Taking the REALLY LONG View

It’s easy to get stuck in a rigid approach to developing strategy. A new approach can unlock innovation in unexpected ways.

Indigenous groups commonly take a long-term view using “seventh-generation decision-making,” making choices based on how an option will impact a community even hundreds of years into the future.

Rick Hill, a member of Tuscarora Six Nations said there are no quick answers when considering the future. If the government asked his community for a response on a matter of importance, “we would then sit down and talk to our elders, talk to our women or talk to the children [and ask]: ‘What do we think about this? It could take days, weeks, may take a year. Because you’re cautious, you’re careful and thoughtful.”

Is that too slow?

Philosopher Roman Krznaric notes that cities in Japan have applied the idea of seventh-generation thinking for urban planning. “When imagining themselves in 2060, they systematically advocate far more transformative plans for their towns and cities, whether it’s investment in long-term health care or climate change action or dealing with artificial intelligence or responding to COVID-19.”

Sometimes it’s better not to rush. Perspective is everything.

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