What does a futurist actually do? They don’t predict the future, no one can do that. But they use strategies to anticipate what could happen in the future and they figure out ways to best prepare for all possible scenarios. They make sure no one is surprised by what the future may bring.
Here are three ways you can think like a futurist:
1. Look for signals
2. Thinking of implications
3. Explore scenarios
The first one is look for signals, also known as horizon scanning. You can look for signals of upcoming trends by reading, listening to podcasts or radio shows, talking to people, looking at certain websites, paying attention to research, etc…
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Once you identify signals of something that is on the horizon that could be a big trend in the future, then it’s time to think of the implications. If this does become a major trend what impacts would it bring? What would it mean for jobs, the workplace, leaders, communities and so on.
That brings us to the third thing, which is exploring scenarios. Just like in the game of Chess, it is important to think about all the possibilities instead of focusing in on one scenario. For example, if we look at AI and automation as a signal of something big coming we should not just explore the one possibility that it will be all doom and gloom with 80% of jobs taken and no use for humans.
Instead we should look at every possible scenario that could happen and figure out how to best plan for each one.
If you are able to take these steps each day, you will be thinking like a futurist. You will be able to better anticipate and prepare for all possible future scenarios.
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