Are You Prepared for a Trump Presidency?

We’re less than 3 weeks out from the election. Have you spent any time analyzing what a President Trump could mean for your organization?

This is a provacative question, but I am not trying to be political and I am not making a forecast. It’s a test. I pose this question so you can confront a hard truth about how well you prepare for the future. This election represents a common scenario I’ve seen play out. Many smart people do dumb things when it comes to strategic planning, like ignoring possible future scenarios that are difficult for them to deal with personally. People get uncomfortable planning for a future they don’t want to see, so they don’t plan and hope for the best.

“Hope for the Best”

Scary how often we hear that phrase, isn’t it? What’s worse is that we hear it from people that are supposed to be in charge.

Trust in institutions is declining around the world. There’s also an international anti-globalization groundswell taking place. The Trump campaign suggests the Brexit vote and the anti-FARC vote in Columbia are clear signs that Donald Trump will ride a populist wave in November.

Again, this is not meant to be a political blog post. But I am saying that many people have entirely written off the possibility that Donald Trump could win and have decided not to even plan for such a scenario.

However, this is not unusual behavior. I speak to many business leaders who are reactive instead of proactive. The excuse I hear most often is “I’m too busy dealing with the present to think about the future.” What I really hear is “I’m afraid of the future.”

“I’m afraid of the future.”

Fear can be a great motivator when harnessed in the right way. Dale Carnegie famously said “If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

So put aside a few hours to really think about what the results of this election could mean to your business depending on who wins the election. Write down some concrete actions you’ll want to take. And then find more time to think about all the other trends and issues you’ve been avoiding. I’m here to help.


Feel free to email me:

Michael Vidikan, Future in Focus

Indian American Demography, Values, and Attitudes 

Indian Americans

image: Danny Howard (flickr)

One of the fastest-growing ethnic minorities in the US in recent decades has also been one of the most successful: Indian Americans. Now more than 3 million strong, Indian Americans are the third largest cohort of Asian Americans in the US.(1)

With the vast majority of Indian Americans born outside of the US, the Indian-American population is still made up primarily of immigrants-and most of these immigrated within the last 25 years. Unlike many immigrant groups, who tend to settle in enclaves on either the East or West coast, however, Indian-Americans are dispersed throughout the country.

While still a relatively small contingent, accounting for just about 1% of the US population, Indian Americans have quickly become disproportionately influential in such fields as digital technology, science, engineering, medicine, and academia. Better educated and better off financially than any other immigrant group, Indian Americans have become the richest and most successful ethnic cohort in the US.

Indra Nooyi

image: JeffBedford (Flickr)

Taking Charge

By 2014, nine Fortune 500 companies had Indian American CEOs.(2) Prominent Indian American business leaders include Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo (pictured right); Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Ajay Banga, head of MasterCard; Ravichandra Saligram, CEO of OfficeMax; and Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems.

Well Off

Because such a high percentage of Indian Americans work in high paying professions, they have the highest income among all immigrant and ethnic groups in the US–and a higher income than most Americans. In 2010, the median annual personal earnings of full-time Indian-American workers was $65,000, compared to $40,000 among all US full-time workers. At a household level, Indian-Americans had a median annual household income of $88,000 in 2010–33% higher than that of all Asian Americans and 77% higher than the median income of US households as a whole ($49,800).(3)

Life in America

The vast majority of Indian Americans have come to the US just within the last generation in order to find better opportunities. Most have in fact found a better life in the US, and are satisfied overall with their lives and their new home.

A 2012 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that more than seven of 10 Indian-American immigrants came to the US seeking greater opportunities–reasons cited by just under half of Asian Americans overall. Specifically, Indian Americans cited the following reasons for their migration:

  • Educational opportunity: 37%, compared to 28% of all Asian Americans
  • Economic opportunity: 34%, nearly twice the share of all Asian Americans (21%)
  • Family reasons, including family reunification: 18%, a far smaller share than all Asian Americans (31%)
  • Escape persecution: 2%, far fewer than the Asian-American average of 9%
  • Some other reason: 9%
New generation

image: Alan C. (Flickr)

Family Comes First

Family is of supreme importance to most Indian Americans. Nearly four of five (78%), for example, say that being a good parent is one of the most important things in their lives. That’s a significantly higher share than among either Asian Americans (67%) or the overall US population (50%). And 64%-nearly twice the overall US rate of 34% (and also more than the 54% of all Asian Americans)–say that having a successful marriage is very important.


1 “Indian-Americans Form 3rd Largest Asian Population in US,” India Times, April 24, 2014,

2 Palash Ghosh, “The Rise of Indian-Americans in US Business,” International Business Times, March 10, 2014,

3 “The Rise of Asian Americans,” Pew Research Center, April 4, 2013,

Future in Focus recently published two reports devoted to the influential, prosperous, and rapidly growing Indian American population, exploring the demographics of this community in the US, as well as examining Indian American opinions on the US, on family and work life, on their relationships with other groups, and on politics. For more information on these reports, email us.

Ride that Wave of Disruption!

Fred Moore

Imagine a surfer atop his board, rising above the wave. He is being propelled forward by powerful forces. However, he doesn’t resist or fight back against the wave. He knows that’s impossible. Instead, he embraces the wave to maintain control of his board and uses the force of the wave to move himself in a particular direction.

Leaders often find themselves unwillingly pushed by strong forces around them – from changing workforce demographics to shifting consumer behaviors to disruptive technologies – but great leaders don’t fight the disruption, they embrace it.

Great leaders, like great surfers, know how to harness powerful waves and pivot in the direction that they want and need to go. Great leaders can spot the waves of disruption coming, and ride them to success… or bail out before they hit.

How can one learn to see and ride these waves? By applying foresight to everyday challenges.

  • Explore the Future – The pace of change today is relentless, which is why leaders need the ability to track, identify, and understand the changing social, business, and technological landscape. Scanning for trends is the first step in the process. And it’s critical to understand not just what is happening, but also why they are happening, looking at the underlying drivers such as shifts in consumer values and attitudes.
  • Map the Future – When meteorologists project the path of a hurricane, they don’t draw a straight line, they draw a funnel to show where the storm could go. Likewise, it’s impossible to predict the future, but we can map potential futures. The value of mapping the future is to see what’s possible, and plausible, and to spot emerging challenges and opportunities.
  • Create the Future – With a roadmap in hand, it’s now possible to decide which future is preferable, and what course of action to take that will get us there.

However, riding the wave is easier said than done.

This is why we’ve created The Futures School, a unique, immersive and hands-on 3-day program that has taught leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs from 23 countries the tools needed to successfully EXPLORE, MAP, and CREATE the future.

Our spring cohort is forming now, and will convene May 5th-7th, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Visit our website to receive more information and register to be a part of this exciting and empowering event.

Legalized Marijuana Grows More Likely

With ballot measures in the District of Columbia, Oregon, Maine, Alaska, and Florida, many of the “reefer referendums” stand a good chance at passing today, increasing the number of states where medical and recreational use of the drug will be legal.

Seems like a good time to look back at what our futurists wrote in 2007 about the likelihood of legalization.

@MikeVidikanFuture in Focus

Excerpts from the full report:

Wildcard—Legalized Marijuana; Changing Values and Lenient LawsDr Brainfish

Key findings
• In World 1 nations, publics are increasingly accepting of marijuana use.
• Marijuana already has a large market: 10% of Americans smoke regularly.
• Legalized marijuana could become a significant leisure product.

In World 1 nations, publics are increasingly accepting of marijuana use. While the majority of people in World 1 believe marijuana use should be illegal, a growing minority see it as merely a lifestyle choice.1 In certain countries such as Canada, most people support legalizing marijuana.2 Laws in EU countries have started to reflect this shift, with some 10 countries decriminalizing or moving to decriminalize marijuana possession. In the US, 12 states have legalized medical marijuana and six have passed measures decriminalizing marijuana use in some way.3

Organizations that advocate legalization of marijuana would like to see marijuana use regulated like alcohol and tobacco.4 In the Netherlands, where the sale of marijuana is legalized in small amounts; approximately 5% of the population uses marijuana, half the rate in the US.5 Advocates argue that legalized marijuana will lead to less frequent, more responsible use. Opposition to legalization is strong in some places. Those opposed see marijuana as a gateway drug, though few studies back this assertion.6

Legalization of marijuana would allow legitimate businesses to sell marijuana in a regulated setting. Products associated with marijuana would also be marketable.

