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    1999 Foresight Gathering Leaping the Abyss - Contents

Foresight "Group Genius" Weekend

Leaping the Abyss:

Putting Group Genius to Work

Chapter 14

Bringing the Future Back Home


Like leaves scattering to the winds, these teams who have achieved so much together now separate onto planes that will carry them to California, Florida, Illinois, Texas. Even members of the same companies are often returning to distant branch offices, and may not see each other again.

Surprisingly, there is none of that bittersweet nostalgia that usually comes with marvelous experiences that end and will never be recaptured. Instead, there is the feeling that the experience, the DesignShop event itself, hasn't ended. Why?

Back here in Philadelphia, one obvious point is that the whole support team keeps right on working, even after the last participant is gone...although participants can stay and keep working alongside, if they want to.

Preparation of the various work products from this event continues seamlessly as participants leave the DesignShop session on Friday. The knowledge worker team produces the entire three-day event as a database-a knowledge base-so that all the information, the entire experience, is captured, indexed, searchable, and findable. They'll build a web site for the DesignShop event. There is the video, the transcripts, the read-aheads, the online searches, the evolving Knowledge Wall, everything becomes available to help a participant recreate the experience months from now.

Now, from the perspective of the last three days, they will produce a new work product that synthesizes, explains, heightens, and extends the work done in the DesignShop session. This work is in addition to and beyond the journal which captures the chronology of the DesignShop event. This new piece of work is intended to take the thinking further.

But the participants, though heading out of the door for home, are also still in DesignShop mode. When they walk into their offices on Monday morning, they have a list of specific action items generated at the session to start implementing. And, within days of their return, the materials that the support team is working on right now will be there on their desks. The adventure continues.

Participants now have to make their future visions real. Taking it back home is one of the toughest challenges faced by the DesignShop participants. Back home, you're facing the ongoing structure of physical environment, tools, techniques, policies, people's beliefs, knowledge, or lack thereof. It's not uncommon to return from a DesignShop event and experience a tremendous sense of culture shock. Worse, you're facing an established structure. Usually, this means that the structure is going to win; you're playing a game with the deck stacked against you.

Chip offers this note: "This is the toughest thing-how to internalize the gains from this event. We keep in touch with the senior people. They need to make things tangibly different, move into a different space, get rid of meetings that are not called to take some action, bring the future to the present."

"Structure wins," says Matt. Think about the millions of New Year's resolutions made each January 1: I'm going to exercise more, smoke less, drop my weight, give up this Bad Habit and adopt that Good Habit. The evidence is overwhelming that despite willpower and intellectual understanding that more fruits and vegetables and exercise and stress reduction are essential, the odds are that the new goal will not succeed. The reason is not Personal Weakness and Huge Moral Flaws. The reason is structure: a structure in place supporting the status quo. The structure makes the old way convenient. What does the structure of other people's actions do to support or hinder? Unless you can restructure enough of the environment-getting rid of the barriers to the Good Habit, getting rid of structures that support the Bad, adding structures that support the new habit-the old structure wins.

A typical pattern in business is coming back from lectures full of enthusiasm for team building, or TQM, or whatever, and trying to educate the people back home. After fighting an uphill battle with people who don't get the idea, you forget all about it and go back to life as usual. What has happened is simply that you returned to the same old environment, the same old structures, and with people who have the same old knowledge. Unlike you, they have not just gone time-traveling to see the future and returned with knowledge, revelations, and powerful secrets.

Somehow, you have to communicate the power of this shared experience to people who weren't present. You have to share your new knowledge with them: that dark taboos have dissipated under the light of day, that the old "problem" has disappeared and been replaced by a new vision of how you are going to do business. That in three days you have managed to come up with a complete strategic and tactical plan with practical, implementable steps on an issue that you hadn't been able to crack successfully in three years. That you have learned some things about increasing your own creativity and productivity-things that you yourself might have thought were kind of weird or pointless five days ago-but now you would like others to make this a standard way of working for yourself and others. Wouldn't it be fantastic, you're thinking, if my whole team back home could be this creative and cooperative on a daily basis! We would be unstoppable!

