About Enterprise Poetry
Enterprise poems are a vehicle for exploring the enterprises of tomorrow. The word enterprise here is intended to cover products, processes,
companies, industries, forms of government, social movements - any human
enterprise. Of course enterprises often start as a product, grow into a
company, and then grow into an entire industry just as an idea might start as a
social movement and grow into a new form of government.
Every day we are served by the results of enterprise innovations that were invented in the past. We owe a great debt to these bold innovators who stepped out into the unknown since every future rung in the ladder of
enterprise evolution builds on successful - and unsuccessful - enterprises from the past. But I've
always been more interested in imagining enterprises that could be made to happen in the future.
My name is Brian Mulconrey. It
should come as no surprise that my work as a management consultant and scenario
planner has focused heavily on bringing new enterprises to life.
For many years I've been inspired by "ideas" for future enterprises. I wrote an editorial that appeared in the The Wall Street Journal. on July 13, 1992 titled "Edison's Greatest Invention." It explored Edison's assertion that his greatest invention was a forum for imagining the possible inventions of tomorrow and then finding ways to bring those inventions to life, i.e., The research laboratory.
Over the past few years, it started to become clear to me that one of the enterprises I was most interested in bringing to life was a format for "expressing" visions of tomorrow's enterprises. This set me on a course of exploration that involved reading or re-reading a wide range of futurist literary formats
from the poetic musings of the Oracle at Delphi (starting
in the 8th century BC) to Thomas More's "Utopia" (1516), and Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward: 2000-1887" (written in 1886). Then, shifting to contemporary futurist literature, I re-read Jay Ogilvy's "Creating Better Futures" and
Joel Garreau's newest book titled "Radical Evolution."
When I re-read Aristotle's
(350 BC) I was stopped in my tracks by his statement that, "It is not the
function of the poet to relate what has happened, but what may happen what is
possible according to the law of probability or necessity. The poet and the
historian differ not by writing in verse or in prose...The true difference is
that one relates what has happened, the other what may happen."
Aristotle's words helped me to understand that the problem
with brief essays that speculate on future enterprise possibilities is that there is too much missing
from the story. The same missing information that adds depth and interest to a
poem is regarded as a weakness when evaluating a traditional essay. This caused
me to experiment with Aristotle's "three part structure" in the context of a brief poetry format.
By writing from the future, this format speaks in the language of enterprise where driving forces such as developments in nanotechnology are the verbs that animate action and the nouns are products, processes, government structures...any human enterprise.
An enterprise poem starts with an idea for an enterprise that doesn't yet exist. In one enterprise poem format, the first section describes the new enterprise from a date
in the future. The middle section tells the story of
how this enterprise came to life. What were the driving forces that caused it
to happen? The last section brings us back to the present.
At this point I feel compelled to point out that I am not holding out my work as the best example of this art. There are many others with more talent for writing compelling enterprise poetry. I also imagine that others will invent new and better formats for enterprise poems in the future.
A collection of my work can be found on my blog at
Tomorrow's Enterprises. The
term "enterprise animation" is my branded approach
to thought experiments around how we might bring new
enterprises to life...animate
Why write enterprise poetry? In addition to providing a format for individual expression, I believe that enterprise poems
can act as jumping off points for strategic conversation between people interested
in the future of existing enterprises as well as those with a desire to create new
enterprises. These are not predictions of future enterprises, they are speculations on "possible future enterprises." Ultimately, they represent a form of expression for framing
visions of tomorrow's enterprises.
How to Write Enterprise Poetry...