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Strategic Planning for The Future

Notes on a talk given by Dr Michael Moynagh at the World Future Society, UK.

Globalisation

Globalisation is an unstoppable phenomenon that must be addressed. It is increasingly an issue because of the greater connectedness of the world – internet, media, telecomms etc.

Whether humanity (we ourselves) pursue a competitive or a cooperative model will determine the world we live in. Massive shocks will, however, result from confrontational policies. China vs US is one to beware of.

Growth

We can expect that in 18 years wealth will increase by about 50% and will double in 28 years. We should consider how that world will feel. In particular population density will be far greater. The implications have significant effects on our decisions today.

Life Profiles

Life profiles have changed. Traditional expectations are of a stratified life: school, start work, get married, have a family, retire. But today lifestyles are blessed with great choice. Jobs may be changed, we may work where we please rather than where the job is, and even have parallel jobs, we may not ever retire but change our roles, changing partners is increasingly common, adopting children is too.

Mass customisation is a phenomenon that is real. The problem now is too much choice! Frameworks become valuable, we want an answer to how to live – what is best for me? - and so we get lifestyle advisors. Advisors for interiors, fashion, finances, holidays, homes, education, health, exercise ... The fantasies we create for ourselves are rarely realised and thus we often feel let down and seek trust in delivery. We want authenticity.

Media Mediates Our Lives

We live according to advertisements. But that is changing as subscription services increase and advertising spend declines with the availability of technology allowing choice.

Increasingly we seek friendship societies, virtual communities that allow us to share and develop ideas with similarly motivated people in disparate locations.

The media industry will thus seek to find ways to influence these networks.

Technology

As we benefit from and rely upon information and communication technology the demand for higher bandwidth increases. Spending on telecom infrastructure will reap higher rewards than spending on transport infrastructure and the “pipe” into our homes gets bigger.

Politics

Reiterated the increasing recognition that politics is increasingly local and global to the detriment of national politics. Additionally partisan politics are disintegrating as people increasingly want to pick 'n' mix policies. If we can not we switch-off. A solution will be “credit-card” politics, whose negative side effect would be to remove equality and make it monet based. Alternatively electronic democracy may rise in its place. (Swiss model may be a worthy case study in analysing how that might develop.)

Well Being is the New Framework

We measure our life utility according to our:

  • autonomy

  • relationships

  • meaning in life

  • physical wellbeing

Shape of Society

Society is rapidly changing shape from

a pyramid structure of few rich and powerful at the top and many poor at the bottom, to

a light bulb shape with a greater middle income and long tail of less wealthy, and now to

a peanut shape as middle income families get squeezed down because skilled jobs, like teaching, gardening, nursing are low paid and technology is replacing manual and now even thinking tasks. The wealthy may maintain their privilige with politics and control of capital. This polarisation of socioeconomic groups will erode the tax base and increase tension.

(A solution is education, throughout life.)

E-Work

E-work, which allows increasing lifestyle choice, requires simple structures. This will tend to favour small organisations over large ones.

The work place will place increasingly tough demands on people, so to avoid stress the work environemnt must become softer. Stress in the workplace is increasingly a health and safety issue. Relationships are key and emotional intelligence is critical, which again demand better education in the areas of self awareness and emotional intelligence.

Sustainable Society

We are moving rapidly toward a world of efficiency, wealth and green technology, which is all good. However, the rate of change may be inadequate to prevent the destruction of the environment by humanities overconsumption. In particular, climate change has moved from a steady pace to a rapid pace. It is increasingly a public policy issue, but we may not adapt fast enough.


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