radio Sunshine Coast the day after the Opposition released its Broadband policy. There's been much discussion about the perceived value or otherwise, and I flag my bias here upfront: As a small business owner likely to benefit significantly from faster download speeds and global business conferencing potential, I am really surprised that the Opposition have chosen what will very quickly become a sub-standard alternative. You'll hear me discuss growth rates in data demand and other related issues
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Higher Ed is still playing catch-up - will it ever be on par?
Wednesday 10 April 2013
In the article I link to below, Diana G Oblinger, the President of EDUCAUSE offers the Higher Ed community some insights such as this one: we've moved on from the Information Age and are now in the Connected Age. Such a statement will come as quite a shock for many Higher Education Institutions and policy makers in Governments around the world. In the article, Diana highlights the areas in which the educational setting is widely connected - learners, faculty, institutions and to that extent, I think the article is right on the money. But here's the scary thing - if this is news to many in HigherEd (and alas it is for far TOO many) then not only are they playing catch-up, they're already going to be missing the ALREADY EMERGING step that is BEYOND 'Connected'
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Jobs of the Future and What Parents can do to help their kids
Monday 8 April 2013
In case you haven't heard, technology is making so many jobs redundant, that only the adaptable will survive. And when I say 'jobs redundant' I mean across EVERY conceivable industry and level of specialisation. Robotic surgery is now so good that not only can it be done remotely, it can be done without human intervention. That is only going to happen more so 'good bye surgeons'. There's a robotic hair washing machine and robotic vacuum cleaner so 'good bye hair apprenticeships'. There's software that does the work of 4 or 5 young lawyers, so 'good bye article clerks' and let's not metnion the robotic hamburger machine that can make and customise a few hundred choices of hamburgers for the waiting consumer. As more jobs vanish, others are created and if you are a parent of some youngsters there ARE some actions you CAN take to make a difference for them. And no, 'choice of school' is not what I'm talking about here. Instead
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Coca Cola Versus the Public - container recycling as a branding challenge
Friday 5 April 2013
Coca Cola, Lion Nathan and Schweppes have successfully challenged the Northern territory's compulsory container deposit recycling scheme in the Federal Court. The scheme had seen recycling rates jump by 30% in just a few months and was widely applauded by the public as the right thing to do. Despite the overwhelming public support, Coca Cola and others chose to have the scheme over turned. In this chat with ABC Darwin's Vicki Kerrigan we
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Advanced Strategic Organisational Management course in Manila
Tuesday 26 March 2013
If you're looking for an accelerated course in Strategic Planning and Advanced Management techniques in the Philippines in July, then TruEventUs has a two day session coming up on the 4th and 5th of June. Marcus Barber, founder of The Australian Strategic Planning Institute will facilitate this intensive program. For full details
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The Future of Retail has landed.
Thursday 7 March 2013
As co presenter of the 'Future Matters' series with the National Geographic Channel back in 2004, I discussed the idea of Rapid Prototyping or 3D Printing. At that stage, 3D printers were like very large office photocopiers and the better ones had starting prices of around $150,000. I stated that in the near future, people would be able to print out their own dinner sets in their own homes, by simply downloading a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program straight into their printer. A year or so later I presented to the Queensland Supply Chain & Logistics conference and showed them the new face of retail and manufacturing with a few examples. That face has arrived with the latest shift in 3D printing accessibility -
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In the Ins of the Outs of Crowdsourcing
Thursday 28 February 2013
In tracking shifts across the world and across industries, the rise of Crowdsourcing continues to unleash some amazing innovations in products and services. Importantly it is exposing the capability gaps that even large organisations have. Simply put, the 'crowd' is always going to be bigger than your business or organisation. But to tap that latent capability effectively requires some mental (and occasionally structural) shifts. Here's a few ideas you can jump onto today:
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Can the Northern Territory beat the Drink 'Bully Boys'?
Wednesday 20 February 2013
Allow me to flag my bias from the outset - I'm tinged green. My shade of green recognises that my actions can contribute to a cleaner or more polluted world and that overall, I'd prefer the cleaner version. There's a huge amount of data that shows that as a species we haven't been looking after the very world that provides us with a life support framework. Okay that said let me flag that I'm also a pragmatist - I like solutions that are feasible (not 'equal'),
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The Future of Manufacturing is Upon us
Friday 1 February 2013
The burgeoning shift in the manufacturing sector has been coming for a touch over a decade and has, I would suggest, now reached your front gate. A whole confluence of factors that include 3D printing, Crowdsourcing, home engineering and freescale Idea Generation leveraging social funding approaches means that EVERY single aspect of manufacturing as we know it, is now passing from closed networks and few providers and into the hands of anyone who wants it.
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Ten Trends Shaping Government Today
Friday 25 January 2013
Futurist Jack Uldrich has posted an item to his website looking at Ten Trends shaping Government today. Although each item is arguable and may be context specific depending on 'which' Government you're looking at, it's a good overall take suggesting things to do with data, the interenet, crowdsourcing and the like. However I think Jack is missing one HUGE trend, the rise of what I call MOGRA's
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Should we really keep Politicians away from Scientists?
Wednesday 23 January 2013
Sir Paul Nurse has 'weight' when it comes to science. His position is the head of The Royal Society in the United Kingdom and in an address in Melbourne he suggested that we need to keep politicians away from scientists: "It also emphasises the need to keep the science as far as is possible from political, ideological and religious influence," he said. And I'm wondering whether he is right? Should we really be keeping these areas separate?
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2013 will be the International Year of Crowdsourcing
Monday 31 December 2012
I've been thinking long and hard about what to call 2013. After saying 2011 would need to be the International Year of Resilience (much still needed) and 2012 the International Year of Problem Solving I'm thinking now that Crowdsourcing (the idea of seeking assistance beyond your own capabilities from the 'crowd' often through social media) has reached a critical mass and that means we can expect it to become a normal event across 2013. Here's some examples to support my thinking:
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Five Emergent Ideas for 2013 you won't find on any 'Trends for 2013' list (just yet)
Thursday 20 December 2012
There's lots of talk about 'next big things for 2013' right now, just as there has been in past years. Rather than join the cadre of prognosticators, trend experts and (not so) disguised salespeople laying claim to knowing about what 'will' be for the coming 12 months, I offer an alternative approach – here's five ideas I'd like to see taking root over the next 12 months: The Fallible Leader; Enough-ness; The Slow Retirement; The Slow Engagement; and Human Capability Departments
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Does the Mayan Calendar recommend opening your Christmas present early?
Monday 17 December 2012
Here it comes, the 21st of December 2012 - the last known recorded date on the Mayan Calendar and for years people have wondered why the Mayans never got around to extending beyond 2012. What did the Mayans know that we didn't and should we be thinking about opening our Christmas presents early this year? The answer is most definitely a
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Five Degrees Hotter? A quick reality check
Monday 10 December 2012
As a Strategic Futurist I love a good scenario like the rest of us in the futures community. And where I choose to diverge from many in my field is in the pragmatic applications of futures and foresight thinking. Scenarios left as 'what ifs...?' are at best, theoretical. All of my clients and most of the audience who've seen me present know that I am first and foremost a pragmatist – I want to know what you are going to do as a result of what you perceive your future potential to be.
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2013 Trends - fair or fantasy?
Wednesday 5 December 2012
Over at The Australian Strategic Planning Institute an observation has been made about the so called Top Ten Trends for 2013 and whether, with deeper consideration, the trends suggested deserve their place as new, or emerging or whether in fact, by relying upon them you might be chasing a ship that has long since sailed. You can make up your own mind
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Open, Closed, Free or Fare?
Monday 3 December 2012
Creative Commons is an approach that attempts to ensure that information in its various forms, can be shared by others for free. That is my take on it at least. And over time we've seen some major organisations shape the idea of 'free' to 'free with conditions' and 'free for a fee'. The last one staggers me but hey, that's their approach not mine. Increasingly we are seeing examples of information that starts off as being 'free' then merged into a commercial 'not free' world and subsequently locking out the free content. I'm thinking of a
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The Energy challenge & rising prices
Thursday 22 November 2012
Some topics are too big to cover in a few minutes on radio. In this brief snapshot, the ABC Darwin's Vicki Kerrigan and I chat about energy costs, causes and the future ahead for places like Darwin
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Cities of the Future: a view from Perth
Tuesday 20 November 2012
What does a City tell you of itself, by how it shows itself? There's much to be learnt by noting the small yet 'obvious' signs of life in any city you visit, that reveal to a certain extent, it's 'true self'. I'll mention a few cities here but will focus on my most recent visit where I've just spent about a week in Perth, my first 'longish' visit for quite sometime. First the obvious signs. There's LOTS of 'tall shoes' here that seem to be almost compulsory across the board, regardless of age or dress code, time of day or location. It is as if the wearers are reflecting the reach for the sky of many of the taller buildings of the city.
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The Melbourne Cup and a Futurist's view
Monday 5 November 2012
Okay the time has come again where people ask me, as a professional futurist, for my tips for the Melbourne Cup. As always I advise them that my area of expertise does not reside with horse racing so really, I have as much chance as anyone and their own system, of selecting a winner. That said I have noticed four horses that form an interesting combination:
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Make your own teeth? Should parents have a 'licence to parent'? and more on ABC Darwin
Thursday 1 November 2012
ABC Darwin's Vicki Kerrigan and I chat about the future of dentistry - is it possible to grow you own teeth? Are dentist visits going to become a thing of the past? And in the second of today's updates, we also chatted about the Future of Parenting - is it time that you needed a licence in order to be a parent? After all, you need a licence to own a pet dog!
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Time to combine Life Cycle design & penalties for environmental waste to solve a ballooning problem
Monday 22 October 2012
Organisations like CleanUp Australia and Take3.org have (along with many others) taken a leading role at identifying and removing waste that has entered our environment. Their efforts are fantastic yet have one clear problem - they rely on volunteers to clean up the mess of others, after the fact - it's a 'playing catch-up' strategy. So I'm thinking that the time is now right to use the 'end of life-cycle' product design approach to put the onus on product manufacturers to lift their game.
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Selective Consumption and the Retail sector
Sunday 14 October 2012
The Retail sector in Australia is slowing coming to grips with the fact that for the past 50 years, they've had a captured market and enormous profit margins. and that now, the times have changed. Whilst many point to the internet as a cause of their woes, others are pointing out the apparent high cost of labour as a major concern. Both of those issues are more or less out of the control of the sector and I would argue have only some influence of the retail sector. Yet what fascinates me is how few retailers (of all sizes) seem to be aware of the fundamental shift in the buying behaviours of consumers, and the implications for the retail sector:
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Strategic Agility and the Art of Paying Attention
Tuesday 25 September 2012
The many people who've been through one of The Australian Strategic Planning Institute's workshops over the past six years, will know how much emphasis is placed on the need to pay attention to things going on around you. In particular as part of the idea of tracking your progress toward your desired future (your Vision). So it's great to see some others starting to emphasise the need for agility in your personal or organisational setting
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How to Build an Effective Twitter Group
Wednesday 19 September 2012
As a Futurist I'm often asked what I think about certain social media tools (and most technology for that matter). My answer is always aligned to the thought that 'if the technology is working for you, and not against you, it's probably a good thing. Here then are my thoughts about building up a useful Twitter group
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The Future of Beer (and alcohol)
Wednesday 12 September 2012
Will alcohol have a legitimate place in societies in the years to come? As we slowly awaken to the horrendous impact of alcohol related harm and it's social and financial costs, will Australia's widely held acceptance of alcohol consumption begin to wane? This MP3 of my chat with Vicki Kerrigan on
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The Top 3 Questions and Answers for the Future
Wednesday 29 August 2012
Well as I've discovered them! These three questions (and my normal answers) are based on what I get asked consistently when I'm presenting or facilitating a session about Strategic Planning, 'the future of...', and how societies might look five, ten or twenty years from now: Question One - 'What is the most important thing to know about the future?'
