Insights May 25th, 2020
In early-March the world changed. COVID-19 accelerated through communities in the world (and it’s still doing that in places like Brazil). The keynotes I was lined up to deliver were shifted to 2021 and others dropped out-of-view. But, I have been so busy that I only now have a couple of days to reflect on the work I’ve done and share the 5 reasons to hire a futurist in a pandemic.
My 2020 predictions on 2020 being the ‘Year of Resiliency’ have proven to be somewhat true, yet I didn’t foresee a pandemic of this scale and ‘the great pause’ happening. Disruption is inconvenient and very expensive – like thousands of lives lost and trillions of dollars expensive. Incredible and many were (and are) incredulous.
It’s now, more than ever, that companies large and small, technology-focused and otherwise, and governments need futurists and foresight practitioners. But why? Because we can help them see beyond our current struggles towards better planned and more resilient futures for them, for humanity, and for the planet as a whole.
So, let’s look at 5 reasons to hire a futurist in a pandemic…
Futurists are data reductionists – in my practice I have been scanning 100+ articles a day for years. I constantly challenge hypotheses I have set to help me shape a vision of the future for clients.
Futurists challenge your core beliefs – being outside of your organization give me the advantage to think freely outside of your processes, biases (yes, they exist), management structure and products/services. I offer wildly radical new ideas and business models, and in so am able to help you and your teams do the same. This creates huge advantage as we challenge who we are and what we do. All bets are off so let’s push the boundaries of who we are.
Futurists can help you see risks ahead of time – I help clients look out 5, 10 and even 20 years ahead of time. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic I’ve been looking at the next few months and extrapolating out the trends to 5+ years. This provides confidence on making more solid bets on how the world might be. That confidence creates internal tension, discussions (that I help with), innovation-based projects and planning on the new world.
Futurists employ incredibly creative processes – there are many ways that I help clients look towards our exciting futures with open minds and creativity. Research and analysis, horizon setting, probably/plausible/possible futures planning, world-building, dystopia planning (read ‘Start with Dystopia’), speculative design, design fiction (see the YVR 2037 project), unconferences like FUTURE CAMP that help liberate thinking by empowering employees, applying monomyth storytelling, 2030 headline and press release writing, and so much more.
Futurists are humanists – a good futurist put humans at the centre of the work. Positive futures begin with positive human experiences. Technologies, processes, and corporate or government agendas take second place. Our world has to work societally for humans. In our futures work we should aim to follow humanistic principles for a world filled with positive solutions: humanity before technology; plurality, inclusion, and equity; and advancements guided by science and creativity. That is the way forward.
I’d love to speak with you about your project. Please contact me and we can start the conversation.