Posted in ENT 601 Spring 2017

Change Week 8 Reflection (2/24/2017)

As a final, sort of, look at Think Like a Futurist, there is a topic that Cecily Sommers mentions and talks about. She talks about change. How to work towards effecting change, especially in places that seem to run and hide from it. She argues that change is not necessarily overthrowing and changing everything that we already know, but that it should be a way of thinking about something differently. “This means that to truly effect change in your world, you must design it to work with the system as it is.” (Sommers, 2012, p. 204).

Nowadays it seems people would prefer to either stick with what is not obviously working or they would prefer to dismantle what already exists completely, in response to a demand for change, and try to start completely new. When discussing a newly purchased home, it is as if people are complaining about the wallpaper, the appliances it came with, and the shape the roof is in and, rather than work on slowly replacing each of them with something new and better, they would choose to burn the whole house down to the ground, then try to rebuild it with what is leftover. It is completely illogical for that to be a solution. To see, in so many instances, how people would prefer to destroy something entirely to try and make a new and greater thing, rather than fix the few things that are wrong with what already exists and is fairly all right.

Similar to the Earth, everything that we encounter in our daily lives has a kind of gravity about them. Obviously, it is not the traditional, planetary gravitational pull, but it is a gravity that works against us when wanting to achieve something, like change. That gravity can be the system itself, the culture, the people, etc. It does not matter. Just realize and acknowledge that there will be some sort of gravity working completely against you.

So, again, finding the best way possible to work with what already exists is key. It will help keep the gravity from pulling against you so quickly. Making that slight change to what is already existing and is accepted, will cause a kind of evolution to occur resulting in that gradual change that will be beneficial to everyone. As long as you continue to be persistent and stick with your push for change, it will happen.

“Don’t expect change to be easy. It’s not. But consider the alternative: losing out on opportunities for growth and greatness. If you avoid or ignore change, it will leave you in its wake. Your best option, always, is to choose change.” (Sommers, 2012, p. 204). Fighting for change can be one of the most meaningful purposes one can hold in their lives. Striving and working towards making that difference and, eventually, being able to live in a world where that change exists. That is, to me, one of the most desirable aspects of life that I hope to experience within my lifetime. I want to help make a change in this world.

 

Source:

Sommers, Cecily. Think like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s next. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2012. Print.

Posted in ENT 601 Spring 2017

Zone of Discovery Week 7 Reflection (2/23/2017)

Throughout Think Like A Futurist by Cecily Sommers she always comes back to mentioning or referencing the ZoD or the Zone of Discovery. For any successful business wishing to stay relevant in order to progress into the future, a Zone of Discovery is highly recommended. But what exactly is this “Zone of Discovery”, one might ask? Well, let’s talk about that.

In two previous posts, I discussed some topics that tie in with the Zone of Discovery. One of them is the left brain, right brain, left brain thought process and the second is the 5 Percent Rule. The 5 Percent Rule relates to the amount of your regular, busy work schedule and resources, should be dedicated to creative, out of the box, thinking. Just five percent of your time, resources, and space. Then, the right brain portion [of left, right, left] is generally worked on in the space created by the 5 Percent Rule, which is the Zone of Discovery.

This space can be a bulletin board, a wall, an office space, or an entire room. Again, it all comes down to what five percent is for you and your business. For a large company five percent could be an entire room loaded with computers and imagery. While, for a tiny business, five percent may be something as simple as a bulletin board of some kind meant for anyone to come and pin/post ideas or suggestions that they have in mind.

Time wise, for individuals in a much larger work setting, five percent of their, general, forty-hour work week would be two hours. To dedicate two hours of your usual work week is all that is needed for the continuation of your creative flow. It will allow you to continue and stay on top of your usual work, but you will also be helping with developing new ideas because of the two hours dedicated to creative thinking each week. For a smaller business, dedicating two hours each week is also to be considered since they will also, technically, have forty-hour work weeks.

When it comes to resources, it can be anything from just papers and pens to computers, projectors, and printers. Essentially it comes down to what exactly it is that you have available and can spare for an open and creative thinking environment. The Zone of Discovery is a space that is meant to be open and available to anyone that feels that they have a thought or idea that could potentially benefit the future of the business itself. Whether the idea is for a new product or if it is an idea for solving a problem that the business is having, such as which direction the company should go in. These are all things that can be worked on and developed within the space that is meant for creative thinking.

Cecily Sommers will highly recommend establishing some form of Zone of Discovery to anyone that comes to her, or her business, seeking her help. It is all a part of the process for thinking more “like a futurist” and progressing their business into the future.

