This book’s long journey from rough ideas to printed words on a page began in the late 1990s, when Mark, then a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, began working with Harvard Business School’s Professor David Garvin on what they called “learning-based strategic planning.” This formed the foundation of what was further developed at Innosight to become the future-back way of thinking and planning that we explain in these pages.
Many of our Innosight colleagues contributed to the concept and practice of future-back, too many to name all of them here. Together, across many dozens of client engagements, we have shaped future-back thinking into a powerful and repeatable methodology, and everyone at Innosight deserves some share of the credit.
We want to particularly acknowledge David Duncan, Erika Meldrim, and Prashant Srivastava, who helped shape the future-back methodology in its early days. Scott Anthony, Patrick Viguerie, and Bernard Kümmerli provided very careful reviews of the book in its various stages; and Natalie Painchaud, Tim Riser, Annie Garofalo, Jason Lee, Emily Ottman, Cathy Olofson, and Kristen Blake offered invaluable contributions and critiques.
We also want to thank the many business leaders and executives who have entrusted us with the privilege of helping them bring their visionary strategies to life. Learning runs both ways in these engagements. Challenging, collaborating with, and inspiring us every day, they have all made immeasurable contributions to our thinking.
Roy Davis, a former Johnson & Johnson senior executive and a current member of Innosight’s board of advisors, has been a great friend and an invaluable partner in our work on vision and strategy over the years and also in the work of developing the future-back methodology; in fact, he introduced the phrase “future-back” to our lexicon. Innosight Board Advisor Clark Gilbert’s careful readings of the book’s upfront chapters were extremely helpful.
Bill Hait, Ben Wiegand, Avi Spira, Dave Yazujian, Cat Oyler, Oliver Stohlmann, and their talented teams at Johnson & Johnson continue to inspire us with their quest to intercept disease. They are true future-back visionaries, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them on their ambitious mission and to tell part of their still-unfolding story.
Chris Chadwick, John Casesa, Lloyd Baird, Karl Ronn, Peter Koen, Michael Putz, Mary Ann Knaus, Mark Harris, Janice Evans, Carolynn Cameron, Scott Cook, Sandi Peterson, Leslie Jelalian, Tony Tiernan, John Grace, Jack London, and Andy Hill are among the many business leaders, teachers, and thinkers who contributed insights at different stages of the book. In particular, former Procter & Gamble chairman and CEO A. G. Lafley read the manuscript and shared his in-depth, invaluable perspectives on it.
Huron Consulting’s CEO Jim Roth, President Mark Hussey, Managing Director in Higher Education Practice Peter Stokes, and Managing Director in Huron’s Studer Group Leadership Practice Craig Deao, all provided very helpful guidance as well.
On the publishing end, Mark’s agent James Levine, publicists Mark Fortier and Jill Totenberg, and freelance editors Andrea Ovans, Heather Hunt, and Bronwyn Fryer contributed excellent advice that helped to focus the manuscript. Our primary editor at Harvard Business Review Press, Kevin Evers, really got us on our way, having enough faith in us to sign us up as authors and providing us with thoughtful, caring guidance throughout the entire book-writing process. We’re also grateful to HBR’s Allison Peter for her invariably wise assistance. Ash Devillan and Micah Burger at OPX Design and Crystal Spanakos of Innosight created eye-catching graphics and also helped with the overall design of the book.
Arthur Goldwag helped enormously in the sometimes mystical task of taking ideas out of Mark’s head and putting them on paper. Their collaboration began well before the book was envisioned, never mind formally proposed, and continued through its many pivots and drafts. He was patient throughout and ever-vigilant that we told the story right.
We also owe a very special thanks to Jake Gulisane, who shepherded so many important elements of the manuscript through its development. And Carly White, Mark’s executive assistant, has been an incredible partner in helping manage all the moving pieces of bringing a book together.
Josh would like to thank Mark for his many years of mentorship and for his invitation to join this project; his Innosight colleagues, who never cease to inspire him; and most importantly, his family. He dedicates his portion of this book to them: his parents, Bernie and Simone Suskewicz, for instilling a love of learning and an abiding sense of purpose; his children Rose and Salem, for bringing light into his life every day; and his wife Rachel, his partner in everything and the love of his life.
And finally, Mark’s deepest gratitude goes to his wife, Jane Clayson Johnson, his most trusted truth-teller and dearest friend, who has been a tremendous source of wisdom and support throughout the long process of researching, writing, and rewriting Lead from the Future. Not only has she patiently endured his many years of distraction, but she has never ceased to remind him of the need to stay focused on his (and what should be everyone’s) ultimate goal—to secure a better world for their children, their grandchildren, and their children after them.