How to use a futurist to create value: shifting executive thinking


Liz Alexander of Leading Thought has recently published an interesting free ebook titled How to Use a Futurist, which compiles examples of how 24 futurists have created value for clients.

This was my contribution to the ebook (5MB pdf):

Often the key value futurists bring is in helping executives fully acknowledge the forces of change in their industry, to the point of taking concerted action.

For example, I ran a workshop for all the partners in a large professional service firm, to frame and bring home the powerful challenges their industry and organization are facing, including the rise of workflow automation and new competitive business models based on global works.

While some in the firm understood these issues, many had simply believed that their industry would continue to function as it had before, not perceiving the need to change.

After bringing home the import of the shifts in their industry, using highly relevant examples they could relate to, we used electronic facilitation platforms where partners could use their mobile phones to offer their opinions and outlook, submit possible responses, and prioritize actions moving forward.

Further work was required after the workshop to build and implement a clear plan, but the most important outcome was in the collective shift in how the partnership thought about change and the necessity of action.

I have used many approaches to engage with a wide variety of organizations and industries, almost always with the intent of broadening the thinking of key executives.

The value from this is in enhanced strategic thinking and better actions taken to drive future success.

Specific projects can usefully pull down to an analytical approach to exploring the future of industries and the implications, however facilitating executives into thinking deeper and more usefully about the future offers probably the highest value.