First things first, there’s no crystal ball that will help you predict the future, all we have is the present, and looking at the macro to create calculated decisions and hypothesis’ of what the future could look like.
Now that that’s out of the way.
What is Futures Thinking?
Futures thinking is the discipline of imaging and investigating the future to inform decisions in the present.
It takes long term perspectives (longer than the next five years) and leaning into the ambiguity of what could be.
What can help you in this endeavour and the uncertainty is to,
- Be curious and observant
- Don’t accept what is, rather break down the future result in to three possibilities
1) The close and probable
2) The adjacent and possible
3) The expansive and preferred
- We can also look at the Macro forces and how this might affect the market. This means looking at the external environment, the economy, demographics, etc. How might these external factors affect your product or market?
- It requires multiple perspectives and continually adapting your empathy understanding around the “wicked problem”
- A balance of creativity and critical thinking (probability over possibility)
An easy way to frame a futurist problem is, VUCA
VUCA is an acronym that stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity — qualities that make a situation or conditions difficult to analyse, respond to or plan for. Understanding how to mitigate these qualities can greatly improve the strategic abilities of a leader and lead to better outcomes.
Futurists thinking demands we think differently in order to keep up with the demand of an ever changing world.