Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


The Top 3 Questions and Answers for the Future

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Well as I've discovered them! These three questions (and my normal answers) are based on what I get asked consistently when I'm presenting or facilitating a session about Strategic Planning, 'the future of...', and how societies might look five, ten or twenty years from now: Question One - 'What is the most important thing to know about the future?'

My Answer: 'That there will be one!' Now that might sound a bit obvious and please appreciate the answer for what it entails. The reality for most people is that they do NOT take the future into any real consideration and as such, make choices and take actions that will not help them to get the kind of life they would rather have.

Question Two - 'What is the future of (enter subject here, i.e technology, company, industry sector, country, lifestyle...). My Answer: 'That all things known right now, it is likely to seem very similar to what it is now, even IF it is fundamentally different than what it is right now.'  This answer reflects how we as a species generally approach the idea of change. Prior to the change we wail at the clouds, wring our hands and scream to the wind. And then the change happens, we experience a period of somewhat uncomfortable adjustment (or as more often happens, 'no noticeable adjustment') and get on with life. Usually, 'five minutes' later we are already experiencing the new normal. We are a far more flexible species than we give ourselves credit for, something many leaders seem to ignore.

Question Three - 'Why are there no flying cars like you futurists promised years ago?' My Answer: Because when there is a simpler solution, the simpler solution will alway win out. My answer here takes a not so gentle swipe at people who like to make things more complex than they need to be. So if you plan to design a future, look to include the least possible components that you truly need because you'll likely maximise the chances of getting what you want. Sometimes what is needed are complex solutions to complex challenges. But RARELY are complex answers the best things for SIMPLE challenges.

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