RSS

Life is not FAIR get used to it.

24 Sep

They feed off your energy, money, insecurity or some other benefit that their association with you brings them.

.

Science fiction writer William Gibson famously once said, “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.” As leaders, how do we embrace the elements of the future that are here, and the ones that are just around the corner? By thinking more like a futurist.

In times of increasing change and complexity, it can be difficult to envision bold new futures with any certainty. Our go-to strategies for thinking about the future typically start with the elements that are known, such as projecting out historic results to future performance, analyzing existing competitors, or focusing on executing near-term results.

What’s missing are systematic approaches to understanding and taking advantage of the unknown. This is why leaders need to embrace skills, practices and behaviors of futurists.

Futurists don’t have secret powers to predict the future. They don’t have a Magic 8 Ball or special basket of fortune-cookie predictions. Rather, futurists discipline themselves to question the status quo. They regularly scan external trends, adjacent industries and underlying forces. They consider diverse perspectives. And they boldly tell stories about the future before all of the data is available to back it up.

MindTrip MagazineWhy Thinking Like a Futurist Is Valuable

We’ve been trained to think of the future as a linear extension of what we know, typically imagining change as a 10 percent improvement (or decline) from what we see around us.

We think we have a better understanding of the future than we do. Our implicit views about the future are so ingrained in business plans, financial models, and strategy conversations that leaders often don’t take the time to articulate underlying assumptions. When they do, they may discover plans rely on variables that are far from given and perhaps not the only options.

The future lives in a very broad set of possibilities, and these can unfold surprisingly quickly.

Technological, environmental and political changes will likely disrupt your business. How can you prepare for a different, even unimaginable world that will arrive faster than projected?

This is where methods commonly employed by futurists can help you strengthen your plans. Disciplined methods of strategic foresight systematically scan, analyze, probe and project the future beyond what we intuitively think might be possible.

How to See Ahead Like a Futurist

The first step is identifying the most important and uncertain macro forces shaping your business. These can usually be divided into five broad categories: social, technological, economic, environmental and political. (Tip: Recall these with the acronym STEEP.)

Under each of these categories, there are a number of driving forces and external variables that might lead to very different futures.

An insurance company, for example, might track variables related to the extension of human life (social), technologies disrupting treatment of chronic health conditions (technology), the rate of change from traditional employer-driven work arrangements to more independent “gig” jobs (economic), the frequency and impact of natural disasters (environmental), and the government’s stance toward regulation and potential new laws (political).

Once these high-impact variables are identified and prioritized, futurists gather diverse inputs to establish a range of how the variables are likely to play out over time. The further ahead they go, the wider the range of possibilities.

Futurists call this the cone of possibilities and carefully organize their forecasts into four buckets.

What are possible futures? This is the full range of events that could unfold.
What are plausible futures? This is what we believe is possible but unlikely.
What are probable futures? This is what’s most likely to happen.
What are preferred futures? This is what we want to happen.

Although these futures stem from a common set of identified variables, the derived outcomes are significantly different.

This can be an enlightening strategic exercise for leaders: Is your organization overemphasizing its preferred future and neglecting the full range of possible futures? If so, perhaps there isn’t enough hedging of investments. Does your organization default to the plausible future? Consider broadening the view by investigating new technologies, adjacent industries and early startups to inform alternative strategic options.

Paul Saffo, Singularity University’s Chair of Futures Studies and Foresight, repeatedly warns us that “sacred cows make the best burgers.” A quick way to make your organization more future-focused is by asking team members to dive into their networks and scout for evidence related to the key variables you’ve outlined and post them on an analog or digital wall.

How to Create Preferred Futures

Once you’ve identified your preferred future, you can start to identify key activities and milestones that would help create that future.

Backcasting is the act of imagining a preferred future and then stepping backward toward the present, repeatedly probing what has to happen to enable each step.

Backcasting is anchored in an aspirational future state rather than being constrained by limitations of the current state. This allows people to create their own richly detailed stories of the future and leads naturally to the discussion: “How can our product/service do that?”

To dream up bold, new possibilities, try imagining an outcome 10 times better, cheaper, or more impactful than what exists today. What if, for example, we all had access to personalized artificial intelligence wellness care providers through emotional robots? Or what if the majority of our transportation services were provided by autonomous vehicles?

Now step backward from each vision to discover what’s needed to turn it into reality.

Like forecasting, backcasting can be improved by seeking diverse input. For example, consider carving out a few hours in a company-wide meeting to craft “headlines from the future.” Just a few hours of collaboration can spark new thinking and ignite fresh ideas. Such exercises can also fuel interdisciplinary engagement and encourage a sense of collective responsibility.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and even ditch the PowerPoint slides. Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ director Kyle Nel uses narrative driven innovation to imagine new futures. To jumpstart his efforts, Nel brought in science fiction writers and illustrators to create comic books that showcased possible alternatives stretching far beyond smaller, incremental changes, helping the company’s leadership concretely imagine and visualize the Lowe’s store of the future.