The response you can expect? "This can't really be my manager saying thismaybe it's sunstroke. Or too much stress. Overwork. Or bad airline food on the flight home."

Good luck. Transferring your insight, your vision of the future, and instituting the changes you will need to make to have it succeed is one of the toughest leadership and educational tasks around.


You Might Think of This Problem

as Being "Merlin's Challenge"

Much of the success and the failure of the glory that was Camelot-King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Merlin, Lancelot and the other Knights of the Round Table, Morgan le Fey, Mordred, objects of power from the sword Excaliber to the Holy Grail-turns on exactly this point.

Merlin, born in the future and living backward in time, knew what the future held, because he had already been there. No one doubted his wisdom or his powers, which had been proven repeatedly over the years. And yet, with this most critical vision of the future, with his knowledge of which path led to tragedy and which to triumph, he could not find a way to communicate, educate, enlighten, and transform the actions of the people of Camelot. Noble king, queen, and brave knights, a whole world doomed because they would not-could not-listen. Merlin, for all his magic, could not create a way to get his message across, to transfer his experience of the future into something that could transform Arthur's thinking.

Camelot has many of the dynamics of a business: the corporate Knights gathered at the Round Table, the reliance on the wonderful technology of the sword Excalibur, a variety of personnel problems and office intrigues, the need for leadership to face painful truths. And, as with any body of people endeavoring to move forward, so much wonderful that could have been achieved. If only


Solving Merlin's Dilemma

You've got a couple of things going for you that Merlin didn't:

First: You have a very detailed vision of your desired end state. You are not just aware of the tragedies you have to avoid, you have worked out how to avoid them, dissolved the problems that have stymied you, and have a subset of your company sharing a vision of a truly desirable goal and a plan to get there.

Second: Because you have worked on a real business problem, your tactical plan has action items and assignments for specific people that begin making a change on your office environment the minute you get back.

Third: As part of your plan, you have probably selected certain visible, physical changes that you are going to make immediately upon your return. These physical changes literally import something from There-the DesignShop and the Future Vision-into the Here and Now. With each change you make, the Here and Now becomes a bit more like the future you envisioned.

The changes you make will probably be of two types. The first are changes relating directly to your new business plan. The second are changes you decide to make to bring various aspects of the DesignShop environment, tools, and processes home with you. If over the last three days you found things that helped you be creative and productive, don't wait until you do another DesignShop event to experience them again. Don't forget about them. Grab some paper or a wall and sketch out the things that you want to add to your work environment. Then do it.

By the third day of a DesignShop session, many participants will have recognized that the improvements in creativity, intelligence, cooperation, and the resulting superior work performance have come about because of the supportive environment. By changing their environment, intelligence-suppressing factors and creativity-suppressing factors have been removed. People have been given an enhanced set of knowledge tools and processes that let them be more effective-they are using power saws and drills instead of rocks. People are operating closer to their maximum capacities.

There can be real culture shock arriving back home to the old unchanged office environment, with its traps of marginal functionality, barriers to creativity, and lower levels of productivity.

When this happens, and it will, remember that it's not that the people back home aren't willing to change-the problem is that the organization is held in place by structure.

To create a DesignShop environment, MG Taylor has done an audit and removed from the environment every known obstacle they can-physical, psychological, social. They have created an environment you can play in. They have facilitated the environment by setting the moods which are designed to encourage creativity and cooperation. Then, people behave very differently. One of the real goals of the DesignShop process is to teach you how to recreate this improved environment yourself and create your own high performance organizations. What can you do to recreate as much as possible of that environment back home?

Most people don't have the freedom that Col. Bill had to build a Management Center based on DesignShop principles, send employees to train as facilitators, and get intensity by running a two-year, ongoing program of DesignShop events and smaller DesignSession activities. Even Col. Bill's personal office is heavily DesignShop-influenced: "My normal environment is not too far off of a DesignShop environment now. My executive officer is a knowledge worker who learned with MG Taylor. That makes him a much more effective executive assistant. He operates much better than if he did not have that training, knowledge, and understanding. I love it. I wish I could operate that way all of the time.

