Seeing the present from the perspective of the future

Before getting deeply involved in politics, I worked for Global Business Network, a company that helped corporations, foundations and governments think long-term, often through a tool called “scenario planning.” This is a process that helps a group look more rigorously what might happen in the next 10 to 20 years in order to build more robust strategies for the present. It’s a powerful tool that is used by many of the top corporations in the world and some savvy governments (including US agencies) that, for instance, have to make huge investments that will play out over decades.

The pop version of this process is to write out a scenario, a narrative that gets the reader to some point in the future, in order to provoke better thinking in the present. This weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle published a long scenario written from the perspective of someone in 2027 that puts the Bush years in context, and partly talks about the politics that came out of it in the following decades. It’s very much from a netroots, people-powered politics perspective, rather than an inside DC one. It’s worth a read just to muse on one possibility…

Peter Leyden