Vanishing Point

The Lifelong Learner: How Alvin Toffler Shaped the Future

Posted by Deb Westphal

July 6, 2016 at 12:04 PM

Alvin Toffler, the namesake and founder of Toffler Associates passed away on June 27, 2016. The news spread quickly across the globe through social media, press coverage, and personal reflections. Many of the conversations centered on the impact of his bestselling books. While it’s true his impact on the general population was in large part promulgated by books like Future Shock, The Third Wave, and Powershift, it was the people behind the books – not the books themselves – that transformed how individuals, businesses, and governments think about the present and future.


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Do You Know How to Structure Your Horizontal Organization?

Posted by Jason Fieger

June 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM

In the first installment of this two-part series on the  evolution and benefits of horizontal (flat) organizations, we looked at the transition from laddered Industrial Era structures to agile and collaborative, Knowledge Age organizational models. We considered the factors that should guide the development of a pure or hybrid flat model, including innovation objectives, culture, legacy, and mission.


With that in mind, the next step is to dissect the flat organizational model to explain the concepts that underlie its success. The information should inform your considerations as you run scenarios and work to tailor the most appropriate version of the horizontal model for your current and future organization.


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The Knowledge Age Organization Has No Ladder

Posted by Jason Fieger

June 15, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Markets and people are more interconnected, global competition is more intense, demographics have shifted, and we have a whole new set of communication tools. Businesses and government entities are facing the challenge and opportunity of information overload. In this Knowledge Age, we’re seeing growing evidence that a horizontal (flat) organization is more appropriate.


Conventional Second Wave wisdom posited that senior executives led most effectively by managing vertically. Particularly during times like the Industrial Era, vertical organizations did offer real advantages. They are structured for clearly defined lines of authority. That hierarchy produces a tight span of control that can elevate task-oriented productivity. 

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New Thinking Never Gets Old: The Innovation Mandate

Posted by Aaron Schulman

June 9, 2016 at 9:30 AM

We’ve been in a state of rapid change for decades. Much of what had been innovative is now ubiquitous. Just within the technology sector, some of the most impactful introductions have occurred in less than 20 years.


Consider that the Apple II “ready-to-use computer for consumers,” launched in 1977. In 1989, we got our first ‘portable’ consumer computer. The Palm Pilot put early connectivity into our hands and pockets in 1996. Common use of the Internet is traced to 2000, and our phones are only eight years “smart.”

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How to Combat Threat with a Risk-Informed Cultural Mindset

Posted by Chris Gros

June 2, 2016 at 9:30 AM

The world is rapidly changing, and the threats to business and government are changing with it. This is particularly true for the threats to physical and information security systems in our companies and government agencies. To mitigate threats today and tomorrow, we need to change how we think about and address security. That means moving away from “standard” security compliance approaches to adopt an advanced risk-informed type of compliance that requires risk-informed mindsets and risk-informed organizational cultures. 

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The Art and Science of Wargaming

Posted by Eric Chase

May 25, 2016 at 9:00 AM

For centuries, military leaders have used wargaming as a way to anticipate adversary actions and generate creative battlefield advantages. As the volume of data available to today’s leaders grows exponentially greater, the ability to act and make decisions in uncertain and complex environments is increasingly valuable – not just on the battlefield, but in the boardroom as well. Military wargames of years past considered aircraft carrier positioning and aerial refueling logistics, but more and more, the wargames seek to tackle issues like cybersecurity and personnel management – challenges equally relevant to the Department of Defense and the private sector.


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Organizational Learning is the Key to Solving 21st Century Issues

Posted by Gregory Weber

May 18, 2016 at 1:15 PM


 “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”

~ Alvin Toffler


Organizational learning, the process of creating, using, and sharing knowledge within a corporation or comparable enterprise, is a driving force for continual transformation. For entities striving to be Future Proof®, it is fundamental. The process of organizational learning typically takes one of two forms – individuals and groups either learn from their experiences or they learn from the collective.

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The Deep Fundamentals of War

Posted by Tyler Sweatt

May 11, 2016 at 9:00 AM

 “Knowledge, in short, is now the central resource of destructivity, just as it is the central resource for productivity.”

– Alvin & Heidi Toffler (War and Anti-War)


Technology is both our greatest strength and most terrifying vulnerability. Everyone, across the world, is always on, connected, communicating, creating, consuming and sharing information. We have the perceived capacity to be everywhere. Drones, space, bio-digital convergence, autonomous and artificial intelligence (AI) driven platforms and other pieces of rapidly advancing technology are transforming the world. We have the ability to access more data than the human mind can process which makes cutting through the ‘noise’ to identify and understand the veracity and security of our knowledge a top priority.


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Should AI Have a Seat in the Board Room?

Posted by Darin Powers

May 4, 2016 at 10:50 AM

A set of three ‘Deep Fundamentals’ is creating new and deepening convergences across the global marketplace. The pace of change continues to accelerate, network connectivity continues to spread, and a constant stream of new knowledge is coming out of human and technology sources.


As we look closely at the explosion of data and artificial intelligence (AI) in particular, we see technology growing smarter at an almost alarming rate, in some cases displacing human knowledge professionals. Consequent market shifts and power shifts require that we take the time to consider how humans and technology can (and must) become an integrated entity.


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How to Craft a Communications Strategy that Maximizes the Customer Experience

Posted by Dave Baber

April 27, 2016 at 9:18 AM

Within their walls, most organizations house the talent, offerings, and resources capable of delivering a high value customer experience. They have access to intelligence about what each customer needs, wants or loves most, and the capacity to deliver. They have core values, an origin story, shared dedication to a goal, and pride in the impact they’ve made on the world.

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