Both the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) and the Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) have announced agendas for their 2011 annual meetings. Faced with declining structured settlement annuity sales and significant and continuing market changes, it is disappointing, but not surprising, that neither announced educational program includes specific strategic analysis and/or debate about how to improve and grow the structured settlement industry.
By comparison, the National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP), regularly features primary and secondary market structured settlement strategic analysis and debate during its annual meetings. For recent examples, see these S2KM blog posts:
As intellectual fuel to help jump-start strategic thinking within the structured settlement primary market, S2KM recommends a recent article by David Brooks in the New York Times titled "Tools for Thinking". Brooks' article discusses a recent symposium sponsored by edge.org which addressed the question: "What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?" Selected quotes (bold highlights by S2KM) applicable to the primary structured settlement market:
- "John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University, wrote that people should be more aware of path dependence."
- Path dependence "refers to the notion that often 'something that seems normal or inevitable today began with a choice that made sense at a particular time in the past, but survived despite the eclipse of the justification for that choice.'”
- "We often try to understand problems by taking apart and studying their constituent parts. But emergent problems can’t be understood this way. Emergent systems are ones in which many different elements interact. The pattern of interaction then produces a new element that is greater than the sum of the parts, which then exercises a top-down influence on the constituent elements."
- "Culture is an emergent system. A group of people establishes a pattern of interaction. And once that culture exists, it influences how the individuals in it behave."
- "Emergent systems are bottom-up and top-down simultaneously. They have to be studied differently, as wholes and as nested networks of relationships."
Prior S2KM blog posts related to structured settlement "path dependence", "emergent systems" and "culture":
For S2KM's reporting about prior NSSTA, SSP and NASP conferences, see S2KM's structured settlement wiki.