With your own personal business, what would you establish as your Zone of Discovery?

Posted in ENT 601 Spring 2017

5 Percent Rule Week 6 Reflection (2/18/2017)

All throughout Think Like A Futurist, Cecily Sommers discusses many points, along with creates several different terms that apply to the process of how she helps businesses develop changes for moving into the future. One of those many terms discussed, is the 5 Percent Rule.

In order for a business to move forward into the future and continue to succeed, strategic changes and/or new projects and ideas need to be determined in order to do just that. As I talked about in a previous post, in order to progress forward successfully into the future as a business, being able to work through ideas and concepts by going from left brain thinking, to right brain thinking, and then back to left brain, that is ideal. The questions that need to be addressed at this point are: How do you get a left brain oriented business to open up to right brain thinking? Then, once right brain thinking has been achieved, how much should be implemented?

Generally, in order to really achieve thoughts and ideas that are new to the business, and its environment, one must create and experience new things. Whether that is by bringing in an outside individual that has a completely different perspective. Or, the other option, comes down to allowing individuals from within the business to go and experience new concepts and ideas. Whether that is through a class, workshop, or a conference is really up to the individuals participating, along with what is available at that time and what would be the most beneficial to the group as a whole.

Once new influences and experiences have been achieved, in order to help aid right brain thinking, it is time to address the next question: How much of that “new” right brain thinking should be utilized within the business setting? The answer to that question is the 5 Percent Rule.

In many instances convincing an environment to dedicate a portion of their efforts towards, essentially, a “risky” new element, will basically be perceived as just that: a risk. Convincing anyone in a professional setting that any sort of two-digit percentage as what will be necessary in order to make the changes happen, is setting oneself up for failure. Humans have proven that they generally do not like or accept change (I know I struggle with it at times). Generally, it must be a slow implementation of change for it to be accepted fairly quickly. Change too rapidly, there can be quite a bit of kick back. Permanent Presentism is the culprit for that one (not wanting to accept and move beyond what is already known, fairly reliable, and trusted). Which is why the 5 Percent Rule exists. This rule also applies to time and resources spent on the project itself. It helps in managing short-term and long-term projects. The 5 Percent Rule is meant to guide one when it comes to time spent. Only spending five percent on thinking about new concepts and then dedicating the rest of the time to progressing the business forward into the future with these new concepts.

 

Please share what thoughts you have. I will continue on in my next post.

Posted in ENT 601 Spring 2017

Two Questions Week 5 Reflection (2/12/2017)

Throughout Think Like A Futurist by Cecily Sommers, she discusses many different aspects of business. She specializes in assisting businesses with reaching their goals, but also progressing forward into the future versus getting suck in the present (Permanent Presentism) and eventually becoming irrelevant to the world around them

Individuals and businesses can hire her to help them determine and figure out what needs to happen next. She also holds workshops/classes to serve the same purpose, but in a group setting. There are many factors that apply and come into play when it comes to how she works individuals and businesses through making improvements. But there are two questions that are vital, that she helps guide individuals and businesses towards addressing and answering. Those two questions? They are, “Who are you?” and, “Where are you going?” These questions seem fairly simple to address, but they are far more complex than that.

Within life, we set out on our own paths to believing we have a complete understanding of those two questions. We believe that we always have a full understanding of ourselves and where we are striving to go. I feel that, in many instances, the same can be said by business owners, for their businesses, regardless of whether or not that is true. When starting something new, we generally have a set goal in mind. But what happens five? ten? fifteen? Twenty years down the line? What has changed within the business in that time? All of that matters because it all plays a part in the future of the business. The reason all of that matters is because it all comes back to whether or not the business is still holding true to its goals and what it represents.

As time goes on, sometimes that initial vision and goal can become lost along the way. That is why it is important to every now and then address the questions of, “Who are you?” and, “Where are you going?” Thinking back to when the business was initially started and addressing the question of, are those points still being addressed today? Think about the current core beliefs that are held by your business. Then thing of what the core beliefs were when the business was first established. Do they match up? If not, what are the differences? In order to move into the future successfully (for survival), determining what should change and the goals to strive towards is what must happen next.

Personally, I completely agree that those two questions really are some of the most important to cover and come back to over the course of however long one chooses to have a business. Though I may not have an exact concept in mind for whatever business I may choose to pursue in the future, I do know that I hope to create one that will give back to the community as much as it is able too.

Cecily Sommers addresses many points throughout her book and uses many great examples from her experiences working with business owners. I felt that these two questions would be the best to talk about this time around. So, until next time, who are you? And where are you going?

