I devoted the entire second chapter of the book to this idea, which is, in simplified form, the anticipation of the effects of events/trends that have already taken place and will unfold over a period of time. Consider this quote from Drucker’s 2004 compilation The Daily Drucker:
“But the most important work of the executive is to identify the changes that have already happened. The important challenge in society, economics, politics, is to exploit the changes that have already occurred and to use them as opportunities. The important thing is to identify the “future that has already happened” – and to develop a methodology for perceiving and analyzing these changes.”
Developing the methodology and putting this concept into operation is not easy. But here are some ways to approach it for maximum benefit:
1. Human Intelligence (People and Groups): Learn from your daily interactions with people, or even structured, purposeful interviews. Consider starting or joining a ‘journal club’ that is focused on the future, in which a group of friends/colleagues meet once a month or so to discuss in depth a particular journal article or book.
2. Online and Printed Sources: Read as widely as possible, in print as well as online. While there is seemingly unlimited material on the web, don’t overlook the premium online sources (available free, with your library card), provided by many public libraries.
3. Demographics: The 19th century French philosopher-sociologist Auguste Comte, whom Drucker, in his 1989 book The New Realities, called the “father of sociology,” is credited with the saying “Demography is destiny.” Drucker regularly studied demographic trends, and we have access to even more sources online.
4. Government/Institutional Statistics: The United States government, in particular, publishes highly detailed statistics of all kinds online. Particularly relevant in this context is data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics site.
5. Awards, Honors and Prizes: These are both informational and inspirational, especially the MacArthur Foundation’s MacArthur Fellows Program, popularly known as “Genius Grants,” and The Drucker Prize, an innovation-oriented award from the Drucker Institute.
These suggestions only skim the surface. Apply the Drucker-related combination of keeping an open mind, casting a wide net and figuring out what’s relevant. The future that has already happened may be clearer than you’ve expected.
Thanks for sharing my Drucker ‘learn how to learn’ quote, David! https://t.co/v6SGvzLvqy
@JustinNolan_ Thanks, Justin. The Drucker learning quote is from his 1998 Inc magazine interview with Harriet Rubin… https://t.co/DvHHm490uh
@thompsonsimon thanks for sharing my Drucker ‘how to learn’ quote, Simon!
@PaulJocelyn thanks for sharing my Drucker ‘how to learn’ quote, Paul!
@ManagementBill thanks for sharing my Drucker ‘how to learn’ quote, Bill!
@Phil_whitehead thanks for sharing my #Drucker 'how to learn' quote, Phil!
@Litmos Thanks for sharing my shout-out pt 3 to #ATD2019 @atd Expo in DC!
Shout-out to #ATD2019 @atd Expo in DC pt 3: @LI_learning @Litmos @MHEducation @sitlead_cls @themyersbriggs… https://t.co/BKR7rG7d5A
Shout-out to #ATD2019 @atd Expo in DC pt 2: @DDIworld @degreed @emasie @ExtendedDISC @grammartable @HoganAssessment… https://t.co/AjR2Do3xjs
Shout-out to #ATD2019 @atd Expo in DC pt 1: @AMAnet @barnesconti @BatesCommLeader @BKpub @BookPal_US @CMUniversity… https://t.co/qtk1mTV2nd