In a FuturePod podcast recently, I was asked about how my career in the foresight field has emerged, stalled and shifted over time. That set me thinking about what I’ve been doing and what I’ve learned over these past 20 years. Here are some things that I have come to believe, and that I will take with me as my work continues to evolve.
I started writing this post in early November but didn't finish it until the end of December. It seems this has not been the year of blog writing for me. It appears I haven't written anything since January. Is that sad? Or is it okay? Should I feel guilty? Or should I recognise I've been preoccupied with life, family, PhD and just generally trying to make my life as good as I can make it?
But I haven't been idle. My PhD is progressing. I'm developing a 'conversations about the future' framework to centre my work on people not process. This is based on my integration of integral and foresight which has also structured the design of this website. It all remains a work in progress and that's okay.
A few years ago now, I gave an interview to people who were developing career resources for people who wanted to be foresighters. I found a copy of my email the other day and thought it would be useful to reproduce on my blog, so here it is (with some editing to keep it current).
What kind of person does it take to succeed in running your own consulting company?
Someone who has a clearly defined vision and purpose for running the business in the first place - without that, you wander all over the place in terms of work, taking what comes.
I think predictions can be of value when they use a short term timeframe - such as elections which this article uses as example. And the concept of Transfer Learning is a good one because it reminds us to move beyond our ingrained, habitutated thinking modes and seek information and data in new places. The aim is to expand our understanding of the issue rather than closing down out thinking to what we know already. Looking for both confirming and disconfirming evidence is how we strengthen our thinking about the future, whether that is by trying to predict the future (not recommended) or anticipating the future by learning to think in multiples and possibilities.
If you are reading this post then I hope you are reading because you realise that this sort of approach to problem solving and to preparing for the future is both ineffective and waste of energy and resources. Doing strategy has taken over how we think about the future, keeping that thinking trapped in today. This I call conventional strategic planning.