Welcome to the first issue of The Catalyst, a monthly newsletter about sparking productive organizational futures through strategic narratives. I have sent you this newsletter because we have previously engaged on strategic narrative or foresight related issues. If you’d like, you can unsubscribe using the button at the bottom of the newsletter.

Globally, we seem to be at a remarkable crossroads.  East and West, North and South, people share a sense of profound disruption, whether we see this disruption as positive or destructive.

It is precisely at such times that strategic narratives are most critical.  In order to thrive in uncertainty, organizations need compelling, meaningful stories that help guide decisions and behavior in productive directions. How to develop and sustain such visions so that they have practical, measurable utility is the subject matter of this newsletter, and the driving mission of the Strategic Narrative Institute.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please do at Amy@StrategicNarrativeInstitute.com or by phone at +1-202-594-9236.

Each month, the Catalyst will offer a short list of useful and provocative sources for thinking more deeply and building strong strategic narratives in our institutions, communities and nations.

This month, I have two book ideas for you. The first is an old favorite, but one I turn to increasingly. The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility is a pithy set of bite-sized essays about how to “lengthen” our sense of the present.  The title references the world’s slowest clock—it ‘ticks’ only once every 10,000 years (You can learn more about it here).   If we think of “now” as 10,000 years instead of a day, week or earnings quarter, how does that shape our understanding of ethics, urgency and action?  The questions are answered in vibrant form by author Stewart Brand.

Read it if:

  • You are a leader contemplating your own or your organization’s long term legacy
  • You appreciate concrete, fascinating examples illustrating the uses of long-term thinking

My new favorite is one of the sources I’m using to teach a graduate class at Georgetown University on emerging technologies and the human body.  Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth and Culture, is a 2011 compilation by some of the world’s leading scholars on genomics and their applications in criminal justice, medicine and everyday life. In every example of this riveting collection on a fast moving area of research, we are reminded that from a scientific, genetic perspective, there is no such thing as “race.” In other words, our individual and social narratives about who we are and where we came from are as critical as any DNA test in shaping our ideas about who we are. This insight may be critical as societies move ever more quickly toward a biological revolution.

Read it if:

  • You seek clearly written, scientifically informed insights into how DNA testing is being used in domains including criminal justice, ancestry testing, pharmaceutical research, medicine and human intelligence research
  • You lead policy or organizational initiatives related to genomic research and genetic material
  • You’d welcome more insights about the practical intersections of social identity and emerging technologies

  • This month also marks the launch of the Strategic Narrative website, which you can find at StrategicNarrativeInstitute.com and which I am thrilled to be sharing at this time. You can learn more about the Institute’s services there, and also find many resources in the form of talks, blogs, papers, podcasts and other publications. New items will be added regularly, so I hope you will bookmark the site if you like it and return periodically to see what’s new.
  • The Strategic Narrative Institute website also offers the opportunity to download my free e-book, Strategic Narrative, A Framework for Accelerating Innovation, A Practical Guide for Leaders and Organizations. The book outlines clearly what a strategic narrative is and why strong narratives are so important in times of change, and offers practical activities and worksheets. You can pick up your copy of the book here
  • From March 1st – 3rd, Amy will provide expertise at the 10th Annual Wilton Park meeting at Wiston House, West Sussex, UK for a high level meeting of policy planners, opinion formers and academics, The Future of a Liberal International Order: Trends & Challenges towards 2030. If you are interested in attending, there is more information available at the Wilton Park website: here

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