Flash Foresight

Morgan O'Rourke


February 1, 2011

book-Flash-ForesightAt first glance, Flash Foresight seems preposterous. It suggests that the key to business success rests in your ability to see the future and promises that it can somehow help you develop this talent. Not being someone who buys into psychics and clairvoyance, I was skeptical of what sounded like a suspiciously New Age-y premise for a business book. My fears proved to be unfounded, however, as Flash Foresight instead proved to be engaging and thought-provoking.

The idea behind the book is not so much about gazing into a crystal ball or reading tea leaves as it is about making educated guesses concerning future trends and the willingness to use unconventional strategies to attack a problem. It is the type of corporate thinking that has made companies like Amazon or Netflix so popular while other competitors have since fallen by the wayside. These were companies that saw an opportunity for future success and went for it despite the fact that no one thought that selling books or renting movies online could ever work.

According to author Daniel Burrus, in today's world, understanding technology and its effect on business and society is key. With technology spurring constant change, traditional solutions will be less and less effective. Knowing the difference between hard trends that are guaranteed to happen and soft trends that only look that way is the first step to envisioning a future path for your business.

Burrus also shares seven ways to apply what he calls flash foresight to your business plan, from basing your strategies on what you know about the future to skipping your biggest problem entirely to doing the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing. By using a variety of interesting case studies, he demonstrates how these methods have been successful for other companies and how they can help transform your business into a force for the future. It is a lesson that many companies would do well to follow because, as Burrus warns, if you don't act now, someone else most certainly will.

Morgan O’Rourke is editor in chief of Risk Management and director of publications for the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS)