• SRI International (Uemura Room) (map)
  • 333 Ravenswood Ave
  • Menlo Park, CA, 94025
  • United States


Cyberpunk author William Gibson famously claimed, “The future is already here—it's just not very evenly distributed.”  We present a process and practitioners who have found that “redistributing” existing information provides a way to look at the future today.

Please join us at SRI International on 2 June 2015 to explore a system that provides early warning of pretrend topics and friction areas in the external environment, enabling the identification of threats and opportunities at a very early stage. The approach enables users to navigate the future, to cut through clutter, to identify areas of change, and to take time-sensitive actions. Hundreds of Fortune 2000 companies have used the process, but even startups and individuals can benefit from an understanding how to map marketplace dynamics.

We have invited a range of practitioners to join a panel. They will share their experiences with the approach, the benefits to expect, and the challenges to overcome.

We will discuss how companies can identify new developments reliably, prioritize new developments, and initiate meaningful follow-up steps


Speaker and panelist. Martin Schwirn is the director of the Strategic Business Insights (an SRI International spin-off) Scan™ service, which alerts organizations to signals of change in the business environment. He has more than 15 years of experience in innovation-related international consulting for industry-leading companies. He has been an invited speaker and panel participant at many events, including the Industrial Research Institute's Annual Meeting and a Tim O’Reilly conference. 

Panelist. Tom McKenna is an independent strategy consultant specializing in technology innovation. He was previously research director at the Allstate Research Center in Menlo Park, California. In that position, he created Allstate’s first in-house scanning program. He has conducted innovation-related research and development, including scanning, for more than 14 years. He has given numerous presentations based on his research, and he has published widely on a variety of topics.

Panelist. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is a senior consultant at Strategic Business Insights, specializing in pervasive computing, the Internet of Things, and mobile devices. He has overseen scanning platforms focused on the future of science and innovation for the US National Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry. He is the author of The Distraction Addiction, which discusses the struggle to use information technologies productively. He is currently writing Rest: How Working Less Gets More Done, which examines how creative and productive people get so much done in a very short amount of time. He has a Ph.D. in history of science from the University of Pennsylvania, held postdoctoral fellowships at Stanford University and UC Berkeley, and was a visiting fellow at Microsoft Research Cambridge.

Moderator: Eilif Trondsen. Eilif is the Chair of Silicon Vikings’ Special Interest Group on Entrepreneurship and Learning, He has worked at SRI (formerly Stanford Research Institute) and Strategic Business Insights (SBI)—a spin-out from SRI (located on the SRI campus in Menlo Park)—for the last 35 years, doing research and consulting in ecommerce, ebusiness, and elearning. He has led three multi-client research programs, including two focused on education and learning, and in recent years much of his work has been focused on the Nordic region, with projects for Tekes and Nordic Innovation. He has been a Board Member of Silicon Vikings for the last 5 years.


- 5:30 - 6:15 gathering and networking
 6:15 - 6:30 introduction
 6:30 - 7:00 Scan presentation
 7:00 - 7:15 break
 7:15 - 8:00 panel discussion
 8:00 - 8:30 networking and informal discussions