WHAT IS A FUTURIST / FUTUROLOGIST? - FUTURISM DEFINED
A futurist is someone who takes the time to actively strategize, think through, and consider how the future may trend. Futurists also frequently engage in scenario planning (planning strategically for different potential outcomes that may occur) and consider the impact of current or future developments on life and business.
Practicing the art of futurism may involve research, business modeling, informational interviews, strategic planning, and high-level discussion, among other activities. Important to note, however: Futurists aren’t necessarily in the habit of making predictions – instead, they often make projections, with an eye towards helping prepare businesses and brands to greet the challenges of tomorrow.
Futurists are regularly sought after as strategy consultants who can help organizations equip themselves to greet future events, plot more effective strategies, and craft better long-term plans. They’re also routinely tapped by business leaders in every field to help envision and imagine various future states of being and operation.
One way to think of their role is as follows: In effect, futurists carefully study the current state of the market and society, as well as patterns and trends that appear to be trending upwards. They’re then often asked to consider how likely it is that various developments will take shape, and the degree to which they’ll impact any given organization. By engaging in these activities, and plotting exercises based on new and emerging scenarios, futurists challenge partners to think more critically about future states – and build action plans around them.
As some futurists may note: In many ways, they function as market researchers and anthropologists more than anything else. Ultimately, we spend most of our time collecting data, analyzing information, and crafting scenarios that organizations can simulate working through to prepare themselves to greet new challenges.
Put simply, it’s a futurist’s job to get business leaders to carefully consider which way that the future may trend – and help them determine which strategic direction to go in, as well as the best plan of attack to adopt as they go about planning for tomorrow.