Future Insight: Changing the World with an Anticipatory Mindset

We are at a unique point in human history, marked by accelerating global change and enhanced by technological advances. We are always doing the impossible. Agile organizations learned how to change rapidly, but with change accelerating, we must go beyond agility and learn to anticipate disruptive problems before they happen.

We are at a unique point in human history, marked by accelerating global change and enhanced by technological advances. We are always doing the impossible. Agile organizations learned how to change rapidly, but with change accelerating, we must go beyond agility and learn to anticipate disruptive problems before they happen.

A New Incentive

With over 500 known cycles that repeat, such as biological cycles, celestial cycles and business cycles, and predictable linear changes, such as the retirement of aging Baby Boomers, there is a way to anticipate many of the problems we will have and pre-solve them before they happen. The good news is that there is a growing global supply of young, anticipatory minds paying attention to the Hard Trends with an interest in changing the world, now with a new incentive for them to anticipate ways to shape the future positively.

In celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2018, Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, pioneered the Future Insight Prize to stimulate groundbreaking science and innovative technologies for the benefit of humanity. With a targeted 1,000,000-euro grant, the inaugural Future Insight Prize winner of 2019 will be announced in July, marking the first of many prize winners over the next 35 years that both stimulate and honor achievements in science and technology key for humanity, namely health, nutrition and energy.

The Pandemic Protector

The 2019 prize will be allocated in the field of pandemic preparedness, for work in anticipating a later realization of the visionary dream product coined as the “Pandemic Protector.” This breakthrough product begins with a clinical sample of a person infected with an unknown pathogen and produces an agent for cure or to prevent infection of others within a short, clinically relevant time frame. Researchers and entrepreneurs know we must anticipate, pre-solve and change in new, innovative ways in order to stay ahead of this problem.

First announced at Curious 2018, the first Future Insight conference, the event had more than 60 speakers, including six Nobel laureates, and was attended by more than 1,300 leaders from academic and corporate environments from all over the world. This announcement drew in more than 70 top scientists to the Future Insight Prize jury, collaborating to select the first year’s prize winner.

With antimicrobial resistance threatening the effective prevention and treatment of an always-transforming range of infections, this research is imperative for 2020 because the CDC estimates that in the United States alone, over two million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections, with at least 23,000 deaths as a result. Worldwide, there is evidence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause common and treatable infections, such as pneumonia.

The 2020 dream product is likely to build upon the 2019 “Pandemic Protector,” as innovators are already working to develop a series of novel, narrow-spectrum antibacterial agents capable of curing any bacterial infection without induction of drug resistance.

In yet another cumulative way, 2021’s prize is on the topic of dramatic population increase and how to sustain such an increase with innovative ways to produce food while avoiding compromising the integrity of our planet. Given the fact that the population is likely to hit 9.1 billion by 2050, overall food production must increase by 70% between 2005 and 2050.

The prize topics extend as far as 2022, which pertains to renewable sources of energy as to slow and ultimately cease the constant consumption of our natural resources for fuel. In conjunction with this concept, researchers hope to avidly avoid altering our atmosphere’s CO2, which will require us to utilize the sun in new and innovative ways.

Future Insight Prize

It is an honor for Burrus Research to partner with Merck to expand and advance the Future Insight Prize as a mainstream example of anticipatory innovation applied to the greater good of the human race. Professors and scholars of Harvard University, Princeton and many more Ivy League institutions are joining in to get as many innovative minds as possible focusing on pre-solving the world’s greatest challenges in the future sustainability of our planet by way of continuing research laying important foundations for the four published dream products as discussed here.

Change comes from the outside in, forcing us to react and manage crises. Transformation, on the other hand, whether it is business or personal, always comes from the inside out, and that gives us far more positive control while allowing us to actively shape the future. The Future Insight Prize is a perfect example of a company utilizing their available resources to anticipate and pre-solve global problems before they happen as they positively shape the future, not only for themselves, but for the future of humankind. I believe it is imperative that attention be brought to this incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators alike.

The Curious 2020 Future Insight Conference, will take place July 13 -15, 2020 in Darmstadt, Germany, The Conference will run with plenary sessions followed by three parallel work streams with attendance from all over the world.

Bitcoin’s Highs and Lows: Where to Next?

Since the critical acclaim of Bitcoin and digital currencies in 2017, there has been a lot of talk about its future. Bitcoin was the first digital currency to attract mainstream attention, and after that, 2018 was less than glamorous, with the price plummeting. Are cryptocurrencies a thing of the past already, or a Hard Trend of the future?

