ep. 57 - Garry Golden: Lead Futurist at FutureThink, Blockchain Guru, & Change Specialist


Garry Golden is a professionally trained futurist who writes, speaks, and consults about the driving forces that will shape society and business in the 21st century. His uncanny sense of what will hit—and what won’t—can be seen in futurethink’s research and heard in his international keynotes and corporate change leadership seminars. His insights on how to identify and act on change have inspired transformations at the highest levels of many successful organizations.


ep. 57 - Garry Golden: Lead Futurist at FutureThink, Blockchain Guru, & Change Specialist

Kyle Davis: Okay, with us today we have Garry Golden. He is the lead futurist at [FutureThink 00:00:52], he is a blockchain guru, and a change specialist. I'm gonna let him explain a little bit more about what makes [00:01:00] him unique, especially within the realm of being a futurist. So with that, Garry how are you?

Garry Golden: I'm doing well, pleasure to be here.

Kyle Davis: Well, thanks for joining us and thanks for coming a little early today.

Garry Golden: Absolutely.

Kyle Davis: I appreciate it. So, one of the things I want to dive into just super quick and we talked about this prior to going to record. But you're a little bit different in the futurist realm because you're what's called an academically [00:01:30] trained futurist or a professional futurist. So if you could, explain what that is for the listeners.

Garry Golden: Sure. So I am part of a fairly small community of what we'll call academically trained futurists, who have more advanced masters degree level training in foresight. So there are two programs in the United States that train futurists, that have both been around for more than 35 years. One program is at the University [00:02:00] of Houston and the other program is at the University of Hawaii. So people can immediately judge me. I chose Houston for the Graduate School Program, which I graduated from more than 13 years ago.

Kyle Davis: So when you're getting more training and foresight, what does that ... When I talk to futurist, there's different avenues from how they kind of come into it. Whether they're a technologist or [00:02:30] they're on the purchasing side and they just start looking at future trends and what not. What makes this additional training in foresight better and more applicable to what it is that you do?

Garry Golden: Sure. So, the field of future studies or foresight really is rooted in sociology. So it's fundamentally the study of social change. And I would say there's a distinction between most people that identify as futurist between their focus on technology versus [00:03:00] trained futurist that really take a broader look at how society changes, how culture shifts over time. So really what we do is we try to bring quality to quantitative techniques of thinking about long term change, about market transitions for major industrial sectors and help our clients understand how to close the gap between what's changing outside their organizations versus the change that they see inside. So trained futurists really just try and bring [00:03:30] a little bit more discipline to the arc of looking at the future.

Kyle Davis: So when you're looking at the future ... One of the things we talked about prior to going to record was like demographic trends and it's really easy to talk about, maybe even pick on the millennials but what you were talking about prior was the aging baby boomers and different things like that. So are you trying to look at the sociological trends in how whether it'd be technology or [00:04:00] the way work changes and how it impacts all these different levels? Garry Golden: Yeah, so I work across a wide range of industries so demographics and the study of changes in large groups, large generations of people really is the best way to reach the widest audience and when we look at the idea that demographics is destiny, very popular saying among economists. There's a lot of truth to it. And in the United States [00:04:30] in particular, what we've seen over the past 20 years has been what's referred to the demographic dividend of the baby boomer era. So the demographic dividend is this period where you have lots of people that are trained in the work force getting promotions, getting raises, they're having families, they're buying things and they're driving the economy. And that growth that was saw in the 1990s and 2000s was largely because they baby boomers [00:05:00] were raising their families, starting to build their homes.

And at this point we've reached what we can argue was the fading, the erosion of the dividend. The last baby boomer will not turn 65 until the year 2029. So we're only halfway through the baby boomers entering that next life stage. But they have essentially pulled back on their spending, they've started to shift their focus from raising families and kids. Now those kids are in college or [00:05:30] they have their own kids. And there's a lot of uncertainty for most industries as to how the baby boom generation aging will impact their bottom line.

Kyle Davis: More generally speaking. Do you see these generational changes being more ... Especially maybe even the impact of the economy at a broader more macro level, being more of like an ebb and flow. So once they start to age out, they hit their peak [00:06:00] like we talked about the growth in the 90s and the [ots 00:06:03] or 2000, whatever you want to call it, and it starts to go down. Are we just waiting for their kids to come in and replace them after they graduate college and progress to the work force?

