Notes from 7 Revolutions Webcast

Notes from Seven Revolutions Webcast

by Erik Peterson, Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies

  • Intro
    • Saint Exupery – “… your task is not to foresee the
      future, but rather to enable it.”
    • Inverse correlation between leadership responsibilities
      and the capacity to plan and lead strategically
    • William Gibson – “The future is here; it’s just not
      widely distributed.”

      • Our capacity to look at short and long range trends is
        better than it has ever been
  • What will the world look like in the year 2025?
    • What are the challenges facing humanity?
    • To what extent will we be able to deal with the
      organizational situations in front of us?
    • What are the precursors of a better world?
    • To what extent are we vulnerable more even now?
  • Seven Revolutions
    • Population
    • Strategic Resource Management
    • Technological Innovation and Diffusions
    • Information and knowledge creation/distribution
    • Economics
    • Conflict
    • Governance
  • Overarching Comments
    • Darwin – “It is not the strongest species that survive,
      nor the most intelligent… but the ones most responsive to change.”
    • Einstein – “No problem can be solved from the same
      consciousness that created it.”
    • Need to think about a new paradigm
  • 1. Population
    • Where we have been: from 150 million to 6 billion people
      in 1999

      • We are growing at a rate of millions every year: 2.4
        people per second
      • Now at about 6.7 billion people
      • 8.0 billion in 2025, 9.2 by 2050
    • Global population growth in an absolute sense has been
      going up, but the rate of growth as slowed significantly

      • We can anticipate a stabilization of 9-10 billion
        people at the end of the century
      • But… the highest growth will be in the poorest
      • Soviet Union, for instance, has de-population; China,
        in 2005, has a contracting population
    • Population expansion and contraction
      • Most populous countries in 1950 had six well developed
        economies; by 2050, only the US will be in the top ten
      • 15% of population is migrants in 50+ countries
      • Developed world could contract
      • Tensions in population with immigration, for instance
        in France
    • Global aging
      • More older people on our planet than younger ones in
        the near future
      • Life expectancy has gone from 50 years in 1950 to
        nearly 80 by 2050
    • Urbanization
      • 60% of humanity in urban areas by 2020
      • Could be good for education, health, and other social
      • But… it is bad, too. More slum dwellers in Mumbai and
        in all of Norway
    • Change in distribution of world population — move from a
      pyramid to a rectangle

      • Tremendous capacity problem for those who are younger
        to work with those who are older
      • “Age quake” in industrialized country — more older
        people in industrial world than youth; more youth in undeveloped world
  • 2. Strategic Resource Management
    • Food
      • Need to be looking at issues that have change
        agricultural horizon
      • We currently have 800 million chronically
        undernourished people — can we feed 8 billion?
      • Doubling global food production
      • No limits to growth in agricultural productivity and
        water… yet

        • But, how much more usable land it there?
        • How much more water?
        • Effects of global warming?
    • Water
      • Imagine that all the world’s water was in one gallon…
        only two drops would be accessible fresh water.
      • 2025 – 3 billion face severe water shortages
      • One flush of a western toilet – one day of use of water
        in a developing country
      • Need twice the amount of water by 2050, and then 50%
        more for each generation after that
      • Mobilizing new and old technologies
      • Climate change will negatively affect our ability to
        deal with all of these factors
    • Energy
      • Transitioning away from oil will be the most difficult
        thing we can face
      • Reliance on hydrocarbons continues to increase more and
      • By 2025, US will still rely on 65-75% of oil
      • Developing world is using more and more oil, up to US
        levels by 2030
      • Can we continue with this same infrastructure,
        environmental impact, and geopolitical forces
  • 3. Technology Innovation and Diffusion
    • Computation
      • Deep computing
        • 467 trillion calculations per second
      • Pervasive computing
        • No longer a discrete experience
        • Information security
        • Personal privacy
    • Biotechnology
      • Human genome project allows us to think about what used
        to be impossible — personalized medicine
      • 120 year life span?
      • How do we regulate human cloning and the broader
        manipulation of the body?
      • Who will get to see these technologies and who will not
    • Nanotechnology
      • Nanotech is moving down to the molecular and atomic
      • Could have need for 2 million nanotech workers in near
  • 4. Information and Knowledge Creation and Dissemination
    • Global information and knowledge flow — the death of
    • Eroding prerogatives, redefining community, shattering
      established practices
    • Children today will go through a number of career
      changes; need to retool
    • Differentiating between learning and working — are they
      becoming the same thing?
    • Shorter life span of information — need to reeducate in
      order not to become stale
    • Thomas Friedman — The World is Flat — “innovate without
      having to emigrate”
    • What is right, what is wrong, what is true, what is false?
      • We choose our truth based on where we get our
      • Reduced decision times
      • More complex issues
      • Polarized positions
    • We need to be knowledge proficient
  • 5. Economic Integration
    • National Intelligence Council, “Mapping the Global Future”
      • 80% output growth to 2020
      • 50% growth in average per capita
    • “It is now possible to produce a product anywhere to be
      sold anywhere…”
    • Global economic output of industrialized countries has
      gone down while non-industrialized countries are going up
    • China increases to 129% of US output by 2050
    • Brazil, Russia, India, and China are beginning to
      overtake the G6
    • That said, 2.8 billion people live on less than $2 a day
      • 225 richest people in the world = combined annual
        earnings of 2.7 billion other people
  • 6. Conflict
    • How will terrorist groups use the information capacity?
    • Bioterrorism — anthrax and ricin attacks
    • Even in the context of this revolution, we need to find
      ways of retrofitting a cold war mentality in the new kinds of theaters
      that are occurring today.
  • 7. Governance
    • We are now beyond nation states, but one in which
      corporations and NGOs are taking a bigger role
    • 9 of the largest corporations would be in the top 50 GDPs
      of the world
    • How are new standards for corporations, moving beyond
    • Exponential growth in NGOs around the world
    • What does this mean?
      • Atomization
      • Dispersion
      • Fragmentation
    • Henry Kissinger — challenges now are different in that
      they are global and information is readily available to all
    • Innovative, dynamic coalitions
  • Conclusions
    • Promise and fulfillment or peril and danger
    • World of higher deviations
    • Hyper-promise and hyper-peril
    • Need Hyper Leadership
      • Promise, not Peril
      • Leaders, not Managers
      • Strategy, not Tactics
    • Lincoln — thinking and acting anew
    • Challenging future leaders

One thought on “Notes from 7 Revolutions Webcast”

  1. Very kind of you, Eric.

    Very useful stuff, indeed! An excellent template to channel thinking.



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