America’s 2025

Posted in China, climate change, global, politics, reports, scenarios, trends by thenextwavefutures on 29 November, 2008

The National Intelligence Council’s four-yearly report to the incoming President is worth noting this time around because it appears to represent such a sharp shift in world view in such a short time. Suddenly, the “official” view of the world projected by the NIC, which fronts for America’s multiplicity of intelligence agencies, is projecting a world of energy scarcity and resource shortages along with challenges to America’s global  leadership. Such a sharp shift, in fact, that it makes you wonder if there’s a different “Phoenix” version which would have been pulled out of the drawer had McCain won the election.



Thinking in Three Horizons

Posted in emerging issues, future, methods, strategy by thenextwavefutures on 20 November, 2008

I’ve not had much time to blog recently, but I wanted to mention the article I had published recently in the Journal of Futures Studies on the Three Horizons method (“Seeing in Multiple Horizons: Connecting Futures to Strategy” [opens pdf], August 2008, co-written with Tony Hodgson of Decision Integrity). The three horizons method connects possible futures back to the present, and by doing so helps to structure ideas about likely rates of change and the types of conflict which may occur.

Fireworks everywhere

Posted in culture, emerging issues, leisure, technology, trends by thenextwavefutures on 9 November, 2008

I’ve just come back from a big fireworks display in my local park. When I was a child displays like this were almost unknown, and even twenty years ago they were uncommon. Yet now it seems – quite apart from November 5th and thereabouts – that pretty much any evening event outdoors is incomplete without some fireworks laid on. It led me to thinking about the complex confluence of trends which had created this social shift.

Obama and long-term trends

Posted in energy, health, long waves, politics by thenextwavefutures on 6 November, 2008

In among the reams of Obama coverage one of the more interesting articles – certainly from a futures perspective – was by David Brooks in the New York Times.

In summary,  he argues that election day represents a unique conjunction of the end of three long-run cycles: economic, political, and generational.


Tagged with: ,

The past and future of music

Posted in books, culture, digital, emerging issues, music, social by thenextwavefutures on 5 November, 2008

I’ve written in the past about the future of hard-format music, but re-reading some of Bill Drummond‘s writings and interviews during the summer has brought me back to it. The manager-turned-musician-turned-cultural commentator, best known for his time with KLF, is a sort of one-person emerging issue for the music business. Reading about his latest project in conjunction with reviews of Travis Elborough’s recent book The Long-player Goodbye gave a sharp insight into the future of the industry. The rise of the long-format music artefact may have been a fifty-year blip.


The BBC, Brand and Ross

Posted in emerging issues, media, social by thenextwavefutures on 2 November, 2008

What to make of the BBC Brand/Ross blow-out? It could show the power of traditional media to use digital media to whip up a firestorm, with all the political and cultural volatility implied, or it could indicate a shift in social attitudes and expectations in the wake of the credit crunch.