New Fast Company: Futures Thinking: Scanning the World
...And just now my latest Fast Company piece popped up on the site. "Futures Thinking: Scanning the World" is the third in the occasional series on thinking like a futurist.
In my opinion, it may actually be the hardest step of all, because you have to navigate two seemingly contradictory demands:
- You need to expand the horizons of your exploration, because the factors shaping how the future of the dilemma in question will manifest go far beyond the narrow confines of that issue.
- You need to focus your attention on the elements critical to the dilemma, and not get lost in the overwhelming amount of information out there.
You should recognize up front that the first few times you do this, you'll miss quite a few of the key drivers; even experienced futurists end up missing some important aspects of a dilemma. It's the nature of the endeavor: We can't predict the future, but we can try to spot important signifiers of changes that will affect the future. We won't spot them all, but the more we catch, the more useful our forecasts.
It boils down to this: keep reading, keep asking questions, keeping looking for outliers... and if you think you have enough, you don't.