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Published: July 15, 2009

 
 

The Case against Future Shock

So while the transitions we face in the early twenty-first century certainly involve constant, rapid change, they are not unique in terms of pace, scale, or reach, and there is nothing to suggest change is faster and more pervasive than before, or that it is speeding up. It is possible — probable even — that in new areas such as biotechnology or nanotechnology, change will be exponential for a while as discoveries are made and myriad product opportunities found, just as previous technologies also had their exponential period. But this will soon pass. As a systems view suggests, the “exponential change” view of the future is invalid, and forecasts based on this view will overestimate change. Understanding the balancing forces at work in all the systems around us helps us reign in and reality-test forecasts that are premised on this fallacy.

— Adam Gordon

 
 
 
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This Reviewer

  1. Art Kleiner is the editor-in-chief of strategy+business, and author of The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management (2nd ed., Jossey-Bass, 2008) and Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege, and Success (Doubleday, 2003). He is a writer, lecturer, and commentator, with a background in business management, interactive media, corporate environmentalism, education, scenario planning, and organizational learning. 

This Excerpt

  1. Future Savvy: Identifying Trends to Make Better Decisions, Manage Uncertainty, and Profit from Change by Adam Gordon (AMACOM, 2008)
  2. Adam Gordon is a U.K.–based expert in strategic foresight and its application to industry and policy leadership. He has been an analyst, consultant, planner, facilitator, and teacher in the field, and his work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and CNN’s World Report. Gordon is the director of the Future Studio, a futurist consultancy firm in the United Kingdom.
 
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