Ordinary organizations are at risk. In a majority of today’s professional practices, a persistent gravitational pull shuts entry ports into the future’s infinite possibilities. That’s a shame because there is much that can be gained through the implementation of bold strategy, including innovation, growth, and the opportunity to do exquisite work.

Some firms are realizing their strategy through specialization, which allows them to develop deeper and more overt value propositions. When such value is effectively communicated, it is prized by clients. While some organizations in the A/E/C industry are struggling through the uncertainty of changing value perceptions and rapidly changing business realities, we see evidence that a new era is emerging. This era is both sober and exciting.

Foresight is no crystal ball. No, it’s not that. Here is how we study trends, chart shifts, and plan scenarios: The staff of DesignIntelligence and the Greenway Group monitor firm data, best practices, changing strategies, participate in online conferences, and monitor business publications in key subject areas, including design, technology, economics, the environment, and demographics. We gather together with thought leaders including senior fellows of the Design Futures Council, to develop implications for the future of the design professions. We typically use a three-year horizon, with implications and scenarios for even further into the future. This is a type of objective futurism and helps us forget what we think we know, opening our minds to what we need to know.

DesignIntelligence is the journal of the Design Futures Council, which was co-founded by Jonas Salk, M.D., developer of the polio vaccine. He encouraged us constantly to study success in order to jump forward into new possibilities. Since the DFC’s founding in 1995, we have focused on new paradigms of success, including personal, team, studio, and organizational achievement. Salk suggested at one of our first DFC Summits in La Jolla, Calif., that the A/E/C industry could be optimized through new forms and chemistries of symbiosis. This includes thinking together, working together, and feeling together in ways that are purposeful, helpful, and ultimately powerful. Through our Summits and think tanks, we have worked on mutualism — finding mutual advantage in the future of the A/E/C industry. The birthing of Design­Intelligence was the result of the DFC’s commitment to expose leaders to possibility thinking; therefore, each issue is intended to take readers on a tour of probable possibilities.

A/E/C leaders will discover in the years ahead that new success can be realized through innovation underpinned by the emerging power of technology and the richness of imagination among people in this industry. Our 2012-2015 trends research reminds us that strategic plans in some organizations are becoming stale. Yet other organizations have developed a discipline of six-month updates to their plan, mixing strategy, execution, and measurement. Metrics too are advancing in different ways.

At the recent Design Futures Council Executive Board meeting at the Harvard Club in Boston, we engaged in conversations observing that the classical and learned professions have arrived at a moment of self-imposed peril. Working harder is no longer the solution. There is a revolution going on. While this is an uncomfortable situation, unique ideas offer boundless possibilities.

Everything is changing. This is not a bad thing, and yet change does not automatically move us forward. Change can be dangerous. Our mission at DesignIntelligence is to make sense of it all and to support your navigation forward. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.”

Following are 25 mind-expanding trends that move beyond problem solving to creating solutions.