"The benefits are tremendous," says Col. Bill of using knowledge workers to provide intellectual support. "It puts the value where I can put value-using my brain. I get to think about the enterprise and what we are doing and how I can help create the vision for it and how we can work on that."

But even if you can't have your own personal knowledge facilitator, there are dozens of ways that anyone can begin changing their structure at home. Ralph Graham uses his office as a mini-"Management Center," employing the same kind of physical, collaborative exercises used in AEDC's Gossick Leadership Center. Managers and individual contributors in different companies have changed the way meetings are run in their groups. Many people have come home with an appreciation of how useful toys, modeling equipment, and art materials are, and have stocked their offices with them. Col. Bill:

The important part of being a kid is the ability to explore and extend. I have toys in my office. Some people have puzzles, basketballs, stuffed animals, etc. They will fool with it-it works. I don't do it as often as I ought to do it. One of the books I read recently says you don't have to come home from the office exhausted. It talks about the ability to play. If you have something to play with in your office-stop for five minutes and fool with it. If you have a ball around, it is hard to resist. Look how much fun participants had with building the models.

By starting to change the structure in these obvious, visible ways, other people in your company just can't help noticing it. Change begins to spread.

One highly effective thing that almost everyone does is display information or images that really crystallized something essential about your company or the vision. Maybe it's something you developed during a breakout session, or maybe something from the final work product. Charts, posters, and graphics are all candidates.

A DesignShop participant for a leading American technology firm-a client of Ernst & Young's-had a flash of insight during a DesignShop event: "We're just like the Lion King!"-referring to the Disney movie of childhood, exile, and triumphant return to kingship of young Simba the lion. Hearing that insight, an artist went to work and created a poster showing the company as the Lion King surrounded by the parallels between the complex world of savanna and jungle, and the participant's realm of business and technology. The poster was included as part of the final work product that arrived on all participants' desks on Monday morning.

Almost immediately, copy after copy of that poster was up on the participants' walls. And just as quickly, people started asking-"What is that?" From there, more and more people heard the story of the DesignShop session, the experience, the Aha!, the vision. The picture, plus the story, communicated the learning and the vision that had been achieved. For once, no one had to give up and say, "Well, I guess you just had to be there to understand." Instead, they heard fellow employees saying, "How can I get one of those posters?" Within weeks, over five hundred posters supporting the vision of the company as the Lion King were displayed on office walls.

The goals of the DesignShop event don't stop when you walk out the door. That is why the final work product acts as a lever for future growth: indicating what you need to keep working on, points you need to have reinforced-good stuff that came up during the three days that there wasn't time to address, but was captured and now can be worked with at home. Facilitators stay in touch with sponsors to keep working on how to get the results implemented. Participants get the contact information for all other participants, so even though they may be widely geographically dispersed, they stay in contact to keep working the solutions. Additional workshops can help spread what has been discovered throughout more of the company.

So how well did the Wharton DesignShop participants do? How much value did they really get out of their three days in Philadelphia? How well did they do at implementation?


The Ernst & Young Story

We have visited with some of the Ernst & Young people during this story, but we haven't taken a focused look at the company itself.

Ernst & Young LLP is a management consulting giant-the second largest in the world. They have well over $6 billion in global revenues, and a roster of glamour clients including Kellogg's, TRW, Digital Equipment, and Northern Telecom. E&Y had sent five participants to the Wharton DesignShop event.

At Wharton, we met Lee Sage, he of the fiercely set shoulders and the umpire's face. Because titles aren't emphasized at DesignShop events, we didn't find out until later that he is a partner at E&Y-a major player responsible for their global re-engineering practice, about $750 million in annual revenue.

Lee and four other E&Y partners were sent on the expedition to Wharton with a mission: find out whether there is something important going on with DesignShops, something E&Y needs. Sending five partners to a three-day event was a significant investment of time for E&Y-whatever it was, it had better be awfully good.

