Clients often ask what are the top 5 tips for hiring the right Futurist that can help them future-proof their organizations, and help change the world for the betterment of humanity. I’m sharing this tips with you here.
The right Futurist will be an invaluable asset – whether it’s as a futurist speaker for an event or conference, to augment your strategic planning activities, on innovation and design thinking activities, for documentary and film advisory, or whatever.
This list will help you engage candidates that can help you and your organization. It will also help those people keen to pursue a career in Futurism as well.
1. They have the right qualifications and experience
Many people in the world are applying the title ‘Futurist’ to their job role, either as the main title or an addendum ‘…and Futurist’. The rise of pop futurism (taking stories and amplifying a wonderous, or fearful future, in a sensational way) has blurred the boundaries.
Yes, Futurists can be dreamers but they also need qualifications and experience.
Qualifications in a formal discipline like technology, architecture, city planning, engineering, philosophy, and other disciplines are a good basis for rational and creative thinking (although it’s not limited to these). Today, there are some amazing choices for people wanting to gain education that leads to a job focused in Futurism.
OCAD University in Toronto, Canada has a highly-regarded Faculty of Strategic Foresight and Innovation provides a ‘Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation’ course that is aiming to create a new kind of designer. They see this as a strategist who sees the world from a human perspective and re-thinks what is possible, and is an innovator who can imagine, plan and develop a better world. Take a look at what they do.
There are a number of other great courses around the world. The University of Houston has the Master of Science in Foresight, Foresight and Innovation at Stanford, PhD in Future Studies at the University of Stellanbosch Business School, and many others. I’ve put together a post with a full list of courses I have found – click here to take a look.
Beyond education, a great Futurist has spent 15+ years working in a modern business or research environment helping organizations and industries evolve and change. Look for notable clients in their roster and ask about key case studies. You can see the list of the clients I’ve worked with here to give yourself an idea.
2. They have a positive and driven attitude towards change
I often get asked on whether I believe in a positive or dystopian future. Personally, I only see progressive thought coming from envisioning a positive future. Yes, we can see the darkness in the corners (and, I produce DARK FUTURES for that purpose) however from that comes positive action to fix a problem.
I also think it’s about being an analyst and activist, here’s a couple of my thoughts on that.
It’s not just talking about abstract ideas on artificial intelligence, data, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. It’s about having substance and purpose with a curious mind that asks ‘what if?’.
3. They provide diverse services
In my mind a Futurist has to be a working Futurist i.e. applies what they learn continually in real-world scenarios. Pithy keynote speeches are not the only realm of a Futurist. I think it can extend to the following, and beyond:
Executive Advisary – Active involvement in board retreats using workshops and keynotes, private forums, one-on-one coaching, and strategic advisement to the C-suite of S&P 500 companies.
Strategic Planning – The application of strategic planning models, leading analysis and research into exponential technologies, innovation, research, new business models, foresight, policy and ethics, and design. And, all of this practically applied.
Event Production – conference curation, impactful keynote speeches, panel moderation and participation, and workshop delivery.
Media – podcasts, videos, social media, TV and radio, and film.
There will definitely be different ‘flavours’ of Futurists so don’t discount someone if they have a narrow field of expertise. You can hire more than one Futurist to be on a team, in fact I recommend it.
4. They constantly share opinion and push their own thinking
This is my philosophy and think it’s a good indicator of breadth and depth of knowledge. An active and engaged Futurist has a website that is up-to-date and active with blog posts, writes articles in more popular news media, presents at Universities, engages the community with events and meetups, appears on TV and radio, appearing (and producing) podcasts) and uses new media to engage the audience.
One thing that I have employed (and that I thoroughly enjoy doing) is taking a camera and mic on the road and share thoughts where I am about what I see. These VLOGs are gaining pace for me and in one or two minutes you get a core insight that helps adjust how you see the world. Take a look at a few of these VLOGs.
The bottom line is that when you Google a Futurist online you need to see a lot of content presented and you can then get a sense of who they are before reaching out. Look for diverse content, that’s the key.
5. They listen and are attentive to your needs
It comes down to good listening, and great customer service. Futurists should have focused research, challenging hypotheses definition, timely engagement, and clear insights and outcomes. It sounds simple however this takes full and committed engagement from both the Futurist and Client side.
The engagement may not always be comfortable. Unfortunately, the future is not convenient for you and your business. Hard decisions will need to be made to future-proof your business. It will take a money, people, and time investment.
A good client-Futurist engagement will result in a lifetime of insight and enhanced planning capabilities. Choosing a Futurist, a consultancy with Futurists, or a bespoke team to undertake foresight activities for your organization will be a game changer for you and your organization. You may even decide to take a step forward and become qualified in this disciple as well.
If you’s like to speak to Nikolas more on this then head over to contact him using the form on the Booking page.
Nikolas is a world-leading Futurist Speaker that drives leaders to take action in creating a better world for humanity. He promotes exponential thinking along with a critical, honest, and optimistic view that empowers you with knowledge to plan for today, tomorrow, and for the future.