Here in Cartagena, Colombia, our CEO and thought leader discussions have made minds swirl, with visions of new near-term opportunities and some totally novel risks and dilemmas. In the 20th century, people read science fiction and went to World's Fairs to visit General Motors' Futurama and GE's Carousel of Progress to try to imagine what life would be like in the decades ahead.
While the futurists and "imagineers" rarely got it right, the general idea wasn't a bad one: There's a lot to be said for scenario planning, which is a productive way of imagining, preparing for—and even enabling—possible futures.
While economic and political events rumble on—with a bumpy but improving global economy and a sharp resurgence of hard geopolitics—in companies, universities, research labs, garage startups, and assorted "motherships of innovation," the Futurama is closing in on us, from sensors, drones, and robotics to the power of predictive analytics tapping the collective intelligence of all human activity in real time.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist (so to speak) to see that a lot of things are going to change, and faster than we realize. The implications touch on everything from privacy to politics, education to career opportunities, national security to leisure travel, and wealth creation to instant obsolescence.
If this sounds a bit hyperbolic, I urge you to tune into what is going on right now in these deeply interconnected fields—much of it still invisible to the naked eye.
Given the velocity of change and the fact that most of us are working and running flat-out (at whatever we do), paradoxically the need to pause, reflect, slow down, and take in developments in other fields has never been more essential to one's wealth and health. Thanks to A.T. Kearney's Global Business Policy Council and the warm hospitality of Cartagena, our gathering of doers and thinkers is doing just that. With a bit of the World Cup for good measure!