Since the critical acclaim of Bitcoin and digital currencies in 2017, there has been a lot of talk about its future. Bitcoin was the first digital currency to attract mainstream attention, and after that, 2018 was less than glamorous, with the price plummeting.

Are cryptocurrencies a thing of the past already, or a Hard Trend of the future?

A Bitcoin Overview

Cryptocurrency uses peer-to-peer technology, similar to the file-sharing technology of the early 2000s. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, it being virtual and decentralized. This means no one is in charge of it and it isn’t backed by the government. Bitcoin’s value is protected only by a distributed network that maintains its ledgers and protects its transactions by means of cryptography.

The concept behind Bitcoin first emerged in 2009 by an anonymous programmer (or programmers) using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. A single Bitcoin is today valued at $8,204, while the market cap is now at $145.66 billion.

Every Bitcoin is connected to an address and every Bitcoin is sent or received by a digital wallet attached to the address. Names aren’t associated with the transactions, creating a system that is wholly transparent while remaining functionally anonymous.

Bitcoin: A Soft Trend?

What exactly can you do with Bitcoins? It’s digital currency, so saving or spending them seems to be the immediate answer. However, in order to spend them, individuals and, more importantly, businesses must accept your Bitcoins. While a growing number of businesses accept Bitcoin, such as Overstock.com, most popular merchants and service providers including Amazon do not.

Let’s first discuss my Hard Trend Methodology and the differences between Hard Trends and Soft Trends to assess Bitcoin’s longevity.

A Hard Trend is a trend that will happen and is based on measurable, tangible, and fully predictable facts, events, or objects. They are future facts that cannot be changed.

A Soft Trend is a trend that might happen and is based on an assumption that looks valid in the present, and it may be likely to happen, but it is not a future fact. Soft Trends can be changed.

While Bitcoin itself grew in popularity, its future success is still a Soft Trend. During 2017, Bitcoin was treated by many as more of an investment than actual currency and likewise faced backlash when it was used for illegal online transactions.

However, the concept of cryptocurrencies is a Hard Trend, and here’s why:

Cryptocurrency: A Hard Trend

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, including the underlying technology (blockchain) that enables them to function. Cryptocurrency, as well as blockchain, represents a radically new idea in finance: a decentralized system for exchanging value. Due to its open-source nature and its copyright-free core program, there will always be room for improvement. Programmers around the world have already developed military-grade encryptions and new ways to trade, thus stabilizing the prices.

Cryptocurrencies exist as mere entries in a blockchain-enabled accounting system. That system acts as a transparent public ledger that records transactions among “addresses.” Owning cryptocurrency isn’t analogous to having paper money in your pocket. Instead, it means a personal claim to an address, with your own password, and the right to do with it as you see fit. Over time, this will increasingly disrupt traditional models and global currencies, playing a role in a number of future digital transformations.

The Future of Currency: Digital Payments

Imagine you want new shoes, and your favorite shoe store accepts some form of cryptocurrency. If you don’t already possess cryptocurrency, you purchase some from a crypto-currency kiosk or an online exchange and assign it to your online account, known as a “wallet.”

When paying for your new shoes, you open your “digital wallet,” which is unlocked with passwords and/or biometrics, and the currency network is publicly informed that you’ve transferred $100 worth of cryptocurrency to the store. This happens fast, and there are almost no fees and no personal information divulged. Compare this with the slow debit or credit card counterpart, often with a third party involved. The benefits become more clear.

Other Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin was the first digital currency, but not the last. A large number of cryptocurrencies now exist, and the list is expanding. Litecoin, for example, was launched back in 2011 on the same blockchain as Bitcoin and was meant to improve it. Ethereum was created in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin and is a blockchain-based platform that can be used for developing decentralized apps and smart contracts. The list of cryptocurrencies is actually quite large and, as I said earlier, growing. And the enabling technology, blockchain, is being applied to a rapidly growing number of industries creating both disruption and new opportunities.

In Conclusion

Bitcoin versus the technology category of cryptocurrency gives us a clear example of the difference between Soft Trends and Hard Trends. Cryptocurrencies will continue to evolve and integrate into our economy and everyday life, as will the enabling blockchain technology, making cryptocurrency a Hard Trend, while the future success of individual cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is a Soft Trend: It may or may not have a bright future. When you’re able to distinguish between the Soft Trends that might happen and the Hard Trends that will happen, you will dramatically improve your ability to understand and manage risk as you become more anticipatory.

Learn how to accurately manage risk with my latest bestselling book The Anticipatory Organization.

24,000 people getting Jobs by 2020

SV-NED inspired by United Nation’s Quality Education Goal #4 raises Capital to fund training for 24,000 people.