Garry Golden: Exactly. So, after ... Generations are typically twenty year blocks. After the baby boomers you've got the generation next, which is roughly half the size of the baby boomer generation so there's nothing there to really transform [00:06:30] the society. They millennial demographic dividend really is not gonna kick in until 2030. So we've got another decade before we expect to see that same type of demand being driven through demographics in this country.

So it is an ebb and flow, there's some cycles to it. But they unique thing about the baby boomers is that they've transformed life stage stereotypes [00:07:00] at a [inaudible 00:07:01] save themselves and we don't know what they're gonna be like as people in their 60s and 70s and 80s. We expect that they're gonna want to stay in the work force longer. We expect that they're gonna want to remain active and engaged in their own communities longer than previous generations. So there's a lot of uncertainty but it is the single more important demographic transition of the next 30 years.

Kyle Davis: What would you say the pros [00:07:30] and maybe even the cons would be of having a generation like the boomers deciding to work longer?

Garry Golden: So the pro side is there's no substitute for experience of wisdom and relationships. Technology certainly can disrupt a workplace in an industry but the relationships that one builds in a sector over time tends to bring a lot of value. [00:08:00] So the pros really are all about the continuing to leverage their experience.

The cons side, the challenge is that the generation below it, so the gen Xers and the millennials don't have an opportunity to enter leadership positions that are still occupied by boomers. So there is some risk that there's a lowering of the ceiling of advancement [00:08:30] within organizations for the gen X and the millennial groups.

Kyle Davis: Yeah, I'm staring to have ... I'm the millennial range but I'm on the older side of it if you will and a lot of my friends are just a little bit older than me. That's what they're coming into. They're in their 30s, mid 30s. They're starting to come up to resistance for promotion because so and so has been here for X amount of years and they're just going like "Well I'm out performing this guy or gall, what's [00:09:00] going on?" So, I'm starting to hear that rumbling a little bit.

Garry Golden: So then from a leadership standpoint, we've been talking about millennials in the workplace for far too long. But you really need to get serious about your ability to retain employees and create new growth opportunities that even if you're not giving them a new title on the organizational chart, you're making sure that they are still engaged and feel like [00:09:30] they're growing inside the company because if these baby boomers don't exit the retention rates for millennials is likely to reach tipping point for most companies.

Kyle Davis: And then they're gonna blame us all.

Garry Golden: And then when the millennials are 60 they'll blame the next generation.

Kyle Davis: For sure. For sure. You know with that being said, one of the things that you wanted to talk about or that you do talk about is the future of work. [00:10:00] What is work at a very broad scale? What is the future of work from where we're currently at, and more importantly, at more of a micro level, what industries are you seeing that are gonna be "disrupted" or are gonna go through some evolution in change here soon?

Garry Golden: So the big conversation that you hear within the futurist community and beyond is trying to wrap your head around implication of [00:10:30] advances in data analytics and artificial intelligence inside the work environment. So, when you think about the future of work in AI, there are two spectrums. One is like that techno utopia and we're all sitting in beaches and we got robots making our revenue. And on the other side of the spectrum, nobody has jobs and it's this dystopian future. And I think the most likely future is in the middle. Where's it's not human beings completely displaced or human beings working for [00:11:00] AI assistance or agents but individuals working with intelligence assistance.

So when I think about the future of work, I try to wrap my head around this idea of working with intelligence assistance. And that is going to have an impact on every [rung 00:11:19] of the employment ladder from individuals that are in the [filming 00:11:25] centers and dealing with products and packaging them and shipping them to [00:11:30] costumer service, front end employees, to the highest knowledge workers in our economy.

So the ability to work with intelligence assistance is the big future challenge. And for me, having some background in artificial intelligence, you have to know that in order for AI to work affectively with human beings, human beings need to have data sets to train [00:12:00] the artificial intelligence systems. So, there is an interesting early signal out in the world of learning and development around a specification called Experience API. Often abbreviated as xAPI. And what Experience API allows us to do is to basically capture, in forms of data, "I did this statements". So "I watched this YouTube video", "I took this webinar", "I taught this class", "I [00:12:30] mentored with this [inaudible 00:12:31]" What allows individuals to do is to quantify their [work experiences 00:12:38] and then use that information to train an intelligence assistant, like IBM Watson.

