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Changing Minds, Shifting Industries

by Dr Jay Gary, Aug 6, 2007

millerOver the past three years I have gotten to know Rex Miller, of the Spencer Furniture Company and author of The Millennium Matrix. This past week we sat down again for lunch at the World Future Society‘s annual conference in Minneapolis, MN.

Most people know Miller, of Dallas, Texas, as a top emergent church speaker, and advocate for faith entering the digital age. Recently Rex convened several “Return of the Tentmaker” meetings, helping Evangelical laity find connections to the kingdom in their day to day vocations.

This past Spring, however, Rex Miller, the consumate ideation leader, launched a significant industry transformation conversation called Operation Mindshift. Working in his native construction, contract furniture and real estate industries, Rex has brought together leading stakeholders at the national level to construct a decade long roadmap, to insure that the future of housing becomes sustainable, in all facets.

Operation Mindshift has met twice so far, face-to-face, and will meet again this Fall to set its work agenda. Operation Mindset aims to connect several housing industry conversations for change, including BIM, Integrated Practice, Lean Construction, Pre-Fab Modular Construction, Advanced Tax Strategies, Performance Based Procurement and Global Standards for interoperability.

After getting caught up over family news, we discussed how futurists work for change by creating industry and corporate foresight. Study this visual below from Z_punkt, the German foresight company.

Industries today are looking for more context based intelligence through networking processes, according to Z_punkt

Industries today are looking for more context based intelligence through networking processes, according to Z_punkt

In the 60s, it used to be enough to survey expert panels through Delphi surveys, to get a feel for the coming decade of an industry. Later by the ’70s, many turned to quantitative model building, to create simulations about future industry change. The ’80s and ’90s witnessed the development of scenarios, or alternative stories.

Now, Z_punkt reports that industries turn to futurists to lead private executive conversations, through immension and networked experiences (see the growing golden paradigm), just like Rex has launched.

I discussed with Rex my own experience as a consulting futurist, and how I now teach these bundle of methods, including horizon scanning, trend analysis, scenario learning, forecasting and network facilitation methods to consultants through Regent University’s new foresight programs, both at the Doctorate and Masters level.

I encourage you to track Rex’s work, both within the church, and in the marketplace. He writes a blog on design issues. As a Christian futurist, he understands and practices both spiritual renewal and societal renaissance, a rare combination these days.

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