5 reasons why you should hire a futurist in the COVID-19 pandemic
In early-March the world changed. COVID-19 accelerated through communities in the world (and it’s still doing that in places like Brazil). The keynotes I was lined up to deliver were shifted to 2021 and others dropped out-of-view. But, I have been so busy that I only now have a couple of days to reflect on the work I’ve done and share the 5 reasons to hire a futurist in a pandemic.
My 2020 predictions on 2020 being the ‘Year of Resiliency’ have proven to be somewhat true, yet I didn’t foresee a pandemic of this scale and ‘the great pause’ happening. Disruption is inconvenient and very expensive — like thousands of lives lost and trillions of dollars expensive. Incredible and many were (and are) incredulous.
It’s now, more than ever, that companies large and small, technology-focused and otherwise, and governments need futurists and foresight practitioners. But why? Because we can help them see beyond our current struggles towards better planned and more resilient futures for them, for humanity, and for the planet as a whole.
So, let’s look at 5 reasons to hire a futurist in a pandemic…
- Futurists are data reductionists — in my practice I have been scanning 100+ articles a day for years. My site has over 750 articles on it alone, and I collect many reference points on Twitter and beyond. I constantly challenge hypotheses I have set to help me shape a vision of the future for clients. When I engage clients I bring a body of knowledge and add to that through the lens of what the client hopes to achieve through foresight work. In addition, I commission research to gain insights on today so we can imagine what comes next (See the 2020 Future of Life America and Future of Life in Canada studies).
- Futurists challenge your core beliefs — being outside of your organization give me the advantage to think freely outside of your processes, biases (yes, they exist), management structure and products/services. I offer wildly radical new ideas and business models, and in so am able to help you and your teams do the same. This creates huge advantage as we challenge who we are and what we do. All bets are off so let’s push the boundaries of who we truly are, and how we serve this world.
- Futurists can help you see risks ahead of time — I help clients look out 5, 10 and even 20+ years ahead of time. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic I’ve been looking at the next few months and extrapolating out the trends to 5+ years. This provides confidence on making more solid bets on how the world might be. That confidence creates internal tension, discussions (that I often moderate and steer), innovation-based projects ,and planning for an adjusted world.
- Futurists employ incredibly creative processes — there are many ways that I help clients look towards our exciting futures with open minds and creativity. Research and analysis, horizon setting, probably/plausible/possible futures planning, world-building, dystopia planning (read ‘Start with Dystopia’ on Medium), speculative design, design fiction (see the YVR 2037 project), unconferences like FUTURE CAMP that help liberate thinking by empowering employees, applying monomyth storytelling, 2030 headline and press release writing, and so much more.
- Futurists are humanists — every great designer and futurist places human needs at the centre of their work. We insist that positive futures begin with positive human experiences. Technologies, processes, and personal, corporate or government agendas take second (or maybe last) place. Our world has to work societally for humans. In our futures work we should aim to follow humanistic principles for a world filled with positive solutions: humanity before technology; plurality, inclusion, and equity; and advancements guided by science and creativity. That is the way forward.
Nikolas Badminton is the CEO of EXPONENTIAL MINDS and an award-winning Futurist Speaker, researcher and author. His expertise and thought leadership will guide you from complacency to thinking exponentially, planning for longevity, and encouraging a culture of innovation. You will then establish resiliency and abundance in your organization. Please reach out to discuss how he can help you, and read on to see what is happening in the world this week.