• Nearly 25 million Americans smoke marijuana regularly, making it the most commonly used illicit drug in the US.7
• In the US, non-seniors tend to be far more accepting of marijuana use. About half of all boomers have tried it at some point.8 Young Americans are more likely to support legalization.9
• Three-quarters of the US public are said to accept medical marijuana use, suggesting potential acceptance of recreational use.10
• Some European countries have moved to non-enforcement of marijuana laws.
• Proponents of legalization argue that by some measures, such as violence, dangerous behavior, and health impacts, marijuana is milder in its effects than alcohol.11
• Most Americans reportedly favor no jail time for marijuana users.12

• The US Congress hasn’t passed any laws decriminalizing marijuana for medical or any other use.13
• There is strong opposition to decriminalization in many places.
• Marijuana is often seen as a “gateway drug” leading to harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.
• Some fear that decriminalization will increase usage among teenagers.14
• Opinion in World 1 countries varies substantially. Countries that wish to liberalize their marijuana laws will face pressure from more conservative countries, as is already happening between the US and Canada.
• Long-term or heavy marijuana use may be proven to have significant adverse health effects.

• There could be a severe backlash from opponents of the decriminalization of marijuana; they would at the least call for strict regulation of sale and consumption.
• If marijuana were decriminalized, the market for marijuana might change, as those drawn to the drug’s illegality might no longer be as interested. Marijuana could lose its “cool factor.”
• Criminal organizations that rely on marijuana trafficking for profit would have to shift their attentions elsewhere. Some marijuana-growing regions would no longer be suitable for illicit drug agriculture, though producers might turn to synthetic illegal drugs instead.
• Legalized marijuana could inspire increased use. About 10% of Americans are regular marijuana users, while approximately 25% of Americans are regular alcohol drinkers or cigarette smokers.15 Marijuana use could reach the level of cigarette and alcohol use, making it a significant leisure activity.
• The aging boomers who enjoyed marijuana in their youth could become a large market for the product.



  1. Eurobarometer 66: First Results, European Commission, Autumn 2006, 44,; Joseph Carroll, “Who Supports Marijuana Legalization?” Gallup Poll, November 1, 2005, viewed at Common Sense for Drug Policy,
  2. Daniel Savas, “Canadian Attitudes toward Decriminalizing Marijuana Use: What Surveys Show,” Fraser Institute, viewed July 2007,
  3. “FAQs,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, viewed June 2007,
  4. “FAQs,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, viewed June 2007,
  5. Manja Abraham, Hendrein Kall, and Peter Cohen, “Licit and Illicit Drug Use in Amsterdam, 1987 to 2001,” 2003,
  6. “Marijuana,” Drug Enforcement Administration, viewed June 2007,; Helen Phillips and Graham Lawton, “Drugs: The Intoxication Instinct,” New Scientist, November 13, 2004.
  7. “Marijuana,” Office of National Drug Control Policy, viewed June 2007,
  8. Susan Mitchell, American Generations, New Strategist Publications, Ithaca, New York, 2000, 139.
  9. Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee, “Young Americans Are Leaning Left, New Poll Finds,” New York Times, June 27, 2007,
  10. “Medical Marijuana,” Drug Policy Alliance, April 10, 2006,; “FAQs,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, viewed June 2007,
  11. “White House Anti-Drug Plan Unveiled,” Associated Press, February 8, 2006,
  12. “FAQs,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, viewed June 2007,
  13. “FAQs,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, viewed June 2007,
  14. “Marijuana,” Drug Enforcement Administration, viewed June 2007,
  15. John Fetto, “Baser Instincts—Survey on Seven Sins,” American Demographics,, June 1, 2003.