So one of the things that I think the workforce is gonna need in the future is a higher degree of comfort in being more transparent and quantified, accountable in their work experiences. So [00:13:00] this is going to bring a lot of change to it. There's a creepy versus compelling line there to explore but all workers, I think in the near future will need to be able to bring more real world data to their background.

Kyle Davis: So to verbally visualize for those to are listening to this and are trying to go "What's this xAPI experience? What are you talking about?" Are you trying to [00:13:30] say that in the near future, whether it'd be three years of five years or maybe even sooner than that, having some sort of program that while you're at your workstation, and you're on your computer watching what it is that you do, what you're looking at, what results, and it's just pulling all this data so then in the future when, while it's collecting this data, in the future when you develop the AI, it can then start to do and assist you to do that [00:14:00] work that maybe was more menial and time consuming so you can be more productive and focused on larger matters?

Garry Golden: Exactly. So the Experience API ... The specification itself, will be largely invisible. It's a specification that will be invisible, it will be integrated in to Microsoft and Oracle and all the enterprise software programs that you use in the workplace. But yeah, it's essentially ... It's not recording [00:14:30] everything but it's recording, it's trying to learn. When you close a deal, what are the ten steps that you took to close that deal? When you started a new project what were the ten things that you did to get the project going? When you give feedback to your managers or your managers give feedback to you, what's happening there?

So it's a more quantified future that will be largely passive in recording and [00:15:00] how it plays out will still be determined. The level of control and ownership of data, whether it's the employee who controls and owns the data or the company. Those are the things that we don't know how it's gonna play out but this idea of a more data driven work life is coming.

Kyle Davis: Yeah, I mean you're starting to see elements of [00:15:30] what you're talking about. Especially one the most [sailing 00:15:34] examples that I have in my mind right now comes in the marketing space where you have these companies that they're watching what your cursor is doing and if it looks like your cursor is tracking the exit button or to go back a page you have that popup that then pops up that says "Hey do you want to save fifteen percent or no, I like spending more money?" That kind of stuff.

Garry Golden: Yeah.

Kyle Davis: So then from there, [00:16:00] whether it'd be sales force or Oracle. If you have some custom built, multiple API kind of software solution. This is something that's tracking what it is that you're doing and then hopefully simplifying it. I'm just trying make a ... paint a pretty little picture for it.

Garry Golden: Yeah, so it's there to assist you to reflect on how you accomplish things, and it's also there to give a sense to managers and leaders about [00:16:30] the capacity of a team to get something done. So you may have ... In a company, you may have a new opportunity presented to you and with maybe a new client, new sector or with a new product that you're gonna be trying to use. And you can, as a manager, using this experience API data, go into your workforce and say "How much experience do we have in this new thing." And for the people who have a lot of experience in that new [00:17:00] capability, that new skillset, you don't need to focus on training them as much. For the people that don't have that experience, that's where you'd bring in the performance support. That's where you bring in the focus training.

It gives managers a higher level view of the ability of a team to accomplish certain tasks. So in the end I think it will be embrace. I think it will be a part of ... The millennial workforce will certainly be more likely to embrace [00:17:30] this type of transparency and accountability. But I think in the end, it will bring about more happiness in the workplace because you'll receive the help when you need it, you'll be recognized for the experience and value that you bring when you do.

Kyle Davis: Yeah, I can see the benefits of something like this xAPI because you already have somethings like LinkedIn's Social Selling Index or their SSI. Which all of that is really [00:18:00] doing from my understanding is just looking at the number of followers that you have, how big their networks are, are you posting? Are you getting ... It's just taking what is the power of your social network and then converting it into a 0 to 100 score and if you're above 50 you're doing pretty all right. I have to say though that mine's an 85, and I'm in the top one percent of my industry. But hey, that's neither here nor there.

Garry Golden: Absolutely. And LinkedIn is a great example, [00:18:30] there was a ... We can link to this in the notes. I wrote an article that appeared in TechCrunch last August that was essential ... The click bait title was "Why LinkedIn should kill the resume and basically launch the experience graph." So if you're looking at who could be a player that could really kick off this idea of having a more quantified work environment, it could be Microsoft. Right, they-

Kyle Davis: Because they [00:19:00] own it now.

Garry Golden: They own LinkedIn, and they have the productivity tools. So it's a weak signal, but it's certainly for business leaders. Understanding experience API is one thing but understanding what it means in terms more detailed data of work performance, experiences, that is something you need to wrap your head around. That is going to have an impact on your business.

