Imagining the future isn’t hard. From Asimov to Huxley, portrayals of the future have usually been full of science-y things. We are, hence, inclined to see the future as objective: as products of scientific method and advancement. But that’s fiction.
Future is today
What’s real is Futurecasting, a practice used by businesses to strategically plan for an organization’s future. This is what Brian David Johnson does for a living. An applied futurist, he’s been working with the future for two decades now.
The NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum 2019 (NTLF 2019) opened with Johnson weighing in how to make the future we want. Urging the audience to embrace the future and build it themselves, Johnson joins the dots for technology, experience, growth, and a new world order for a collaborative future for everyone.
Futurecasting is not about predicting the future, per se. It’s an innovative, often disruptive, method of creative thinking about what the future is going to be. It evaluates underlying industry dynamics, predictive analysis, and a variety of strategies to help develop an insightful vision of the future. At the very least, it’s imagining the changing landscape of investments, business, and work culture.
The thing after Next Big Thing?
In an age driven by exponential growth, the future isn’t tomorrow. It isn’t linear progression from today to tomorrow. The future, according to Johnson, is built today. Industry and business leaders need to see what is the next thing, and then ask how to build upon it.
Leaders need to work on the future ten years from now today. Businesses prepare themselves when leaders think about the next, look back, and then innovate disruption.
According to Johnson, the future is about the stories we tell ourselves. As futurists, leaders need to believe the stories of the future they want to build. When you change the story of the future, people make that future real.
Stories make the world
Why – and how – does that happen? Johnson’s assertion is rock-solid: stories are powerful, and we are story-believing machines. The question people care about is ‘what’s the future you want?’. Once they know what they want, their decisions and actions change and invariably, so does the future.
The massive eruption of digital and data affords leaders with abounding opportunities to better understand both their business and the expectations of the future. Making intelligent and profitable revenue decisions and ranging product and technology capabilities is a matter of collaborating on the same shared story for the future. Unsurprisingly, the future is when you imagine it and bring together others to build it.
For a futurist, good strategy is not facing upstream wait for the future to happen. The future must be built by clearly seeing where one is and then wondering how to make it better.