Today I have launched my new business - Thinking Futures - a futures practice that will work with people in education and non-profit organisations to think long and to use that thinking to build stronger strategy.
I call Thinking Futures an futures practice, rather than a consultancy. Having worked with many consultants over my career in universities and teritary education, I want to take my work beyond what I consider to be 'traditional' consultancy approaches. While all consultants have a stake in the outcomes of their oganisational projects, I want to focus on practice outcomes that work 'on the ground'.
So, my focus is primarily on process and capacity building around using futures to generate flexible and robust strategy and meaningful strategic plan. My view is that much of the content and thinking that informs strategy development needs to come from the people in an organisation, so my work is about working with people to deliver processes that will build the insight needed to be have futures ready strategy that is relevant for them.
A particular issue for me is around the nature and quality of strategic plans, and my work will also focus on making plans meaningful and useful documents that inform decision making.
My particular niche is education, and I have some views about its future, which I will write about in coming months. But, unlike many other futurists, I claim no expertise in being able to tell you about the future of a particular industry or discipline. My work is about tapping into the ideas about the future held by the people with whom I am working and their knowledge about their industry and what's going on. I bring to that mix the best of global thinking about the future and major trends so that we can combine the internal and external to underpin strategy development.
When you set up a new business, you become a little fixated on what it is that you are actually 'selling' - what is your unique selling proposition, what is your brand, what is your message? Those of you who know me well will know I have a particular view about marketing, but for me, I think my message is around changing the way we think about the future. I'll write more about that in the coming weeks too.
As an aside, setting up a website for a new business is an 'interesting' task. Should it be impersonal, or should it have an element of the owner's personality in it? Too much of one is probably not a good thing. I started out thinking I would make the website formal, but it's not my style. When you get Thinking Futures, you get me and my views of the world, so I figured in the end that it was important to share the essence of those views on the site.
That way, potential clients will know more or less what they will be getting if they talk with me and, similarly, they can decide ahead of time whether or not my approach will suit their organisation. Let me know what you think.