Vanishing Point

Discussing Changes at the Intersection of Technology and Humanity

Posted by Deb Westphal

Nov 7, 2018 8:59:00 AM

 

“What's the problem we're trying to solve?

What is the question that we're trying to answer?

The key is getting the question right.”

 

I recently had the opportunity to engage in a fascinating conversation with a fellow life-long learner and high-touch futurist. That discussion with Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild, founder of Wild Innovation and Interim Executive Director and Chief Futurist for the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska, was recorded for the Rural Futures Podcast. On a weekly basis, this platform explores rural-urban divide, technology development, and the future of work.

 

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Shocks and Solutions: Future Shock Forum 2018 Event Recap

Posted by Deb Westphal

Oct 17, 2018 10:30:00 AM


I am so energized and full of hope! I’ve just returned from the beautiful city of Chicago where we hosted the 2018 Future Shock Forum. Everyone who joined us shared incredible connections, questions, and perspectives. To be sure, the event exceeded our expectations.

 

This event is part of the Toffler Associates legacy. For many years, our co-founders Alvin and Heidi Toffler would host intimate gatherings of curious, accomplished friends and colleagues. They would gather around the kitchen table of their California home to explore ideas and look at the future. Throughout the evening, everyone openly and respectfully challenged each other’s ideas and views on economic and societal patterns, and the alternate futures they prophesied.

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It’s Change or Lose for Human Resource Executives

Posted by Deb Westphal

Oct 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM


In a crowded conference hall of human resource professionals, the first address of the North Carolina Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual conference was high energy, comical at times, and clear in message. The human resource executive needs to “up his or her game” to meet the most demanding challenge today’s organizations are facing – the demand for human talent.

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Special Interview: Imagining the Future with Beth Comstock

Posted by Deb Westphal

Sep 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM



“Be where the world is going.”

– Beth Comstock

 

I love this quote. Be where the world is going. The commitment to peer into the future to see what is coming and assume the risks of trying new ways to build resilience is easier said than done. Most organizations are still structured for risk mitigation and operational efficiencies. It is no wonder so many leaders feel a constant pull between today’s urgent issues and tomorrow’s more distant – and important – positioning. Few future-focused leaders are brave enough to strike the balance. Those who can will dominate our increasingly unsettled business environment.

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RAPPORT // Is the Pentagon Reorganization All for Naught?

Posted by Deb Westphal

Jul 25, 2018 9:20:00 AM

Once again, the Pentagon has reorganized.[1] Motivated by a concern about how emerging technologies will impact the future of war, the department has aligned its leadership structure to put particular focus on quantum science, hypersonics, artificial intelligence, and directed energy. It’s a change that organizes and assigns specific responsibilities to two relatively new offices within the Department of Defense (DoD) – the offices of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD R&E).

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RAPPORT // Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends and the Fate of Humanity

Posted by Deb Westphal

Jun 27, 2018 8:30:00 AM

Being a bit of a technology geek, I always look forward to Mary Meeker’s annual update on Internet Trends. Since 1995, Ms. Meeker has been maturing a compendium of valuable insights into the growth and expansion of our global information infrastructure. It has become an almanac of sorts for the technology industry, helping to guide investments and develop strategies for competing in the Digital Age.

 

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RAPPORT // Businesses are spending more on Mindfulness than AI. This is why.

Posted by Deb Westphal

May 30, 2018 10:00:00 AM

 On a wall in the Brighton Ski Lodge located outside of Salt Lake City, there is a tiny plaque that simply states "BE." For years, I would go skiing at Brighton and wonder what "BE" meant. It seemed like an odd statement. What was its importance? What was I missing? What am I supposed to "BE"?

 

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RAPPORT // What the Boston Marathon Proves About an Inspired Workforce

Posted by Deb Westphal

Apr 25, 2018 10:00:00 AM

 

This year’s Boston Marathon left a lasting imprint on my heart. Maybe it’s because I’m currently training for my first marathon, which I’ll run in Chicago this Fall. Watching the race from almost 2400 miles away, I felt like I was a part of the activities – as if I was there on the course with the runners, struggling through the miles, trying to stay warm and focused. Anticipating the finish line with every step. Celebrating the achievement.

 

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RAPPORT // The Louvre is Proof of Global Shared Humanity

Posted by Deb Westphal

Mar 28, 2018 10:00:00 AM

 

Earlier this month, my son and I met in Paris, France for a quick vacation. We had been before, but always on short layovers. This trip was different. It was our chance to delve into the beautiful historic city. Our expectations were simple: see the major sights, enjoy the diversity of food, and walk everywhere. Included on the agenda was the Musee d’Orsay, Musee Du Quai Branly and of course, the Louvre. It was fortuitous that the book I chose to read on this trip was Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now, The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Pinker’s overarching thesis is that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise because past intellectual movements emphasized reason and science.

 

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RAPPORT // Is There a Better Alternative to the Trump Infrastructure Plan?

Posted by Deb Westphal

Feb 28, 2018 8:40:00 AM

Welcome to Rapport. As the name implies, this blog is a conversation. Once every month, we will explore foundational shifts and open discussion about current issues and trends. I will introduce perspectives grown from years of work with the founder of our eponymous firm, executive experience, global adventures, and personal relationships with some of the greatest thinkers and leaders of our era. My hope is that you will find these posts interesting, empathetic, and worth discussing.

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