Friday, April 2, 2010

Future Savvy Journal (Lifestyles & Culture)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: The Future Savvy Journal discusses and expands on topics of the book, Future Savvy. It brings content and method together to promote critical thinking about foresight, and how to better anticipate, manage, and improve the future.

Future Savvy, published by The American Management Association (Amacom Press, NY, 2009) is a user's guide to judging predictions. It shows forecast consumers how to discern quality in future-thinking they read and hear, with examples and case studies of interest to both business and policy decision-makers. It views expert foresight as a crucial resource, but puts sharp tools in the hands of forecast users.

MY REVIEW: This is a well-written business-oriented blog that deals with foresight and the tricky business of prediction in today's international industrial and commerce markets. The subjects are wide ranged and vary from Wal-mart to electric cars to risk assessment. The blogger brings many sources to the table.

However, it is rarely updated - I did the math and in the past 6 months, the posts have averaged one every 11 days. This is not as much a blog as it is part of the overall website for Future Savvy. So be aware of that.

Sample post, from latest entry, March 16
The ’start-up’ visa and green card, a far-sighted recessionary surprise
Published by Adam Gordon under business, economy, forecast filtering, history, policy, social change

Legislation is the route by which ‘the people’ (or powerful sectarian interests, take your pick,) influence the future. It is often underestimated as a future force, or viewed merely as legislators playing catch-up with technology or societal change. But legislation can be far-sighted, and profoundly shape outcomes.

In a fascinating recent development, John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, introduced the Start-up Visa Act to the US Senate, as reported in Inc. magazine.

The legislation is a forward-looking bid to turbo-charge entrepreneurial venturing in the U.S. by attracting foreign entrepreneurs and connecting them to U.S. capital, therein driving new economic growth and local jobs. What’s really interesting is it goes against past common wisdom that recessions are ‘bad for immigration’ (as citizens demand job protection.)

If passed, the bill gives U.S. visas to foreigners who can raise $100,000 from an angel investor or $250,000 from a qualified VC firm. After two years, if the immigrant entrepreneur can create five or more jobs (excluding family), attract an additional $1 million in investment, or produce $1 million in revenue, he or she gets a green card (permanent residency.)

The only current option, the EB-5 business investment visa, requires immigrants to invest at least $1 million in the U.S. and employ 10 people.

Job creation
The National Venture Capital Association says 25 percent of America’s venture-backed, publicly-traded businesses, incl. Google, Yahoo!, eBay and Intel have been founded or co-founded by immigrants. According to Richard Herman, author of Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy, nearly all U.S. job creation in the past 20 years has come from companies less than five years old.

The history of US immigration policy has been schizophrenic to say the least, with periods of great social openness followed by about-face door slamming. The slamming has always corresponded to economic downturns or anxiety thereto. But here we have the opposite effect. And we have legislators taking a forward view! Both proof that the future is sure to surprise us.

--The happy medium is a guide to the future for Toyota, McDonalds, and all of us
--Telling words on a running controversy in risk & foresight, from Peter Bernstein
--Haiti, when the present trumps the future, but possibly jolts it too
--What goes around comes around, like Yule and mom-and-pop shops inside Wal-Mart

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of Normal> and Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiar

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