Imagine you are looking through the narrow end of a paper cone. The space in the cone closest to your eye is very narrow and closed in, but the farther out into the cone you look the wider it becomes.
Futurists use a tool/technique called the cone of possibilities to explore different scenarios that could happen in the future. The narrow part of the cone is the near future, it includes present time and a couple of months or even a couple of years into the future. But as the cone gets wider it signifies time further out into the future–think 10, 20 or even 50+ years in the future. It is wider because there are many more scenarios/possibilities that could happen that far in the future vs. what could happen in the near future.
Futurists use a couple of different ways to think in terms of scenarios. The first scenario they use is to look at their ideal scenario. What they would like to happen. The second scenario they use is a likely scenario, what might happen realistically. Then the third scenario is to look at what could happen, but is not likely to happen.
Futurists can then use these different scenarios to look at anything the future could bring so that they are not surprised by anything. We can also use this technique ourselves to define and outline our own scenarios. By doing this we can take a look at our ideal scenarios and see what we would need to do personally to get to that ideal scenario and we can look at all the other possible scenarios so that we can prepare for anything that may happen.
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