Marina Gorbis signs off from BB

Guestblogger Marina Gorbis is executive director at Institute for the Future.

Thank you so much for allowing me to engage you in a conversation. Our signature process at the Institute for the Future is what we call "Foresight to Insight to Action." We don't predict the future, because nobody can do that. Rather, we create provocative but realistic visions of the future. We use those forecasts to engage people in conversations about what this particular future might mean to them and to their organizations, what is important, what they need to pay attention to, what challenges they might be facing. Those are the insights that they can then use to develop action steps to achieve a desirable future.

Your generous comments were full of insights that I found really interesting and helpful. Here is what I learned from you in response to posting Socialstructing, Dead Souls on Social Media, Socialstructing: Statement of Social Currency, and Dushechka:

• Socialstructing — organizing around social relations and not against them — has the potential to humanize our economy. At the same time, substituting social capital for money as the new currency can bring in new challenges and new social divisions. We can end up with whole new classes of rich and poor based on new social capital metrics.

• Social networks can be exclusionary (secret societies, clubs, cliques), again something to watch for.

• The drive for accumulation may be as harmful with regard to social capital as it is with regard to money. People may engage in all kinds of unsavory practices to build up social capital (just as they do with financial capital).

• Any single metric of a person's reputation is bound to create a crooked mirror of someone's worth. Humans are too complex to be reduced to one measurable metric. What isn't the metric measuring? What perverse incentives for accumulation it is creating?

• Finally, and most importantly, as my son leaves for college, I need to watch out lest I develop new passions much less savory than bluegrass and baseball (thank you, @samuraizenu).

I want to leave you with one of my favorite short clips from an exercise IFTF did at the 2008 Maker Faire Bay Area. As visitors passed our booth, we asked them to record 30 second videos outlining their visions of the future. Great wisdom from the mouth of the babe, completely spontaneously.

Make a Better Future!