Inventing an Abundant Future with Foresight Thinking

April 9, 2014
General Foundation

Abundance is a powerful word that promises many things.

In my previous essays for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, I have explored the role of abundance for our national future, in urban growth, in crowdsourcing, in organizational culture, in specific industries, in philanthropy, and even in the legacy of the American Dream, among other topics. 

An abundance mindset moves us away from reactionary thinking and into the realm of optimism and imagining possibilities. In fact, innovation is nearly impossible without it. Those who can transcend radical pessimism and a fear of scarcity will find themselves tomorrow’s future leaders.

A growing number of researchers are showing how American leaders are adopting and embodying an abundance mindset. Historian Joel Mokyr argued recently that pessimists have it wrong, that we are in fact entering into an age of technological abundance. He observes that economists often advance notions of pessimism and “that economic growth, measured as the growth of income per capita (corrected for inflation), is not the best measure of what technological change does.” 

Others are personally experiencing a new abundant economy of information. High school teacher Shawn McCusker is witnessing a fundamental shift in education. In the past, information scarcity meant we had to adopt an industrialized approach to education. Youth were mere vessels for a finite amount of information to be transmitted. With the help of mobile technology and the Internet, teachers are shifting in their classic role as an information giver to becoming a “chief analyzer, validity coach, research assistant, master differentiator, and creator of a shared learning experience.” 

Indeed, in my collection of essays with the Chamber Foundation, I address the role of youth as an asset for American business in developing an abundant future. It has been frequently noted that countries with shrinking populations suffer in their innovation capabilities. Through more STEM-based education, pro-immigration policies, and family-centric work benefits, more and more leaders can reimagine the youngest generations as part of an integrated strategy for national business growth.

While population decline and shrinking birthrates may inhibit national innovation, other measures of scarcity do not necessarily imply the same. In the new book Resource Revolution, authors Stefan Heck, Matt Rogers, and Paul Carroll explore how a scarcity of natural energy resources can fuel an era of abundance in business and innovation. As Reid Hoffman writes in a recent book review, “Dealing with resource scarcity will compel companies to adopt new technologies, new manufacturing processes, and new management practices—all of which will drive innovation faster and faster.”

So how do we square scarcity with abundance? How do we advance an abundant mindset amid fundamental economic pessimism? How do we help our children actualize a future of abundance? How can leaders imagine and create products and services that open up new abundant possibilities?

We invent the future. 

With a Foresight Thinking™ approach, I have empowered many global leaders to change how they perceive their innovation capabilities from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance. An abundance mindset does not deny scarcity. Rather, an abundance mindset allows for scarcity—and embraces scarcity as an opportunity. 

Leaders with an abundance mindset see today’s children as tomorrow’s future leaders. They seek to create opportunities to develop their skills that will be needed for the future. Leaders with an abundance mindset know that to take their companies into the next century they need to impart this vision to their teams.

Foresight Thinking™ provides leaders ready to adopt an abundance mindset with the skills to embed these strategies in their organizations and extend actionable strategies to their teams. Through simple tools, today’s global leaders are developing a culture of intrinsic and continuous innovation through long range planning. They are revolutionizing their own company cultures by developing new strategies—and new products—for the future, moving beyond just the next pivot to imagining and creating the needs for tomorrow’s customers.