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Kohl shares memory of a forward thinkerKohl shares memory of a forward thinker

John Naisbitt-- a man who could identify trends vs. fads in society.

David Kohl

May 19, 2021

3 Min Read
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The other day, I was informed that John Naisbitt, the author of Megatrends, Megatrends 2000, and many other publications, passed away in his ninth decade of life. I was first exposed to his work as assigned readings in graduate school at Cornell University. I enjoyed attending his thought-provoking lectures where he expounded upon his philosophies, economic trends, and the implications of these trends.Of course, many of my presentations and writings have centered on applying megatrends to agriculture.Not all predicted trends come to fruition because disruptors can change the landscape of business, government, society, and personal values. However, what are some of Mr. Naisbitt’s philosophies that have stood the test of time?

Change occurs bottom up, not top-down

Every business, industry, and government should consider this philosophy in planning and operations.This is why Naisbitt’s team read as many as 250 publications each day to uncover trends and changes in people's behavior. One such mistake was made by the United States government decades ago when it attempted to institute the metric system using a top-down strategy.The failure to get buy-in from the frontline people and general society was one of the reasons the metric system is still not accepted in the United States.Whether it is in your business or you serve on leadership boards, engagement and interaction with frontline people is critical for success in moving the business forward.

Related:Farm business planning: Tool for the times

High-tech, high touch

Decades ago, Naisbitt predicted the growth of the digital age.However, his book revealed that as more of business and society adopted technology, the more important the people component or the “high touch” aspect must be integrated to be successful.Precision farming, robotics in dairy, and many other aspects in agriculture demonstrate that the successful adoption of technology requires a highly skilled and trained workforce. The management of information along with land, labor, and capital resources will be the most powerful part of technology for the decade of the 2020s.

Entrepreneurial politics

In his book Megatrends 2000, John Naisbitt predicted that big money would influence political agendas.He also stated that there would be a migration of population south and to the west, which would change consumer demand geopolitics not only here in the United States, but abroad. Wow, he sure hit a nerve with those predictions!

If you get the opportunity to read Megatrends or Megatrends 2000, it may seem like a walk down memory lane.However, to forward thinkers, it may assist in connecting the dots in identifying trends versus fads in the fast paced and ever-changing agriculture industry.

Related:Learn crisis management for your farm business

Source: Dr. David Kohlwhich is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

About the Author(s)

David Kohl

Contributing Writer, Corn+Soybean Digest

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