Berkeley-based futurist, author, and film consultant (Minority Report, Sneakers) Peter Schwartz spoke informally at INFUSION, a monthly tech lunch at the Berkeley Rep in downtown Berkeley today. He said he feels optimistic about the future given the powerful tools we have to shape it and the awareness most corporate and government leaders have of scenario planning.
Schwartz’s favorite government clients – he’s a cofounder of consulting firm and scenario planning experts Global Business Network, which was bought by the Monitor Group in 2001 – are the military, he says, because they follow through with the scenarios they plan together. He said that during the first Bush administration, he had worked with the Merchant Marine to envision its future and prepared it to handle humanitarian rescue operations around the world. He attributes this long-term planning to the Merchant Marine having been first responders to survivors of the typhoon in Burma a few years ago. A fondness for military clients might also be the result of Schwartz’s first years as a rocket scientist, working on the Apollo project.
The Berkeley Rep was up and running for this lunch despite the complete power outage it suffered the previous night just before its showing of American Idiot, the Rep’s rave rock musical based on the work of a local band, Green Day. But then maybe PG&E – seizing the entire block with an array of large trucks and cranes like so many military tanks – had consulted Peter Schwartz about planning for just such a scenario.