A summary of our premium environmental scanning service and why you should use it.


About the Service

Our premium environmental scanning service opens up our internal database of interesting future focused articles, blogs, and reports that we collect on a daily basis. Approximately 100-150 items will be added every week.

We collect the information in the database from publicly available material but also include our own comments and writing. The information is gathered from RSS feeds, newsletters, key people we follow and who they follow, our scanning work for clients, and stories that are sent to us by our 4000 or so followers and subscribers. The material primarily relates to the sort of work that we do so it is focused on future thinking, and risks (see below for our biases in this work). Essentially it is a curated version of all the information that we come across.

The access is via a web link to Evernote which is a way to store and retrieve information that you want to keep. We love it and recommend that you have a look at using it. Evernote is cloud computing based. We access the information from our computers, our mobile phones and our iPads.

All items except our notes have a web link associated with them so you can go back to the original story on the web. This allows you to copy web links from your browser and share them with other people in your organisation. In cases where there is more than one page we have only clipped the first page so you will have to go back to the original website to read the rest of the post or article.

In the end we launched this because of how integrated the database has become to our daily work meant we just love it, and thought you might love it too.

Why wouldn’t I just use Google or some other search engine

Most of the material is publicly available on the web so you could go out and find it. There are several reasons why we think gaining access to our database as well is a better idea:

·         We have spent a lot of time looking at and assessing the people that we follow and trust. As a whole they represent an interesting and challenging group of thinkers and writers. The combination of what they write and post and the sources they trust creates a powerful combination.

·         We spend a lot of time assessing and curating the posts that go into the database. That means a lot less time that you have to spend getting to the heart of things (it also means that we are filtering content through our biases – see notes below on these).

·         We are focused on change and disruption and future orientated thinking. Finding that sort of information and thinking via search engines can be a time consuming and tedious process. Getting access to our database means you will take less time to get to where you want to be That means you will be scanning for change more effectively and more efficiently.

·         Evernote has a fantastic search system that allows you to easily find what you are looking for.

·         We will add value to the process by our own use of the database and the insight articles that we will send you on a regular basis.

So for less than a dollar a week we believe that you will get great value. You need to ask yourself what does one great idea, one risk identified that would otherwise be ignored, or several hours saved worth to you?

Our Biases

Every individual and every organisation has its own assumptions and biases and we are no different. What is important is that those biases and assumptions are identified and discussed as much as possible. Our biases which affect this database include:

A technology bias.

Almost a third of the posts are tagged with “technology”. This is driven by our view that technological change and disruption are going to play a huge part in how the world changes. At the same time we strongly believe the technology is secondary and we must always think of the human and the social first.

A strategic future bias.

This is natural because we are futurists. If you are looking for trend spotting or investment advice then go somewhere else. We are interested in what might change and more importantly why it might change. The why allows us to think more deeply and understand what might change as those forces change.

A non expert/intersection of disciplines bias.

We strongly believe that most important change and innovation comes at the intersection of different fields of endeavour. So this database is meant to allow people to dip into various fields and think about what is happening in those fields and how it might affect them. It is not meant to be a resource of expert information on one or more industries. If you want in depth advice or information on that sort of thing then there are plenty of sources to do that for you. We do advise you to be wary though because experts and industries are sometimes the last to spot disruptive change in their own sector.

A complexity/adaptive strategy bias

We believe that the future is very difficult to predict. Therefore we have a strong leaning towards creating strategies and systems that can adapt and change as circumstances change. We are not fans of standard strategic planning approaches. Therefore there is lots of material in the database on networks, and business models that are flexible. If you are looking for a list of what you should do then go somewhere else. If you are interested in thinking more deeply try access for a free month.

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