Future First is a practical guide for any business leader who wants to build, expand, or reinvent their company by finding new value in global challenges. Traditional companies often view issues like income equality, global warming, and resource scarcity as "problems." By contrast, future first leaders understand them as opportunities, as innovation challenges.
Through real-life business examples ranging from Nike to Opower, this book lays out how to identify and adopt the future first leadership mindset and business capabilities required to achieve lasting and integrated performance results. Future First examines how leaders from companies including Unilever, Etsy, Revolution Foods, Method Products, and others have adopted this mindset toward innovation and people practices, accelerating business ecosystem transformation.
Alice Mann, an organizational psychologist with twenty years of experience consulting and coaching on executive leadership, organization design, and business transformation, interviewed scores of business leaders to understand how their companies are expanding into new value frontiers. Future First makes a convincing argument that successful partnerships and alliances among big global companies and small mission-driven ones can reshape the global ecosystems of apparel, food, automobiles, and energy, and remake the future of our world.
Table of Contents
Introduction: winning at the value frontier of the future
Chapter 1: The power to change everything
Chapter 2: Embracing our biggest innovation challenges
Chapter 3: Selecting the future with big questions
Chapter 4: Free your mindset
Chapter 5: Future-proofing your leadership
Chapter 6: Building future first DNA into Etsy, Apple, and Nike
Chapter 7: The value of future first talent strategies
Chapter 8: Multiplying your impact through ecosystem partnerships
Epilogue: future first in the era of backwards politics
About the author
Alice Mann advises senior executives to build their leadership teams and design their organizations to achieve their mission and strategy. Mann has consulted with and coached scores of leaders of global Fortune 500 companies, preeminent non-profits, and social enterprises to inspire and deliver strong performance results.
Mann is a former vice president at JPMorgan Chase, where she led large post-merger reorganization efforts. Mann holds a PhD and MA in social and organizational psychology from Columbia University and a BA in history from Reed College, USA. Additionally, she earned a two-year organizational dynamics certification from the William Alanson White Institute. Mann has also taught a graduate course called Leading People at Columbia University. She lives with her family in New York.
"For business leaders, investing in a more sustainable economy isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the key to long-term business success. With a combination of statistics and storytelling, Alice Mann brings this point to life. Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a budding entrepreneur, or an individual committed to tackling the great challenges of the world, Future First is a must-read."
–Willy Foote, Founder/CEO of Root Capital
"With her keen business acumen and deep compassion for people who will inherit our successes and failures, Mann has written a book that’s one-part business strategy, one-part inspiration, and one-part plea to the leaders of the world to consider the long-term consequences of our actions. With Future First, Mann moves the corporate responsibility conversation forward by positioning social issues and global environmental degradation not as problems but innovation challenges. This is truly a must-read for any entrepreneur interested achieving lasting and integrated business results and social change."
–Kirsten Saenz Tobey, Founder and Chief Impact Officer of Revolution Foods
"Mann’s book should be required reading for any leader considering big changes in their company, or more importantly for any leader who isn’t. "Future First" breaks down the barrier between profit-driven enterprises and environmental do-gooders. They can—and should—be one and the same."
–Mark R. Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy and author of Nature’s Fortune
"Renewable energy produces about 20% of the world’s energy; sales of electric vehicles and organic produce are the fastest selling segments in their industries – Future First is an insightful and robust guidebook to how businesses can further accelerate this transformation to a sustainable economy."
–Nancy Pfund, Founder of Double Bottom Line Partners and early investor in Tesla Motors, SolarCity and Revolution Foods.
"With her framing of the Five Practices of Future First, together with case studies of some of the leading firms working to integrate those practices into their business, Mann offers not only a window into the marketplace of tomorrow, but important insights into how today’s CEOs and managers may best position themselves to shape that future. Given her years of experience consulting to leadership teams in diverse industries, she is able to offer both relevant lessons and compelling stories of how Future First Companies is a powerful framework for today’s entrepreneurs and leadership teams."
–Jed Emerson, Author of The Impact Investor: Lessons in Collaborative Capitalism and Founder of BlendedValue.org
"Move over, ‘Shared Value’ and ‘CSR’: Here comes Alice Mann with Future First. This book is a well-written, deeply-researched analysis of businesses that have not just managed but embraced society’s biggest challenges. Mann has sketched out a playbook to take companies beyond doing less harm to effecting meaningful change, with inspiring stories of the individuals making it happen."
–Christine Bader, Author, The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil; former Director, Social Responsibility, Amazon
"Mann convincingly shows in Future First that a new massive wealth opportunity is at our fingertips linking sustainability and economic development."
–Jigar Shah, Co-Founder Generate Capital
"Alice Mann nails it. A must read for First-Movers and companies concerned with staying on the forefront of innovation."
–Rebecca Costa, American Sociobiologist and author of The Watchman’s Rattle
"Alice Mann has written a very exciting book. She offers leaders and their companies a practical path to a future where they can succeed by balancing profit and purpose. It turns we can ‘do well by doing right,’ and Future First shows us how."
–Erika Andersen, Founding Partner of Proteus International and Author of Be Bad First