Flash Foresight Book Summary, by Daniel Burrus

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1-Page Summary of Flash Foresight

“Flash Foresight”

In order to be successful, one must have foresight. With the right techniques and practice, you can learn how to predict the future more accurately and solve problems before they actually happen. You can also see what’s coming in your market so that you can create new products or adjust your current products’ positioning for success in a changing market.

1. Start with Certainty Using “Cyclical” and “Linear” Change

Strategy based on uncertainty has high risk and possible reward. Strategy based on certainty has low risk and high reward. To create strategy, start by identifying the two types of change: cyclical change (which occurs in a cycle) and linear change (which moves along in a single direction).

To gain certainty, you must understand linear change. This includes technological growth and the effects of it on your business. You need to learn to distinguish between hard trends and soft trends. Hard trends are based on measurable, tangible facts that will happen in the future because they have happened before and there’s no reason for them not to continue happening. Soft trends are guesses about what might happen in the future but aren’t certain because they’re just predictions or possibilities rather than facts that have already happened or been predicted by experts who know what’s going to happen next.

2. Anticipating the Future Using Hard Trends That Will Happen You might have heard that you need to take initiative and respond with agility to outside change. But being proactive isn’t enough, and being agile isn’t fast enough anymore. Today you must be “preactive.” You need to anticipate change and start moving in the right direction before change occurs. If you are preactive, you can start a change, and let it unfold from within rather than having it forced on you from without. Start the anticipation process by reflecting on your situation. Pay attention to your intuition, as well as hard trends that will happen in society in general or your industry in particular:

  1. Everything is getting smaller. Cell phones used to be big and bulky, but now they are small enough to fit in your ear. Computers used to fill up rooms; however, laptops are everywhere now, even in your pocket.

  2. Products are becoming more intelligent because they contain sensors that allow them to adapt to their users. Products can network with other products, multiplying their value. For example, dematerialization and networking combined allowed file sharing in the music industry.

  3. Interactivity is an important part of communication. Older forms of media are static, whereas new social media channels allow for interaction with the channel itself and other users.

  4. Society is increasingly globalized. The people we interact with are not necessarily from the same country as us and the information that they share with us can be accessed online. This makes all countries interdependent, which brings peace among nations. For example, smartphones allow for communication between individuals across borders and are more networked than older phones.

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Three factors are driving this advancement: processing power, bandwidth and data storage. These three advancements work like a squared function; they compound their effects on society. Emerging technologies, such as photonics, nanotechnology and quantum computing will further compound the effect of these advancements on society in the future.

3. Using Transformation to Drive Growth

In today’s world, businesses must do something different and new to succeed. They need to anticipate change and find ways of adapting. For example, the baby boom generation will create a demand for elder care services that don’t exist now because their lifestyle is much different from previous generations’. The author lists eight pathways through which technological advancement can occur in an industry and how it affects its future. He also gives examples of industries that have borrowed techniques from others to adapt or transform themselves successfully into the future.

Flash Foresight Book Summary, by Daniel Burrus

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