Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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Picking the Right Futurist for Your Strategic Insights

Friday 12 September 2014

When I look at my overall client types, it seems to me that I have two main types of client. The first is a client that has a good business and is generally successful and wants a futurist to help keep them ahead of emerging issues and opportunities. The second main client type is one that feels their organisation has or is hitting a brick wall, that has experienced a lack of success through past approaches to developing insights and strategy and that the 'something's gotta change' mantra has emerged inside the executive team. Which is why the brief becomes important

The brief to your futurist is aimed at ensuring you know why you want a futurist to help you. If you are not clear on what a futurist can (and cannot) do, it is likely you'll spend company resources seeking answers to a question that won't help. Simply put, your expectations will not be met.

In the client types above, typically the client that is happy with how things are going wants to a) ensure they aren't going to be surprised by an unexpected downturn, and b) seek even more opportunities to develop their business further. That framework sets to approach a furturist ought to take.

The client that has a realisation that what they've been trying hasn't been working requires a VERY different approach. It is likely that the need for more immediate impact, less theory and more pragmatic decision frameworks will be needed. For some clients what they want a futurist to do cannot be done - the n eed for a turn-around specialist aiming at saving a business is NOT a core capability of a Futurist. It is something I've been asked to do from time to time. I have instead referred the business on to someone else.

Which comes down to the idea of how you Brief your Futurist. Following this model, any futurist worth their salt will be able to tell you whether what you want is realistic in the time frame and aligned to high quality futurist thinking. They should also be able to advise you AGAINST using their skills if your needs are different to what can be provided. Given the organisational time, people and financial resources you could invest, both you and your futurist ought to be clear before you begin and agree on an assignment

How to Brief Your Futurist

And of course if you have any questions, by all means contact me


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