Open Future NZ "Be the change you want to see in the World"
Mahatma Gandhi
The Right Number is Zero
by John S Veitch
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Given the prospect of External Link"the great disruption" companies need to position themselves in ways that minimize the possibility of catastrophic change, and in ways that maximize the opportunity in the new environment.  While I've been thinking about this for 20 years, my magic wand is no better than your's.  I don't have all the answers.  Nobody is wise enough to drink in the knowledge of the world, process it, and tell us all what to do.  If we are looking for a great leader, we are thinking like yesterday's men.   Making an "Open Future©" is a task that requires the efforts of millions of people.  

Building an industrial base for the next 50 years that reduces emissions by 90% requires a whole new vision of what an economy should be.  Such a goal seems impossible.  But Peter Senge in External Link"The Necessary Revolution" has several examples of companies which chose to target "impossible goals" like zero accidents, and zero waste to landfill, and zero discharge of waste water and demonstrating that they've come very close to success.  

When you take a vision like this to the planning department, they have no idea how to achieve the target, so they refuse to accept it.  When the accountants look at it, they try to find financial shortcuts.  Greenwash always looks attractive to them.  It takes real courage and leadership to say, "this is a necessary task, and we'll make a serious effort to do it."  

Many of the people Peter Senge quotes, say the same thing.  You don't need to know how.  You do need to know the right direction to travel.  Then, make a START.  The process of doing a few things that you can imagine, that move you in the right direction, opens up new ways of thinking, innovating and imagining the future.  In the beginning progress may seem slow, but it gathers speed once you have some small successes.  

I have my own small story to tell about that.  The thinking behind the "Open Future©" concept began many years ago in my journal.  I worked alone trying to find a small set of related closely connected ideas that would be a "product", I tried to develop these ideas on the Internet with the External Link"Adapt to Experience" web site between 1995 and 2006.  By 2007, the "Open Future©" concept was clear in my mind, and I committed all the essential ideas to text in this original version of the "Open Future©" web site.  But I couldn't get any traction, people were interested, but it didn't lead to practical results, and I didn't have any clients.  My wife, Carolyn, justly complains, "You've been doing this for 15 years, there are still no results."  

My response is this: "I'm trying to do something really hard. If it was easy, it would already be done."

Why do I persist?   Because what I'm proposing is part of essential change, essential for me, essential for all the people I come in contact with, essential for the world.  I also like Peter Senge's term; "The necessary Revolution".  I'm building an "Open Future©" so my grandchildren might live purposeful lives.  

We all have a stake in ensuring that the future is more open rather than more closed.  Business as usual seems to have humanity on a path towards massive economic, environmental and social disruption.  Hence it appears that the future is closing, restricting our options and lessening our life chances.  To create an "Open Future©" we need to move in a radically new direction.  Minimizing or avoiding "the great disruption" will require the efforts millions of people, worldwide.  In the past our goal has usually been to maximize returns, to strive for big numbers.  Progressive thinking to create an "Open Future©" is likely to involve much more emphasis on small numbers, with zero being the best number of all.  

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