Getting Comfortable With Ambiguity

One of the most challenging aspects of practicing the skills of a futurist is getting comfortable with the reality that we simply cannot predict the future. For many senior leaders, this is deeply unsettling. How can we possibly make big bets on the future without all the facts and data?

Most of us are uncomfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. Boldly looking ahead elicits doubt, fear, and anxiety — emotions we’d rather hold in check. We can learn to overcome our discomfort with the unknown, and even begin to revel in it, by continuously pushing ourselves to learn new things and seek out new experiences and people.

We are all capable of becoming better futurists. In doing so, we not only architect hope of new possibilities, we also build more flexible, adaptive and resilient organizations in the process.

.

By Lisa Kay Solomon / Singularity Hub

.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2017 in WISDOM

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Mightyman Vukeya

DNS is in my DNA

Chris Brake Show Podcast

LIVE! Every Wednesday @ 8pm Eastern / 7pm Central on StrangeLabel.com

wqp88888

Just another WordPress.com site

Digital Media

Join me here on my crazy techincal journey! Disasters will occur

Incognito

Just another WordPress.com site

Lama Surya Das

Lama Surya Das, the most highly trained American lama in the Tibetan tradition.

My Life as an Artist (2)

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

juliesiteblogdotcom1

A great WordPress.com site

Joseph Matheny : ars est celare artem

Reality Hacker | Artisanal Legend Crafter | Feral Scholar | Collarless Dog | Gamecaller | Mytho-Poetic Bricoleur | Labyrinthos Mythologicus Architect | Transgressive Storyteller | Caput Gerat Lupinum

My Story of Organized Crime, Organized Stalking, Public/Political Corruption and Domestic Terrorism

Over a decade of organized stalking, extortion, schemes to defraud, racketeering/murder in aid thereof, in colossal proportion.

dianetot's Blog

its all about life,love,passion,desires,truth

BEYOND

Parapsychology is what's beyond the humans and metaphysics is what's beyond nature, and both define the same thing... God.

Michelduchaine

Défenseur de la Terre/Defender of the Earth

Hathor Rabiah

A new name. A new city. A new life.

Opening Duirs

SOCIAL ENGINEERING AND PROGRAMMING

Cracked

The Chocolately, Nutty, Interior of my life and Psychology

Celestial Elf, a2ndLook~

Perceptions 0f Reflections ((a backup blog for http://celestialelfdanceoflife.blogspot.com/))...

Cindi Gale

To every thing there is a season ~

The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog (T.S.O.T.S.B.)

.......................Because Everything Else Just Bites!

Poetry Inspector

Favorites from around the Web

Los Sentidos De La Vida

Un Blog de Cine, Musica, Vinos... En 75 palabras aprox.

My Time is Now

Dancing With The Elderly- A Hollywood Actress's Day Job

let the free birds fly

surviving creating instigating

Qubethink

Permutate

AshiAkira's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

Delilah

Yes I cut Samson's hair, he was an asshole.

diary of a single mom in the south

my life, my love, my story

My Hong Kong Husband

Third culture wife: Polish girl married to a Hongkonger, fresh off the airplane in Ireland. AMWF, lifestyle, culture, food, Asian fashion and a little bit of Cantonese

Dean J. Baker - Poetry, and prose poems

My books: https://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

Loving Without Boundaries

A Modern Look At Practicing Polyamory / Ethical Non-monogamy

Gorgeous

Ramblings from a disturbed mind ©2013 Cho Wan Yau

Middle-Aged Martial Arts Mom

Loving a crippling compulsion....

lovinchelle

LIVING LIFE AND TAKING PICS ALONG THE WAY.

Just me being curious

A blog of questions and few answers.

I Dont Want To Talk About It

The Ultimate Paradox: Depression in Sobriety

Shepherd Mulwanda

ICT Research Training and Consultancy,Agriculture & the Youths

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

White Shadows

Story of a white pearl that turned to ashes while waiting for a pheonix to be born inside her !

GIFT FROM THE HEART - Share and Care!

Appreciation, Respect and Gratitude towards all...... that there is!

dancingwithanother

Trying to make sense of turmoil

Dince's Chronicles

My Personal Blog

Awareness It Self

Quotes for spiritual enjoyment

dliwcanis

Esoterically Eccentric

Doug Does Life

A Creative Monkey On How To Find Your Path In Life.

Never Quite Broken

What you did not build up, you cannot tear down.

%d bloggers like this: