“Choose life, choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently and choose watching history repeat itself. Choose your future. Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn. Choose a zero hour contract, a two hour journey to work and choose the same for your kids, only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen, and then take a deep breath. You’re an addict, so be addicted, just be addicted to something else, Choose the ones you love, Choose your future, Choose life………” (Trainspotting 2).
Now that’s out of the way, have you ever considered becoming a futurist?
You’ll be invited to lots of conferences sponsored by tech companies and people will want to know what you believe will be the next big social media platform.
If talking about what hasn’t happened yet and describing what life will be like in 100 years time sounds like it could be a bit of a blast – here’s what you’ll need to do to become successful:
1. Hang out with techy people
The future being what it will likely be, you’ll more than likely have to spend a considerable amount of time hanging out with powerful people at tech companies like Google, Facebook or Microsoft. Your job will be to help them get a clearer picture of what’s possible, so a bit of geek in your game wouldn’t go amiss (NB: We are not futurists by the way – here at The W1nners’ Club we struggle to even predict the winners of horseraces).
2. Have an idea of what the future might look like
…….to clarify, your job as a futurist won’t necessarily be to predict the future as such, it’ll be more about giving people the scope to do some of their own future thinking. The futurists of yore used to make wild predictions about how we’d all be living like The Jetsons by the year 1985, but modern futurists are a bit more responsible in that their job is to unlock the potential of possibility.
3. Be a thought leader
The critical juncture in human history that we are currently at means that there are so many important issues that face mankind today. Your job as a futurist therefore will be as a leader of sorts, in that you’ll have to provide the theoretical basis upon which people can take the decisions about how to develop going forward. If that sounds like gobbledygook, bear in mind the fact that at the rate things are going with the North Koreans, there might not be much work in the not-too-distant future for you to do.
4. Have a capacity to think beyond existing boundaries
Naturally – you wouldn’t be much of a futurist if you thought that the earth was flat and that thunder was a god. Whether you’re planning for change in a business, an industry, a geographical region or any other sphere, every possibility across society, technology, business, and the evolution of humanity will need to be considered.
5. Be prepared to provoke different reactions
Remember that you’re discussing what hasn’t yet happened yet and are challenging the status quo in your role as a futurist, so be sure to expect derision for some of your more outlandish ideas. Your role is that of a provocateur and you have to challenge the existing norms and generate likely scenarios of what the future will be – a bit like Mystic Meg!
6. Be able to manage masses of information
Just think for a minute about how we live these days. Pretty much everything exists as some form of data and as a futurist you will need to be able to make sense of all this information so that key decision makers can make the right decisions about how to best prepare for the future. As the greatest futurist of them all once said: “Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it so make it a good one!” (Doc Brown – Back to the Future III).