How to Predict the Future

How to Predict the Future

In the book How to Predict the Future, Eric Garland approaches the topic of future planning from a fresh, practical, fun and sarcastic perspective. He uses and picks on a fictional character – Dr. Hughes Egon – who is known as the world’s “premier futurological predictologist.” Dr. Egon represents many of the old habits, bureaucratic tendencies, and even believes about planning – that are counterproductive.

Below are just a few examples:

    • Listen to major media exclusively
    • Put internal politics above external data
    • Underestimate new competition and fringe players
    • Plan based on a single scenario
    • Let fake numbers trump real insights
    • Focus uniquely on positive information; punish those who are negative

Eric is also the author of Future, Inc., a book on “how to think in terms of systems, make decisions based on reliable trend data, create multiple scenarios, and create a future-focused organization.” Eric, referring to his new book, states “Future Inc, was a very reverent approach to this field, and that 2008′s catastrophe pushed me over the edge into satire” explaining.”

Meet The Real Author – Eric Garland

Eric Garland is being described “one of the most impressive thinkers…in Washington.”

He is President of Competitive Future, Inc., a management consulting firm located D.C. The firm consults with Fortune 500 companies and Federal agencies in at the areas of future and competitive intelligence.

Scott Anderson, Senior Political Producer,, CNN wrote that “Eric is one of the most impressive thinkers I’ve met in Washington, and few can match the breadth of his knowledge and understanding of the forces that are shaping our ever-changing economy.”

Max Nelson, Director, Strategic Planning and Market Intelligence, General Dynamics – Advanced Information Systems shared,  “Simply put, Eric Garland is at the leading edge of analysts and consultants helping senior decision-makers specifically understand how the broad cultural, consumer, technological, and environmental trends will directly impact their organizations and their bottom-lines — and what they can do about it to position themselves for their organization’s best future. All business decisions should be future-oriented, and their is nobody who helps provide better foresight and understanding about future direction and how to plan for those eventualities than Eric Garland. He truly represents the best future of futurists.”

Quotes from Eric in How to Predict the Future

    • The world of managerial though is filled to the brim with positive exhortations to think about the future that don’t really work in practice. Dozens of authors will show you how you can take the long view, get there early, study mega-trends, thinking about the extreme future, get future savvy, avoid future shock, think like a futurist, create futures, think in fast-forward, and so forth.”
    • “It is not that the study of the future is somehow incoherent as a managerial discipline. In fact, it has one of the best, most consistent methodologies of any intellectual field. Understand your strategic system, collect the best trends possible, talk about the potential implications, see the world in terms of scenarios, and you will get something of value out of the other side.”
    • “Modern bureaucracy sabotages forsight”
    • “Most people honestly want to think about the future and make better decisions. It’s just that on the way to such thinking a bunch of other stuff happens.”
    • “I have never heard a group regret its time spent studying the future. The majority lament having to go back to their ‘real jobs.’”
    • “The strategic reality of leadership in the early 21st century does not lend itself to blindly ignoring the loger-term implicaitons of our decisions. First, our economic and inustrial systems are now superconnected throughout the globe in ways that only a tiny fraction of the population can image. As a result, the slightest disruption can set off chain reactions elswhere in the system that will appear impossible to predict or mitigate”
    • “The most important thing at stake here is the ability to have an open and honest discussion about what the future will look like. As long as people are tied into their personal ambitions and sedimented assumptions, formed over decades, a real dialogue about information will be impossible.”
    • “Humility is painful, arrogance is fatal.”
    • “Dispassionate analysis should be at the heart of your plans.”
    • “The assumptions of the past do not match the future.”
    • “If you wait for quantitative, absolutely authoritative polished information, you will go out of business before it arrives.”
    • “You cannot study the global future while ignoring most of the globe.”
    • “A study of the future is impossible without an appreciation of the past.”
    • “Let the data drive the decision or don’t bother.”
    • “If foresight is to transform an organization, it needs to be on everyone’s mind.”

How to Predict the Future

Highlights by David Willden