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Mars on Earth - is the red planet an indicator of things to come?
Monday 6 August 2012
There's a lot to like about Mars. For centuries the name given to the Roman God of War (in honour of its blood stained hue) it has given us an opportunity and point of focus to think beyond our own planet. There's been some vast mythologies about the deep channels (interpreted as canals meant signs of alien built water infrastructure) faces in the soil (signs of alien intelligence) and the home of a warring life force destined to wipe us out, only to die due to bacterial infection (thanks HG and later Orson).
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Who Governs Digital Trust? Lockdown versus Creativity
Saturday 4 August 2012
This comes via Stewart Brand at the LongNow Foundation and is reproduced in full. It summarises the talk that Cory Doctorow gave to the seminar group. The email started with: Doctorow framed the question this way: “Computers are everywhere. They are now something we put our whole bodies into---airplanes, cars---and something we put into our bodies---pacemakers, cochlear implants. They HAVE to be trustworthy.“ Sometimes humans are not so trustworthy, and programs may override you: “I can’t let you do that, Dave.” (Reference to the self-protective insane computer Hal in Kubrick’s film “2001.” That time the human was more trustworthy than the computer.) Who decides who can override whom?
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The Future of...
Thursday 2 August 2012
Most everything. The various papers, presentations, radio interviews, magazine articles, books and newspaper references have been reformatted in alphabetical order for easier access. Click on the 'Future Of...' tab and find what you are looking for under the headings listed, with links to each relevant item.
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The Continued Rise of 'Enoughness'
Sunday 15 July 2012
I came up with the term Enoughness in late 2008, and early 2009 as a result of some research I was assessing looking at emerging consumer behaviour. The manufacturing companies I presented to at the South East Business Networks session on Managing a Diverse Workplace discovered, Enoughness was a very different approach to the idea of consuming. In recent times in parts around the world there's been discussion about Enoughness and some of the ideas put forward are not supported by the research I conducted.
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Need a Career Change? Here's some roles to consider
Tuesday 10 July 2012
Business Insider has a story today of 7 jobs you've never heard of and why they're awesome which is delightfully amusing for two reasons: One - 'Futurist' makes the list at number 7; and Two - I've been employed in full time futures for over a decade (and part time for about ten years before that) which means I'm well ahead of Business Insider's 'insights'. Always nice to get a mention
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Polls, damn polls and statistics
Tuesday 10 July 2012
There's polls, damn polls and statistics Some serious questions are emerging for the Opposition in Australia between now and the lead up to the next Federal Election. Aside from the campaign period, Australia will elect a new form of Government between August and November next year. With apologies to Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli and anyone else involved with the 'lies, damn lies...' phrase, I think Polls fall into the same area of challenge. According to a variety of polls, the Federal Labor Government has been on the nose of the Australian public for quite some time.
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Our Disappearing World Languages
Tuesday 26 June 2012
In this article on the LifeBoat Foundation's website, Laurence Baines discusses the loss of languages around the world and the increasing shift toward the major five tongues. From a futures perspective we appreciate that a language often contains within it, a way of knowing that is missing in someone who may have learned to speak a language later in life. Baines discusses five key trends: 1 - Images are replacing words;
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Science Fiction writer Ray Bradbury has died aged 91
Thursday 7 June 2012
Few books (and a subsequent film) influenced my desire for knowledge in the way that Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 did. The black and white film adaptation still holds much in my memory almost 30 years later. As a youngster I'd sat up late and seen original The War of the Worlds on TV and a few months later watched the 'madness' of Fahrenheit 451. The book drew an even darker picture of a world in which thought control took place by denial of knowledge - a well worn path taken by religions and ruling elite alike through the millennia. To a great extent, Ray's Martian Chronicles helped prime my brain in alignment for my future career - as a futurist! It certainly gave me an appreciation of books, reading and a thirst for knowledge.
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How Secure is your WiFi Usage?
Wednesday 30 May 2012
Ah well, you'd be surprised at how easy it is for someone to steal a piece of you! This info-graphic from Veracode explains in more detail some of the actions you can take and things to be aware of when using WiFi
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The Future of Money
Tuesday 8 May 2012
Have just spent a few hours discussing the Future of Money, hosted by James Bibby at Microsoft in Sydney and facilitated by Peter Vander Auwera from SWIFT/Innotribe. I'd like to flag that everyone understood that the session was way too short for such a big topic and everyone would agree that we just scratched the surface (not that the scratch would leave too much of a mark just yet). The session was a kick start for a group from a wide variety of interests: banks, payment providers' IT specialists and some specialty consultancies.
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Six Emerging Trends in Corporate Sustainability
Wednesday 2 May 2012
Ernst & Young and GreenBiz have completed a survey of business executives looking at the development of Corporate Sustainability around the world. The report shows that there has been a clear rise in awareness; that employees are a core source driving sustainability actions; that reduction of costs is a core appeal and that return on investment in sustainability actions is required to be judged in the same way as other corporate investments. For me this poses a dichotomy of thinking - the environment was built up over millennia and our use of it has taken just a couple of centuries yet we judge sustainability actions at the same 'speed of delivery' criteria. That poses a challenge and is perhaps an unrealistic set of expectations.
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The Future of War
Tuesday 24 April 2012
On the eve of ANZAC day here in Australia ABC Radio Darwin's Vicki Kerrigan chats with futurist Marcus Barber on the future of war - what the future triggers of war might be and how war will be fought
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The Future of Workplace Design
Wednesday 18 April 2012
In this chat with Vicki Kerrigan on ABC Radio Darwin, we chat about workplace design and the need to create functional workplaces - something the 'open-plan' model fails utterly at delivering. Click on the link below
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Happiness Makes the World Go 'Round
Tuesday 10 April 2012
Columbia University's Earth Institute have just made publicly available their World Happiness Report, joining the expanding list of happiness reports emerging ultimately from Bhutan's Happiness Index. There's some interesting results in this one and some that you might expect were more obvious, like the idea that at a certain point, more money won't make you significantly happier. From page five - '...a word of warning for those who expect to become happier by becoming richer...evidence is quite overwhelming that after a certain point the gains are very small'. This for me taps into the 'Enoughness' paradigm I've been writing about for a few years
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Local Councils' Role in Economic Activity
Thursday 5 April 2012
Whilst the main thrust of Australian economic activity is said to be in the hands of the Federal Government, we should not overlook the significant role that Local Council Government's can have. As the Federal Government wrestles with falling taxation revenues and an apparent inability to get the message across about distributing the income of the mining boom, and State Governments balk at infrastructure requirements and spending on social service requirements, it can seem that Local Governments have minimal to offer. But I beg to differ
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Eat or Extract - Farming versus Mining in NT and Australia
Tuesday 27 March 2012
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber chats with Vicki Kerrigan on ABC Radio Darwin about the challenges facing the Northern Territory, the farming and mining sectors. In summing up the emerging signs of a clash between agricultural uses of land and land use for resource and mining needs, Marcus uses the phrase 'Eat or Extract' as the hard decision points we face.
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Top 10 Tips for Resilience
Monday 26 March 2012
As most of you know I nominated this year as the 2012 International Year of Resilience because frankly, that's what I reckon large chunks of the world need right now. The twitter feed is #2012YearofResilience. I sent a few of these tips out at the start of the year and have seen a few of them already pop up in the writing of other people which is great. If you find them of value please share them around. Here then are my Top 10 Tips for Resilience: Tip 1 - Be productive, not busy - you cannot be both: Tip 2 - Understand that variations to your expected timelines are likely; Tip 3 - If you haven't thought about a preferred outcome, you have no right to complain when you don't like the outcome you end up with.
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Is more foresight needed for Urban Planning in Darwin?
Tuesday 13 March 2012
A new city is due to emerge in Darwin over the coming couple of years and the key question is - what sort of attention is being paid to weather related disasters in the design phase? Paul Dale on ABC Radio Darwin chats with futurist Marcus Barber about planning and weather. You can download the MP3 via the link below
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After the Rains - thinking about Urban Planning in a future of havoc weather
Tuesday 6 March 2012
Dorothea Mackellar's poem 'My Country' is best known for its second verse - "I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains". As vast tracts of Australia again face the prospect of massive floods I wonder if our Urban Planners ever consider the significance of the observation of Mackellar's poem? And if they haven't in the past, should they do so now? One thing we know is happening is the greater focus on weather related phenomenon by the Insurance sector who right now, must be wondering when they can catch a break. As our population grows and demand for land for housing is increasing, it becomes a bit too simple for local governments of all types to open what could arguably stated as 'precarious development sites' whilst ignoring the prescience of Mackellar's words.
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Innovation in Your Supply Chain - Symbiotic Supply Chain management
Wednesday 15 February 2012
Potentially the biggest area of untapped competitive advantage (and arguably one of the biggest areas where costs could be reduced) is within supply chains. Most approaches to Supply Chain Management are linear and isolated with one player trying to squeeze the other with no regard to the overall effect of the full supply chain. It's a short-sighted and destructive approach particularly common in some areas of business. This article appeared in Fast Thinking Magazine and I thank Frank Green at the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation in Queensland for prompting me to post it.
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Remote Mining poses challenges for Australian Airlines
Monday 6 February 2012
There's a shift underway in the mining industry that will likely catch Australian airlines out if they aren't paying attention - the shift toward 'remote' mining. Remote mining is being pushed by the automation ability across all aspects of current mining technology, which at the basic level, means that fewer humans are needed on site in mines. And that suggests a major challenge for airline companies of all sizes, who've come to rely on the FIFO (fly in and fly out) model of human capability delivery to mines across Australia. The technology advancements are across almost all aspects of mining operations with perhaps just one area (maintenance) still likely to need onsite human capabilities.
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Is Your Organisation's Strategy D.E.A.D or A.L.I.V.E?
Thursday 19 January 2012
Simple question really. Or is it? In this quick article I provide an overview of the difference between strategy that is D.E.A.D and A.L.I.V.E Think of it as a potential 'do this' collection for your Organisation
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Are you lining your future up in the right direction?
Monday 16 January 2012
Lots of thoughts for the year already underway, with some covering a range of ideas from 'don't cut corners on relative incidentals when the project is significant for you' to 'you can't change your approach if you keep thinking inside the same box'. But for now a reminder about planning for your future: If you know your future is a straight line, then you can afford to only look in the rear view mirror.
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2012 International Year of Resilience - top 10 Tips
Wednesday 21 December 2011
In thinking about the year ahead I've decided to call it the International Year of Resilience. With everything that appears to be going on in the world there's unlikely to be any quick fixes and so I provide for you here below, my Top 10 Tips for building more resilience into your lives. If you want to follow and contribute to the Twitter conversation, please use the following tag #2102YearofResilience. Tip 1: Be Productive, not 'busy' - you can't be both.
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Rising Household Energy Costs NOT due to Environmental Polices
Friday 16 December 2011
The United Kingdom's Committee on Climate Change has released a report that shows rising household energy costs are not caused by the apparent burden of environmental policies. Instead the core factor is increases in costs increases of Oil and Gas as the Energy resource sector taps into a 'growth' market.
