Summary of Navigating the Badlands

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Navigating the Badlands book summary


8 Overall

6 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Every few hundred years, the Western world takes itself apart and puts itself together again. Peter Drucker observed that this process of dissolution and reconstitution occurs so decisively that, afterward, people who live in the new world cannot even imagine the world of their parents or grandparents. Author Mary O’Hara-Devereaux believes that we are about three-quarters through a 75-year period of such disruptive innovation. She calls the transition "the Badlands." Like the barren Dakota Badlands of the Old West, they are a painful trial that makes or breaks people, and either way leaves them with a new sense of identity. The author identifies several distinct transitional pains for which she prescribes an equal number of palliatives. Her analyses and prescriptions can be thought provoking, though they are seldom trail blazing. While the book may be more smoke than fire, finds that smoke signals can be useful for the long-range vistas in the Badlands. (And, by the way, the author includes a chapter on China that seems almost as parenthetical as this sentence, though interesting enough. In reality, China looks like the pivot point of Badlands transitions, and how it comes through may affect how your neighborhood comes through, as well.)

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to conceptualize trends in globalization, leadership, organization and society; and
  • How to understand the difficulties of transformation.

About the Author

Mary O'Hara-Devereaux is the CEO of Global Foresight and has been a senior faculty member at the University of California, the University of Hawaii, Peking University and the Institute for the Future. She is co-author of Globalwork.



Change and its Discontents
Society has entered "the Badlands," a tortuous period of economic, social and technological transformation. By the time this conversion is complete, humanity will have an entirely new identity and will live in a completely new world. Four themes define this transition...

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