By Lemuel Cacho
After the United States ranked 5th in a recent World Economic Forum survey, many people, especially Americans are worried whether they can get back on track and become competitive once more. Daniel Burrus thinks so and all we need is a flash foresight.
According to Burrus, flash foresight is a sudden burst of insight about the future that produces a new and radically different way of doing something that will open up invisible opportunities and solve seemingly impossible problems often before they happen.
“Government, business and education, not to mention millions of individuals in all professions, are faced with an increasingly uncertain future as they try to solve a growing list of seemingly impossible problems,” says Burrus. “Flash foresight is a sudden grasp of a future certainty, opening up heretofore invisible opportunities and seeing solutions to seemingly impossible problems.”
But hold on a second. Certainty? With the complexities of life, how can one be certain of how things will turn out? Burrus points out the difference between soft and hard trends.
“Soft trends might happen, hard trends will happen. Knowing what will happen next provides a powerful competitive weapon, as well as saving time and money. In 2000, the U.S. government was predicting a trilliondollar surplus, a soft trend that didn’t happen,” says Burrus. “Many state and local governments based their spending on that soft trend and are still paying for their costly mistake. Apple knew that increasing processing power, bandwidth and storage on mobile devices was a hard trend; they designed their forward-looking strategies around this trio of hard trends and profited greatly.”
The concept of Flash Foresight is not limited to governments and large businesses. It can also apply even to small organizations
and individuals trying to get their careers on track. It takes diligence and certainty to get through problems that most people see as a hassle.
“We all spend too much time managing crisis and putting out fires. In a world of transformational change, it is imperative to have a small group within the organization freed to dedicate consistent periods of time to focus on creating the future products and services of the organization,” says Burrus. “We can’t leave this to our ‘spare time,’ because nobody has any! The only way it will happen, the only way we can actually look into the future and shape our future with intentionality, is if we actually book it into our schedules and prioritize it with blocked-out appointments.”