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Did you know that we humans suffer from something called intellectual laziness? Also, did you know that we are very bad at predicting social changes, and we tend to miss the timing of these changes? Furthermore, we often forget that nothing is “forever,” and the world is always changing faster than we and our organizations.
Do you know that there is a remedy for all of this? It’s called Future Thinking. If you’re not already applying it, know that in the near future, it will become a part of your thinking, planning, and strategies. Of course, assuming you want your business to move forward, evolve, become agile, and be ready for the challenges that the future holds. If you don’t want to, feel free to stop reading and continue enjoying your intellectual laziness. If you want to be one step closer to Future Thinking, you can join the educational workshops on the future of business that we organize for different fields of business.
It’s Not About Predicting the Future
Future Thinking is a concept known in the economies of Western countries since the 1970s. Of course, it takes us a bit longer to catch up with the times, to catch up with the future. What most people still misunderstand when Future Thinking is mentioned is that it’s some kind of skill, or at least an attempt to predict the future. That’s not correct. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for it. One of the ways is the aforementioned series of educational workshops on the future of business.
That’s where the concept of Future Thinking comes in, as a way of thinking in which you reflect on your past, present, plans, and goals, taking into account your environment (micro and macro), tracking trends, and creating scenarios of possible futures. In these possible futures, you assume what your company looks like, whether it operates in the same way, how your products or services look, how much they’ve changed, whether they exist in the same form as they do today, what technologies you use, what impact you have on the community, who your customers are, and many different parameters that define you, your business, and your environment.
The Goal is to be Prepared for the Future
The purpose of creating these possible futures is to recognize potential opportunities and dangers that we might otherwise not be aware of, but they still surround us or are likely to happen. Based on these conclusions, you prepare yourself and your company for a potential future that you are not sure about, but you are absolutely certain that it will be different from the present. It is an absolute illusion to expect that the status quo will last for any length of time. Change can happen suddenly and hit us in unexpected ways. Remember the pandemic – was anyone prepared? Believe it or not, someone was. The organizers of the Wimbledon tennis tournament had decided years before the pandemic to pay a generous insurance policy for the possibility of a pandemic (because they had been listening to smart people around them who had been warning for years that it was just a matter of time before a new virus/bacteria/disease threatened us). They faced ridicule from the business community at the time, but then exactly what they had estimated could happen in some of their possible futures did happen. They were the only sporting event that, thanks to insurance funds, could cover the losses incurred and survive the crisis.
Not all future assumptions are preparations for crises; it is desirable that they prepare for opportunities so that they are not missed because you couldn’t even imagine that a very likely development could bring new business, collaborations, or growth.
Data, Data, Data – The Basis for Future Thinking
In short, the idea is to assume future development based on available information, analysis, and knowledge and prepare for it in some way – either mentally or through concrete actions. It could be additional education, such as educational workshops on the future of business, and the development of new skills, a more detailed analysis of a market segment, testing different business models, or even a significant shift in business.
The goal is not to be completely surprised at the moment of change and not to waste time and money because you don’t know where to start.
Future Thinking is not an innate way of thinking for us humans. It needs to be learned and practised. That’s why, as part of our Future Tense platform, this year we have signed a strategic partnership with CIFS, the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies. They are experts in “predicting” the future and have been operating as a non-profit organization since the 1960s, helping companies and governments around the world prepare for the future.
Strategic Collaboration Between Komunikacijski Laboratorij and CIFS
Through their long-standing work, experts at the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies have developed several modules of Future Thinking educational workshops on the future of business through which participants can learn to think in new ways. The first 20 or so participants had the opportunity to participate and experience what it means to think about the future as part of this year’s Future Tense Conference. The interest was great, and the feedback from participants was excellent. Therefore, we have decided to continue the project and provide our business community with the opportunity to learn a new, extremely useful skill of observing the environment and creating scenarios of possible futures. Already on November 8th, in Zagreb’s Hotel Zonar, another 20 or so participants will have the opportunity to participate in the Megatrends Masterclass that we will organize in cooperation with our partners from CIFS.
During the one-day masterclass, participants will learn about megatrends, how they are observed, and defined, and how their impact is implemented in future thinking, which ultimately serves as a basis for creating a business strategy. Experienced futurologists from CIFS will continue with one-day training sessions in Zagreb, which can be upgraded over time with more complex and even more useful knowledge and new ways of thinking, from which useful information and data can be extracted about what our future could be like. Because, as smart people have already concluded, the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.