Lee looks back at his initial reactions and recalls a metamorphosis:

My partners and I went through that first day, thinking all the while that, "We can do this, there's nothing here, we know how to do this. This is sizzle in packaging, but no substance."

And then about late afternoon or evening of the second day at Wharton the little voices started to say, "Be careful, there is something here. Don't conclude too quickly: there is something here. Look below the surface as to what is really happening."

By the time we got through the third day, we saw the amount of collaborative thinking, the convergence, and the amount of work that we were able to do as a group. This convinced us to come back and say, "We need to carry this forward and do a couple of internal DesignShop sessions on some business problems."

Lee brought his excitement back to E&Y:

We assembled forty Ernst & Young professionals-not all partners, there were some managers as well as partners from various offices and practice areas. We had two three-day DesignShop sessions, and by this point we were beginning to see that the work environment, the collaborative style, the new thinking that the DesignShop process and environment caused to occur was beginning to grow on us. We were starting to grasp what was happening to us in the power of the process. We did not understand all the reasons why Matt and Gail do certain things when they do them, but we were finding a positive experience in going through the process.

As E&Y held more DesignShop events internally, one of the first lessons to hit home was the connection between the special environment used and the quality of the learning achieved:

We at E&Y spend millions and millions of dollars training our own people. Now, with the DesignShop process, our professional organizational development bunch is close to being convinced that our people learn through experience and observation, not through lecture and viewing overheads, and that this new environment is helping. This may sound obvious-people learn better experientially than by sitting and listening-but before we had the DesignShop environment and process, we had no way to make it happen.

The whole environment of the DesignShop session-what you do, what sharing goes on, what experiential learning occurs by having fifty people working on a common business issue-has been breathtaking for us. It has been staggering for us to find out what our people capture and retain in business without one overhead being used. It's phenomenal.

This should change the business environment. Today, if you look at a typical Ernst & Young office throughout the world, you'll find 80 to 90% of our space devoted to individual space, and the balance is group space. The association with Matt and Gail Taylor and the DesignShop process has convinced us that it should be exactly the opposite. We need 80-90% group space and 10-20% individual space.

Based on this, back in October 1995, our consulting executive committee, which makes the decisions on major investments, committed to going forward with this whole approach and building our own DesignShop-style environment.

MG Taylor helped E&Y build their own Design Center: the 12,000 square foot Accelerated Solutions Environment. In the same way, the Gossick Leadership Center was custom-tailored to AEDC's needs, the accelerated Solutions Environment is designed to handle E&Y's multiple design activities. E&Y uses the center for ongoing work with their clients, and uses it internally among E&Y employees for work that they do on behalf of their clients. The DesignShop vision has become the path on which E&Y is taking their own corporate development. It has become the method by which they work, and by which they work with their clients.

In explaining why E&Y is adopting the DesignShop process so enthusiastically, Lee returns again and again to the issue of speed:

The business we're in-management consulting-can be frustrating, because you are obviously dependent upon other people to actually pull the switch and get things done. So, we are always very interested in new approaches and ideas that can get us through the design process and get into implementation faster, and that was the major draw that brought us to the DesignShop process.

Because of competitive pressures and customer issues and shareholder activism and so forth, executives today at the major companies around the world need to get benefits faster than ever before. So the design of the solution-as well as getting the alignment of objectives and the executive group sponsorship and so forth, all at once and quickly-is a major reason why we are so excited about and have become so heavily involved with it.

The key is being able to drive through the design activities and get the buy-in built much faster than we have been able to do in any other way. In the first half of 1996, we have had somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve of our clients go through three-day DesignShop events. These are companies like Digital Equipment, TRW, British Petroleum, First Chicago Bank, Monsanto, Hewlett Packard, and Xerox.

In every instance, we are getting done in three days what we would have historically accomplished in somewhere between six weeks and three months.

