Every January, we produce a special issue of CIO magazine to kick off the new year. This is usually an upbeat if not celebratory look at business or technology, or some intersection of the two.
This year’s issue is not so happy. Given the profound forces at work right now, we decided to charge our writers and editors with reporting on and analyzing today’s trends in technology employment and innovation, security, the software industry and IT governance, and to spin those trends out to 2010. As we factored in various influences (what we refer to as “tipping points”) on our scenarios, we began to see paths branching off here and there, leading in different directions to different futures.
But we didn’t want to present a vague, equivocal view of where things are going; being ambiguous is a luxury no one can afford. So we’ve taken a stand, planting our flag in one likely outcome for each of the four areas we explored. These are presented in our feature articles as “Scenario One.”
At the same time, we felt it was important to play out an alternate future for each. You’ll find these labeled “Scenario Two.”
We’ve included an interview with famed MIT economist Lester Thurow. At our CIO Perspectives conference in November, Thurow argued that globalization is inexorable, and that we’re moving toward a harsher form of capitalism than we’ve seen in the past. This belief is reflected in some of our reporting in this issue. But Businesspeople can influence the course of events to create a better future?for themselves, for the U.S. economy and for the developing world as well, Thurow asserts in his interview with Art Jahnke on Page 78.
Working to shape that future requires CIOs and other executives to make choices that demand real moral courage in the face of powerful forces. Even then, it’s almost impossible to see the impact of your actions on the world. So people ask themselves, What can one man or woman do?
I think the more relevant question is, What happens if each man or woman does nothing at all?
Do you think you can help shape the future? Drop me a note to let me know why or why not.