pyramid to dna

brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns

Victims of success, mission, continuity and change


Things are, like they were, until they're not—and its up to us to make the "not" come to pass.

What we do is largely based on what we or someone before us has been doing for a quite a while and it seems to work. We don't really know why we do these things other that because we always have.

Our life “radar” contains only known, viewable “objects.” Radars are time-dependent.

The worlds of tomorrows are always different, yet our radar unavoidably consists of yesterday—the way things were.

An updated radar is valuable for life navigation because we can only work on—or prepare for—things that are on our radar or within our attention span. Additionally the human brain can only see what its prepared to see.

Imagine someone in the past—1950, 1960, 1990 or whenever—asserting that they had a plan, were performing well, making good progress or any other positive assurance. This type assurance is contrary to development and thinking ahead. At the least it is naive—it ignores competitive effects (existing and new) and new events (trends) that introduce a discontinuity.

Past economic and social conditions
  • First Thanksgiving at Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621
  • Williamsburg Virginia in 1700s
  • Time of the Civil War (The worlds of Gone with the Wind vs. Cold Mountain)
  • General Motors 1920s
  • The rise and subsequent stagnation of Japan, Inc.
  • The companies used as examples in the In Search of Excellence study

“Looking around” in the visible worlds of past times gives no recognizable clues as to what will happen in the distant futureS and maybe only the subtlest clues of near-term changes and discontinuities.

Assurances can be stated in the form of profitability, growth, market share, innovation, quality or whatever and seem reassuring when they most likely should not be. These assurances are usually an attempt to avoid facing the dynamics of the world and the challenges of a world moving toward unimagined futures.

The notion 'don't fix IT if IT ain't broke' is blind, uninformed and misses the point—we are embedded in an unfolding world. IT probably presumes there's a solid-state IT in a solid-state world and that somebody has a deep lasting emotional attachment to IT. (Consider the subsequent rocky roads of the companies used as examples in In Search of Excellence.) In reality, most of us care that IT makes our lives better tomorrow and this is rarely linear—an outgrowth or extension of yesterday. An informed ongoing diagnosis is needed—part of a systematic work approach. See Peter Drucker'sFrom Analysis to Perception—The New Worldview” and Edward de Bono's Water Logic

Just because things are calm doesn't mean things are OK or there is nothing to do. It may be the calm before the storm. When the storm hits it pays to not be lost in yesterday—often for years. It pays to have tomorrow well underway. It pays to know what to do and what not to do. It pays to be prepared to exploit opportunity when it presents itself. Hopefully the exploration of this site will help in knowing what to do and what not to do.

See Peter Drucker's on "The Change Leader" in Management Challenges for the 21st Century; avoiding the high risk "Bright Idea" in Innovation and Entrepreneurship; his Entrepreneurship and Innovation interview; The Future that has Already Happened; and about management and change.

Brainstorming has the problem of relying on yesterday's mental patterns embedded within their associated life lines!!!!

The issues just mentioned fit within the context of organization evolution at multiple points in the future.

The paragraphs above contain assertions which can be valuable navigation tools. Assertions can be tested—true, false, a probability, or a time horizon. The attention re-focusing can provide an opportunity for reality terrain exploration.

The Experts Speak by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky

[W]hen the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.

Erasmus Wilson,
professor at Oxford University, 1878

Well-informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.

Editorial in the Boston Post, 1865

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.

Ken Olsen,
president of Digital Equipment Corporation,
at the Convention of the World Future Society, 1977

640K [of RAM] ought to be enough for anybody.

Bill Gates, 1981

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.

Lord Kelvin,
British mathematician, physicist, and
president of the British Royal Society, circa 1895

Everything that can be invented has been invented;

Charles H. Duell,
Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

Similar statements—reflecting the speaker's limited mental patterns—are in the news almost every day.

Toward tomorrows

from pyramids to dna

pyramid to dna

Toward unimagined futures

bbx The End of Economic Man: The Origins of Totalitarianism (1939) There’s still lots to learn here!!!!

The Future of Industrial Man (1943)

The New Society: The Anatomy of Industrial Order (1950)

bbx Landmarks of Tomorrow (1957)

bbx The Age of Discontinuity (1968)

bbx The New Realities (1988)

bbx Post-Capitalist Society (1993)

bbx Managing in the Next Society (2002); Last section originally published earlier in The Economist (

Toward unimagined futures

EVERY FEW HUNDRED YEARS in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation

TLN keywords: tlnkwchange


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving toward unimagined futures.

It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then figure out a coping plan for what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise. A site exploration starting point



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