Kyle Davis: So, one of the things that you're talking about that [00:19:30] has a huge impact on business and will, moving forward is Blockchain and I have an understanding of it, but one of the things that you did masterfully before we went to record was you talked about was kind of the three iterations of the internet. So, if you could start there and then describe what Blockchain is for the listeners, I think that they'd be greatly appreciative. Garry Golden: Sure. So, let's not think about what Blockchain is, let's think about what is the Blockchain everyone era mean for [00:20:00] the internet [inaudible 00:20:01] our worlds. And there have really been three eras of the web, three eras of the internet. The first era, kind of in the 90s period was an internet of files. It was just the exchanging of files that created websites and then the next era of the internet arrived around 2004, 2008 and that was the era of the internet of social networks. So the ability to understand community dynamics and the relationships and all industries [00:20:30] have moved into thinking "What does this internet of social networks mean to me." What the blockchain does is launches the third era of the internet, which is essentially the internet of trusted transactions. So the blockchain will enable more frictionless transactions between people, between businesses, between public sector organizations that use blockchain capabilities. So it's really about trust [00:21:00] and transactions. That's the so what of Blockchain.

Kyle Davis: For those who don't have an understanding of what Blockchain is, could you, in an elementary way, explain what it is for those-

Garry Golden: Sure. So the blockchain is, most simply, a database. And it is a database much in the way that you can think of ledger. So the blockchain is a ledger [00:21:30] of asset transactions. So what the blockchain does is it allows many people, not a single person, or a single company, or single brand, but many people to actively manage this ledger of transactions. So then the question is "Why is that valuable?" It's valuable because in our world today, we live in a low trust environment. You and I go on the internet and [00:22:00] we want to go buy something or we're on Yelp and we're looking at a review and what we see is coming from people or bots that we don't know who they are. We can't trust who they are or that they say that they are.

Kyle Davis: Right, it could be fake news from Macedonia.

Garry Golden: Absolutely. So we live in a world where there's not a lot of trust. So what the blockchain does is it uses this ledger of transactions to bring trust and more certainty when we exchange things. So, [00:22:30] what if an asset ... An asset for the blockchain really was kicked of with BitCoin and in the case of BitCoin, which was the first real application of blockchain technology, the asset was a currency. And it allows people to say "Okay, I'm gonna give you two BitCoin, and you know that I own that BitCoin and when it is settled on this ledger, it is settled in you on this BitCoin". And it prevents people from what's [00:23:00] called double spending, like giving you two BitCoin and at the same time giving someone else two BitCoin. That the technology prevents that. So that's the asset at its origin.

But you could also look at the blockchain as holding healthcare record assets. So when I walk into a doctor's office and check in. That is an asset. That is a transaction that is put on the blockchain. When I receive a prescription, it's entered into the blockchain. When I go and [00:23:30] get that prescription from the pharmacy, it's registered. When I take that pill using my app that records me putting it in my mouth and swallowing it, that experience is entered into the blockchain. So then the insurance knows that you received the treatment, that you picked up the pills, you took them and can make payments. The doctor can know that you picked up your medication and took it.

[00:24:00] You can imagine healthcare being fundamentally transformed through blockchain records that enable less fraud, better adherence to medicine, behavior change and it's just a more frictionless system. So blockchain can be applied in many industries.

Kyle Davis: So using the healthcare example. One of the things that you just mention was behavior changes. So, are we talking like ... [00:24:30] I'm gonna use just a hypothe- ... Well I'll use a real one. If you have ADD or ADHD and you're prescribed a [lefetamine 00:24:38] of some sort, that's a schedule one drug and you have to go to your doctor every single month to get it refilled. And now what doctors have to do is every single month they make you give a sample to make sure that you're taking your medicine and selling your medicine. So in the future ideration of this but you're just trying to explain is that there's going to be a record or a log where there could intentionally be a record or [00:25:00] a log that says "Okay, it was prescribed, it was delivered, it was taken every single one of these days and we know that now there's no fraudulent occurrence of it happening or the patient isn't selling it". So something like that?

Garry Golden: That's a prefect example of the potential.

Kyle Davis: Boom. Perfect example.