Silicon Valley Nigeria Economic Development (SVNED) Inc. has designed a program to bring together a sophisticated group of individuals by advancing their educational and professional careers to help them be more competitive in the global job market. SVNED is organizing a training facilitated by the best and brightest professors from ivy league universities in the United States hailing from Stanford University, New York University (NYU), Santa Clara University and more. The SVNED Immersion Program is an effective training and development model that can be streamlined to benefit emerging countries looking to develop its workforce and create a new job market in tech. 

Professors of the Immersion Program have put together a robust curriculum aimed at inspiring young adults to develop startups concepts to drive innovation and creative solutions that can turn a profit. The measure of the success would rest heavily on SVNED ability to connect them with Venture Capitalist and Angel Investors in both info tech and ag tech sector. This accelerator and incubator model is responsible for the massive e-commerce success currently observed in Silicon Valley. SVNED Immersion program encourages and inspires participants to build for a future that would create economic capital, attract investment and create measurable job growth within their home countries and beyond.

The secondary objective of the Immersion Program is to train and retain talent, equipping the underserved and unemployed with the opportunity to present themselves as the best candidates for full-time job placement in the field of information communication technology. It is SVNED continued mission to encourage more industries to expand and invest in professional training and development programs for the purpose of advancing their labor workforce as the world prepares for the transition of skilled labor being replaced by Artificial Intelligence. 


After the conclusion of the inaugural celebration of the January 24th International Day of Education celebration, President & Cofounder of SV-NED Inc., Denise Williams, a Bay Area native and a minority business owner in Silicon Valley recollects her journey as an immigrant with her family to find quality education outside her country in the U.S. Williams credits her teachers and her immediate local community  for rallying around her to sharpen her innermost talents. At age 11, she was placed in the STEM Program (MESA) at Willard Middle School, Berkeley, CA. By age 14, she was placed in Chevron Explorer Program learning how to build websites <code> and became immersed into the corporate culture to develop her professional and communication skills. 

Now at the Age of 34, she wants to give back and she is committed to doing so. By replicating the same model of early adoption and exposure to technology, Williams is confident that the skills and unemployment gap observed in her country Nigeria can be resolved. Williams’ recent trip back to Nigeria, gave her a rude awakening that her country could use her help and leadership. Williams was reminded of her path and journey to finding quality education, she observed elementary school-age girls wearing the exact same ‘brown uniforms’ she wore over twenty-four years ago. She explained: “ I looked outside my car window, and saw myself again, and felt the passion to do something to help shape their futures, just like someone helped me.”

Williams, took to the sit on the United Nation’s floor during the General Assembly in New York, NY, asking for “a full plate” a global standard for quality education which includes access running electricity, clean water, and meal plans in all public classrooms.” She urged her constituents, that “it is hard to encourage young dreamers to see beyond their current condition if they are worried about the next meal on their plates.” 

Williams continued stating it is unbeknown to her that the technology to provide sufficient electricity and water supply grids for underserved and emerging markets do not exist in 2019. As a technology businesswoman and enthusiast herself, she has witnessed the power of innovation at first glance at home in Silicon Valley and Salinas Valley.

Joining the panel discussion, was Keynote Speaker Pamela Haas, Corporate Citizen Manager for IBM, who spoke about the need for expansion in global technology training using models like the SVNED Immersion Program as well as the P-TECH network. P-TECH is a program committed to educating the future workforce and closing the global skills gap. P-TECH school model is a pioneering education reform initiative created by IBM.

Even though, SVNED has used its best efforts in creating an effective solution to Nigeria’s troubling 18.8% unemployment rate and 33% youth unemployment rate by funding the 2nd immersion program; SVNED still has growing pending applicants who have expressed their interest in attending the 3rd Immersion program. The 3rd Immersion Program is scheduled to enter into 10 States in 12 months, with a projection to train 24,000 people. Consequently, the cost for participation the majority of the applicants cannot afford. Thus, creating an opportunity for corporate sponsors in tech to partner with SVNED as strong supporters to carry on with this great cause that will impact 24,000 people in 12 months.

We are afraid that if no one steps in to invest and support the 3rd Immersion Program, generations of children in West Africa will be moved further into poverty and famine. SVNED Inc. for partnership in expertise and funding solutions that will alleviate budget constraints and create room for cross-pollinating of expertise and skill sets between Silicon Valley and West Africa. Registered and confirmed participants can anticipate 6-day of interactive training, cultural-exchange with leading professors and professionals in tech. 

