The Future is a Balancing Act


Every year, the Institute for the Future, examines a core set of conversations and the signals that inform them. The broad theme for 2011 is balancing acts.

According to the report, imbalances will drive the next decade, while five basic balances will be at our disposal, in our toolkit, to assist with the rebalancing act(s).

Money, land, and time—the basic resources of our daily lives—will demand new ways of organizing ourselves to create new kinds of wealth. Innovations in language and law, in our communities and even our deaths, will lend new meanings to our shared realities. Climate change will demand adaptations that are both simple and complex, constraining and transformative.

Atop this balancing act sits the household—the interface between us, as individual humans, and the complex world we inhabit. Here is where we will perform our balancing acts on a daily basis. This is where we will confront a million small failures and create fresh, new templates for success.

Critical balances_IFTF

[…] Disintegration will lead to new kinds of integration. Exposure will pair with accountability. Slow movements will be matched with a new capacity for fast response. Social contagion will mobilize change, even as isolation rebuilds local stability. And powerful new forms of persuasion will reshape our approaches to regulation and control.

Critical balances2_IFTF

There's a core set of questions that underpin how the report is organized:

  • How will you balance slow with fast, or the risk of exposure with the rigor of accountability?
  • Which zones offer the best win/win opportunities for balancing your own goals with the goal of social resilience? How will you use these trends and transformations to hone your own adaptive strategies?
  • How can you or your team, your project, company, or community increase household resilience while achieving all your other objectives?

You can download the highlights of the report here.