Garry Golden: Well done. And then the other layer here is privacy and anonymity. The blockchain itself, you really have to go deep [00:25:30] to get into the details but there is a way to use the blockchain in a way that reveals actual identity and then there's a way that you can use it that protects identity but still insures the trust. So, that is a great example. And the one that business leaders want to focus on in the near term. Well it's in two areas. One is apply change logistics. So a product gets made in a [00:26:00] factory, put in a truck, a ship, lands at the port, gets through customs, goes on another truck ends on a retail shelf, gets purchased, the warranty gets paid, the taxes get paid, all of that stuff can be automated using what are called smart contracts on top of the blockchain. So some of the most interesting innovated efforts around blockchain, smart contract platforms is in supply chain logistics.

Kyle Davis: Interesting.

Garry Golden: [00:26:30] Yeah. And then the second is government. So government records, regulatory compliance, identity, taxation.

Kyle Davis: Right.

Garry Golden: A lot of things could happen in the public sector side of blockchain.

Kyle Davis: So back to BitCoin and all of these other crypto currencies. You know when they first came out, how [00:27:00] many years ago? Maybe ten years ago now or so.

Garry Golden: Yes.

Kyle Davis: Even still to do this day, please correct me if I'm wrong, I just don't play in the space. But there's just a lot of variability, so you may buy it ... In speculation too, almost like gold, you may buy it at a BitCoin, one BitCoin equal to 1000 dollars and then the next day maybe worth 1700 and then the day after that maybe work 300. Has that started to settle down? That's the [00:27:30] first question. The second question is, does a plurality of different crypto currencies, whether it be BitCoin or the Doge coin or whatever else is out there, is that beneficial or are you gonna see governments move in to that direction as well? I'm just kind of curious on those two things.

Garry Golden: Yeah, so you really need to decouple while watching from crypto currencies. Crypto currencies are an example of an asset that uses the blockchain. [00:28:00] And then you can just say "Forget about bitcoin. Forget throw way over in that corner" and you can talk about blockchain for non crypto currency applications and that certainly is the bigger pie. But on the crypto currency side, I am very bullish longterm on crypto currencies and it could be that in the near future we're gonna see Amazon and Google and Microsoft and Facebook will have their own crypto currency dynamic to their [00:28:30] business and their brand.

The speculative side of crypto currencies has not settled down. The role of the government in terms of oversight and preventing fraud and abuse, that has not been settled. So, we're still in the wild wild west days. For businesses that want to understand crypto currency application for their industry, you really need to get into the [weeds 00:28:59]. You need to get [00:29:00] into BitCoin, Dash, Monero, Zcash, there is a host of early players that could really kind of win the marathon.

For business leaders that want to understand non crypto currency applications of blockchain, you need to understand that there are both public and private blockchain development platforms and public basically [00:29:30] is anyone can participate. Private is, just a bunch of banks use it, just a bunch of insurance companies use it.

On the public side, the platform to understand is Ethereum. So the Ethereum network is arguably the leading development environment for the enterprise environment. There's also an effort called Hyperledger which is hosted by The Linux Foundation but essentially grew out of IBM. And [00:30:00] Hyperledger is also a business friendly blockchain platform. And then on the private side there are just a few developers such [ManaX 00:30:09] and R3 that are developing industry specific blockchains that are not open for anyone to join but only for known players.

So understanding of those developing platforms is key. A Ethereum and Hyperledger would be the places to begin.

Kyle Davis: Well that's a lot to [00:30:30] digest and I'll be sure to do that. I do remember one thing though, cause every once in a while I wanted to use the aspirational shoppers and they exist at every single level but I went to the Ferrari dealership here in Dallas and I was just kicking the tires on something. A future purchase ten years down the road or something like that. And the guy was saying to me, "We now accept BitCoin payment." And I go "Oh, that's interesting. How does it work?" He goes, "Well, if you want to buy so and so we'll just give you the date when we want to receive the [00:31:00] BitCoin". Because they have their own internal speculation team [crosstalk 00:31:04] be able to buy it low, sell it high.

Garry Golden: Funny, yeah. I buy about ten dollars of BitCoin a week. It's just a fund hedge, it doesn't amount to much, but early wild wild west days of crypto currencies I really focus on the non currency applications of the future. But that's fun.

Kyle Davis: So you don't want to talk about people buying used [00:31:30] computers and scraping them or anything like that for BitCoin?

Garry Golden: No.

Kyle Davis: No, I'm just messing with you. Okay, cool. Well I don't really want to talk about that either.

