Wed, 18 March 2020
Are you prepared for the future? What about your organization or the people around you? Futurists don’t predict the future, but they do make sure their organizations aren’t surprised by what the future will bring. More people are becoming futurists, especially as the pace of change increases and many organizations look towards the future with uncertainty. But futurists don’t just take a shot in the dark to guess what will happen — their projections are rooted in thinking through multiple scenarios to make sure they and their organizations are as best prepared as possible.
Here are three ways to think like a futurist:
Look for signals
Every day, futurists scan the horizon for things that are coming in the future. These things may seem small now but can turn into major events and developments for the future. Signals could be geopolitical events, technology developments, demographic changes, or a number of other things. Signals come from reading reports, listening to podcasts and talks, researching, and talking to people with a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise.
Think of implications
From there, futurists consider what the signals could mean. Thinking of implications means taking things one step further, looking at how new developments could manifest in different areas, and considering the potential impact. Things in the future are connected, and futurists work to connect those dots to make sure they understand and are prepared.
There isn’t just one way the future will work out. Organizations and people who only consider one way of doing things won’t succeed in the future. Futurists look at multiple different possibilities and are open to new ideas. They ask lots of questions and run through a variety of scenarios by asking themselves what would happen if they went down a certain path. They follow that path to the end for a long-term view instead of stopping short of letting it fully play out.
Thinking like a futurist takes practice and involves paying attention, having an open mind, and running through numerous possibilities to find potential outcomes and which is the most likely. Getting in the habit with these three steps to thinking like a futurist can put you in the mindset to better understand the future and help those around you prepare for what’s to come.