I would rather buy a diamond from Cartier than JCPenny’s. Am I ridiculous? Duh. Is there a difference in quality? Probably not much. Do other brands offer diamonds that look just as regal and luxurious? Definitely! I’ve seen them highlighted in Vogue. But, I still want Cartier. And face it, Global Business Network (GBN), is the Cartier of futures work. The 2×2 matrix their diamond ring. GBN gets a bad rap in the futures community. We say it’s impossible to fit future outlooks into four separate square boxes. Yet, GBN excels where we don’t- at packaging foresight.
This week, I attended a Methods Seminar taught by Dr. Wendy Schultz. Though I’ve taken courses on futures methodologies, Wendy’s presentation was awesome in terms of evaluating methods across the board. The seminar exposed students to five schools of futures thought including morphological analysis, archetype narration and causal layered analysis.
Afterwards, I was left with the thought: how can we present the “anti” 2×2 models in a compelling way to organizations? I’ve yet to hear of most clients begging for causal layered analysis. When compared to the 2×2 matrix, futurists agree that other methods offer a more comprehensive narrative of the alternative futures landscape. But we forget our language. We are a cult where the code words are scenario, uncertainty and emerging issues. Our clients speak revenue, profit and predictability. Business and futures need to develop a common language in which advanced foresight becomes an integral and actionable piece of the strategy puzzle.
Of course, I’m sure a good many futurists are secretly packaging their products. My plea: publish a book Peter Schwartz-style and help a futurist out! Steve Jobs proved it’s not about just your offerings but more how you package them. We are currently the boutique diamond designers. We must start being brands. We need to be iconic.