Now, one of the things we talked about prior to record ... Wow, that's probably my favorite catchphrase for the day. Was the change aspect of what you're doing at FutureThink and this whole idea of killing the company and what it is [00:32:00] that you all do there. Could just paint a little color into that?

Garry Golden: Sure. So, really what you're trying to do is understand foresight as the front end of your innovation and growth strategy efforts, right? Foresight is about understanding the weaker signals of change, that the signals of change of the market transition way before other people are talking about it. So foresight brings a competitive advantage to innovation [00:32:30] and growth strategy efforts. And what you're trying to do when you think like a futurist is close the gap between changes that are happening outside your company versus inside. When you see there's a gap of change, you need to focus on your internal teams to make sure they're learning about stuff that they don't currently understand, right? Moving towards things that they don't understand. So that gives you the action, right? It's "We need to focus on closing that gap."

One of the [00:33:00] techniques and programs that we run at FutureThink is called Kill the Company and it's session where we work with an individual client to identify a spectrum of potential competitors in a near term future that could outflank and basically kill the company. So we'll go in and we'll work with a banker in energy utility and say "Who are people in the blockchain space that can make what you do irrelevant?" [00:33:30] So energy companies, pear to pear training using the blockchain. Banks, you can basically have a bank automated without the bank. And then we'll say "Who is an AI company that could change what you do and kill the company?" And then "Who are known familiar foes that can kill your company?" And we basically walk them through a whole day process of actively disrupting themselves, in a way that in the end reveals strategies for the company to apply on their own. To avoid [00:34:00] being disrupted by an outsider.

So Kill the Company is a great program for organizations that want to actively disrupt themselves and accelerate what we can argue is inevitable change in their industry.

Kyle Davis: When you talk to companies ... And this is one of the things, in case you all are wondering for those listening to the podcast, you work with the same company at FutureThink as [Lisa Budell 00:34:29] who was on another episode [00:34:30] of the podcast as well. When you go into a company and you start doing this kill the company exercise and you start looking at their blind spots, you start finding their gaps. Initially, my question is this, initially is there apprehension to what you may find or is it, at that point when you come in there and you're doing what you do. Are they just ready [00:35:00] and eager to do the changes necessary to set a new strategic trajectory?

Garry Golden: So it tends to be a little bit of both. There will always be people that initiate reaching out to FutureThink that have an awareness of "Look, the world's changing and we're not keeping up to that change." So that self awareness does exists. What we do when we step into the room is we make them even more uncomfortable. We say "Oh, you've heard [00:35:30] about the blockchain, but have you heard of the Ethereum? Hyperledger?" And they just shake their heads no. And you basically have identified a level of detail of change that they are unaware of. So, you're making them uncomfortable but still empowering them to be able to move towards those things.

Where companies will often end their experience with us is "Then how do I activate this change? How do I make this [00:36:00] happen?" Right? And one of the things that we help establish within companies is what's called a signals team. And the signals teams is basically a group of let's say three to five individuals. Doesn't matter what their job title is. These are people that are naturally curious, always looking for changes in the world around them. And we bring some structure and discipline to that team, that signals team to actively go out and look for signals, new stories of change and then imagine [00:36:30] implications of those changes for the company and then teach them how to share those implications. Tell the story of change with their colleagues.

So once we leave establishing that signals team function is how we sustain foresight within the organization.

Kyle Davis: One of the phrases that you used to describe this killing the company concept is [inaudible 00:36:53] always actively disrupting or actively disrupting. And the next [00:37:00] breath you mentioned, making somebody uncomfortable, I'm reminded of my time in the tech space. But I think it definitely transitions well to pretty much anything, is the concept of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. So, my question or idea that may spark more conversation is ... It may be easy to identify or pinpoint something by saying "We need to do more social media or this or [00:37:30] that." But that's just one layer of the onion. How are you getting these companies to become more introspective and go deeper to find what their real blind spots and gaps are?

Garry Golden: So, one of the techniques ... Two things, one is we have a simple matrix of basically urgency and readiness. So you can kind of imagine an X Y of urgency and readiness and you ask people to say "Come up with a list of ten things [00:38:00] that are changing your industry, list them out. Maybe cut them up into little sheets of paper and then have individuals in your team place them along this matrix or not urgent, sort of urgent, very urgent, not ready, we're almost ready and we can kill it." And they placed those trends, those issues on that matrix. And what most companies tend to find is that there are a number of things coming towards their industry that are urgent for them to address that they're not ready, they're not [00:38:30] capable to act upon.

