I had a press pass to the 2010 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo and specifically made time to attend Craig Rispin’s session “How To Think Like a Futurist as I’d heard he had some thought provoking ideas to share.
He made a lot of good points including his first one which was that futurists need to read lots of science fiction because science fiction helps you understand that life will change, must change. Science fiction suggests how and why it may change in the near and distant future.
Craig explained that:
“Futurists are reverse historians. We try to peer over the horizon so we can make better decisions today. We analyse trends, anticipate significant changes and help people create preferable futures.“
In a world where social, technological, environmental, economic and political change is occurring so fast it is learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
To think like a futurist you need to think:
- Global versus local
- Long term as well as short
- Of multiple Future possibilities rather than predicting one
- About Trends not news
- Cross industry vs industry specific
- About multiple trend drivers not just the economy
- About long term vision not short term tactics
- Big picture versus micro detail