Posted in ENT 601 Spring 2017

Right and Left Brain Week 4 Reflection (2/3/2017)

Right and left sides of the brain are usually viewed as a way to identify how people think. Individuals are generally inclined to think more with one side of their brain than the other. Logic and intellect are seen as much more of a left side brain. Which leaves the right side to be the more creative and random. Though that is a simple generalization of the two sides, it gets the idea across.

In Think Like A Futurist by Cecily Sommers, she discusses how the two sides of the brain play a part in creating businesses. She also talks about how in society, people tend to believe that they are unable to be creative or anything along those lines. Well, just like what I believe, creativity can be learned. One may not end up being the most creative individual ever, but you can increase your own capabilities so that you can think outside of the box. Just like with anything in life, it is all a matter of how much time and effort you dedicate to the task at hand.

Typically, when a company wants to develop new ideas for their product or brand, they end up holding meetings where they can discuss what is on the agenda. Cecily Sommers views that as a room of left brain thinkers attempting to come up with new ideas based on a set of safe models that they know will work.

Her argument for the way to be the most productive in this sort of setting would be to go from the left to the right and then back to the left. Which essentially means establish the task at hand (left), then proceed to think of any and all ways of how to achieve this goal (right), and then the last step is to figure out the logistics behind these ideas/concepts and determine which is the most plausible (left).

One of the biggest things that I can see being an issue for an individual or company is the whole taking a risk and trying something new. Our ability to create and develop new ideas is based on our own individual memories and experiences. If an individual has experienced the same environment and activities their entire life, then expecting them to think outside of the box and create something new and fantastic is fairly unrealistic. Which, honestly, makes complete sense. Though, there are ways of going about traveling the world and experiencing lots of new things, but not really learning anything. People do, sometimes, have a tendency to not observe the world and the goings on around them. The mentality of taking the time to ‘stop and smell the roses’ can make all of the difference in our day-to-day knowledge. The power of genuine observation.

Plus, to go back to a previous point of talking about how people will mostly see themselves as primarily one or the other when it comes to brain hemispheres, that does not have to be the case. As I mentioned before, I firmly believe creativity can be taught and learned. The same can be said for every other subject and aspect in life. It all comes down to knowing how you learn best and how dedicated you are to learning the subject matter. The more you know and understand as an individual and/or business owner will put you in a greater position of creating greater and innovative products.

 

Source:

Sommers, Cecily. Think like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s next. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2012. Print.

Posted in ENT 601 Spring 2017

Helping Week 3 Reflection (1/28/2017)

Top-Down and Bottom-Up are both phrases that can be used to describe many different subjects. Businesses, economies, governments, physics, just to name a few. Top-Down is essentially where someone much higher up than the rest, whether it be the business owner or country ruler, generally makes all of the executive decisions and that choice will slowly make its way down to the lower levels until all of the changes have been implemented.

Bottom-Up means that the lower levels are involved in making the changes happen. Essentially, the changes start with them.

To me, Top-Down is really nice, in theory, but what has been seen in practice leaves a lot to be desired An entity that functions in the manner of Top-Down would kind of work its way down to the masses. In some aspects of our government, that is how it is supposed to be. Same with quite a lot of bigger companies. Unfortunately, though, greed has very much become a big player, resulting in a large portion of corruption. Which is how things end up benefiting a select few all the way at the top, and practically none at the bottom. It is supposed to help the middle class, but the class structure has become so warped that there are significant gaps separating the classes. To top it off, the middle class is practically dissolved.

Bottom-Up basically works its way from the ground upwards to the top. Working with those at the lower levels so that they know their thoughts matter. In the book I am reading (Think Like A Futurist), the example used for this comes down to a cellphone. A man named Iqbal Quadir wanted to improve the lives of many. He came up with a concept and was able to get two companies involved. Through that work, he was able to setup service and provide cellphones to the poor communities within Bangladesh. By doing so, individuals and communities throughout the country have been able to improve their lives and businesses, thus boosting the economy of Bangladesh.