So being able to prioritize things that you're ready to do versus urgent and things that you're not ready to do that are urgent is first step. And then the second thing that we do that builds in to the signals team side is we have resources and will provide guidance on smart people to follow, right? You may not understand the blockchain or artificial intelligence or Experience [00:39:00] API but we have a list of individuals that you can follow on twitter and on LinkedIn that are the leading thinkers in this space. And when they find an interesting piece of information, they share it and that's what you should read. So being able to follow people is a simple, simply hater change to bring foresight into the organization. Don't do [00:39:30] it all yourself.

Kyle Davis: No no no. And if you're not cheating, you're not trying. So borrow other people's ideas. I mean, don't infringe on them but you know what I mean.

When you look at the spectrum that you just presented, urgent and not in a place to be able to do something versus on the other end of the spectrum, maybe being fully involved in something that's just detrimental, needs to be killed. [00:40:00] What's ... I don't want to like dig into it and sell the farm so to speak but what are people latching on to? Are they scared to give away this thing that they've invested so much in in killing it? Or are they just so apprehensive and afraid to acknowledge what's this urgent blind spot that they need to fill?

Garry Golden: Usually once the blind spots are stated during a [keynote 00:40:26] or workshop, everyone nods their head. It's [00:40:30] rare that those assumptions that need to be challenged in the company, it's rare that it's new to the whole team. Everyone pretty much ... They get it. The breakthrough, the "ahuh" moments tend to happen when ... You know as a futurist, I can provide them with more color, with more detail of what we think this road map looks like, what we think the new player landscape looks like. When they have a clearer [00:41:00] picture of this future, it tends to light the fire. It tends to get them to be more serious about actively disrupting themselves. So it's really just a nudge. When you're bringing foresight into a group, often you're just trying to nudge them just past that point where they take responsibility.

Kyle Davis: Yeah, I was having a conversation with somebody this week. There just frustrated [00:41:30] as to where they're going. And I'm like "Well, it's pretty simple man. You just don't have a plan, you have no focus, you have no ...". There's no next step. And that's a personal anecdote for something that's much broader. It can be the direction of your company or organization or university or anything else between there.

Garry Golden: Yeah.

Kyle Davis: Well that's interesting. One final thing, and I know that you talked about the signals team that [00:42:00] you kind of work and establish and everything else. But what are some things that individuals like the audience listening, what are some things they can do to be in a sense, their own signals team? To make them more aware of things that might be changing so that way they can kind of change the way that they may think about things?

Garry Golden: Yeah, I think using tools ... I'm a strong advocate for Twitter and LinkedIn increasingly with their content side. [00:42:30] Building in time to your week for scanning, for looking for signals is an easy for step. Actually, blocking off time where nobody can book, nobody can get you on the phone, nobody can pull you into a meeting, creating that space is a great first step. And then another technique in the foresight workshop that we use is the [inaudible 00:42:54] of creating headlines from the future. Walk through this whole activity of taking mental [00:43:00] leaps from an initial business news headline that we might see today and then going out ten years. A great example of that is Google. When Google, I think it was 2004 purchased a 3D mapping company. One of the potential applications was mapping the 3D world and creating autonomous vehicles. Nobody that saw that Google purchased a 3D mapping company would have taken the mental leap that they were gonna get into the self driving car business, right? That's what futurists [00:43:30] did, that what futurists do.

So being able to take mental leaps though the creation of business news headlines of the future is a great way to take your signals and bring them to life. So there's a lot of detail of how you do that but just when you get a signal that jumps out at you, imagine what could be a headline you'd wake up to Bloomberg News five years from now as a result of that signal. Getting to take [00:44:00] those mental leaps. That's really the space you need to occupy when you're thinking like a futurist.

Kyle Davis: Well take those mental leaps and think like a futurist. That's a good take away for that. Well hey, look, if you all want to book Garry Golden to come and speak for your company you can do so by contacting GDA Speakers. You can call us at 214 420 1999 or visit GDASpeakers.com. If you would like to read the transcript from today's podcast and [00:44:30] have other things ... I think we even talked about linking to some article that Garry wrote for LinkedIn, you can do so going to GDAPodcast.com and that'll all be there for you.

Thanks Gary.

Garry Golden: Thank you very much.