The Future Is Yours To Create

A few years ago, I repositioned my company to work more on the future and less on generations. I trimmed staff and set a badass goal for myself. (I figured, if Seth Godin could do it, I could, too) To write a new book every two years.

When I finished ReGENERATION in 2013, I knew that I wanted my next book to be about the future of cities. So I’m pleased to announce that today, that book is being born. It’s called The Next Big Things.

Except it’s not actually a book. It’s a PDF.

And it’s not really “mine.” It was a partnership with the Alliance for Innovation.

But I couldn’t love it more, or be more proud of it. I imagine this is what it feels like when you have a family with kids who are biologically yours, plus adopted kids. You know, like Brad and Angelina. You don’t love any of your kids less. (As an adopted kid, I have some perspective on this.)

But I do love The Next Big Things in a different way than my other books because it involved so many collaborators, from city managers and their staffs, to the brainiacs who served on our international Delphi panel, to the subcommittee members tasked with serving as this project’s midwife (and who sometimes drove me bloody mad.)

When all that collaboration became a little too much, I remembered this simple intention: I want this book to be of service.

In 1980, the International City/County Managers Association published The Essential Community. It took a 20-year perspective on the future of cities, and became a go-to resource for city leaders. That’s the same time-horizon we take in The Next Big ThingsTwenty years is the length of a generation, the right period of time for us to get out of our own way and imagine what our communities could be for our kids and grandkids.

I hope that The Next Big Things is a worthy update to The Essential Community, and raises the bar further. Our aim is to teach readers what to think about (44 trends), and how to think about the future, and lead their communities through an inclusive process.

The Next Big Things is really a love letter to the next generation of city leaders. If you’re one of them, I hope you’ll check it out.

I’ve got your back.