That is an increase of a factor of ten to thirty: a solid order-of-magnitude improvement in speed. It's accomplished through a deliberate effort to stretch the participants:

There's more parallel processing in the MG Taylor approach than what you would have found typically in our previous methods. Gail Taylor tells a story in which elementary school teachers, as they see their students not learning, try to solve the problem by "dumbing down" the material. As Gail says, that is exactly the wrong thing to do. You should be stretching them, pushing them, and pulling them into other scenarios and new angles to consider. We have grown to the point where we believe that. It's not yet totally incorporated into our approach and methods, but parallel processing, team activities, getting much more done faster-these are key elements for us.

Given that the process is producing excellent plans so quickly, how can that speed be maintained during implementation? Here E&Y got a pleasant surprise:

That is another huge plus in using the DesignShop process. Previously, if we were in a six-month consulting assignment, the amount of time, visibility, and internalization we got with the decision-makers and key executives at the client company might have been six hours over a six-month period. Now, with the DesignShop process, you get them for 35-40 hours in a three-day period. Their ownership of the designs, the decision-making, the commitment to go forward, the allocation of the resources and so on, all get done in three days, because you are able to get a much higher level of individual participation. And this is participation by individuals with much greater influence and-pardon the use of the word-power inside their organization.

In a typical consulting engagement, you wouldn't get that amount of time, and you wouldn't have it as concentrated. Therefore, the buy-in, implementation, and effective execution of the design is diluted and degraded, whereas in the three-day deal they come out of there ready to shoot the rockets and go.

We've already seen some dramatic examples. Typically it used to take a month to set up a meeting and get a decision made. But now there have been four situations-at places such as Digital Equipment, and the merger between First Chicago and National Bank of Detroit-where people were coming out of DesignShop sessions on a Wednesday night, and on Friday morning they are presenting to the Chairman.

E&Y is now beginning to combine the DesignShop process with its huge existing base of solutions for business-a skills-and-knowledge base already bringing in a billion dollars of revenue per year. Lee tells of an early example showing what kind of results are possible:

This is a case we just had recently: two companies have merged, and these two companies are both very large and successful in their own right. They come together, and one company has the tradition and history of building their own systems, their own applications; they were all internally developed and managed, maintained, and so on. The other company was a package-oriented company. They would go buy whatever they could find and develop very little, and let the outside firm take care of the management and the upgrades and so forth.

Well, you bring those two organizations together and obviously there are some philosophical differences. How they are going to manage data, what is the architecture of their technology, what kind of applications are going to be used, what is the competitive advantage, what is the core competency that they need to manage and maintain internally versus what can be acquired outside that doesn't really possess any real differentiation? There is a huge amount of work to be done on these things.

This group came for a three-day DesignShop session and, in the clients' words, they got 90% of the work done-decided upon, with an action plan agreed upon-in the three-day deal that they didn't believe they were going to get done in six months.

They agreed to the strategy, the technology, architecture, what applications were unique and provided differentiation, and, therefore, would be internally maintained and developed, what would be packaged solutions, what would be transformed or carried over into the other organization, which ones would go across the bridge in opposite directions and the like. They believed that they built synergy and relationships that they couldn't have done otherwise.

They believed that they got things done, as I said, in three days that they couldn't get done in six months. And it's worth a lot of money to them, because it allows them to get busy on implementation and begin to save money that in normal circumstances they wouldn't have begun to realize for another year.

Six months' work done in three days. Synergies that couldn't have been achieved in any other way.

Lee summed it up: "It's very quick, powerful, very decisive. It's faster and it's better."

That was in 1996.

Since then, clients have come back for second and third DesignShop events-and some for eight and nine- in rapid succession. When Chip told us about the president of a major consumer products company smashing through a brick wall, he was describing a group holding their second DesignShop event. Their first DesignShop session had focused on cost reduction. At the end of the event, during which they'd discovered how to make a savings cut of $250-300 million out of their supply chain, the president told the facilitation team that he wanted to come back for another DesignShop session in one month. This one he wanted to focus on growth-and that is where he picked up the $1 billion in new product opportunities.

