17 Uncertainties that will Define (or Redefine) Your 2014 Forecast Released

17 Uncertainties that will Define (or Redefine) Your 2014 Forecast Released





17 Uncertainties that will Define (or Redefine) Your 2014


January 21, 2014 Sammamish, Washington, Daniel W. Rasmus, the author of ‘Listening to the Future’ and ‘Management by Design’ has released his list of the 2014 global uncertainties that will force businesses and governments to remain nimble and agile as the global economy continues to realign.

“Organizations need to understand that we aren’t going back to an era where anything is easy to predict. The uncertainties are moving forward in time. The skills once required for long-term strategic planning are now critical over much shorter timeframes,” says Rasmus.

Rasmus’s list includes several critical areas that will require organizations to think carefully about investments and risk mitigation. With each area he offers probing questions that organizations can use to start defining strategic positions.

The following list represents a sample of the uncertainties and their key dynamics:

Workforce Dynamics

Key Dynamic: Will the workforce effectively integrate, or will generational issues result in bifurcation? What skill gaps and needs for knowledge will emerge as each generation seeks to define its future?

Income Inequality

Key Dynamic: Will income inequality lead to civil unrest at a global level, or will government and businesses find new ways to distribute wealth?

Public Bankruptcies

Key Dynamic: Will cities fight through financial difficulties or shift to courts to help restructure their debt?

Cloud Failures

Key Dynamic: Will the cloud become the dependable source of data and transactions, or will major failures in reliability result in retreat and distrust of cloud-based services?

Health Care

Key Dynamic: Will the Affordable Care Act be able to heal itself in 2014, or will chronic issues with structure and technology take the young idea before it can mature?

U.S. Elections

Key Dynamic: Will the Democratic party win sufficient seats in the House and retain control of the Senate in order to take some of President Obama’s policies out on a powerful note his last two years, or will a consolidated Republican front wrest control of the Senate and retain the House, leading to continued uncertainty about where compromise can be found, and what legislation actually gets passed and enacted over the next two years?

The Internet of Things

Key Dynamic: Will the Internet of Things come to fruition, or will technical limitations reveal weak conceptual underpinnings?


Key Dynamics: Will analytics bring deep and useful insight or be used to exert overly quantitative control over businesses, employees and consumers?  Will analytics create a more open, transparent view of the world, or one increasingly fueled by the myopia of caring only about those things that produce digital data?


Key Dynamic: Will sovereign currency remain the preeminent form for financial transactions, or will the Internet and the emergence of alternative currencies create viable, alternative financial markets with no sovereign center?

The Weed Economy

Key Dynamics: Will the states (Washington and Colorado) get it right, and keep the U.S. Government at bay from interfering with the legalization of marijuana, or will the U.S. Government assert itself if implementations start to go awry and will messing up implementation reshape public opinion? Will the legalization of marijuana lead to other State’s Rights challenges?

Education Models

Key Dynamic: Will the Internet and employer expectations converge to push education into a new era, or will the failure of MOOCs and other technologies keep traditional education looking backward and inward?

“In my talks, I ask attendees to go back and write down the uncertainties that are looming on the horizon for their industries and their organizations. I tell them to put the list on the entrance of their office so every day they must confront uncertainty.  When you understand what you don’t know, you become more thoughtful about the decisions you make.  It is important that individuals and organizations effectively grapple with uncertainty, or they will be caught flat-footed the next time something like the housing crisis or the Fukushima earthquake occurs. The best organizations will use uncertainties to build scenarios so they can more effectively anticipate change, and practice their reactions to infrequent, big events that they might otherwise ignore.”

The complete list of 2014 uncertainties can be viewed and downloaded at:


Daniel W. Rasmus is an independent industry analyst and strategy consultant who helps organizations put their future in context. His work on strategy and the future has appeared at Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, The Times of London and other leading publications.

Contact: Daniel W. Rasmus dwrasmus@danielwrasmus.com 425-868-0271

Press Release 1/21/2014

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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