Listening to the Future: Why It's Everybody's Business (Microsoft Executive Leadership Series)


Listening to the Future

Why It's Everybody's Business

New business models, new sources of competition, sweeping changes in the workforce—and information at the center of it all. Is your business ready for what's next?

In Listening to the Future: Why It's Everybody's Business, forecasters Daniel W. Rasmus and Rob Salkowitz present the perspectives of Microsoft®, the world's largest software company, on the ...

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Listening to the Future

Why It's Everybody's Business

New business models, new sources of competition, sweeping changes in the workforce—and information at the center of it all. Is your business ready for what's next?

In Listening to the Future: Why It's Everybody's Business, forecasters Daniel W. Rasmus and Rob Salkowitz present the perspectives of Microsoft®, the world's largest software company, on the challenges ahead for businesses, governments, and people around the world. How can we share knowledge and empower people in our organizations to act with insight and confidence in a world inundated with data? How can businesses get out in front of new technology innovations in the consumer world and the enterprise to unlock the potential of a new generation of talent? How can information technology provide strategic value in a dynamic and interconnected world?

Rasmus and Salkowitz look beyond the near-term trends and the latest high-tech fads to expose the critical uncertainties surrounding globalization, workforce evolution, transparency, and the effects of networks and mass collaboration. By exploring divergent scenarios of possible futures rather than a firm set of predictions, they offer business leaders a framework to make their organizations resilient against a range of potential circumstances, while positioning themselves to take maximum advantage of new opportunities.

Part of Microsoft's Executive Leadership series, Listening to the Future: Why It's Everybody's Business examines specific industries, including manufacturing, financial services and insurance, retail, professional services, government and public sector, education, and healthcare, identifying how the key themes of the new world of business will play out in these segments of the economy.

This timely book explores:

  • Strategies for managing a dynamic business
  • Discovering and acting on insights developed from complexity
  • Gaining strategic advantage through IT
  • Maximizing the value of a blended workforce
  • Recognizing how driving forces are shaping the business climate
  • Sharing knowledge to improve business performance

Business-focused and jargon-free, Listening to the Future: Why It's Everybody's Business provides decision-makers with a clear frame-work for making sense of the critical dynamics and uncertainties shaping the next ten to fifteen years, and clearly explains the innovative technologies that may play a role in the new world of business and work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…have produced a timely book about positoning business to deal with the uncertain challenges of the future." (, March 5th, 2009)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470413449
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/3/2008
  • Series: Microsoft Executive Leadership Series, #11
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel W. Rasmus is Director of Business Insights for Microsoft® Business Division, where he manages the development of long-range scenarios to inform how software will be used in tomorrow's work environment based on different social, economic, and political settings that may occur in the future. Prior to joining Microsoft® Daniel was an analyst with Forrester Research and wrote extensively about collaboration and knowledge management. His forthcoming book Management by Design will be published by Wiley in 2009. Dan lives in Sammamish, Washington, with his wife Janet and daughters Rachel and Alyssa.

Rob Salkowitz is a writer and consultant specializing in the social implications of new technology in the workplace, and author of Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap, published by Wiley in 2008. He works with Microsoft® and other clients to articulate business strategy, and writes and speaks on issues related to the changing workforce. Rob lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife Eunice Verstegen.

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1. Listening to the Future.

Embracing Uncertainty.

The Shape of Things to Come.

Technology and the Changing World.

People Make the Future.


Chapter 2. Managing a Dynamic Business.

Driving Forces.

Strategic Technology Capabilities.

Tenets for Success.

Dynamic Business: Forces to Watch, Uncertainties to Consider.


Chapter 3. Prospering in a Blended World.

Driving Forces.

Strategic Workplace Technologies.

Blending Beyond the Workplace.

Tenets for Success.

Blend Trends.


Chapter 4. Insights from Complexity.

Driving Forces.

Strategic Technologies to Drive Insights.

Tenets for Success.

Sources of Insight.


Chapter 5. Building Strategic Advantage Through IT.

The Challenge of Measuring Return on Knowledge.

Why IT Matters.

Why Applications Matter.

Why Platforms Matter.

Why Infrastructure Matters.

Creating a Dialog Between Business and IT.

Tenets for Success.

Why IT Still Matters.

Eight Ways to Achieve More Strategic IT.

Key Infrastructure Investments for Competitive Advantage.


Chapter 6. From the New World of Business to the New World of Work.

One World of Business.

Always On, Always Connected.

Transparent Organizations.

Workforce Evolution.


Chapter 7. Managing Knowledge and Talent in the New World of Business.

Managing Knowledge in One World of Business.

Knowledge Anywhere, Anytime.

Knowledge in the Transparent Organization.

Managing Knowledge for a Changing Workforce.

From “Knowledge Management” to Managing Talent and Knowledge.

Complexity and Specialization.

Simplifying the Knowledge Work Environment.

Toward a Dynamic Knowledge Environment.

Navigating the Dynamic Knowledge Environment.

Embracing Organizational Learning.

10 Starting Points for Dynamics Knowledge Enterprises.


Chapter 8. The Future of Industries.



Government/Public Sector.

Retail Banking and Insurance.



Professional Services.

Chapter 9. Hearing the Future.

Strategy and Uncertainties.

Exposing the Dynamic Uncertainty Loop.





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