PB11 Leadership, Peter Bishop

Transformational change requires leaders. Would that the situation was so bad or that the opportunity so great that change would erupt all by itself. Alas, such hope is unfounded. Any significant change always begins with one person (or a few) raising their hand and saying, “This can be better. This needs to be better.” In doing so, they are often taking enormous risk. They are stepping out of line. They are going up against the establishment and the status quo. They are disturbing people’s comfort zone and their ability to go on with business as usual.

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PB12 Visioning, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Certificate in Strategic Foresight
P Bishop, 12/1/10

A vision is the guiding principle in a long-term transformational change process undertaken by choice. A vision is a simple yet precious commodity. It can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful transformation change.

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PB13 Planning, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Certificate in Strategic Foresight
Strategic Planning
P Bishop, 12/27/00

Strategic planning is the process by which most people deal with the future. Introduced in the early 1980s, it was considered to be the sine qua non of effective long-term success. The gleam of its once high promise has faded as people realize that it does contain the magic bullet they were looking for. Since then, enterprises have moved off to Total Quality Management (TQM), Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or whatever is the latest in the alphabet soup of three-letter fads.

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PB2 Change, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Certificate in Strategic Foresight
P Bishop, Jan 2011

The world is changing at an apparently dizzying pace. The 20th century produced upheavals that changed all our lives–changes in population, technology, the economy, the environment, governance, social values–all on a global scale. These changes tore down traditions, shifted world-views, promoted a truly global economy, created the Internet, established world-wide media influence, and changed fashion, lifestyles, parenting, politics, crime, climate, and an untold number of other things. And that was just the 20th century. The 21st century has already brought us more astounding changes–the attacks on the World Trade Center, ubiquitous hand-held wireless communication and computing, the greatest recession in 80 years and novel biological forms and treatments.

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PB3 The Future, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Certificate in Strategic Foresight
The future
P Bishop, Jan 2011

The last unit was about change—how it occurs through the actions of the world and through our own actions. The next two units are about the future, a specific portion of the timeline from the past through the present, and how we are to deal with it.

We deal with the future by doing two things, given the two sources of change discussed in the previous unit – changes coming from the world (inbound) and changes we create ourselves (outbound). The questions then are: “What can we know about the future?” and “What can we do about it?”

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PB4 Anticipation, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Certificate in Strategic Foresight
Anticipating the future
P Bishop, Jan 2011

The future develops out of the combined influences of the world and of ourselves. Futurists deal with each of these sources of change in the two branches of their field — describing what might happen in the future (inbound change) and then influencing those outcomes toward more preferred futures (outbound change).

This first unit, describing the future, is entitled Anticipating the Future. Anticipation is a better word than describing or even forecasting because it’s active. It carries the connotation of expectation, of leaning forward, of waiting for something. It’s how a tennis player waits for the serve; how a child feels on Christmas morning; what a mother does in the last month of her pregnancy. Waiting (and wanting) for the future to come, oh so quickly.

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PB5 Social Change, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Teaching about the Future
Social Change
P Bishop, 9/1/09

Social change is fact of our time, perhaps even a fact of all times. There are those who believe that change is the fundamental reality. Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, famously said, “You cannot step into the same river twice.” The river is different, and you are different, moment to moment. So everything in the world is in continuous motion, no doubt.

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PB6 Forecasting, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Teaching about the Future
P Bishop, 2/16/10

The desire to know the future is as ancient as humans themselves. It is our unique ability to conceive of states that are not present to us at the moment that got people thinking about the future (and about the past). And just as history was based on myth and legend before the first historians (Herodotus and Thucydides) decided to write down exactly what happened, so trying to know the future (forecasting) was based on set of beliefs and superstitions that were of little use, except perhaps to make people feel better. Some wonder whether we are much better today with our fast computers and Internet resources!

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PB7 Horizon Scanning, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Horizon Scanning Why is it so hard?

Dr. Peter Bishop
University of Houston

September 2009

Surprise is an odd emotion. We like to be surprised–an unexpected visit from a friend, a gift from our spouse, a beautiful spring day. Sometimes we even pay to be surprised–at the fair or the cinema. But surprise is not a good thing at work. Being surprised means that we expected something to happen that didn’t or something to not happen that did. It’s just not right even when the surprise is a good thing,. We are supposed to know what is going on and what is about to happen all time–to know and be prepared for everything that occurs. We are never supposed to be surprised.

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PB8 Framework Forecasting, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Framework Forecasting
Managing Uncertainty and Influencing the Future

Second Prague Workshop On Futures Studies Methodology
Charles University, Czech Republic
October 2005

The methods of futures studies deal with change in all its variety, and for two purposes: to understand change and to influence it. Understanding change means describing expected and other plausible future states, for which we need to prepare. Influencing change means to bring about the best possible future for ourselves and others given the time and resources we have available. People who understand the dynamics of change and the changes that are going on around them are not often surprised. People who then influence those dynamics toward their vision of a better future will have a greater change of getting that better future.

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PB9 Critical Thinking, Peter Bishop

University of Houston, Critical Thinking
Introduction, FAQ
P Bishop, 03/31/16

1. What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is a process of discovering and testing the support for conclusions . More specifically, it is the answer to the question, “How can this conclusion be wrong?” Just as we test machines by putting them under stress, so we investigate a conclusion’s support to find out all the ways that the conclusion might be wrong.

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