Think Like a Futurist.
Most of us think about future as a linear progression. We base it on our past knowledge, then equate it with our present resources and extrapolate a future trajectory. Why do we do this? It helps us stay in the comfort zone and averse risk. Also, the future is difficult to predict, especially in times of increasing change and complexity.
To think like a futurist, we need to be sharp and anticipate change. Futurists use a framework called ‘The cone of possibilities’. It helps devise an overall strategy by imagining many possible futures.
The cone is simplified into 4 parts.
- The tip of the cone is today, and it stretches into the future on the right side.
- The broadest part of the cone is where you can list down all the ‘possible’ futures. Asking ‘What if’ without boundaries.
- The most likely future would be the middle ‘probable’ part of the cone. It uses forecasting and logic.
- The bottom part of the cone is ‘preferred’ outcome. Something that you desire to make it happen and resonate with your values.
Let us visualize this
- Suppose you are a software developer today.
- The ‘possible’ future could be, to be a CTO in next five years. You can list as many futures as you want.
- The ‘probable’ future could be, to kick off an IT startup with some of your friends.
- The ‘preferred’ future could be to have niche AI /Deep Learning enterprise, catering only a handful of clients with more volumes.
Identifying the patterns, the global industry trends and the macro-economic factors can help us think and predict about a wide array of futures in each segment. It then sets the tone for us to choose the right one and develop an act accordingly.
We need to remember that our futures are not carved in stone. Like Abraham Lincoln said
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”