Burrus (Technotrends: How to Use Technology to Go Beyond Your Competition, 1993) anticipates a technology-driven recovery for the U.S. economy that will overshadow the transformations of the past 25 years.
The author makes the counterintuitive argument that, with the proper perspective and a “willingness to get down on your hands and knees and look at things from a fresh point of view,” the current recession can become a time of opportunity. By relying on intuition coupled with informed judgment—“flash foresight”—Burrus contends that even in hard times it is possible to “open up invisible opportunities and solve seemingly impossible problems before they happen.” Drawing on the lessons culled from a 30-year career as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies—Microsoft, Toshiba, GE, etc.—the author has developed a seven-step method to guide corporate management in competitively positioning their firms. The first step involves establishing “hard trends”—e.g., the aging of the U.S. population. Based on this certainty, it is possible to “anticipate” the direction of future technology based on the development of diagnostics that can monitor the health of seniors with chronic conditions while allowing them to maintain independence. This is the point at which it is necessary to unleash individual creativity and foster a team effort in order to “transform” technological advances. The remaining four steps—“Take your biggest problem and skip it” temporarily; “Go opposite,” i.e., strike out in a new direction; “redefine and reinvent”; and “Direct your future”—are more broadly applicable to individual as well as corporate situations such as job loss, retirement or the development of a new career. In addition to legendary success stories such as Amazon.com, Burrus also artfully weaves in his own experiences, including his most recent start-up venture, a smartphone application that will enable potential homebuyers to access information about foreclosures.
A welcome jolt of optimism.