Daily Habits for Better Foresight
Once people find out what I do they are usually keen on learning how I do this “futurist thing.” Not counting the folks who are really hoping to learn how to make better probabilistic forecasts (see instead, Superforecasting), most are genuinely curious as to what an academically trained futurist does with his day. I touch on this just a bit in my new book, 4 Steps to the Future: A Quick and Clean Guide to Creating Foresight, where I provide for readers some guidelines for how to think more like a trained futurist as well as good rules of thumb for running foresight projects. Here are some of the daily habits that I recommend for people wanting to do futures research and foresight work.
Expose yourself to lots of stuff: professional futurists usually do this through scanning, but many are also avid readers and love to constantly learn new subjects.
Break out of bounds: explore other sectors, industries, and regions; this will give you alternative and provocative perspectives from which to view and reframe your own industry or community.
Think (and take notes) visually: “visualization” is certainly all the rage right now, and for good reason: it helps tremendously with thinking through complex and interrelated issues.
Keep asking why?: the world is in fact a complex, densely interdependent set of systems… that means that we have to do a lot of probing into connections, causes, and our own assumptions.
Prompt others to consider what if?: we also need to keep everyone’s minds (including our own) flexible by asking about not just what we expect to happen, but what logically could happen.
There are many other things we (futurists) do on a daily basis, but especially for the newcomer to futures research and foresight work, this will be an excellent place to start.
4 Steps to the Future: A Quick and Clean Guide to Creating Foresight
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction