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Mark Fowler

When I grew up, I had a best friend.

We did everything together.

We even became brothers when we mixed blood from our index fingers, aged 8.

Then we sort of lost track of each other. Mark studied as an architect, became an artist and cooked meals for film crew on remote locations. Then he became an IBM executive, wildly successful and bought up his family in exotic locations like Hong Kong.

Last night we met up for dinner and a wine around the fire at home.

With a such a creative mind, Mark was never going to make old bones at IBM and a few years ago he founded the The Global Foresight Network – a rapidly growing network of researchers and thinkers who focus on the issue of Strategic Foresight.

Mark’s passion is ANTICIPATION ~ and he’s engaged in a ‘continuous Internet hunt for emerging weak signals of potentially significant change and opportunity’.

Sound Interesting?…well get the rest of it… he does this by ‘standing in the future’. That is, organisations ask Mark to scan the landscape way beyond their own horizons – from the future back to the present – not the typical approach of planning from the present towards the future.

This approach (sometimes called ‘backcasting‘) focuses on developing a coherent view of how things might look in the future, unrestricted by how things look today. Typically this means looking out 10 years, although sometimes 20 or even 50 years is appropriate.

You know?…Mark knows nothing about mediation, but in just one evening he gave me a clearer insight into where our field might be in 10 years time than I have ever had before.

And I want you to hear what he’s got to say, so he’s kindly agreed to be interviewed for the Mediation vBlog Project sometime soon.

When I interview him, I’m going to ask Mark to go forward into our collective futures, imagine what our field might look like, and then come back to the present day with some new insights.

In the meantime, want to know more?

Then check out The Global Foresight Network and The Power of Standing in the Future. Read chapter one here.

                        author

Geoff Sharp

Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering… MORE >

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