Finally, SVNED Inc. pleads with corporate sponsors across the globe, who have the appetite for the continuous spread of quality education worldwide. SVNED seeks advocates as sponsors and donors of resources and tools that will support the ongoing efforts of the upcoming 3rd Immersion Programs.

To learn more about how you can help, send an email to info@svned.com or visit www.svned.com

A $20K Goal Crowd Funding Campaign Delivers Five Fold

25 years ago when Melinda Clarke and her team began creating the very first illustrative map of Melbourne, the concept of online crowd funding was not a facility most could have imagined.

It was a time when the web browser Netscape Navigator was still in its infancy and Yahoo was something you shouted loudly in glee. Murmurings may have been heard about the enormous impact this Internet – a distributive, connected technology was expected to have on the world, but in 1994 the concept of using it to connect people across the globe for a unified goal of raising capital would have seemed like a radical idea.

By the time Melinda conceded that Melbourne’s explosive growth had been so vicarious during the 25 years since the creation of the first Melbourne map that a completely new map needed to be drawn from scratch, crowd funding for enterprising ideas was a common and well-trodden path.

Melinda was confident about the project but wondered if the project would arouse public interest and more importantly, would they dig into their pockets to raise the much-needed capital required to create a modern, exquisitely detailed, illustrative map Melbourne.

Melinda spent 18 months researching and filling her head with knowledge about how crowd funding worked. She attended courses and seminars, read books, listened to podcasts, audiobooks and subscribed to industry “gurus” spruiking their crowd funding expertise. She asked questions and even offered to buy them coffee so she could learn as much as possible from those who had already ventured successfully down the crowd-funding path.

The technology was developing and changing quicker than she was learning which meant everyone had something new and valuable to share with her. With forced bravado, a good dose of tentativeness and gritting of teeth, The Melbourne Map team launched a Pozible Crowd funding campaign on 3 April, 2017 with the goal of reaching $20K to get their project underway.

Melinda chose Pozible as the platform to launch her campaign as they were based in Melbourne and she appreciated their responsiveness to all her questions as she gained knowledge of the crowd funding landscape. “The fees were reasonable and they were constantly improving what they were doing and genuinely wanted to assist. In the end it was supporting an Australian company that felt like the best fit for our campaign” Melinda explains.

Melinda’s tentativeness quickly diminished as the campaign took off like wildfire. By Day 2 of the campaign Melinda felt confident that all their pre-campaign planning, learning and work had been worthwhile.

Melinda recollects the initial soft launch with family and friends the day before official launch huddled in a hired a room in a pub and showing the campaign video and talking about the plans, so that when the campaign officially started they already had early backers.  They had a long list of people they then tirelessly emailed with links to the campaign and just kept working on these opportunities for the entire 31 days.

Putting into action all she had learnt, Melinda and her team created graphics for all their social media platforms. They were ready to tap into and remain relevant throughout all stages of the campaign. Despite the initial apathy from the press, they were quick to reach out once the public mass of support was evident, rewarding the team for the hundreds of information kits and press releases they had distributed. The Melbourne Age, The Herald Sun, National television stations and radio interviews further fueled support for the campaign.

The Campaign offered backers a PDF of the original 1991 map and different versions and quantities of our future Melbourne Map products – all offered at discounted prices. They also gave four people the opportunity to be drawn onto the map for and extra $500. These spots sold out on the first day and created a waiting list of people wanting to the opportunity to be etched into Melbourne’s history.

A corporate package was offered however the crowd funding style of capital raising was seen as too risky at the time for many corporates to consider. Once the project gained traction a corporate partner was secured and the rights to be included appropriately within the illustration.

Melinda was careful when planning the backer’s rewards, even costing out the exact minutes it would take to produce and deliver them. Melinda offers good advice to would be crowd-funders – to keep rewards simple and relevant to the campaign. “There is no point offering fantastic looking t-shirts if they cost a bomb to make and are a hassle to deliver”.

The campaign delivered $116,872 in 31 days and all involved were absolutely blown away by the response. Despite having spent 18 months researching crowd funding Melinda says the whole journey was a learning experience and extremely exhausting. Melinda attributes the support and expertise of her colleagues for getting her through it. Despite being a hugely successful crowd funding campaign Melinda was not prepared for the amount of work it would involve but couldn’t be happier that the Melbourne Map crowd funding campaign success meant creation of a new illustrative map of Melbourne would become a reality.

The Melbourne Map black and white version was released in December 2018 with all backers receiving their copies in time to pop under the Christmas tree. The colour version of the Map will be released in March 2019 with various other products including a jigsaw to be available later in the year.