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Official Reports for Travelers - who should you believe?
Tuesday 6 December 2011
After a great although too brief trip to Islamabad in Pakistan, I joined Vicki Kerrigan on ABC Radio Darwin to discuss the idea of official reports for travelers and who you should believe. Sometimes we fear the unknown because we aren't well enough informed. In the absence of any other information, the Official line is probably the best though at no time did I feel concerned though I remained (as a stranger) cautious.
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The massive missing piece of Australia's Tourism approach
Friday 25 November 2011
It's taken me a while to get the Tourism Thinking piece together given the extensive travel this year that has enabled me to assess where Australia's tourism is not getting things right. This update won't paint the full picture (a couple of clients have first crack at this research) but it is important enough to be able to give you the quick thumbnail sketch. And let's just say that complaints about the high aussie dollar are somewhat of a smokescreen even if it has choked a few travellers out of the marketplace. Here's the quick take:
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A Wildcard to Top them all
Thursday 17 November 2011
I alert you from the outset that I'm about to make a massive leap of potentially an supportable scientific theory in discussing a potential Wildcard event. If you're only interested in the concrete real stuff, head elsewhere after you get about half way. I'm going to make a massive leap first of all and then having done so, give you a Wildcard event I'm yet to see mentioned anywhere. In the operational realms of Strategic Planning, Risk Management and Forecasting it is rare that the 'not to be countenanced' event is included as one of the thinking outputs. Being beyond consideration it therefore loses its strategic value in shaping the understanding of the future operating conditions for the organisation. And Organisations are the poorer for such an approach to thinking.
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Futurist Marcus Barber discusses the Future of Sex (Part Two) on ABC Darwin with Vicki Kerrigan
Friday 11 November 2011
The MP3 file below captures part two of our chat looking at the Future of Sex. Picking up on the theme of new technology that popped up towards the end of our first discussion in week one, here we move onto haptics and holographics and the extension of that technology from beyond the bedroom and one on one engagements.
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Asteroid Management and Mining
Friday 11 November 2011
In this MP3 with Paul Dale on ABC Darwin radio we chat about the recent fly past of a large chunk of rock called Asteroid YU55, and what we might do as a species in managing a potential Asteroid impact. We also diverge into the concept of mining Asteroids for their mineral content as the space bound resources boom kicks off in years to come. Listen out for a great one liner from Paul Dale about what that might mean for the mining industry
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History as Future - TV Show Who's Been Sleeping in My House?
Wednesday 9 November 2011
Who's Been Sleeping In My House? is a new Australian series presented by archaeologist Adam Ford that looks at the stories behind some of our old homes. Adam is the man behind the recent 'Ned Kelly' dig among other great archaeology finds here in Australia and the UK. As a futurist I'm always interested in history and the stories that frame the societies in which we live. This 8 Part series is sure to be a great show and an example of innovative TV in action. And just think, next time you wander through that old house your friends have just bought, ask yourself 'who slept there first?'
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Professional Futurists running their Follow The Sun Futures Program
Wednesday 26 October 2011
The Association of Professional Futures is holding its first Virtual Gathering, following the sun from Europe, across North America and finishing in the Australia pacific zone. It kicks off tomorrow and links to the program and registration (it's only $45 for guests for a program featuring some of the worlds most prominent futurists)
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Marcus Barber on ABC Darwin - the Future of Sex Part 2
Tuesday 25 October 2011
I join Vicki Kerrigan on ABC Darwin radio where we continue our discussion about the future of sex. We consider three main areas in this session - smart phone applications; remote relationships and the combination of haptics and holographics as one the emerging means by which we'll maintain physical contact.
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The Future of Sex Part One
Tuesday 18 October 2011
In this chat with Vicki Kerrigan on radio ABC Darwin we discuss the future of sex. This is the first of potentially three conversations where we look at the increasing reach of technology way beyond current online match making sites, the social pressures driving the use of technology as well as the use of technology for personal and one on one sensory assistance.
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Soft House Prices or Unrealistic Vendors?
Monday 17 October 2011
There's been a bit of discussion in recent months about a softening housing market around Australia but I wonder how much of it is more indicative of unrealistic expectations on behalf of sellers? In futures work we think in terms of Assumptions and Expectations and aim to test our understanding and so I offer this isolated example of the housing market in action for you to think about whether 'softening' prices are a reality. Around three years ago a two bedroom brick veneer house in Cummins Rd, East Brighton sold for approximately $440,000, which was pretty much market value at the time. The new owners subdivided the land and about a year ago built a three bedroom townhouse of a pretty high standard on the rear of the property. The style of house is likely to be attractive to a more limited market and there's no outside space to speak of. So what would you say would be a fair price to expect at auction?
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We've Been hit by an email Virus and apologise to everyone impacted
Thursday 13 October 2011
Unfortunately it looks like my main email address has been hijacked and has been used to send out a series of spam emails. I'd like to apologise to anyone who has received some junk email purporting to come from 'desiredfutures' with a series of html links asking you to go and have a look. You can rest assured that it has not come from me or anyone here at Looking Up Feeling Good. I hope to have it cleared up in the next little while
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The Future of Plastic Bottles
Tuesday 11 October 2011
Given the amount of plastic swimming in our oceans and rivers and the volume littering our land, the NT Government is aiming to introduce compulsory returns legislation on soft-drink bottles (as happens in South Australia), something that has apparently raised the ire of bottler, Coca Cola. Although they've recently backed away from their initial statement that they would challenge the legislation, there's still a window down the track. So what might the future of plastic bottles be?
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Is Alcohol or Cannabis more Harmful?
Saturday 8 October 2011
Deciphering the hype from reality with regard to drug use can be a challenge for most of us. Professor David Nutt in the UK has given me permission to post a link to the paper he has co-authored with Ruth Weissenborn that looks at the reality of a comparison of harm caused by two common intoxicants - Alcohol and Cannabis. That paper has been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology under the title 'Popular Intoxicants: what lessons can be learned from the last 40 years of alcohol and cannabis regulation?' Professor Nutt is a strong proponent of evidence based responses, rather than those often based on what might be kindly called hype.
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The Future of Clothing Part Two
Wednesday 5 October 2011
Vicki Kerrigan and I finished off our discussion about the Future of Clothing on ABC Darwin yesterday. We discussed invisibility style cloaks, singlets that monitor your heart rate and stress levels, runners that capture electricity to power your wearable electronics and a few philosophical questions regarding our ability to deal with stress.
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The Future of clothing
Tuesday 27 September 2011
In this very brief chat with Vicki Kerrigan on ABC Darwin, we kick off the discussion of the future of clothing - not the 'style' elements but the functional elements like capturing perspiration to convert for water. You can listen to the audio via the
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The coming age of Robotics in In-Home Healthcare
Tuesday 13 September 2011
I'll be talking with Vicki Kerrigan again this afternoon, this time discussing robotics as in-home carers. I'm due on at about 4.45pm Darwin time which is around 5.15pm on the eastern seaboard. You can listen to the audio stream via the link below
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Australia 2030 - a view from Siemens
Wednesday 31 August 2011
I recently attended a session with South East Business Networks where the CEO of Siemens Australasia provided some great ideas as to where Australian Manufacturing was headed and could go, and indeed perhaps needed to go. What I found most useful from Allan Goller's perspective was the encouragement for businesses to just get on with having a go at things, without waiting for everything to be perfect. To back up his thoughts he indicated that Siemens invested around a Billion dollars in R&D last year and 'not all of that led to success'.
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Futurist Marcus Barber on Scenarios for Water Industry at World Water Week
Saturday 20 August 2011
Marcus Barber will present the case study of his work with Central Highlands Water and their use of Scenarios for Strategy setting at World Water Week in Stockholm this Thursday. You can follow the twitter feed via #watermanagement, #rightfuture or #wwweek
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For a Futurist, 50 Years isn't so long ago
Thursday 18 August 2011
A quick note for the history buffs among us - in this month of August fifty years ago, the first components of the Berlin Wall were constructed with rings of barbed wire severing Berlin into visually distinct west and east Berlin. Russia's main challenge at that time was the 10,000 or so East Germans each month who'd been departing their homes looking for a better standard of living and individual freedoms in 'West' Germany.
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The Flaws in Demand & Supply thinking
Monday 8 August 2011
Let me start by saying that my Masters of Science qualification is NOT held in economics and with that said I'm holding an interested person's perspective toward wanting to know 'why' and 'how'. I have some questions and thoughts about the theory of Supply and Demand and would be happy to have some feedback from people with more expertise than I have, should any of my thinking be in need of remedial catch-up. My understanding of Demand & Supply is as follows - In cases where there is high demand and low supply of any particular item or commodity, the demand supply theory says that prices for that item are likely to increase. And in cases where there is high supply and low demand, it is likely that prices for that item will decrease. A key thing here to note is that in any situation, they don't HAVE to increase or decrease, it's just that some people aim to gain as much as they can when the moment arises and so, people raise or lower their prices in step to a perception of times being good or otherwise.
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Cultured Meat's potential for energy and water reductions
Tuesday 19 July 2011
Below you'll find this afternoon's discussion with ABC Darwin radio in which host Vicki Kerrigan chats with futurist Marcus Barber about the emerging research into lab grown meat as a potential addition to or replacement of, existing livestock farming methods.
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Getting Your Future Right
Saturday 9 July 2011
My slides from today's presentation on 'Getting You Future Right' can be found at the link below
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Speaking of the Future at the World Futures Conference
Tuesday 5 July 2011
Continuing the futures discussions on ABC Darwin Radio, this time with Paul Dale who is filling in for Vicki Kerrigan whilst Vicki is handling the breakfast time slot, we discuss some of the conference sessions at the World Futures Conference here in Vancouver
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Can Australian Cities learn anything from Vancouver?
Thursday 30 June 2011
To be named the world's most livable city consistently is something that must please Vancouverians no end. Having just arrived there are two things that stand out - 1. The place is so clean; and 2. Everyone is incredibly friendly. Even the arrivals section for immigration at the airport picked adults with kids out of the line to put them into their own faster flowing queue! For tourism, that is a great way to kick off your arrival. Huge number of taxis are Toyota Prius makes keeping in with the generally environmentally friendly approach. And if tourism is something that appeals to cities in Australia, perhaps there's more things we can learn from Vancouver
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Vancouver Transport and insights for Australia
Thursday 30 June 2011
Vancouver is a big city, geographically spread and has its own transport implications. Many of the challenges we see in Australian towns can also be found here, though there is a variation in structural approaches. Vancouver (and other Canadian cities) can play a significant part in understanding Australia's transport future based on population growth of Canada over the years where it jumped from around 25m people,and most people know that Canada experienced significant population change in a relatively short space of time, something that Australia will also experience over coming decades. An automotive client has used Canada as a clear 'line of sight' to Australia's transport future.
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The Future of You Part 2
Tuesday 28 June 2011
Here's the upload of my conversation with Vicki Kerrigan at ABC Radio Darwin. In it I offer the first three of ten steps designed to help you get your future right. In last week's session I left Vicki with a question to ponder: Is my life headed where I want it to go, and if not what do I need to do to get it on track?
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The future of... You
Monday 13 June 2011
Futurist Marcus Barber will be joining ABC's Vicki Kerrigan in Darwin for the first of an ongoing discussion about the future this Wednesday. Each week on Wednesday afternoon's, Vicki and Marcus will discuss the future of something, how we prepare for the future, what the future looks like for some industries and other related futures topics.
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Innovation in Manufacturing - there really IS a Future! But action needs to happen NOW!
Thursday 26 May 2011
The panel session at the National Manufacturing Week 2011 went well though with four of us on the panel, time was quite compressed. Some really good thoughts from Phillip Chindamo from AIG, Damon Cantwell from Deloitte and Erol Harvey from Minifab, delightfully chaired by Sandra George from SEBN at the City of Greater Dandenong. Rather than put everything I discussed on the web, the link below
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Building on Innovation for a vibrant and sustainable future - a focus for future manufacturing
Tuesday 24 May 2011
On Thursday I'll be part of the panel that wraps up the National Manufacturing Week 2011 in Melbourne at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre under the theme of Meeting the challenges of the next generation of manufacturing with a focus on Innovation and Sustainability. It should be an interesting chat as we consider what the future might hold for manufacturers here in Australia and potentially around the world. The link to the conference site is below
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What Australia Can learn from Finland's Education System
Monday 2 May 2011
There's lots to like about borrowing ideas from other areas especially where those ideas can lead to a significant positive shift. In the link below, Zaid Ali Alsagoff an educational blogging specialist highlights why the Finnish Education system stands as a potential model to embrace. And whilst there are examples of this type of thinking within Australia, to suggest it is the 'norm' would be a stretch.
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The role of Environmental Scanning in planning departments
Thursday 14 April 2011
Environmental Scanning (ES) is the process of paying attention to the world in which you operate in order to identify and gain a sense of potential signals of change in how your world is developing. When discussing the idea of 'change' we need to be clear - a potential signal of change is likely to be one that alerts you to a possible difference between where you thought you were going, and where you now might be required to go. In other words, ES is about managing the difference between your assumptions and your expectations, and the emerging reality of what is taking shape. For any department that has a planning function (and there are in fact surprisingly few that do not) effective ES provides a key element - time. Effective ES acts as an alert function for staff and management teams so that they can prepare their business to take alternative or additional action. There's some core elements to an effective ES:
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What Victoria can learn from Western Australia's weather
Wednesday 30 March 2011
When it comes to water management, there's something of potential value that Victoria could learn from Western Australia's weather given discussions about new dams
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What natural disasters tell us about societies
Thursday 17 March 2011
The natural disasters we've seen recently around the world have shown us much about the communities in which they've occurred. The images emerging from Japan, New Zealand and Australia as they've faced earthquakes, tsumanis, floods and fires stands on stark contrast to the mainstream media stories that suggests people of the world are not willing to work together. Some of the widely reported natural events in the past few years include Hurricane Katrina; fires across Victoria, floods across Queensland and Victoria; the earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan all of which have shown much about those societies. A few years ago an earthquake in Turkey right on the border with Greece highlighted the willingness of so called 'combatants' to come together to assist others. With more localised large scale incidents we get to see in essence, the true selves of the societies impacted by the event.
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What to do when phone lines go down
Monday 7 March 2011
Hi everyone - a quick note to let you know that our phones lines have been down for a while now and we are working on getting them fixed. Our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you. In the meantime, try using either our 1800 number where you can leave a message only (1800 685 595) or via email using the link below:
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Can GM Foods feed the world?
Tuesday 1 March 2011
ABC journalist Adam Stephen interviews Marcus Barber on the subject of GM foods and whether they might be more widely embraced as part of the global food requirements
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A Vision for Australian Manufacturing
Thursday 17 February 2011
South East Business Networks, the City of Greater Dandenong's longest running business development program, is an exceptional avenue for learning about issues to do with Manufacturing. This week they provided one 'out of the box' with an excellent presentation by Professor Goran Roos, a worldclass expert on Manufacturing and currently South Australia's Thinker in Residence. With over 100 people in the room he explained some of the challenges Manufacturers face whilst simultaneously busting a few widely held myths about Australia's approach to Manufacturing. There's no doubt that the challenges for many are great and yet amongst them an idea emerged to me regarding Australia's Manufacturing future. We have an opportunity to make the next decade 'The Decade of Australian Manufacturing'
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What to do When a Policeman loses touch with Humanity?
Monday 14 February 2011
Today some friends are burying their father who died last week after his health took a sudden downturn. One of them, Penny got the urgent call to get to hospital. Penny is a conservative driver at the best of times and on this occasion was aiming to get through traffic as best as she could to try to be with her father before he died. Her driving (she admits she was speeding but certainly not at 'hoon' level or even the upper end of a fine level) attracted the attention of a Policeman who pulled her over. Getting a ticket was the far from the most significant issue on her mind, and Penny admitted she was speeding, explained what was happening and hoped the Policeman in question would allow her to proceed on her way. Time was of the essence. He didn't - instead he held Penny up for what seemed like an inordinately long period of time (over 12 minutes), in what, I can only assume was some form of 'lesson' whilst he wrote out the ticket. Penny didn't make it to hospital before her father had died arriving about four minutes after he had passed away. One of our group duly described the policeman in question as in pretty unfrienly terms. Maybe, but that would assume...
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Could Yasi be worse than expected?
Tuesday 1 February 2011
Cyclone Yasi heads towards Queenslands North East coast this morning with significant concerns for residents. There is potentially an added danger based on the way cylones work. Typically a cyclone needs two things - heat and water, which is why they can dissipate quickly once they head inland. However Yasi hits following a couple of 'preconditioning' events that could make it continue even inland
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Getting Customer Service Right - EastLink - International Year of Solutions
Thursday 20 January 2011
As promised, the wash-up to my experience with the toll-road operator Eastlink and what I regard as a pretty poor approach to Customer Service. However as I am treating this is the International Year of Solutions, I'm not complaining without making suggestions for improvement, which I have done
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Once the Floods are Over, then what?
Wednesday 12 January 2011
The floods are under way throughout the majority of Queensland and now into northern New South Wales and all we can do is hang on and wait to see the impact. Unfortunately it looks like the numbers of people who have lost their lives as a result is set to rise significantly beyond the 12 people lost thus far. And once this all settles down, then what?
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Futurist calls 2011: International Year of Solutions
Monday 20 December 2010
Reckon it's time we had a focus on getting things done and so I am declaring 2011 to be the 'International Year of Solutions'. Seems to me that a lot of talk fests have been gobbling up the neuronal space for a few years now with insufficient ACTION being generated - just lot of promises to consider a possibility for a meeting to be considered to discuss a problem! Additionally there's been lots of grumbling by many people that 'nothing is being done about...(insert own issues here)'. BUT (and it is a mighty large one) too often almost NO solutions are offered. The talk fests and the grumbling then is nothing more than complaining. No actions, just moaning and whingeing. So time has come for action in this the International Year of Solutions. You can still complain - in fact in 2011 you are encouraged to complain more than you ever have before, and there are some simple guidelines to connect your complaints to action...
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Customer Service - why the future is BEGGING you to get it right today
Wednesday 24 November 2010
Another stream of consciousness on the customer service theme that I come back to frequently. If you've ever received one of those scam emails from say 'the past Minister of the Immigration and Business Department in Nigeria' seeking your assistance at repatriating funds for which you'll be paid a fortune, or those other scams claiming to be from your 'bank' or other financial institution that start off with 'Dear Sir/Madam' or 'Dear Customer' and go on to ask you to log into your account to address security issues or issues to do with freezing of funds, along with the veiled threat of penalties should you choose not to act, then you know how tiresome they can be. And today I received one that started off with 'Dear Customer' and contained a threat of action regarding suspension of my account. 'So what's the problem?' I hear you asking yourself. Well...
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Active TV slowly emerging
Wednesday 17 November 2010
A shift is underway in television in Australia and it has nothing to do with digital versus analogue or the pay versus free shifts. Instead we are finally seeing the promise of TV as a medium of engagement. That promise sees a shift from the passive watching of TV (a 'push' approach) to the active engagement of TV (a 'pull' approach). The initial signs began a few years ago with the rise of voting lines for the 'so you think you can take two big idol brothers' TV shows. At that point TV producers began handing control of their shows over to the crowds that watched them, though not completely. The active-ness saw the viewer become physically involved albeit in a small way by getting out of their couches to grab their phones to express their choice of who to keep on the show they were watching. I'm waiting for a similar approach to a murder mystery, but I digress.
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A quick plug for Google Chrome
Tuesday 26 October 2010
Being someone who questions the value of technology before climbing on board, I've been perhaps a tad slow to check out the Google Chrome web browser. Mistake! Given it's speed and ease of use, the first couple of days have impressed me greatly
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Do fairytales come true?
Tuesday 28 September 2010
That will be the question many will be asking leading up to the replay of the AFL Grand Final this Saturday between Collingwood and St Kilda. Regardless of the outcome, the AFL have already had their fairytale come true courtesy of a drawn game which is believed to have handed the AFL a bonus likely to be in excess of $35 million dollars based on ticket sales, catering and TV rights. It'd be nice to see a goodly portion of that money go to some of the charities already on the calender for the AFL - Breast and Prostate cancer. I reckon organisations like HomeGround Services who is working to end homelessness might also be a worthy recipient. So as to fairytales,
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What Businesses can learn from Tourism (and vice versa)
Sunday 12 September 2010
In preparation for work with a couple of clients in the past fortnight I've had to throw myself into substantially more 'tourist' style activities than I have for quite some time in an attempt to answer the following question: 'How do we get more people to come here?' Yes there's a lot of fun to be had allowing yourself to experience the delights of the snow, or a concert or a day trip or even a restaurant (with some more work coming up in the next week) - things not normally on my list of actions given the usual workstyle of research and facilitation. And there's some general clues that I'm happy to share with everyone
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Why who the next Prime Minister is might be of little importance
Monday 30 August 2010
Whilst the counting of votes is over the election is yet to be completed. Right now the discussions continue between the 'three amigos' who are clearly maximising their time in the spotlight, and the two leaders of the major parties. And whilst the media is fixated on who ought to be, deserves to be, should be and could be the next Prime Minister, maybe we're missing the bigger picture. At the end of the day it really won't matter.
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May we get the Goverment we both deserve AND need
Saturday 21 August 2010
If you've seen any of the media campaigns for the Australian Federal Election you could have come to the following conclusions: Julia Gillard had a fixation with hand getsures; Tony Abbott had a fixation on Boats; and the Greens had the best Television Commercial not only of this campaign but of any other they've had before - trouble was it was put together by an ad agency as part of the TV show 'The Gruen Transfer' and never made it into the real world.
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Is Mainstream media a reliable guide to the 2010 Australian Federal Election?
Friday 13 August 2010
If you've been following any of the mainstream media election coverage here in Australia (stuff in the usual papers, radio and TV programs) you've no doubt got a good understanding of what is going to happen on election day. The mainstream media synopsis thus far is that a) Julia Gillard got off to a good start; b) Tony Abbott has established himself and that c) it seems likely that the coalition will be elected to run the country. Unless you've been looking at other mainstream media which says that a) Julia Gillard got off to a good start; b) Tony Abbott came flying up to and then past Julia Gillard and then c) Julia Gillard edged her way back in front but that it is still likely for her to lose the election. So where does that leave our understanding? I'm reminded of a similar series of events leading up to the Victorian State Government election about 8 years ago...
