Discover your future: about our Futurizing Seminars

All industries, organisations and business sectors are now facing exponential technological change, and time is of the essence as these changes are both combinatorial and interdependent, creating ‘gradually then suddenly’ waves of disruption, followed by the construction of entirely new ecosystems that are only possible because of rapid technological change – not despite of it. The need to define who and what we will be in the future has never been more urgent than now – a ‘wait and see’ approach literally means waiting to become irrelevant. VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) has become the new normal, resulting in many tough challenges but equally as many new opportunities for those who dare to consider deep transformation, frequently question their assumptions and who can unlearn or relearn. This is where our Futurizing Seminars will take you to an entirely new place. To Futurize means to act in the present, but from a future perspective, to travel back from 5-7 years ahead, with a holistic understanding of what is very certain to happen. Futurizing involves understanding what is already here but might still be ‘unevenly distributed’ (as William Gibson likes to say) – and then consciously choosing and creating one’s preferred future.

Our Futurizing seminars are based on these 5 principles:

  1. The future is no longer just what may or may not happen tomorrow – rather, the future is something that is already here, today, but that we simply haven’t realised yet.
  2. Our world is now changing exponentially, and no longer gradually – it could be detrimental to keep on thinking linear. Science fiction is increasingly becoming science fact, and we must therefore start to consider what is currently implausible and unreasonable to possibly be our new reality.
  3. The future is not something that just happens to us. Rather, we create our future every single day, based on our values and assumptions, and resulting from our actions. We always have choices – but we must discover them early enough, and not retroactivley.
  4. Due to this accelerating pace of exponential technological change we are now constantly becoming something/someone else – we are going from being to becoming (see Kevin Kelly). We must embrace this as our default status; and we must become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  5. In order to define and create our ‘preferred futures’, we need to stop extrapolating the present in order to guess the future. Rather, we must travel backwards from the immediate future, armed with deep foresights and understandings about what is almost certainly going to happen.

How will this seminar help you futurize your business?

Gerd, Jens and the involved Futures Agency team members custom-design every seminar based on these 5 steps:

1)  Question assumptions. We start by questioning our current beliefs about our business, our work and our future: what do we assume about ‘how things work’, i.e. what is the foundation of what we do, why and how we do it?  What do we believe to be true and valid guidance for our decisions and actions? How do our assumptions shape our foresights and future strategies?

2)  Immerse in discovery. We embark on a mission to find, explore and experience what Gerd calls the ‘hard (definitive) futures’. We travel into the future 5-7 years out, and then look back to today, defining the key changes that are almost certain to happen. Many of these scenarios may already be quite visible today (e.g. artificial intelligence, bots, or virtual reality) and therefore this process often also serves to verify their magnitude and impact on the client’s particular industry. During this phase of the program we also work on how to embrace and dealing with the ‘future shock’ (Alvin Toffler) that invariably follows the discovery of how much of the future is already here. The discovery part of the program culminates in the discussion of two key questions: a) which future do we believe is the most likely to actually happen? b) which future would we like to see happen, i.e. which scenario is our favorite choice?

3)  Discuss impact and opportunities. We define the likely consequences (both positive and negative) of the futures that we have discovered. If and when the above scenarios actually take place, what will they mean for us? How could we shape these futures to make our flourishing more likely? What existential threats to our organization can we identify, and what awesome and exciting opportunities do we see?

4)  Clarify the vision and start the strategy design process: what does our preferred future look like (and how realistic is it)? Now that we have immersed ourselves in what our future is likely to look like, and now that we have started to understand the impact on what we do today…what would we like to see happen? Which future can we get excited about, which future fits our culture, people, and the society around us? Where do we see a purpose and vision that would get our juices flowing? Who will we be in 5-7 years, what will our brand look like?

5)  Formulate action items: how will we create our preferred future? Who is in charge? What skills and mindsets do we need, what kind of people need to be brought in, where do we need to invest, what will we need from our leaders, how will we get buy-in from our teams and what kinds of resources do we need? What and how do we prioritize? Who will lead these initiatives?

 

The Outcome of our seminars

It is important to understand that Gerd and his team will not attempt to provide easy recipes or resort to ready-made solutions. Rather, Futurizing is the collaborative discovery process that will formulate each client’s unique path to their own, preferred future. The future is not a recipe – it is a process; the future does not just happen, it ‘gets happened’.

As part of the Futurizing methodology it is often necessary to embrace what Gerd Leonhard calls ‘hybrid thinking’ i.e. the ability to continue with what works today while imagining and building what might work tomorrow (which might be completely the opposite). This dualistic way of realising the future opportunities is often essential in order to mitigate or distribute the risks that such transformations will create, especially for incumbent industry leaders or large, traditional, multi-national companies.

Every Futurizing seminar is designed individually for each client.

Gerd Leonhard and his chosen team have not only helped us to discover a whole new landscape of business value beyond the car as product, but even more significantly they have enabled us to solve today’s challenges with the awareness of business leaders several years into the future.” – Automotive Executive

If you want to change you can plan and you can execute, but both these exercises are doomed if you come at them from a present day point of view. Futurizing our thinking with Gerd Leonhard and friends has meant in effect we have digitized our business model from the other side of the equation. We’re no longer looking ahead to the future, but back on the present.” – Financial Service Executive

DISCOVER OUR TEAM MEMBERS

Jens U. Hansen

Director, Leadership & Business Transformation
jens@thefuturesagency.com
+41 79 102 2189

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Gerd Leonhard

CEO & Founder of The Futures Agency
gerd@thefuturesagency.com

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