Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesnt, and Whats Next

ISBN 10: 1118147820 / ISBN 13: 9781118147825
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Synopsis: Push past resistance to discover and own new business territories

Think Like a Futurist shows how to track changes, explore questions, and engage in new thinking that connects today's pressures with tomorrow's realities. Cecily Sommers shows how to apply long-term focus and strategies to needs as diverse as industry forecasts, innovation challenges, leadership development, or future-proofing a brand. By understanding intersecting potentials that one day may impact your organization, you can readily spot emerging trends and market shifts, uncovering opportunities on the horizon.

Think Like a Futurist explores such questions as: Where will new markets emerge over the next 5-10-25 years? What will be the big issues of the day? How will lifestyle, social mores, and policy adapt? And what role do we play in that future?

  • Offers a clear framework for thinking like a futurist, and direction for how to integrate it in high-pressure corporate environments
  • Explains how the social, economic, and environmental crises of our time spring from just four constant and predictable forces
  • Reveals the three dramatic disruptions on the horizon that should be a part of every strategic conversation
  • Written by Cecily Sommers the Founder and President of The Push Institute, a non-profit think tank that tracks significant global trends and their implications for business, government, and non-profit.

Filled with tools and models for a new world, this book should be required reading for strategists and innovators across disciplines.

"Refreshing.  A book that does not follow today’s push to be ‘innovative’ just to snag attention because of the current hot trending keyword.  Matter of fact, Cecily Sommers’ book works to get us away from simply identifying and going for a ride on the latest trend(s) in our respective industries.

Quite the contrary, rather than avoid a scientific or tactical discussion of trend identification, she works to give us the ability to go beyond trends and into the future.

Cecily has drafted a book providing a nice blend of practical reality, philosophy, and practical execution.  It speaks well to current discussions about how to drive ‘innovation’ or, better, creativity within your businesses—however large or small.

All in, this is a book 254 pages long, including index, that is written at a practical level that, after closer study following an initial read-through, provides a methodology for anticipating the future and taking action to meet it.

Provides a methodology for anticipating the future and taking action to meet it.

Think Like a Futurist is a good read for anyone struggling with how to move their organization forward.  Business leaders, product and program managers, service providers will all find the concepts Cecily introduces to be well laid-out with a reasonable amount of supporting content."—The source is a blog: http://jtpedersen.net/2012/11/15/what-ive-read-lately-think-like-a-futurist/

Review:

Q & A with Cecily Sommers, Author of Think Like a Futurist

Cecily Sommers What is a futurist?

A futurist studies long-term trends from a global perspective, identifying their implications for business and society. A futurist's work can range from creating industry forecasts and policy agendas to speculating about how our work, education, healthcare, and families are poised to change. Some futurists stop there. Others focus on the application of this knowledge to organizational strategy, as I do, helping companies answer the question, "what do these forecasts mean for us?" By explaining different future scenarios, futurists can help organizations prepare for emerging threats and identify important growth opportunities. We turn real-world research into clear plans for the future.

Why is it difficult for most people to think like a futurist? Where do most of us get stuck?

Our brains naturally project what we currently know into the future, seeking certainty and continuity, and we tend to ignore clues and ideas that don't fit with our experiences. We get stuck in our knowledge to date-a mindset I call the permanent present. To think like a futurist is to think outside of that box and purposely expand our horizons so that we can imagine ideas and events that haven't yet occurred.

In what types of roles is it most important to think like a futurist?

If your role involves setting strategy or fostering innovation, the ability to manage the future is particularly relevant. Additionally, anyone in a leadership role needs to address the future; leaders must have a compelling vision of what lies ahead in order to inspire others to join them in making it happen.

For marketers, my Zone of Discovery methodology makes brand strategy a foundational part of the corporate strategy workflow. The Zone of Discovery poses two central questions: "Who are you?" and "Where are you going?" I show you how to leverage these two questions (and their answers) to limit the ideation and planning phases of your innovation initiatives to only the ideas and potentials that are right for your brand. Really, future-thinking applies in all facets of company operations. Knowing how to think about change leads to smarter decisions.

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