Exploring the future of everything

The French apothecary and seer Nostradamus was famous for publishing a collection of prophecies that became famous worldwide. He was viewed by many as a visionary and a thought leader who was capable of predicting major trends and world events.While his true power was always in question, his assembled works always stimulated the intriguing question – what would happen if we could see into the future and predict the course of history?Fast-forward many centuries later, and we’re still drawn by the notion of being able to anticipate changes and shape a vision of the future. Therein lies the genesis of The Future of Everything Project.Our professions, organizations and leadership have reached a productivity peak. Our computers can go faster, and our thoughts can continue to race at breakneck speed, but our productivity has reached the extremes. We can only go so fast … until now.Recent technical, social and media trends are shaping a profound organizational shift that will alter the future of how we lead, manage and organize — which will eventually change everything. As professionals from all corners of business and society adapt to these new realities, those who understand why these shifts are important will have the advantage to compete and advance their missions.Under the direction of Bedford-based executive leadership coaching firm Sojourn Partners, The Future ofEverything Project will bring together a panel of thought leaders from diverse backgrounds and interests to brainstorm, collaborate and proactively craft a vision of “what can be.”Through facilitated roundtable discussions, the team will explore changing social trends, challenge notions about how we work and lead, and determine how we move beyond current communication and action barriers.

True brainstormingThere is perhaps no better time to undertake this initiative. Large embedded institutions are failing or have reached their capacity. Social networking and communications tools are growing at an unprecedented rate and globalization is a reality affecting both local and world economies. By bringing together some of our most forward-thinking thought leaders, we can position New Hampshire at the forefront of anticipating and acting upon social change.Core project participants include Terry Vital, founder of Vital & Ryze Advertising, Dr. Tony Paradis, executive director of the Southeastern Regional Education Service Center (SERESC) and Fred Bramante, owner of Daddy’s Junky Music Store and former chairman of the New Hampshire Board of Education. We will add to the already impressive roster of panelists with additional representatives from a number of industries.Those interested in our progress will be able to follow us via a series of articles in NHBR. It is our goal not only to assemble a number of groups that will focus on subjects ranging from media and education to government and organizational development, but to publish articles and issue white papers that will be accessible to all.True brainstorming doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and we sincerely hope that additions to our work will come from all sectors, industries and viewpoints.Our initial panel discussion with the core project participants has already taken place. I was thrilled by the ideas that were brought forward and considered by the group. We spoke about the growth of online communities, the changing educational environment and shifts in thoughts about organizational management. We determined the structure for future sessions and discussed how we could broaden our circle to encompass and capture other thoughts.In the weeks and months ahead, we look forward to sharing with you what we’ve learned and where we’re headed. We recognize that not only are those who refuse to learn from history doomed to repeat it, but those who are unwilling to look forward will remain mired with ideas that have become antiquated and obsolete.Nostradamus might have been ambitious in his predictions, but at the very least, he realized that without trying to explore “the future of everything,” we are missing a very important opportunity to affect positive change.Dr. Russ Ouellette, managing partner of Sojourn Partners, a Bedford-based executive leadership coaching firm, is project manager of the Future of Everything. He can be reached at 603-472-8103 or russ@sojournpartners.com. He also can be twittered @RussOuellette.