MG Taylor is introducing DesignShop processes to more and more E&Y branches with successful work for major medical industry and tax and audit clients. Teaming with MG Taylor, they have held a series of DesignShop events for high tech, aerospace, consumer product, telecommunication, and medical industry clients from their Fortune 500 roster.

"The theories and practices tell you what to manage and change instead of managing people. Now, the client and E&Y have had a taste of a different, better way to work. Potentially, this can revolutionalize the way they do business.

In 1997, with a year and a half of DesignShop experience under their belts, E&Y is doing very well. Revenues, which had been on a cheery growth curve anyway, were up over 100% in one year.


More Follow-up

The other stories are just as interesting, whether they are the corporate stories or tales of the individuals involved.

Before: After four years of declining same-store sales, CKE's stock was down to 6 7/8, with only one stock analyst even willing to follow their progress-everyone else had listed CKE as a "sell."

After: As soon as the analysts saw the first prototype store based on the DesignShop work, there was a tremendous response-they could immediately tell the difference, as did the customers. Sales went up immediately at that store, and went up consistently at each store as it was re-done.

Eighteen months after the DesignShop session, Bill Espinosa tells us that CKE has announced the new image a success and is rolling transformed Carl's Jr. locations out at the rate of four stores per week. Sales are up 40%, a consistent upward trend that shows the redesign is working in the long-term. The stock price has risen from 6 7/8 to 32-enabling a 3:2 stock split raising $71 million in equity in one year-directly due to the DesignShop event results. Twenty months after the Wharton event, CKE took its next step and began its spread to the East Coast by acquiring Hardee's, the fourth largest burger chain behind McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's.


Gary: "It stimulated thinking in our organization about the future and forced us to revisit our strategic plans. It hasn't fundamentally changed the way we work. It's hard to quantify the impact of the DesignShop process, because it's not measurable. But it has influenced our thinking and therefore influenced our organization in many ways."

Eighteen months after Wharton, relationships between contractors, labor unions, and managment are excellent, and continue to work successfully. The hand-off from old contractors to new ones flows smoothly as new members are merged into Team AEDC through the DesignShop process. As the word on AEDC has spread, General Basilio of the Air Force Materials Command now uses AEDC as a model of how to have better partnerships.

The most impressive part of the AEDC story is the network of partnerships and alliances-the web of value-that now links commerical industry, military customers, and educational work to do good together and contribute more fully to all aspects of American aerospace.

Today AEDC has increased its full service to the country to become a joint operation with all service branches. In addition to an Air Force Commander, they now have a Navy Vice Commander, and the Army also now does testing there. In the future, it is expected that the Army will bring people there full-time.

AEDC based the network on a covenant: a statement of principles committing everyone to do good together. "If you are doing anything complex, first sign a covenant of principles before you sign a contract," says Colonel Bill. Far from being an empty gesture, the covenants have in fact led to contracts, and tens of millions of dollars of commercial testing work continues to grow for AEDC.

The Intelligent Partnership covenant lays out the principles under which anyone associated with the F15 will operate as a team.

The Partnership has to decide what is better and more efficient for the contractor to do, and what is better for government to do, so that what happens is best for both the taxpayer and warfighter. In many ways, it is not simple-the government entities are giving up activities that they've been doing for fifty years. Col. Bill stressed the importance of doing it properly: "You don't want to damage the war fighter. You don't want to damage the taxpayer. You don't want to damage individual people, whether they are in industry or government. Jobs will change, and work can change from one side of the equation to the other without hurting anyone. The F15 group learned that through the DesignShop process."

In order to have their strategic vision become real, the F15 team focused on "what do we have to do, starting today, to make this happen." This bringing the future to the present, bringing the There to Here, is something that F15 learned straight out of DesignShop activities.