Personally, I feel that either of these can be great if implemented correctly. Having both working together to better a country seems like the most ideal establishment for the government. To me, our country has very much become a corrupt version of the Top-Down system. We say that we wish and plan to help the middle and lower classes in every promise made. Unfortunately, this has not been the case, recently. Slowly, but surely, there is less and less coming down from the top to benefit anything for the lower level portions of this country. The Bottom-Up aspect can also be seen in this country on a very small level. One of the biggest things when it comes to the Bottom-Up process working, is the necessity of money. Money is very much a big player for this system to even work, which ends up having to come from people we know, loans, or some other method. There are a lot of great ideas and programs enacted to help communities out by really great individuals, such as Iqbal Quadir. The problem that I see happening is being able to make a big enough change to break through barriers and make improvements to the world around us. The reason I see Bottom-Up as a part of our government, too, is because the way our society is technically supposed to be, is that the little guys (us) have a say in the changes being made. That is why we have the rights to vote, speak our minds, and have a courts system setup. To make our voices heard to the ones leading our country towards, what we hope, is the future and not the past. But at this point I feel that aspect of our government is also broken. Supposedly our voices are being heard, but only so that the higher-ups can stay in charge. After that, they will make the changes they have wanted to make all along that will benefit them the most.

What are your thoughts?

 

Sources:

Duverge, Gabe. “Top-Down vs Bottom-Up Mangement Styles.” Touro University World Wide. Touro University Worldwide, 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.

Sommers, Cecily. Think like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s next. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2012. Print.

Posted in ENT 601 Spring 2017

Carbon Cycle Week 2 Reflection (01/21/2017)

While reading through Part One of Think Like A Futurist, I found myself agreeing with the vast majority of the points the author, Cecily Sommers, has made so far. She has also used examples and shared information that I either knew a little about or almost nothing. For starters, she brings up the Carbon Cycle and how much we, as humans in this society (past and present), are creating more carbon than the Earth can handle. Seeing as she gives just enough information to get one interested and to argue her points, I chose to delve into the matter further for my own knowledge and understanding.

So, I found myself on NASA’s Earth Observatory page. Reading through the information about how carbon is a part of everything in the world and the two different types of Carbon Cycles, quite a bit began making more sense to me. The two types are Fast and Slow Carbon Cycles (simple, right?). Fast relates to the day-to-day consumption processes all living things need to survive (i.e. food). We eat plants that have absorbed carbon, we break things down to general forms and repeat this process. Slow pertains more to the greater scheme of how the planet functions, and has throughout its entire existence. The process of the Slow Carbon Cycle is very much what scientists, environmentalists, and anyone else [who cares about this planet] have concerned themselves with. Global Warming, which is what society has come to refer to the Carbon Cycle as, is a very real thing. Based on the information provided on NASA’s website, it shows that an increase in carbon (far beyond the planet’s ability to handle) will result in ocean temperatures increasing. We cannot pretend that this is not happening or that all of this extra carbon is just going to magically disappear one day. There are far too many ways that our society emits carbon on a daily basis and not enough mature plant life to create some kind of balance anymore. The planet will continue to work towards solving its carbon problem in its own way, but whether or not that will leave a place for the human race, it is very much uncertain.

From what I read on the Earth Observatory page by NASA, so far the plant life (what is left, that is) has been a big player in dealing with the excess carbon in the atmosphere. Plants need carbon and heat (hello climate change) in order to grow and thrive. Sounds great, but because the plants cannot handle all of the extra carbon, the oceans are having to help, which does not bode quite as well for them. All of this extra carbon is resulting in increases in water temperatures. These increases in temperatures are resulting in glaciers slowly melting and sea creatures slowly dying, which results in sea levels rising.

Now, some may argue that what the planet is going through at the moment is natural and that was going to happen anyways. To an extent, they are correct; the planet technically will go through another ice age at some point in its lifetime. The issue with that argument is that it usually takes thousands of years (if not longer) for all of this to happen. We, as the human race, have drastically sped up the temperature change for this planet. How have we done this? By drilling into the ground and mountains for coal, natural gas, and fossil fuels to burn as energy, which creates more carbon in the atmosphere. We are literally going into the Earth and bringing up old carbon the planet could not handle thousands of years ago to create energy, but also so that a select few can make lots of money. There are plenty of other ways that we can be energy efficient. We proved it back in the 70’s, as Cecily Sommers pointed out when talking about how petroleum prices went up drastically during that time. Which forced the United States to figure out how to be fuel/energy efficient. A couple of energy related groups were created and people were actually looking into using solar and wind power. But as soon as petroleum prices went back down to an acceptable number, we turned back around to what we already knew, which is why we are now dealing with so many people stuck in the past. How can our planet have a chance at a future when so many are stuck in the past?

 

Sources:

Riebeek, Holli. “The Carbon Cycle.” NASA. NASA, 16 June 2011. Web. 18 Jan. 2017

 

Sommers, Cecily. Think like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s next. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2012. Print.