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'Us' or 'Them' - how to tell the customer they are irrelevant on your website
Monday 2 August 2010
This great little cartoon/graphic says it all and although looking at the subject of Universities, there is much that we can all learn
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Preparing for your future corporate strategy
Friday 16 July 2010
A series of recent activities has me writing on the idea of 'future strategy' and how different organisations are approaching their future development. What is interesting is the strong sense that preparing for your potential future requires multiple paths forward, not a single 'home run'. To that end I've recently considered sporting bodies and local community driven programs which has triggered these 'thought bubbles'
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The Crisis of Capital
Monday 5 July 2010
Stephen Downes is one the handful of bloggers I follow consistently. I do so because Downes (unlike many others unfortunately) like to write about his thinking AS WELL AS promoting the thinking of others, whether or not he agrees with them. In that way you get a solid collection of alternative views within his field of endeavour (learning & teaching et al). The link below will take you to a presentation by David Harvey that walks you through an interesting interpretation of the Capitalist model and where we are at in the world affairs. Whether or not you agree with the content, it is highly recommended
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Catching Up on some 'Light Reading'
Monday 28 June 2010
Coming off what has been undoubtedly my busiest period (3 months) in the past decade, I'm in the throws of catching up on some light reading. I usually have at least two books on the go and my preference is for the books to be about diverse topics because it allows the mind to seek out random connections. I once 'solved' the nuclear fusion problem whilst reading books by Umberto Eco and John D Barrow. A physicist friend of mine suggested my idea was radical and yet theoretically possible. But I digress. Right now I have a wide combination - 'From Poverty to Peace' by Duncan Green looks at ways in which we can empower people to help themselves more effectively, whilst looking at the myriad of mistakes so commonly made in the area of 'aid'. 'New knowledge in Human Values' is an older book edited by Ambraham Maslow with a wide contribution of thoughts from the likes of Pitirim Sorokin, Dorothy Lee and Paul Tillich (among others) and is a walk through some of the thinking about Human Values emerging in the late 1950's. The chapters are appropriately dense undertakings and I'm finding it hard to stick with, especially as I'm more inclined to lean towards the model of Clare W Graves and his Value Systems Thoery; 'Coercion as Cure' by Thomas Szasz is a ripper of a book thus far, though I'm only a few chapters in, I can tell the quality of a book by how much 'tagging' I do within a text
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Nanotechnology Moves from idea to Application
Wednesday 16 June 2010
Every now and again you have an opportunity to listen to some rare insights to an industry sector. These opportunities are typically rare because the insights need to come from someone who not only 'knows their stuff', they need to be able to translate their knowledge in a way that the average person in the room (like me) can understand. A few weeks back the South East Business Networks group, in conjunction with the City of Greater Dandenong's Economic Development Unit landed a coup when Tim Harper, the CEO of Cientifica popped in to a breakfast session to chat about nanotechnology and its emerging application. In Australia as part of the Oliphant lectures, Tim Harper is a rare breed - a well credentialled scientist with a proven track record in taking a laboratory idea into real world applications AND who has the ability to explain in a straight forward, and dare I suggest humble way, what he does and where the nanotechnology industry is 'at'.
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Another side to the Super tax on Mining
Tuesday 8 June 2010
The 'Supertax' debate is an interesting one and as expected, both parties are heavily invested in their own outcomes. One thing the Mining Companies understand is that the tax will lower the size of their profits in boom times for the resources sector - they'll still be raking in billions, its just that some of the cream will be removed. And one thing most mining companies anticipate for the near term future, is a return back to the really big BOOM times. That's why they are fighting this idea so hard because if they thought things were going to turn poorly, they'd be urging the Government to act because they'd want the benefits of paying less tax in the not so good times (which they're saying little about at the minute). The Government also seems to be fighting this idea with limited perspective -
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Things Companies Should NOT do during a Recession
Friday 7 May 2010
I flag from the outset that I am annoyed, so please read this with a grain of salt and for those of you who know me well, you'll probably understand that getting annoyed is something I do rarely. First up I'd like to thank the company in question for providing me with the energy to write this quick overview that I hope acts as a useful tip for other businesses. Let's start with the first thing your company should NOT do during a recesion - 1. Make it HARDER for your customers to do business with you
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Design Thinking as a Competitive Advantage
Tuesday 4 May 2010
As more organisations look to gain an understanding of how to both identify and prepare for their potential and desired futures, Design Thinking is on the current radar screen as a skill set likely to provide significant value. On the 25th to 27th of may you can attend a highly interactive and practical conference on Design Thinking and Foresight
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Surviving the Hoons
Wednesday 14 April 2010
One of the current affairs TV programs did a story recently on the efforts by NSW police to crack down on 'hoon' drivers through a specific squad targeting them. The Victorian Police recently announced a similar project with the squad headed up by one of Victoria Police's most effective senior officers, Inspector Bernie Rankin. Unusually for the TV program concerned, it chose to do less of the 'sensationalising' more typical of those types of programs and instead used a discussion between one of the so called 'hoons' and a member of the public keen to get them off the road. It was perhaps the best piece of footage covering the issue for quite some time and gave the final clue to what actions need to be taken by the wider community to address the challenge:
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Hamilton Hoons and Five more die
Monday 29 March 2010
Lewis Hamilton, the former automotive Formula One 'number one' had his car impounded on Friday night for alleged 'hoon' driving, having been spotted by police spinning his wheels at a busy intersection in St Kilda. Whilst many character witnesses have already jumped to his defence, with one interesting observation from Mark Webber suggesting we have a 'nanny state', there is of course another larger issue - five more people died on Victoria's roads over the weekend with speed one of the many factors
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The Future of Australia's Dairy Industry
Wednesday 10 March 2010
Following on from the highly rated 'Skimming the Cream' forum in Brisbane on the 9th of February, members of the Young Dairy Network and SubTropical Dairy groups reconvened to consider the impacts of Climate Change on the dairy sector in Australia using the high-impact 'Accelerated Scenarios process'. The '2030 Dairy Scenarios' brought together the members of the YDN and SubTropical groups using the core issues raised by the almost 100 farmers and industry representatives at the Skimming the Cream forum to consider what changes might emerge in the sector in coming years.
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Thinking outside the cloud - a new tourism angle for Queensland
Thursday 18 February 2010
Queensland is one state that leverages its weather to the hilt - and the fact is the 'Sunshine State' earns its reputation. The odd thing is that in the past week I've spent in the Gold Coast experiencing the warm, humid and often wet weather it has occured to me that Queensland might be missing a massive tourism angle.
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Terrorism the Games wild card
Monday 1 February 2010
In a recent article in The Age, Clive Williams of Macquarie University's Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism suggested that athletes booked in to attend the Commonwealth games in India need to consider a terrorist attack as a potential wildcard. Whilst an interesting perspective, I'd like to suggest that a potential terrorist attack at the Commonwealth Games does not fit the true criteria of a 'Wildcard' event. In the true sense of Wildcard events, a terrorist attack on the games seems far more likely than not likely.
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For Valentines Day, its Tigers all 'round
Monday 11 January 2010
If my information is correct, the 14th of February is the start of the New Year and instead of the usual flowers and chocolates, you might be wise to invest in another gift for your heart's desire
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What can we expect in the next decade?
Tuesday 29 December 2009
Had any thoughts yet? I have - plenty and judging from the number of media inquiries it appears lots of other people are also curious to know what might lie ahead in the next year or next decade. I'm putting my thinking hat on so that we can consider what 2010-2019 might hold, the second decade of this century, as well as some ideas for the short term futures for 2010. And what are your thoughts - by all means let me know
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Copenhagen Consensus is likely - just not the type we want.
Tuesday 8 December 2009
I'm tipping that Consensus will be reached at Copenhagen this week. Alas it will be a consensus for more talking, thinking and commitments to agree to a proposal to set a time for a discussion around more concrete targets. In otherwords, a commitment to not commit. The politicians waver whilst our planet is being poisoned. Copenhagen will stall because the framing of the issues does not allow success to be created. What is missing are a couple of ideas to balance the ledger and here's what they are:
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Counter Mantra to Christmas Credit
Tuesday 1 December 2009
The cycle of consumption rears its head as it has done for quite some time. Consumption is neither good, nor bad, it 'just is' and right now the majority of media exposed potential consumers are being lured, enticed and occasionally conned into parting with their hard earned money to satisfy needs and whims. Some consumers are smarter than others given what we see with disciplined approaches to spending money many of us don't have - especially those whom have evolved to embrace the 'enoughness' style of thinking. And in the background of this activity play the jingles of 'jingles' - the Christmas Carol. So for some counter balance I offer a reworked version of a classic carol...
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What kids can teach us about Goal Directed futures
Tuesday 17 November 2009
Our son has just celebrated his fifth birthday and although we don't make a huge fuss about milestones (the kids get a party every second year), there's no doubt that he is learning about desired future outcomes and goals. I doubt he is different from most kids in his ability to spot something and declare with wholesome intensity 'Ohhh - I'm so gonna get that...'. What I enjoy is his reaction when he doesn't in fact 'get that'.
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How Will You Prove You Are Who You Say You Are?
Thursday 22 October 2009
Here's a little something I'd like you to think about. Are you really who you say you are? And, how do I know that I can trust you? Identity Theft is one of the most debilitating crimes a person can suffer for it strips away the very core of your own belief system and that of society's belief in you as a 'real' person. Many don't recover from the impact for years and yet we are very slack when it comes to protecting our identities and some businesses are doing very little to help us.
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Curing Brain Cancers - Blackwood 8 fundraiser on the 23rd of October
Friday 16 October 2009
The Blackwood 8 fundraising event is coming up in a week and will be held at the Croydon Golf Club. In just two years and with a small handful of volunteers, the Blackwood 8 group has raised over $80,000 which has been donated to organisations looking to treat cancer. This year, the focus in on Brain Cancer's and world reknowned neurosurgeon, Dr Charlie Teo is a guest speaker. Tickets for the event can be obtained by accessing the Blackwood 8 website
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Can GM food rescue the planet's appetite for Food?
Friday 16 October 2009
'World - we have a problem' (apologies to astronaut James Lovell). We are killing ourselves with food and it's happening at both ends of the continuum - millions starve each day whilst a gluttony caused obesity epidemic is killing others off in different ways. We have a growing global population requiring sustenance, whilst Climate Change is making it harder to supply that food. We have farmers and consumers wanting to go back to bio-organic farming whilst multinationals offer a GM silver bullet. In many nations we throw out tons of perfectly good food every day. And we don't seem to be able to solve the problem, till now
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2009 September rainfall - still 'above average'?
Thursday 1 October 2009
Anyone looking at the final rainfall figures for Melbourne's rainfall might be heartened by the news that the final result was about 10mm above the September average. Compared to last year's disastrous result where we had about 12mm, it was over 50mm better. But I wonder if the final result, and the current 'average' isn't still a little too high
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Relieving Stress, Chinese-Style
Monday 7 September 2009
Grace Ng, the China Correspondent for The Straits Times has an interesting article in todays edition of the paper. In it she discusses some ways in which '...nie nie zhu or 'pinch brigades' have spread like wildfire' and are attempting to relieve the stress of working long hours or no hours because they are unemployed. Said to be aged in their twenties and thirties, some of their actions include massing inside supermarkets to crush packets of noodles, and street based large scale pillow fights.
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Singapore - The Hub of Great Futures Work
Friday 4 September 2009
I'm heading to Singapore for a few days to facilitate a scenario planning workshop on behalf of the Asia Business Forum. There is something intimately exciting for a futurist to be going to arguably the most future focused of all countries and to spend just a brief time immersed there.
