Named an Inc. Magazine Ten Best New Business Books of 2020

“Make this a selection for your leadership team’s book club.”


Featured in Forbes Top Ten Technology Books of 2020

“Enables executives to think clearly, creatively and extensively about the future while turning ideas for the future into action today.”


Gold Medalist, Leadership Category

An innovative approach to strategy development that empowers leaders to envision the breakthrough opportunities that drive long-term growth—and then implement the initiatives that are needed to bring them to life.

We all know visionary leaders when we see them. They’re bold and prophetic and at the same time pragmatic. They don’t just promote change, but drive it, while inspiring and mobilizing others to do the same.

Transformational business visionaries like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, or political figures like Mandela and FDR, possess a range of innate qualities that make them extraordinary, but what truly sets them apart is their ability to turn vision into action.

Order the book at these and other retailers:

In Lead from the Future Mark W. Johnson and Josh Suskewicz introduce a new way of thinking and managing that they call “future-back,” which allows any manager to become a practical visionary. Frankly addressing the many barriers to change that exist in established organizations, they present a systematic approach to overcoming them, laying out:

  • How the future-back principles and mindset can enable you and your leadership team to look beyond a typical short-term planning horizon and grasp the challenges and opportunities that will define the future
  • A step by step approach for translating your vision into a strategic plan that your team can align around and commit to
  • A way to infuse visionary thinking into the processes and culture of your whole organization, so that it becomes both a repeatable capability and a way of life

As practical as it is inspiring, Lead from the Future is the guide you and your team need to think as clearly, creatively, and expansively as visionary company founders do–and then act decisively to turn your innovative ideas into breakthrough growth.


About the Authors

Mark Johnson is co-founder and Senior Partner of Innosight where he helps companies envision and create new growth, manage transformation, and achieve renewal through business model innovation. Read more.


Josh Suskewicz is a Partner at Innosight where he partners with leaders to transform their organizations in response to disruptive change, identify high potential growth opportunities, accelerate the development of promising emerging technologies, and guide the creation of new business models. Read more.



Related insights & Resources


Reinventing How Industrial Organizations Address Disruptive Change

December 2021


The effects of the disruptive forces in industrials are large and non-linear. A “future-back” approach to strategy can give organizations the confidence to act and break the cycle of “better sameness.” Read the full executive briefing.

A Future-Back Approach to Breakthrough Growth

September 2020


Big organizations are shorter-lived than they have ever been. Future-back thinking is a way to develop a clear vision of your organization’s future, to anticipate growth opportunities, and to stop doing the things that are becoming irrelevant. Read the briefing.

Leaders, Do You Have a Clear Vision for the Post-Crisis Future?

April 2020


Whether in times of crisis—like the current COVID-19 pandemic—or in times of relative stability, leading with a vision and articulating a strategic path forward is crucial for long-term business success. Read the full article from Harvard Business Review.

Visionary Thinking in Times of Crisis

April 2020


Watch Mark W. Johnson, co-founder and senior partner at Innosight, and Innosight partner Josh Suskewicz, coauthors of the new book Lead from the Future in the on-demand webcast here.


May 2020


Even during a crisis, developing a “future-back” mindset can spur innovation and growth. In this HBR IdeaCast interview, Mark Johnson shares how to look beyond the short-term to grasp future opportunities. Listen here.

Lead from the Future: The Idea In Five

May 2020


Short on time? This illustrated mini-book captures the key concepts and highlights in a quick-read, shareable format. Download the PDF.

Does Your Company Have a Long-Term Plan for Remote Work?

July 2020


Future-back thinking can help leaders set and achieve their new work paradigm so it’s not replacing one dogma with another. Read the full article from Harvard Business Review.

Do the U.S.’s Big Four Tech Companies Have a Vision for the Future?

July 2020


The jury is still out on what Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google can become. Will they be driven over the next 10 years by the pursuit of profit, or will they bring new value into the world? Read the full article in Harvard Business Review.

“A powerful manifesto for long-view thinking, Lead from the Future offers step-by-step guidance for leadership teams that want to let go of the past and seize a new future. I recommend it wholeheartedly to any manager who wants to become a visionary leader.”

– Scott Cook, co-founder and chairman of the executive committee, Intuit; member of the boards of directors at Procter & Gamble and eBay

Lead from the Future shares invaluable examples of “Future-back” thinkers and companies who have exhibited long-term focus, sustained investments, and life-changing innovations. The book provides actionable insights and operating models to challenge your leadership teams to create a better tomorrow.”

– Wendell P. Weeks, Chairman & CEO of Corning

Lead from the Future not only makes a powerful case for the need for long-term vision—it gives leaders the tools that they need to set a new course for their organization and navigate it towards a better future.”

– Admiral James Stavridis, USN, Operating Executive, The Carlyle Group; Supreme Allied Commander at NATO (2009-2013)

“Effective leadership today is about building an environment in which people are willing and able to co-create a better future. Lead from the Future explains why that can be so difficult in large organizations—and shows how barriers to breakthrough innovation can be overcome.”

– Linda Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, author of Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation

“The next decade will be far too noisy for conventional present-forward strategy. Leaders must look back from the future but act now. Johnson and Suskewicz show us how to discover the present value of future-back thinking.”

– Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future, author of twelve books, including Full-Spectrum Thinking

Lead from the Future’s central premise is deceptively straightforward but decidedly revolutionary. In short, before an organization can master its future, its leaders must think about it systematically—with vision and creativity, but also with discipline, rigor, and realism. The rest is sound management. Johnson and Suskewicz have raised a battle cry for the kind of leadership that we need in these uncertain times.”

– Sandi Peterson, Operating Partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, member of the Microsoft board of directors, and former Group Worldwide Chairman at Johnson & Johnson

In the Media

January 15, 2021


Lead from the Future is featured in Forbes’ Top Ten Technology Books Of 2020.

May 18, 2020

SmallBizDaily: Planning, Not Just Hoping for the New Normal

Mark Johnson and Josh Suskewicz shares the importance of visionary thinking in times of crisis.

May 15, 2020

The certain answer during COVID-19: Be kind, smart and important

In this Deseret News interview, Mark Johnson discusses the leadership challenge during a pandemic.

May 14, 2020

The Economist: Planning ahead when the future is uncertain

Mark Johnson shares insight on the coronavirus and planning for the future.

May 14, 2020

IBM’s Business of Government podcast

Mark Johnson discusses how to plan for the future in this podcast.

May 12, 2020

HBR IdeaCast: To Build Strategy, Start with the Future

Even during a crisis, developing a “future-back” mindset can spur innovation and growth. Mark Johnson shares how to look beyond the short-term planning horizon and grasp future opportunities. 

May 11, 2020

The Future of Work Podcast

Mark Johnson shares how to lead from the future in this podcast episode.

May/June Issue

BizEd Magazine

Lead from the Future is included in this BizEd Magazine bookshelf review.

April 30, 2020

HBR The Disruptive Voice Podcast

In this Disruptive Voice episode, Mark Johnson shares reflections on his work and friendship with Clay Christensen and a process of longer-term management called future-back thinking.

April 30, 2020

Creative Life Podcast

Creative Life host James Taylor interviews Mark Johnson on how to Lead From The Future.

April 30, 2020

The Innovation Show Podcast

Mark Johnson is interviewed in this podcast on how to turn visionary thinking into breakthrough growth by leading from the future.

April 30, 2020

LinkedIn Videocast with Vijay

Mark Johnson joins host Vijay Raju for an interview on the new book Lead from the Future.

April 29, 2020

Innovation & Leadership Podcast

Myelin Media and Mark W. Johnson discuss innovation and leadership in this two-part interview podcast.  

April 28, 2020

Therefore What Podcast

In this episode, Mark Johnson talks about how the essential trait for leading a business, community or country through a crisis is vision.

April 28, 2020

Inside Sources Podcast

Mark Johnson joins this episode to discuss why forward-thinking leadership is even more important today than ever.

April 28, 2020

The Inside Outside Blog

Lead from the Future is featured in this Inside Outside Innovation Must-Reads List.

April 27, 2020

Mark Johnson shares his thoughts on the importance of long-term thinking.

April 24, 2020

The Everyday Innovator Podcast

In this podcast, Mark Johnsons shares how product managers and leaders turn visionary thinking into breakthrough growth.

April 21, 2020

Jacob Morgan’s LinkedIn Live

Mark Johnson joined Jacob Morgan on LinkedIn live to discuss how to become a visionary leader and change the world.

April 21, 2020

Lead from the Future is reviewed by Bob Morris in this post.

April 21, 2020

Inside LaunchStreet

In this podcast with host Tamara Ghandour, Mark Johnson explores the concept of “Future-Back” thinking from the new book Lead from the Future.

April 17, 2020

Voice America’s Transformational Energy Leadership

Mark Johnson joins host Dr. Matthew Woolsey for a conversation on transformational leadership.

April 15, 2020


Watch Mark Johnson with the At Work editor, Heather Landy talk how to lead from the future.

April 14, 2020

SHRM’s People + Strategy

Mark Johnson shares the importance of future-minded leaders for innovation.

April 14, 2020

Medium’s Marker

Mark Johnson reveals how companies can plan years ahead, even in the midst of a crisis.

April 14, 2020

Leadership Freak

In this interview, Mark Johnson shares how leaders can create the future today.

April 14, 2020

Leadership Now

Lead from the Future is featured in the top new releases on the issues facing leaders.

April 14, 2020

The Innovation Room

In this podcast’s first episode, Mark Johnson shares insights from his new book Lead from the Future.

April 14, 2020

Inspiring Innovation

In this in-depth interview with Jesse Nieminen, Mark Johnson shares the story behind his new book going back to the beginnings of Innosight nearly 20 years ago.

April 14, 2020

Disrupt Yourself Podcast

Mark Johnson joins host Whitney Johnson for a conversation on future back thinking.

April 9, 2020

Success Magazine

Lead from the Future is featured in this list of 6 business books you need to read to level up.

April 1, 2020

Inside Higher ED

Mark Johnson and Peter Stokes on how higher education can overcome the crisis-induced backlash against online education, in Inside Higher Ed.

March 25, 2020

Fast Leader Show – Interview with mark Johnson

Mark Johnson joins Jim Rembach on the Fast Leader Show with insights on “Future Back” thinking and how leaders can plan for the long-term.