Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

I. Three Views of Change

We now turn to Global and Universal Foresight, both of which are by far the largest of the POGU Foresight Domains, in topics, literature, and economic value. We need to discuss both together as long-term global foresight depends particularly on universal foresight, as that domain offers us our best general perspective on complexity and change.  Universal foresight includes a survey of both science and philosophy on topics like change, progress, purpose, and our universe as a special system that has generated us.

We’ll discuss universal foresight both in this chapter, Acceleration, and in Chapter 11, Evo Devo Foresight. In both chapters, we will consider our universe from the perspective of both science and systems theory (testable philosophy), and see what that Big Picture view can tell us about not only our universe, but also our species, our societies, and ourselves. As you’ll see, there’s much to be gained from this view, and a lot still to be discovered.

The biggest single positive change that can happen with better universal and global foresight, as we described in our introduction, is that we can come to see the world through new eyes. We can foresee a future of abundance, but the truth is we are surrounded by abundant opportunities, right now. We just need a change of mindset to see that abundance.

For a good general overview of global foresight please browse our bibliography of excellent Global Foresight Books, and Global Foresight Reports. The US National Intelligence Council’s public Global Trends report, which looks out five to twenty years at the global landscape, every four years since 1997, is my current best single source to start with in thinking about the coming global landscape. Their foresight process gets more inclusive and effective with every report. Global Trends: Paradox of Progress, 2017 is the best they’ve produced yet, in my view.

This chapter will introduce you to the biggest megatrend driving our future–accelerating change. Something really curious is happening in our universe, to life, and to human society. Certain things are always going faster every year. Understanding why that is, and what we can expect next, can be called acceleration studies, an academic discipline that doesn’t yet exist, but should.

In 2003, I co-founded a small nonprofit, the Acceleration Studies Foundation, to try to attract attention and funding to this still-neglected but very future-important topic. In 2008, I co-founded a small academic research community, Evo Devo Universe, to attract scholars to the topic of understanding the intrinsically unpredictable and predictable aspects of universal change.

Again, Chapters 7 and 11 will offer my best general thinking on what will continue to accelerate in human society, and why and how its complexity, intelligence, interdependence, and immunity will grow, and how we can learn to see and guide that acceleration in ways that create better individuals, teams, organizations, and societies.

But before we go there, we need to look at three useful ways we can view change itself. These are three hats we can all wear, at different times, when we think about and adapt to change. As we’ll see, the first of the hats is an optimistic one, the second a defensive one, and the third a particularly (I think) comprehensive one.  The faster things change, the more we’re going to need to use all three of these hats, in different contexts, and help others do the same.

We occasionally use acronyms in the Guide to help you remember future-important things. We’ve made acronyms for each of these three hats, as you’ll now see. If you think we’re missing an important concept, or have too many in each acronym, let us know. I hope you find value in all three of these views of change in your journey to becoming a better manager and leader.