Author Archives: Venessa Miemis

Design Thinking Meets Futures Thinking

The business world has been quick to try and implement design thinking in hopes of stimulating sweeping organizational change and innovation, only to abandon it and return to old practices when it doesn’t “work.” Is design thinking nothing more than a poorly defined gimmick, or are people just missing the big picture? Perhaps a part of the problem is that design thinking is more than just a set of tactics to be carried out, but rather a new ecology of mind. While grounded in business-minded rationality and operating within a defined set of constraints, it also contains an emotional/intuitive component that is often lost upon the more traditional thinkers. What this aspect requires is a capacity for switching between multiple perspectives and the ability to understand the world and our relationship to it, and within it, in a different way. Though there are many methods than can help develop this … Continue reading

Posted in Design, Headlines, Innovation | 3 Comments
Could a Reversal Disrupt Groupon?

Or, If Groupon Flipped Their Model, Could It Unleash the Power of Networks? by Venessa Miemis As I’ve been working on the supplemental infographic for the Future of Money project, I noticed that all of the interesting new sites and ideas for value exchange are essentially types of marketplaces. There are peer to peer marketplaces now for gifting, sharing, bartering, trading, renting, lending, and investing. Most are operating on the level of exchange between individuals, but very few at the group level. (spider sense tingling: opportunity?) I poked around to find examples of group buying sites, but the area is still rather sparse. A few examples in China (Taobao, liba, TeamBuy, getgogive), and the largest example I’m aware of here in the US is Groupon. Groupon works kind of like Kickstarter for discounts, leveraging “collective buying power.” They partner with local businesses in your area to offer discounts on products … Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Innovation | 7 Comments
Essential Skills for 21st Century Survival (Part 5)

Conscious Awareness by Venessa Miemis [This is part 5 in a 12 part series. The topics covered so far are Pattern Recognition, Environmental Scanning, Network Weaving, and Foresight.] Conscious Awareness A recent article in the New York Times, Building One Big Brain, prompted me to write up the next skill in this 12 part series. The piece quotes Nicholas Carr’s opinions about how the Internet is reducing the “capacity for concentration and contemplation,” scattering our attention and reducing our ability to focus. It goes on to posit that “technology is weaving humans into electronic webs that resemble big brains.” (It’s nice to see this concept going mainstream… we talked about that idea here last November in the ‘Twitter’s Intelligent, Welcome to Web 3.0′ post ). The next stage in the line of thinking is that this process is part of our species evolution: Could it be that, in some sense, … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Psychology, education | 2 Comments
Essential Skills for 21st Century Survival (Part 4)

Foresight by Venessa Miemis [This is part 4 in a 12 part series. The topics covered so far are Pattern Recognition, Environmental Scanning, and Network Weaving.] Foresight The ability to develop foresight is a cornerstone for forward thinking individuals and change agents. I can say that on the personal level in my own life, when I did not have a clearly defined goal or vision of what I wanted or where I was going, I floundered. My ability to “see” potential opportunities or pitfalls was clouded, and I fell into a rut or holding pattern in life. Then, when those wild cards and “black swan events” did occur, I was completely blindsided and unprepared to handle them. I think this applies at the individual as well as the organizational level. So what exactly is foresight? Here are a few definitions from the wikipedia page on Foresight (Futures Studies): Critical thinking … Continue reading

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Essential Skills for 21st Century Survival (Part 3)

Network Weaving by Venessa Miemis So people learned from the angels of God how to build bridges, and therefore, after fountains, the greatest blessing is to build a bridge and the greatest sin to interfere with one. – Ivo Andric Our first two topics in this twelve part series were Pattern Recognition and Environmental Scanning, both practices for enhancing the opportunity to create meaning from information and to assist in decision making. The next topic looks at how others can contribute to this process. Network Weaving The above quote was used by Lee Bryant during his recent presentation at the Social Business Edge conference, and I thought it fit in well with this concept. One of the main topics we have been covering is the idea of breaking down silos – between fields, between organizational departments, between people, and even more deeply, between our own ideas about the values that … Continue reading

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Essential Skills for 21st Century Survival (Part 2)

Environmental Scanning by Venessa Miemis We recently discussed Pattern Recognition and the role it plays in understanding and decision making. The next topic in this 12 part series is pulled out of the Futures Thinking toolbox: Environmental Scanning Traditionally, environmental scanning is explained within a business context as a strategic approach to acquiring information in order to stay current on events, emerging trends, and external factors that could influence or impact an organization. It basically means paying attention to what’s going on within your industry, monitoring what your competitors are doing, what your customers are saying, and being sensitive to potential threats or opportunities along the way. I recently came across an essay titled A New Framework for Environmental Scanning, which presents a more holistic approach to this process. The author references the work of Ken Wilber, the developor of Integral Theory, who has created a framework for looking at … Continue reading

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Essential Skills for 21st Century Survival (Part 1)

Pattern Recognition by Venessa Miemis Over the past few months, we’ve been discussing the various skills needed for effectively operating in a world characterized by information and accelerating change, and I’ve been assembling these ideas into a framework for a new thought architecture. This post will be the first in a 12 part series, and draws its influences from the fields of Futures Studies, Complexity Science, Systems Theory, Cybernetics, Social Network Analysis, Knowledge Management, common sense, and exploration into my own thinking. All of the skills I’ll be covering are already in practice in our brains – it’s just a matter of becoming more aware of them so we can sharpen them. I imagine them all happening concurrently and all reinforcing each other, creating constant feedback loops that raise consciousness and build intelligence. Though I’ll be identifying 12 areas, they’re mostly components of each other, so we’ll see how we … Continue reading

Posted in Headlines, Innovation, Management, Psychology | 5 Comments