Think Like a Futurist: Kevin Kelly has posted an outstanding article entitled “How to Future.” In it, he describes how a good futurist focuses on the three time phases: past, present, and future. I encourage anyone who wants to think more clearly about the future to read the article and then incorporate Kelly’s advice into their own thinking.
Second-Order Thinking: If you want to tear down a wall or a fence, it behooves you to understand why the wall or fence was put up in the first place. This article on “second ordered thinking” not only explains the logic of this type of thinking, it offers a quick primer on “Chesterton’s Fence.”
Think Bigger: Gene editing technology is a potential game changer and now Verve Therapeutics may be close to using the technology to end heart attacks. Verve’s technology may not necessarily gain approval by the FDA and it is also possible that even if it does work it could remain too expensive for most people. Nevertheless, if it is successful, it could eliminate heart attacks as a leading cause of death–and that’s something to think about.
Think Harder: Most people, organizations, and societies place a high degree of importance on “agreeability”–that is on people’s ability to get along with one another. This makes sense and, personally, I’m all in favor of people being agreeable. This article, “Disagreeability, Mother of Invention,” however, makes an important point: Most inventors and innovators tend to be somewhere “on the spectrum” and if we stifle people just because they are “disagreeable” we could end up missing out on a lot of future innovations.
Think Twice: All things being equal, I am in favor of recycling. When it comes to plastic, though, not all things are equal and it is important to understand that plastic recycling doesn’t work on a meaningful scale. Any business that currently relies on plastic for packaging, containers, or shipping needs to think seriously about how to begin transitioning away from the material. (On a positive note, mealworms have demonstrated that they can eat toxic polystyrene (styrofoam) safely. Alas, this isn’t a perfect solution because the worms don’t safely neutralize all of the chemicals in the plastic material.)
Afterthought: “A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.” –Thomas Merton