December 27th, 2006
This was a very interesting year from this futuristâ€™s point of view. It felt like a year of transition, of new beginnings and of breakthroughs. New and clear trend lines were started in several areas that will continue next year and beyond. Starting next week I will take a predictive look forward to 2007 and suggest trends and dynamics that will help shape the months and years ahead. This post however will take a look back to point out developments that occurred as a preamble for the predictive look forward.
2006 will be looked back upon as the year where a tipping point of sorts was reached regarding alternative energy and global warming. Twenty years ago, global warming was a high level concept that only committed environmentalists understood. Now, in 2006 it has become a personal experience for us all. Record heat waves in the summer? Global warming. Warm weather in December? Global warming. At year end the term is even used to discuss the stock market and what companies and industries will benefit from global warming. Sure Al Gore helped us develop this perception with â€œAn Inconvenient Truthâ€, but we have all felt, and many of us have seen the effects of this warming.
This sense of global warming combined with record high gasoline prices and the now widely understood connection between our addiction to oil and the funding of terrorism has really helped to bring about the early tipping point in the US regarding alternative energy. Daily and weekly news …
November 27th, 2006
In the post below, we looked at reasons why coffee and caffeine might have become the â€˜drugâ€™ of the current decade. In our â€˜always onâ€™ culture, the need for a stimulating pick me up is clear. I would now like to explore the other aspects of this new coffee culture, as it is the manifestation of a number of social trends and cultural dynamics that are fundamentally changing our society.
Starbucks [for this post I will use them, the biggest brand, as the representation of all the new wave of coffee houses] is often thought to be brilliant because they persuaded tens of millions of people to spend $4 for what had been a $1 product. I personally have always thought that the other brilliant thing they did was to create unlimited choice in a category that hardly had any choice. What this means is that everyone, no matter how conformist or bland their daily life may be, can, for a couple of minutes, live in their own uniqueness. â€œIâ€™ll have a double decaf soy cappuccinoâ€, or â€œIâ€™ll have a venti skim vanilla latte, no foamâ€ In that moment, they have carved out their identity. Do they really need a decaf soy cappuccino? Of course not. But practically unlimited choice has allowed everyone to identify themselves by the small choices they make everyday. Self definition in small ways allows us all to think we are living large in the landscape of free will.
In the last 30 years we have gone …