Futurist techniques

Trend Analysis and Scenarios provided by World Futurist Society (http://www.wfs.org/)

Scenarios are an excellent way to give order to your thoughts and concerns about the future. In the 1970s, the Institute of Life Insurance in New York developed a program to alert insurance people of developments outside their industry that might be relevant to their business. They called the program Trend Analysis. Trend Analysis addresses the nature, causes, speed, and potential impacts of a developing trend. Trends can have both primary and secondary impacts.
For example, longer life-spans not only increase the number of people for whom resources must be provided (a primary impact) but also increase the number of people who can contribute to
the economy through paid and unpaid labor (a secondary impact). The value of understanding trends is increasingly recognized in the business world. Executives know that a company that fails to adapt to current trends is quickly left behind. Knowledge of significant world, national, and religious trends provides an invaluable background for making practical judgments about your goals and strategies.

Being unaware of the trends means risking the possibility of having a business, career, or investment crushed by a wave of unrecognized change. By utilizing trend analysis, individuals and organizations can hope to ride the waves of change toward their goals.

Trend Analysis can be divided into three parts…More>

The importance of thinking productively and the value of creativity (http://www.wfs.org/)

Whenever Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman was stuck on a problem, he would invent new thinking strategies. He was a strong advocate for thinking about problems many different ways using trial and error. In   fact, he believed that his secret strength was his ability to invent new ways to think about things. If something wasn’t working, he would look at the problem from different angles and use his imagination to find a solution. He was amazingly productive. He could accomplish in 10 minutes something that might take the average physicist a year.

Here, we’re going to learn about Feynman’s “secret strength,” also known as Productive Thinking.

Our default mode, incidentally, is Reproductive Thinking. When we’re seeking a solution to a problem, we typically fixate on something we did that worked before and exclude all other approaches. It’s much easier to stick with a familiar, supposedly “safe” way of doing things than to risk trying something new that might work better. And it’s not a huge leap to convince ourselves that the safe solution is the best solution. But it rarely (if ever) actually is.

In other words, Reproductive Thinking is a problem in and of itself it indicates a rigid mindset and an allegiance to predetermined responses that can often cause you to fall behind and make the wrong decisions.

Creative types shouldn’t think this way. They should always look for alternative ways (and invent new ways) of thinking about things. Like Buckminster Fuller, they should train themselves to look at problems from many different angles, and entertain different perspectives that open them up to new possibilities and new information that the rest of us don’t see.

Creativity means considering large numbers of alternatives and accepting that for every good idea, there will be many useless ones. More>