Vanishing Point

How Upgrading Education will Secure the Future

Posted by Maria Bothwell

Oct 17, 2019 8:31:25 AM

“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


The future is discussed by prescient leaders but made and molded by youth. Over the past few months, we’ve conducted research, kept aware of the news cycles, and watched young voices emerge as global leaders. What we see is possibility and responsibility, particularly with respect to how we are educating them to succeed and lead. For better or worse, the educational decisions we make today will most certainly impact our societies and economies in the coming decades. For our own good, the youngest members of society deserve our efforts to improve education.

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RAPPORT // Unleashing a New Kind of R&D in the ESG Environment

Posted by Deb Westphal

Oct 10, 2019 11:57:40 AM

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” 

- George Bernard Shaw


Momentum is building around the call for responsible investments focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risk. Many early adopters have embraced the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework as a structured means of communicating their ESG impact progress. Institutional investors are rapidly maturing their ownership strategies to position ESG responsible businesses in their portfolios. Asset management companies such as Columbia Threadneedle are creating unique responsible investment rating systems to assess financial stewardship and ESG risk management. Many of these organizations are referencing the lessons learned from helping companies address sustainability risks and opportunities to inform how they develop ESG guidance and influence.

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RAPPORT // These are the New Faces of Connection and Influence

Posted by Deb Westphal

Sep 25, 2019 9:00:00 AM

“What I hope to achieve with this protest is attention in the media, so that the media will write about the climate crisis, so that people will somehow open their eyes and see the crisis and treat it like a crisis and do something about it.”

— Greta Thunberg, September 2018


In August of 2018, a solo fifteen-year-old sat outside the Swedish parliament building, kicking off the first school strike for climate. In the 14 months since that courageous act, Greta Thunberg has moved millions of teenagers across the globe to become climate activists. She has presented her perspective on climate change to leadership forums including TEDx Stockholm, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the World Economic Forum, the National Assembly in Paris, and the EU Parliament. The New Yorker has called her the “Joan of Arc for climate change.” Elon Musk tweeted his support of Greta’s activities. And on September 23, just days ago,  she delivered her most passionate speech to date at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.


I’ve used this blog to share my strong views and concerns for the future with regard to climate change, and have focused attention on Greta in the past.  This post is not meant to reiterate those points. Rather, it is to consider the changing nature of connection and influence.

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RAPPORT // A Call to Leaders: Rebuild Trust Through Truth and Vulnerability

Posted by Deb Westphal

Sep 12, 2019 9:00:00 AM

“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

- Dr. Brené Brown


The word trust gets a lot of airtime. All it takes is a quick flip through your favorite news source or social media feed for a hefty dose of reasons why we question our trust in the media, each other, our government, and business. In its recent report Trust and Distrust in America, the Pew Research Center confirms we’re experiencing a crisis in facts and truth. It’s a highly detailed study but makes a central point that this sad state of affairs is tied to the distrust we have in our institutions.


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RAPPORT // Anticipatory Democracy is Shaping the Future of the World

Posted by Deb Westphal

Aug 29, 2019 8:38:00 AM

Anticipatory Democracy: The public’s active, conscious engagement in collectively shaping the future of their community, state or nation.[1] 

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Infographic: Work Life 2040

Posted by Denise Sughrue

Aug 22, 2019 1:30:00 PM

Based on current data, we know our lives will be different in 2040. To prepare for the opportunities and challenges of the near future, we must address the skills, technologies, and structures we will need to thrive in a changed professional climate. We view the future through the lenses of Privacy, Artificial Intelligence, Education & Learning, Digital Living, Life Expectancy, and Income Inequality. The infographic below explains the potential implications to our future professional lives. What are you doing to prepare?

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From Toddler to Team Leader – Educating the 2040 Workforce

Posted by Bob Wagner

Aug 8, 2019 4:01:22 PM

In May, Toffler Associates hosted an event called Pinot and Ponder, which brought together 75 people to imagine what professional life and the nature of the workforce will be in 2040. The broad consensus was that by that point, machines will have taken over a significant number of the tasks currently performed by humans because. Last week, a colleague and I had the distinct pleasure of presenting the results of this discussion before the joint meeting of the Federal Foresight Community of Interest, the Public Sector Foresight Network, and the Association for Professional Futurists. The theme of this session centered on the disparate rates of progress between human and machine learning, and how education and government can most effectively create parity over the coming decades.

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Welcome to the Face of Leadership in 2040

Posted by Maria Bothwell

Aug 1, 2019 10:24:08 AM

Nobody knows the future with certainty. We can, however, identify ongoing patterns of change.

- Alvin Toffler

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RAPPORT // Visionary Leaders Balance ESG Responsibility and Financial Value

Posted by Deb Westphal

Jul 25, 2019 8:30:00 AM

“One thing, however, is certain: the world needs your leadership. As divisions continue to deepen, companies must demonstrate their commitment to the countries, regions, and communities where they operate, particularly on issues central to the world’s future prosperity.”

– Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock


If you haven’t been paying attention, you may have missed the important shift happening across the global investment community. The drumbeat for corporate executives to actively engage environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues has gotten louder and no longer can be ignored. Socially conscious investors are raising the volume on their call to action for companies to integrate robust ESG strategies with existing company operations. The expectation is that it is possible for corporations to increase financial value while being accountable for helping to solve issues facing humanity.

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How Resilient Organizations Embrace the Power of One

Posted by Caitlin Durkovich

Jul 18, 2019 8:47:00 AM

Future Shock is the individual’s and organization’s struggle to adapt to and manage the massive and rapid pace of change impacting every society and sector. When they coined the term, the Tofflers described it as a phenomenon and “dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future.”[1] With the constant shifts in everything from technology innovation to politics to heuristics and faith systems, we experience a sense of being untethered from a reliable source of truth. In large measure, this disconcerting feeling of eroding trust has happened because of the constant free flow of information on our connected platforms. It’s ironic that we have confidence in the knowledge that we can’t have confidence in much of what we hear, see, and read.

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