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The risks of 'greenwashing' in a recession
Saturday 15 August 2009
Greenwashing is a term used to define marketing actions by organisations, claiming to take an environmental approach to their products or services, when in fact, they are doing nothing or very little. Greenwashing is a form of marketing hype, and in turbulent times, many companies may be contemplating 'sexing up' their image by tapping into the positive consumer sentiment of a environmentally friendly approach. But being caught 'greenwashing' is a huge reputational risk.
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Marcus Barber to Keynote at Australian Computer Society Conference
Thursday 16 July 2009
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will be the key note speaker at the Australian Computer Society's annual conference to be held in Adelaide on July 30 at the Adelaide Convention Centre
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Scenario Planning & Option Analysis - Intensive workshops in Singapore and Malaysia
Thursday 16 July 2009
The Asia Business Forum has engaged Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber to conduct two Scenario Planning & Option Analysis workshops in September in Malaysia and Singapore
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Adelaide Advanced Strategic Planning One Day Workshop
Monday 6 July 2009
The one-day Advanced Strategic Planning workshop to be conducted by The Australian Strategic Planning Institute in Adelaide is fully booked
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Adelaide Advanced Strategic Planning One Day Workshop
Thursday 11 June 2009
The next Advanced Strategic Planning one-day workshop being run by The Australian Strategic Planning Institute will take place at Rydges in Adelaide on the 13th of July and bookings are now open
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The Bubble to end all Bubbles?
Tuesday 2 June 2009
Hands up if you remember the dot com bubble? Or how about the Y2K bubble? Housing bubble? 'Bubbles' as they apply to all things economic are little more than an oversupply of positive confidence in a particular area of economic concern. In fact 'Bubbles' are caused by the SAME things as 'Recessions' just at opposite ends of the spectrum. Where booms and bubbles need an oversupply of (positive) confidence, Recessions (and depressions) also rely on an oversupply of (negative) confidence. And right now we could well be on the verge of the greatest 'bubble' we've manufactured:
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Advanced Strategic Planning Workshop in Melbourne
Tuesday 19 May 2009
Just a handful of places are left for The Australian Strategic Planning Institute's one day Advanced Strategic Planning workshop at Karsten's in Melbourne on the 26th of May. Please note that there are no places available for the June workshops in both Brisbane or Sydney, and the Adelaide workshop in July is half filled though yet to be promoted! We hope to run another date later in the year for both Brisbane and Sydney if both Steven Bowman and Marcus Barber are in the country at the same time
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Vale Richard Pratt
Wednesday 29 April 2009
Richard Pratt has succumbed to a battle with prostate cancer and there's no doubt that many words will be written on paper destined to end up as recycle materials at his VISY Industries plants. There's a harmony in that thought - all those words of type and paper discussing Richard Pratt will be recycling through the world, 'living on' as it were in perpetuity due to Pratt's recycling empire. Much of the type will discuss his business empire, his foibles and interests, his wonderful family and his philanthropy - perhaps as the most well known benefactor (if not the largest) of a whole range of issues throughout Australia. What will be less known and what I recognise implicitly, is that I owe my career in no small part due to Richard Pratt
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How to Spend your $900 - think about your future needs first
Monday 20 April 2009
Thousands of Australians are just receiving or are about to receive a pretty handsome cheque from the Federal Government as part of the economic stimulous package. The question then is 'what do I spend this on?' Below I offer a futurist's view on where certain generational types might consider spending the bonus.
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Futures Jobs starting to emerge
Monday 6 April 2009
If there's one thing that a sense of panic and crisis causes it is 'focus'. Typically that focus will be geared around identifying the critical elements required for a certain level of performance to be achieved. Often that will also lead to an assessment of 'capability' matching - seeking to ensure that the required capabilities are matched to the intended future outcome for an organisation. So it is no surprise that over the past couple of years we've been seeing more organisations seeking staff with 'futures' skills. The two below are no different and if you're in the future fields or looking to enter it, they might appeal greatly
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Australia 2020 - one year on, now what?
Wednesday 1 April 2009
It is almost a year since the Australia 2020 Summit was held in Canberra and it is expected that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will provide feedback on the summit, the ideas it generated as well as the ideas of those not at the summit who provided input and thinking. Of course a lot has changed in the world since then
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Wearable Technologies coming to some clothing near you
Tuesday 17 March 2009
A few years ago whilst researching and generating ideas for the National Geographic Channel's futures based TV shows 'Future Matters' I discussed the idea of what I then called 'WEs' or Wearable Electronics. I mentioned that this was a substantially different approach than portable electronics, which is what most mobile phones and laptop computers were at that stage - useful electronic devices that you could carry around with you to perform a series of functions. WEs were embedded into your clothing, they quite literally became a part of what you were. And now it seems that MIT have taken a giant step towards creating the world's first truly embedded wearable technology as showcased at TED recently
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When a Car Insurance company leaves a bad taste in your mouth
Tuesday 3 March 2009
It is a tad unfortunate that in the past couple of weeks I've had to experience the way in which one of the players in the car insurance industry treats its customers. I haven't lost a single demerit point since well into last century and consider myself a pretty safe driver. So a couple of weeks ago I was stationary behind a car at a pedestrian crossing when a car hit me from behind and forced me into the car in front. It's just a car and no one was hurt (just a tad shaken) so that's the main thing. All drivers calmly exchanged details, there was no shouting or yelling, all very civil really. It's just a pity that the insurance companies haven't treated their customers with the same level of respect...
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Recession Proof Marketing - how to survive and thrive in a recession
Monday 2 March 2009
Marcus Barber has teamed up with Marketing expert Tod O'Reilly to write 'Recession Proof Marketing - how to survive and thrive in a recession'. The book is due for completion by the end of March, 2009 and pre orders are now being taken for advance copies Tod was the account manager for both the David Jones and Myer campaigns that put Jennifer Hawkins and Megan Gale into the hearts and minds of almost every Australian household, and is arguably one of Australia's sharpest minds in the area of retail marketing.
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2009 - Living with an economic downturn - a view from Russia
Monday 16 February 2009
At the Long Now group run by Stewart Brand, they have regular guest speakers on a whole range of topics. Recently they had Russian Dmitry Orlov who discussed what happened in Russia during the economic crisis in the early 1990's and what people around the world might need to do to prepare for the current one. I have posted Stewart Brand's posting in its entirety below. Two salient points from the posting: '...Orlov noted that women in Russia handled collapse pragmatically, putting on their garden gloves, whereas middle-aged men dissolved into lonely drunks...' There's much to consider in the posting though I don't hold as dark a view for Australia as Dmitry poses for the US
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2009 on ABC's Conversation Hour
Friday 6 February 2009
The future of 2009 was discussed on ABC 774's conversation hour, hosted by Raphael Epstein and Denise Scott - the full program is now available online at the link below
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2009 - a year for Playing 'Catch-Up' (Part 1)
Monday 19 January 2009
This is Part one with Part two (looking at who will probably better off at this time next year) to come shortly. If you are in a position to sharpen your thinking, catch a breath or use some time to improve your understanding of the ways in which we create our societies, then I have a three items to recommend to you for this year - two books and one search engine option. The books offer additional ways to the consider some of the scientific research we hear about (without being too 'jargon' laden) and the search engine is arguably one of the best pieces of technology I've seen for quite some time.
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Ahead for 2009 on 774 ABC's conversation hour
Tuesday 13 January 2009
What's emerging for 2009? What might shape the near term future, what can we do about it and what are some of the indicators suggesting change or otherwise? Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber joined Raphael Epstein and co-host Denise Scott, as part of the panel to answer the questions on the 774 ABC's conversation hour today...
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2009 a cause for ‘change’ not ‘concern’ in Tourism Industry
Tuesday 6 January 2009
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber discusses the potential 2009 outlook for the Tourism Industry in Australia: One of the great things about sudden disruptions to our entrenched models of behaviour is the opportunity they provide to assess what it is we have been doing, and whether the things we have been doing have been blinding us to better opportunities. Although the popular thinking is that businesses try to run at maximum effectiveness, the reality is far less comforting. Instead, at best most businesses aim for maximum efficiency and efficiency is about entrenching repetition of behaviours because repeating the same things over and over again should, the thinking seems to go, get cheaper over time. And by and large I suspect that such a model holds true. For a while...
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Australian Strategic Planning Institute work shop in Sydney fully booked
Monday 8 December 2008
The Advanced one day Strategic Planning Workshop in Sydney on the 11th of December at Rydges World Square is now fully booked
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The Australian Strategic Planning Institute Sydney workshop - just four places left
Monday 1 December 2008
The one day Advanced Strategic Planning Workshop co facilitated by Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber has just four places left
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Financial Crisis 101 - a smart diagram that explains (mostly) it all
Friday 21 November 2008
The link below will take you to a great little diagram that explains the unfolding of the Financial Crisis as most people know of it. As Marcus Barber explains, it doesn't delve too deep into the structural design of the financial system, or start at the 'true beginning' of the problem and it does explain in a very easy to follow way, how certain events occurred and what the results of those events were.
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Heading down the drain with the ‘4 Minute Shower’
Monday 17 November 2008
Every now and again what sounds like a really good idea turns out to be less beneficial than what was hoped for. There's lots of talk right now about technology solutions and ways in which societies can change the way they use water - there's conferences and 'talkfests' a plenty featuring many of the industry players and lots of smart cookies. When it comes to good intentions that miss the mark, Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber wonders whether or not the Victorian Government’s ‘4 Minute Shower’ idea is a current example?
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Blackwood 8 fundraiser assists the Ludwig Institute for Cancer research
Tuesday 4 November 2008
The second annual fund raiser was held in late October and attended by almost 300 people. Marcus Barber offers a brief update:
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Regional Produce Summit slides now available
Wednesday 22 October 2008
The slides used as part of Marcus Barber's key note address to the Regional Produce Summit are now available via the link below
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Eco Industrial Parks & Community Development
Friday 3 October 2008
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will both key note and act as Master of Ceremonies at the Lockhart Industrial symposium on the 9th of October, in Lockhart NSW. Marcus will discuss the clear business advantages that Eco Industrial parks provide to businesses, the way that symbiotic supply chains work to improve business resilience and the way that local communities can take charge of the direction they want their community to head towards
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Victorian State Culinary Tourism Conference in Wangaratta
Friday 3 October 2008
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will be kicking off proceedings at the 2008 Regional Produce Summit in Wangaratta on the 20th of October where he'll detail some of the emerging issues likely to impact upon the tourism and food sector in the foreseeable future and suggest ways that businesses in the sector might be able to take advantage of some of the opportunities that are appearing on the horizon
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Pixar's Wall E gives us a glimpse - but is it too cute to hit the mark?
Monday 29 September 2008
I sat in the theatre with my two young children over the weekend watching Pixar's latest animation film 'Wall E'. Once again, (like all Pixar features) it is technically brilliant, and wearing my strategic futurist lenses, suggest that it is a story that is engaging and arguably informative. But I wondered if somewhere along the way the apparent message(s) behind the film misses the mark?
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Marcus Barber at ANTOR discusses the future of travel
Wednesday 24 September 2008
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber discussed the future of travel at the ANTOR session at The American Club in Sydney, NSW on the 24th of September.
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Your Future Requires Planning - and so does ours!