First they came out with the Intelligent Partnership strategy, then a strategic plan, and a detailed tactical plan for operating. They came up with a dynamic process for evaluting the needs of the airplane. They developed an effective decision-making process to decide how to spend limited dollars on the airplane. The war fighter could now set priorties to ask for budgeting money. Everybody has agreed on what the key decisions are, on what money should be spent for, what is the most valuable. The whole decision process is now focused on what is most valuable; both the process and the quality of the decisions have improved. Squeaky wheels go away. They may squeak, but just squeaking loudly no longer generates funding, because in the new process everybody agrees on what is most important.

The F15 team is now working on organizing their next DesignShop event.

Back in 1994 and 1995, Jim Champy, author of Reengineering the Corporation, had intensively studied a handful of leaders from across the country who had successfully transformed their organizations. Of these people, only one was not from industry and finance: Col. Bill, who was transforming AEDC using the DesignShop process. Champy's management consulting firm rounded-up Col. Bill and a half dozen other executives to come and teach Fortune 500 companies and Harvard Business School folks what they had learned.

Col. Bill must have liked the teaching experience. After holding two top jobs for five years, Col. Bill chose to compete with 120 other colonels for a teaching post. He won out and is now teaching leadership, management, and communications to MIT and Harvard students.

Jack Yurish and Vince Wasik have moved on to other ventures and adventures. They continue to use DesignShops as a potent tool. Jack attended the Wharton event to keep his thinking sharp on the type of flexible, interactive organization structures companies need to survive the complexity and change of the future.

Vince, through his investment capital firm, Morningside Capital, runs his new companies through DesignShop activities to jump-start them and give them a competitive edge. One of Vince's main objectives is to help African-Americans realize the rewards of the free enterprise system. In August 1994, he invested in Carson Products, a company run by an executive staff of African-Americans, manufacturing hair care products for African-Americans. In October 1995, Vince took the company to a DesignShop event with the intent of getting everyone on the same sheet of paper, and moving the company forward to the point where it could be taken public. The results were so dramatic and produced such tremendous progress in such a short period of time that Merrill Lynch, the main underwriter, said "No, we don't have to wait three years before an initial public offering. We could do it in thirteen months."

As we write this, Carson Products has just gone public with a ten times gain in value, after completing many mergers and having recently bought out a division of Johnson Products.

For people working in the form of art called "business," the creative process continues forever. But just like a painting is a work of art that stops at an interesting place, this book has to pause somewhere.

In the appendices and bibliography are tools to help you continue on your journey. Start making changes. Travel to the future and bring your vision home.

We would like to leave you with the kind of closure and drive to action that propels people out of the DesignShop event on the last day, and sends them home motivated to do what it takes to change your environment into that envisioned state. Our last set of exercises is designed to help you get yourself back to the future.




1. This is the last opportunity we have to work together in the main body of this book: we the authors, and you the reader. We have established a ritual of recording impressions and questions upon completing each chapter of the book without looking back at it for analysis. It has become a comfortable habit by now, and we will ask you to do it one more time.

2. What are parts of the old structure that you want to leave behind? Write these down on a separate piece of paper.

Now take a match, and burn the things that are part of the past.

3. Structure wins. The best of visions perish if the structure that must be employed to realize them is not simultaneously set in place. What pieces of the environment, tools, policies, processes can you establish now to help facilitate your work and incubate your vision? How can you bind these together so that they reinforce each other and cease to be pieces, but a self-organizing whole?

Take these with you into the future.

4. It's time for you to formulate the questions. What is your next challenge? How can you keep learning? How can you keep powerful collaboration going without the slipping back into the traditional sense of control? What questions do you need to ask of yourself to take the next leap?



Following Up

For more information on the DesignShop process and related ways of improving your organization's ways of working, contact:

MG Taylor Corporation

2044 Sea Loft

Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 USA



phone: 888-knowhere (888-566-9437)

Additional facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Palo Alto, California


Pergamit & Peterson

PO Box 60775

Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA



phone: 415.233.1116


For Taylor-designed Client and Partner Management Centers, Navigation Centers, and Work Environments, see:

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Leaping the Abyss - Table of Contents


1999 Foresight Gathering

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