Naisbitt came to mind a few days ago when I was reading a column in the Financial Times titled, “Rising Powers Do Not Want to Play by the West’s Rules.” In writing about Brazil’s and Turkey’s efforts to resolve the concern over Iran’s development of enriched uranium, the author, Phillip Stevens, cited a report from the U.S. National Intelligence Council called Global Trends 2025. I had not heard of the report, so I looked it up and downloaded it (that information-based, technology pull economy that Naisbitt predicted at work). If for no other reason than it’s a great example of outside-in thinking and analysis, I encourage you to download the report and take a look.
The executive summary begins with a table of “Relative Certainties” and their “Likely Impact.” For instance, the emergence of a global multipolar system likely means that “a single international community of nation-states will no longer exist” and new players will bring new rules. Or, for example, absent a dramatic change in employment conditions, the increase in the youth population in countries such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen will lead to continued instability.
The process outlined in Global Trends 2025 raises some interesting opportunities and questions for leaders. When you step up to the balcony and look at your organization and its operating environment with a broader lens, what relevant certainties do you see? What are the likely impacts of those relative certainties? What are your options for responding? Who else needs to be involved in the conversation and what role should they play in shaping the future?