Friday 5 September 2008
Members of the Futures Foundation and the AFFA will be congregating in Pearl Beach in the coming weeks to consider the state of play in the Australian Futures community. Given the emerging challenges in Australia and around the world, the futures community requires just as much serious contemplation and forethought as does any one
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Supply Chains; Recruitment; Strategic Planning - a Busy month for Futures work
Thursday 14 August 2008
In the past couple of weeks I've had to focus on great range of futures based topics either facilitating process or presenting my own ideas and observations, and it looks like its not over yet!
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Robots of the Future
Wednesday 23 July 2008
One of our many Nordic watchers, Are Thorsteinsson, has posted the Future Matters segment looking at the future of robotics, along with marking up full language captions in Danish. Although a couple of years old now, the early signs listed in this segment are only now coming into more mainstream focus
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Advanced Strategic Planning One Day workshop - August 7 in Melbourne
Tuesday 1 July 2008
The Australian Strategic Planning Institute will be running another of its fantastic one day workshops on the 7th of August, in Melbourne. The format continues in the similar style as the recent event in Brisbane, with three content experts looking at critical aspects of the Strategic Planning process, and then a two part panel discussion where participants can ask specific questions related to their organisation's Strategic Planning issues.
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Asking the unaskable question - Do we have a right not to die?
Wednesday 25 June 2008
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber has contributed a chapter to Volume Five of the 'Death and Anti-Death' Anthology which has just been published by Ria University. With contributors including Aubrey de Grey and Kevin Kelly and edited by Dr. Charles Tandy, Volume Five in the series is dedicated to the memory of Loren Eiseley, the renowned Anthropologist, science writer and environmental advocate.
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Biofuels and Global Starvation
Friday 13 June 2008
One of the challenges for one aspect of the world is fuel and the price of fuel used for private transportation. I use the word 'aspect' quite deliberately because the 'aspect of the world' that seems to be making the most noise about rising fuel prices is by and large the 'westernised' world - that's the people like you and me who drive cars. And here is where things are fascinating - while many in the westernised world complain about the costs of filling their cars, others look for 'solutions' to the problem, and one proposed solution is 'biofuel'. What is fascinating is not so much that people are wanting to find solutions to their 'problem' of costs of private transportation but the fact that people who see biofuel as the answer to their problem seem to be ignoring the simple fact that the solution to their 'lifestyle' problem is causing a greater challenge in dealing with other people's 'life' problem. Put simply, one person's "right to drive" is being placed ahead of another person's "right to live". We are literally killing people because we think driving our cars is more important (a greater 'right') than feeding people.
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Marcus Barber to Open Supply Chain and Logistics Conference
Thursday 15 May 2008
With the theme 'Moving Forward, Supply Chains of the Future', Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will open the Australian Supply Chain and Logistics Conference in Brisbane in July on behalf of the Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia. Details for the conference can be found below.
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Not much to be Proud about - an Apology to the coming generation
Tuesday 29 April 2008
On the 22nd of April I did a quick presentation at the Water Technology Breakthrough Forum hosted by The Churchill Club and IXC at the Melbourne Town Hall. Over lunch during the day we were lucky enough to have a group of seven students from Melbourne Grammar and MacRoberstons Girls High School form part of a panel that was facilitated by Richard Hames. It was a rather enlightening group. well informed about water policy and issues of an environmental nature and there was a wide perspective of views including 'the social activist', 'the interested economist' and 'business leader' who fell naturally into the roles that seem to align with their thinking. And then Richard asked a question along the lines of 'What does or is likely to motivate you to change your behaviour?' The answer of one of
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Book Recommendation - Gang Leader for a Day
Monday 28 April 2008
When it comes to quality strategic futures work as part of making the pragmatic decisions that shifts beyond theoretical futures work, I encourage my clients to question the assumptions they make about the information they have available to them. Which is why I am recommending the book 'Gang Leader for a day - a rougue sociologist takes to the streets' by Sudhir Venkatesh. What Venkatesh highlights so succinctly is that making decisions when you are disconnected from reality will ultimately lead to outcomes you didn't expect.
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Marcus Barber on 774 ABC Melbourne Conversation Hour discussing Australia 2020 Futurists Summit
Wednesday 23 April 2008
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber was well and truly forced to justify the existence of his profession when venturing along to Jon Faine's Conversation Hour last week. Co-hosted by Cath Pope the discussion looked at the role of Futurists, the Australia 2020 Futurists Summit and Jon's scepticism around the role of futurists..
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Australia's 2020 Future - the Futurist's report
Monday 21 April 2008
You'd think that given a focus on the future, you'd ask specialists in the future to have some input, and whilst that didn't occur for the PM's Summit in Canberra over the weekend, some of Australia's Futurists had already done the leg work to contribute their thoughts on the future of Australia. That report is now available and it would appear, given some of the initial media coverage suggesting that 'nothing new' emerged in Canberra, the Futurists have once again shown that their aproach to thinking can be a significant benefit
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Australia's 2020 Future - the Futurist's report goes 'live' tomorrow
Friday 18 April 2008
Some of Australia's leading futurists gathered in Melbourne in March to provide a specialist Futures approach to addressing the Australia 2020 Summit in Canberra. The outcome of that Summit and the development that subsequently followed has led to the creation of the report 'Australia 2020 Futurists Summit' that has worked through each of the ten themes highlighted by Prime Minister Rudd
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Marcus Barber to join Jon Faine for the Conversation Hour on ABC Melbourne
Tuesday 15 April 2008
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will meet with eminent ABC radio presenter Jon Faine on Wednesday the 16th of April to discuss the outcomes of the Australia 2020 Futurists Summit and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Australia 2020 Summit in Canberra on the weekend
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Rethinking Remuneration at the RCSA Workforce Symposium
Tuesday 18 March 2008
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber has presented 'The 8 Factors' model of remuneration at the Recruitment & Consulting Services Association 7th Workforce Symposium in Canberra in March. The model, previously appearing in Australia's leading Innovation magazine 'Fast Thinking' provides a means for businesses to think beyond 'cash' as the primary motivator or attractor and
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2020 Australia - Futurist's Report
Tuesday 4 March 2008
A group of leading Australian Futurists gathered over the weekend to consider the 10 core themes set to be tackled at Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Australia 2020 Summit in Canberra in April. Convened by Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber, the 2020 Australia Futurists Summit utilised some of the advanced facilitation and strategy development techniques as a means for extracting additional perspectives of how Australia might begin to address the 10 Core themes, and encapsulated thinking and insight from Futurists around Australia.
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Australia's 2020 Future - the Futurist's report
Monday 25 February 2008
As preparations continue for the Prime Minister Rudd's '1000 heads' ideas summit in Canberra in April, a group of Australia's leading futurists are gathering in Melbourne this weekend for the 'Australia 2020 Futurists Summit'. The futurists attending the summit work across Australia, in corporate, not for profit and Government agencies in a variety of fields and will look at each of the key areas the Prime minister has flagged as critical themes for development.
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Are Interest Rate Rises Too Clumsy to Help a Teetering Economy?
Friday 22 February 2008
A few thoughts on what steps could be taken to overcome the 'treat everyone like a nail' approach that Interest Rate rises seems to do. Check out the idea under the 'Latest Focus' section
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How to Stop Japanese Whaling in its Tracks
Thursday 7 February 2008
Marcus Barber offers his thoughts on How to Stop Japanese Whaling in its Tracks and suggests that raiding boats won't do the job. Instead he suggests that the key to negotiating with the Japanese is to have the Japanese people do the work. And to encourage them to do so we must begin to talk about Scientifc Research and Japanese Honour because when it comes to whaling, the two are at opposite ends of the spectrum. You can find the full story via the 'Latest Focus' tab above.
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Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony Blanketed by Dust Storm
Thursday 17 January 2008
If an 'Inconvenient Truth' raised the profile of global warming to the general population, it appears that a willingness by political leaders to take appropriate action to mitigate the possible ramifications is still very much lacking. It is such a pity. No one who holds the Global Warming scenario close to heart wants to be proven 'right' - in fact no one I know who suggest that Global Warming is a serious issue even wants the chance to be proven right. Instead their desire is for action to be taken now so that the opportunity to be proven right evaporates. And still our leaders sit on their hands because the potential discomfort associated with making social changes through legislation and changing the energy and water use consumption of our nation is one they seem not prepared to face. 'Better to be
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2008 - what a year it was!
Friday 28 December 2007
Yes you read right - thinking ahead I'm anticipating an amazing 2008. Happy new year to all for when it happens (depending on the calendar you subscribe to) and I look forward to some fun, challenges, stresses and enjoyment for the year ahead. Marcus Barber :-)
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Marcus Barber discussing the Future on 774 ABC Melbourne
Thursday 20 December 2007
Marcus Barber joined host Tim Cox and co-host, author and writer Andrew Peglar on the Conversation hour to muse about the types of futures one might expect to see in coming years.
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Marcus Barber to be Interviewed on 774 ABC
Thursday 6 December 2007
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will join Tim Cox on 774 ABC as part of the conversation hour next week
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Australian Strategic Planning Institute Workshop Sold Out
Wednesday 5 December 2007
The Australian Strategic Planning Institute's one-day Strategic Planning workshop on the 12th of December 2007 has been fully booked.
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Strategic Planning Workshop in Australia
Wednesday 28 November 2007
The Australian Strategic Planning Institute is holding another one day Strategic Planning Workshop on the 12th of December. Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will join Maree Conway and Steven Bowman in explaining the critical stages of the Strategic Planning process; highlight the traps that catch far too many organisations and detail the key processes used to develop effective and organisationally useful Strategic Plans. The workshop will also run a targeted Q&A session that will allow participants to have a specific question about their organisation's Strategic Planning process to be addressed. Details can be found
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Australian Election 2007 - 20/20 Hindsight
Monday 26 November 2007
"When you change a Government you Change a Country" the deposed Prime Minister John Howard said in the final days leading up to the election on Saturday and a theme his Foreign Minister Alexander Downer echoed. So given the 'economic boom' and years of strong growth and low unemployment, what exactly did Australia want to change? There will be many pundits in the media offering analysis of the reasons for Australia throwing out the Prime Minister and his Government. The common theme already emerging in many media circles is that Australians were itching for change. For me this is an all too simplistic and inaccurate representation of the reality. Australians are a surprisingly conservative lot and despite our innovative tendencies do not opt for change all that often. So why given the apparent good times and piles of cash did the vast majority of Australians seek an alternative? In brief - it was because at a very deep level, Australians felt that their identities were under attack and, like they have done on every other change of Government, were not prepared to stand by and let that happen.
