Thursday, January 1, 2015

Visiting the Columbarium: Back to the Future

We begin the first day of the new year with a visit to our late parents at the Mandai Columbarium. The last year was a busy one and I think we managed to visit only once.

Each time without forethought I would end up snapping some pics of these beautiful hibiscus flowers before we leave. The light is always good and so the swaying of the blooms under a strong breeze did not affect the picture taking.

It is good to see there are more than the usual number of visitors at this place today. There is no break between the past and the future. Much as we should be prepared and sometimes welcome discontinuities, nevertheless we are only capable for navigating the future as a projection of the past. Sure, we work to make things better. We pray that life would be better and that might just represent the edge of living with discontinuity.

We have been reminded countless times that the future is not a trend projection of the past.

I first saw how Shell coped with future discontinuities using scenario planning as a young officer with the company. I was very impressed. Now many years have passed and I had spent time in other industries especially the financial markets. I think their early success with scenarios were just plain dumb luck combined with an extraordinary skill to tell their stories.

A couple of days ago, I read parts of this magazine story from the NYT of the Kulluk rig. What happened with using scenarios to save them? But this is just insult to earlier self inflicted injuries culminating in how the once venerable company misstated their oil reserves.

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