August 14, 2014

FSG Summer 2014 Update

As with most recent summers, it’s been busy for FSG, at a time when it seems that everyone else has hit the beach.  In between scenario-planning engagements we’ve managed to attend a few academic and professional conferences.  These are typically interesting and useful sources of new ideas and professional contacts – and an opportunity to share FSG experiences and observation from the consulting trenches. 

The Millennium Project, with over 50 contributing “nodes” around the globe, is the largest participatory think tank in the world.  In July, FSG’s Charles Perrottet, who is on the Board of the Millennium Project, recently attended its annual planning meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Readers interested in scenario-based strategic planning and other “futures” tools may want to check two Millennium publications. The State of the Future Index uses thirty variables to measure changes in the outlook for the future of humankind over time.  The widely acclaimed State of the Future is an annual analysis of progress and challenges confronting the world’s populations.

FSG partner Peter Kennedy participated in a workshop on “The Next Frontiers in Innovation Research” organized by Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. Some 40 scholars and practitioners from around the world shared research, experiences and perspectives on the latest developments in the innovation field.  The event was held in late July, in association with the annual meeting of Academy of Management in Philadelphia, PA.

Lastly, FSG associate Mark Safford contributed to a feature on high-speed rail for the Sacramento Business Journal.  Mark and a number of other transportation experts commented on California’s planned $68 billion high-speed rail network, which will link Los Angeles and San Francisco by the time it is completed in 2029.  The SBJ article discusses not only high-speed rail, but low-cost airline travel, ride-sharing services, like Uber, as well as perhaps further-off alternatives like driverless cars and even Hyperloop –  technology entrepreneur Elon Musk’s vision of a solar-powered transportation system using underground tubes.  Mark’s own view is that the more futuristic options face significant safety or cost hurdles that must be overcome before they are considered serious alternatives to the existing plans now on the table.