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From Foresight Foreplay to Corporate Consummation
Wednesday 14 November 2007
At the AustForesight 2007 Conference, Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber and fellow Futurist Steve Tighe presented their take on what is required to enable futurists to be seen as more relevant to the Corporate world. Drawing on their shared experience as facilitator and client, they detailed the journey of foresight and futures across the past 50 years and posed the question 'where's Wally? - why is it that of the three children put up for adoption in the 1950's: 'Strategy'; 'Marketing'; and 'Foresight', foresight remains the 'ugly sibling'? Their presentation
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Melbourne Cup Predictions
Monday 5 November 2007
Futurists often get asked things like 'Okay then - who's going to win the 'flag' this year'. In Melbourne Cup time most of my friends ring me asking for a hot tip. Given my consistent poor form at selecting a winner, why they would ask me is anyone's guess (unless they are working out who NOT to back!) so this year I've put a little more futurist's thought into it and here's what I've come up with: The 'signals' (coincidences) I've been picking up tell me that The Fuzz, Blue Monday and Purple Moon would be a trifecta bet were I to have one. My 'lucky numbers' of 9 & 11 give me Zipping and Master O'Reilly and also based on the barrier draw Princess Coup. The Fuzz is included twice because it's out of barrier 11. Enjoy the day. If you do have a punt, keep it sensible and while you're there, say 'Hi' to Kenny for me :-)
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Exploring Matters of Life & Death
Friday 26 October 2007
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber has been invited to contribute to Volume 5 of the book series 'Death & Anti-Death' edited by Charles Tandy PhD. the full title is 'Death & Anti-Death, Volume 5: 30 years after Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)' (ISBN 978-1-934297-02-5). This edition is dedicated to Eiseley, a reknowned ecologist and anthropologist whose focus on the ideas of Charles Darwin led to critical claim in the scientific community with his 1958 book 'Darwin's Century'. Barber's contribution
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Applying Strategic Foresight to Organisational Change
Thursday 18 October 2007
Does your organisation suffer what Futurists call 'Operational Sleepwalking'? That most organisations (and people) willingly sleepwalk their way into their futures is not all that surprising. What is surprising about that however is that those people and those organisations are: * Surprised when something unexpected (and not to their liking) happens and, * Claim they had no alternative Tackling this all too pervasive mindset Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will be presenting at the Centre for Organisational Development OD Professionals Network on the 24th of October, looking at how Organisational Development, HR and Learning & Teaching Managers can leverage Strategic Foresight to assist their organisations. The link to the evening can be found at the website where you can also register for the event - www.cfod.com.au. A summary of the evening follows here:
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Identifying & Overcoming Barriers to Innovation
Tuesday 16 October 2007
Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will present ideas on how to identify and then overcome the Barriers to Innovation as part of the Monash University Berwick Business and Education Group (MUBBEG). Drawing from his articles in Fast Thinking Magazine and his soon to be completed book 'Killing Trends: The Graceful Art of Innovation', Marcus will challenge the notion that creativity is the same as Innovation, that you ought to rely on external experts to 'do your innovation' for you, and that everyone knows what you mean by Innovation
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The Australian Strategic Planning Institute Gets a Boost
Thursday 27 September 2007
Maree Conway, of 'University Futures' has joined the Australian Strategic Planning Institute as a lead facilitator for the Institute's programs. Maree's experience in policy development, planning and strategy initiatives provides additional weight to the sessions on offer. TASPI now have three key facilitators that cover critical steps in
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Private Water Theft and How to Combat it
Wednesday 26 September 2007
As water restrictions continue it is likely that we will see an increase in instances of water being stolen from private storage units (water tanks). A recent article in the Herald Sun reported on the theft of water from tanks belonging to Boorandara Council supplying water for parklands. Although in a public place, the water is effectively a private storage capacity on behalf of residents and this incident is unlikely to be the last one we hear of. I'm currently working with a specialist water tank company whose core advantage exists in the way their storage units make theft increasingly difficult and
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How to Catch a Stealth Bomber & Other iiBubbles
Friday 21 September 2007
The latest edition of Fast Thinking has hit the streets and includes another tool for those seeking to develop innovation and strategy. Marcus Barber explains how to use, what he calls an 'iiBubble', a process that helps capture an idea to see if it has innovation 'legs'. As one of the tools unique to Barber in his work as a Strategic Futurist, the process is simple enough for most organisations to be able to quickly employ in their creative teams and innovation programs. Some of the iiBubbles include turning Lake Eyre into an inland sea to help rainfall on the eastern seaboard as well as a means by which you might be able to spot and catch a Stealth Bomber
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Talented Futurist Celebrates a Birthday
Thursday 30 August 2007
Looking Up Feeling Good would like to wish the very talented and focused futurist, Sophie Barber a happy birthday today. Sophie's amazing talent at suggesting the possible future for a positive outcome is a true inspiration and we look forward to many more insights as the complexity of challenges continues to test our understanding, commitment and readiness for the emerging futures.
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Leading Sustainability through Corporate Real Estate Hypothetical
Wednesday 22 August 2007
The CoreNet Global Melbourne 2007 Summit incorporated a thought provoking Hypothetical panel discussion on the future of corporate real estate and the drivers for sustainability. With an economic futures framework provided by Melbourne University Professor of Economics Neville Norman who moderated the discussion, the panel included Aggie Aitken, Head of Workplace Development at ANZ; Strategic Futurist and Director of Looking Up Feeling Good, Marcus Barber; Yossi Ghinsberg, the Founder and Director of EthnoBios S.A ; and Michael Greene, Regional Director of Corporate Solutions at Jones Lang LaSalle
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Housing Crisis and A Difference to a Difference of Opinion
Friday 3 August 2007
Last night the ABC program 'A Difference of Opinion' looked at the issues of the housing affordability ciris. The panel provided some quality perspectives as to what was causing the challenge and what kind of actions might need to occur in order to address the issue with Ross Gittins' early observation that the debate completely ignored one of the most significant affected groups, 'the renters' as worth the admission price to the debate. And I was left wondering if the assorted suggestions were failing to address a more basic question - 'why exactly do Australian's believe that owning their own home is so important?' It is a question that Sohail Inayatullah's Causal Layererd Analaysis might provide insight to as the 'mythology of home ownership' is placed under the spotlight. A recent Hudson Institute report showed that over the past 30 years in Australia, the capital growth of the average home worth $100,000 in 1970 was about 6.5% per annum. Not much above bank interest on a $100k cash investment. The issue of housing afforability requires more assessment by the futures community. If not, the economists, social advocates and builders might end up debating the wrong issue
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Innovation in Employee Engagement
Wednesday 18 July 2007
Among other great articles, the winter 2007 edition of Fast Thinking magazine highlights the '8 Factor' model for effective employee engagement, created by strategic futurist Marcus Barber. Using the model he shows how organisations can develop greater flexibility when it comes to providing incentives as a means for improving productivity and ensuring longevity for staff. Check out www.FastThinking.com.au where you can download a copy of the article and then make sure you subscribe to this excellent Innovation magazine.
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Sustainability as a Source of Competitive Advantage
Friday 22 June 2007
Dan Atkins, former manager of Environmental policy at Toyota and now Director of Sustainable Business Practises and Strategic Futurist Marcus Barber will speak at the South East Networks / VicUrban Business Breakfast at the Sandown Racecourse on Wednesday the 27th of June. Both Dan (who'll discuss how Toyota applies its Environmental Policy in order to reduce costs and increase profits) and Marcus (who'll look at some of the emerging points of pain likely to impact on business operations in the future) will look at sustainable business practises and how to leverage an advanced sustainable framework as a point of ongoing competitive advantage. Dan's impressive record in the Sustainability field will be complemented by Marcus' ability to identify both the emerging issues in business and then to design operational strategies that enable your business to make more effective choices given the potential changes Tickets available at the door (7.15 am kick off) or via South East Networks on 613 9238 1576
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Future Alerts Subscription Service now Monthly
Friday 25 May 2007
Looking Up Feeling Good's advanced signals reporting service 'Future Alerts' is now available as a monthly subscription offering. Designed to provide your organisation with signals indicating potential change, each report comes with analysis of the signals and how they might impact your business. Applying some advanced Environmental Scanning process, including the 'VSTEEP' model, you can have the report customised to specific areas of interest a long with analysis that ensures the report is as immediately releveant as you desire.
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Marcus Barber invited to attend World Water Week in Stockholm 2007
Friday 11 May 2007
Futurist Marcus Barber has been invited to present at the Stockholm International Water Institute's prestigious World Water Week conference to be held in Stockholm later this year. His abstract submission 'Life versus Lifestyle: the emerging clash between consumer demands and water availability' forms part of the key workshop item of 'Managing Future Consumer Demands' which will attempt to consider the multitude of approaches and factors that will influence fresh water availability around the globe. The full abstract is availble below. To request a copy of the full paper, please contact us
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May Brainnovation Session now open
Friday 27 April 2007
The May Brainnovation session is open for bookings. If you'd like to be invited to attend this highly focused, creative and thought provoking session please contact us. We'll send you an invite and as these sessions are strictly limited to no more than 15 people, it's 'first in - best dressed' for acceptances! You'll be guided by Marcus Barber, arguably one of Australia's most innovative futurists. The next session is open for Thursday the 24th of May - book now
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Authenticity & the Craft of Brewing Beer
Thursday 29 March 2007
Every now and again you discover something well ahead of the general public that is worthy of further investigation. That is the key advantage of being a futurist - you get to spend a lot of your time just looking for signals of change. In this case it is the soon to be opened Barleycorn Brewers in Huntingdale, Victoria. A professional brewery for the public, Barleycorn Brewers provide the budding Brew-Master, home brewer and anyone else interested with the chance to create, can or bottle, and then drink their very own beer. The significance of this concept is the way it ties in with the emerging shifts in consumer sentiment that is seeing the rejection of 'Brands' and an increasing search for 'authenticity' which will require a major shift in the way products and services are pushed to the marketplace. It is something I have been suggesting to organisations for quite a while now
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Strategy and Game Shows
Wednesday 28 February 2007
Marcus Barber joined Brigette Duclos on the Channel 10 program '9am with David & Kim' to discuss strategy and the game show 'Con-Test'
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The Emergence of 'Enoughness'
Wednesday 14 February 2007
I mentioned this concept a couple of years ago and now I am beginning to see a major shift in customer sentiment. This is, I believe, the start of a significantly different time for businesses in dealing with their customers as a result of a whole series of smaller issues coming together. Enoughness appears to be emerging as a result of what I refer to as a 'Cascading Discontinuity Set' - the small and seemingly unconnected elements merging into a major shift in customer behaviour. Enoughness will fundamentally change the consumption driven business models now in play and there will be winners and losers on all sides and this isn't just a theoretical futuristic assessment - it is a very real phenomena
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Advanced Organisational Strategy (AOS) Events
Thursday 25 January 2007
Your Advanced Organisational Strategy events coincide with a specific need for your business and lead to excellent outcomes. These events are customed tailored to help you solve an organisational challenge or to answer a key exploratory question for you. The AOS focuses on two main objectives - to create a specific 'How to' for solving an existing problem; and to create a series of 'what ifs' in an assessment of the future. You'll work with Marcus Barber, arguably one of Australia's most innovative futurists in a program that will nudge, guide, cajole and push your thinking to greatly enhanced levels
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Innovation & Counter Intuitiveness
Wednesday 24 January 2007
The idea behind Innovation is to create something new, that has yet to be conceived. A lot of the times that requires Counterintuitive thinking and that can be a very difficult challenge because it needs to break the habits in our thinking styles. For me the essence of being a futurist is the essence of innovation, two concepts which cannot be separated.
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Events

React, Manage or Create - three pathways to the Future
Wednesday 1 November 2017
Short article over at the Centre for Australian Foresight looks at Three approaches to dealing with the emerging Future
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Fixing the O-Bike Disaster
Wednesday 27 September 2017
And trust me, it really is one. The O-Bike is another example of Theft of the Commons. And it needs to stop. Now!
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The Basics of BitCoin and Digital Currencies
Wednesday 30 August 2017
Blockchains and Bitcoins? There's some great benefits among all the hype and yes there are risks. Perhaps the single most underrated element of the promise is the inability for any one or a handful of players to manipulate or 'game' the system. The keys to note are:
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