Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Forever thinking

Many times we are thinking "short term". And when we try to think "long term" we just expand time horizon a bit. If short term is six months - the long term can be five years. If short term was two years, long term could be 50 years. And so on. But...

We need to start considering what will happen when we extend beyond short and long term.

Here are some questions to consider when solving problems and creating solutions:

- Will this solution X work forever?
- What will happen to environment and the planet if X (what we start/create now) goes on forever?
- Would it be good if X continued forever?
- What side effects (good/bad) might there be if X continued forever?
- If X continues forever, would the overall situation improve?

We should only create and implement things that should and could go on forever.

Very few things continues forever, but we need to extend our thinking and see beyond. Whatever long term solutions we might come up with, can really be short term. And what we create now can "blow up" for the next generation.

Solutions might or might not evolve over time and take care of the problems we create today. But we cannot rely on that. We need to create truly sustainable solutions. That works in the "forever" perspective.

We have the tools and many different ways of thinking to deal with this. Lets do it!


  1. Nice post. I think your "forever thinking" should be a much larger part of strategic thinking done by organizations--at least so they consider what they do, even for a moment, in this context.

    I also think that it might be very useful in the context of "non-forever" activities. When you are forced to ask "Will this last forever?" and you answer "No", that might be perfectly reasonable--if the next question you ask is "Why not?"

    Answering the "Why not?" question might then give you greater insights into how best to design your "interim" solution, even if that interim is 50 years. Most thinking, be it operation, tactical or strategic, fails to account for the end game. Maybe by adopting your approach, it forces you to think a bit about the end game for those durations too, with the end result being better plans overall.

    I know that's not quite what you intended, but I think it gives a very useful perspective in that sense too. ;)