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An Archetype for Future(s) Clients?

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 8, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Jason Swanson shares his thoughts on “Archetype for Futures Clients” in this blog post for our Emerging Fellows program. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the APF or its other members.

In my last post, I touched on the idea of a market research report that would look at the Futures field. The idea would be to use quantitative research to get an idea of sentiment and knowledge base from the client perspective. The survey could potentially look at such things as how do clients and potential clients define Futurists? What skills are they seeking? What qualifications are they looking for?

As we begin the process of framing out what such a survey might look like, there has been some great dialogue around what some of goals of this undertaking might be, beyond simply measuring sentiment and knowledge base. One of the questions that has been raised is if the survey were to run, given the correct questions and sample, from the data gathered would it be possible to see if there were any common traits that would make a person or a company more or less likely to hire futurists?

While the idea of seeing a pattern or correlation in the survey data as to who might be likely to hire Futurist is certainly a possibility, the question gave me pause for reflection. I began to wonder what else might be out there that might reveal some of those traits? One tool might be Philip Zimbardo’s work on the psychology of time.

In Zimbardo’s work on the psychology of time he identified 5 time perspectives, or attitudes towards time. Those 5 time perspectives are:

The ‘past-negative’ type. Someone who focuses on negative personal experiences that still have the power to upset them. This can lead to feelings of bitterness and regret. People with this time perspective are focused on a difficult past.


The ‘past-positive’ type. A person who takes a nostalgic view of the past. This person usually takes a cautious, “better safe than sorry” approach, and yearns for the “good old days”.

  1. The ‘present-hedonistic’ type. These people are dominated by pleasure-seeking impulses, and are reluctant to postpone feeling good for the sake of greater gain later. People with this time perspective want to live in the moment
  2. The ‘present-fatalistic’ type. Those with this time perspective aren’t enjoying the present but feel trapped in it, unable to change the inevitability of the future.
  3. The ‘future-focused’ type. Are highly ambitious, focused on goals, and big on making ‘to do’ lists.


Futurist Todd Gentzel gave a brilliant presentation in 2013 at the University of Houston Futures Gathering around the very topic of Zimbardo’s work. Gentzel’s presentation, “Psychology and the Field of the Future” highlighted how Gentzel uses Zimbardo’s time perspectives as a framework, with an added sixth perspective: Future Transcendental– those that look beyond this life.

In the case of Gentzel’s presentation, he used this framework to look at the future of cities, highlighting particular time perspectives that each city might fit into, and how each time perspective correlated with that city’s methods (or lack thereof) for planning for the future.

Back to the original question; what other tools might there be to help determine what traits a person or company might have to make them more likely to hire Futurists? Or perhaps a better way to frame the question might be; is there an archetype in terms of a person or company that hires Futurists?

Zimbardo’s time perspectives might hold an answer. If Zimbardo’s work shows the time perspective for the individual, and Gentzel has used his framework for mapping time perspectives to cities in relation to how they approach the future, then it stands to reason that time perspectives could be assigned to companies; the trick being to understand which time perspective correlates to the companies most willing to hire. Just because a company falls under the “Future Focused” perspective doesn’t mean they will want, or need, the services a futurist can provide. If nothing else, time perspectives may offer a tool to frame the conversations we might have with our stakeholders.



Reference

Zimbardo, Philip and John Boyd, The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time that Will Change your Life (New York: Free Press, 2008).

Tags:  archetype  futurist  psychology 

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Future webs of choice

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sandra Geitz shares her thoughts on “future webs of choice” in this blog post for our Emerging Fellows program. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the APF or its other members.

Scanning recent headlines reveals deepening global conflicts: What China wants?,Lessons of Ferguson, Ukraine’s rebel war,Israel loses support pummelling Gaza, as well as locally in Australia: Catholic Church failed to act: Royal Commission, Treasurer claims poor people drive less, and Tax rise threats from stalled Budget.

What is happening? What do such stories reveal to us socially?

What are future implications?

These shifting debates recalled the extensive Australian social research of Hugh Mackay (2010), published as ”What makes us tick:? The ten desires that drive us”. He studies our social drives and depicts ten desires as an intertwined web which shapes our identity, beyond basic survival needs of food, water and shelter. Each of them overlap the others in competition to drive us socially, rather than purely rationally, as often we are unaware of them. The balance shifts over time and from experiences and interactions with others. Mackay explained each desire as neither inherently good nor bad. Unrestrained or excessive in particular desire(s) can lead to issues. More critically, he observed thatunfulfilled or represseddesires may drive deep emotional frustrations in either individuals, groups or nations. This shadow of unfilled desire in ourselves can lead us to want desires to be frustrated in others as well. It explains Mackay’s research that a desire to be taken seriously has greatest impact.

The desire to be taken seriouslyis the desire to be acknowledged as unique individuals, beyond a categories. It is the desire to be heard, understood and remembered. When it is frustrated, it leads to disappointment or anger. And, it can be seen as the ultimate insult to be ignored or dismissed, leading to feelings of rage, hurt or anger, from those experiencing racism, tribalism or sexism, for example.Who is silenced? How may surpressed feelings emerge or erupt in the future?Alternate responses to not being taken seriously is over-compensation with vanity, arrogance, hubris or narcissism.How may our futures be influenced taking others seriously?Deep listening can engage others, in order that they engage and accept us in turn. Listening as a critical choice…

The desire for “my place”can be where one lives, feels at home, one’s history or smaller, temporary spaces or routines. Threats and other fears can lead to territorialism or becoming obsessed with security.How can comfort and security of place influence future choice?Noticing or attending to place, can open and enable options.

The desire for something to believe inencompasses religions, atheism, tribalism, even awareness movements. Beliefs need reinforcement to endure. Fundamentalism arises and is strengthened if our beliefs are under attack,How may futures be driven by beliefs?Through listening and engaging, or deeply held debating or attacking?

The desire to connectcan be to know thyself. Or about connecting with each other, connecting online, or connecting with nature, meditation or mindfulness. Connections promote freedom and expression. And, if the desire to connect is repressed, our desires for control or to be taken seriously may expand to fill the void…How does being connected or being isolated affect our future potentials?

The desire to be usefulcan be altruistic, making contributions towards a better world, being helpful, contributing, doing meaningful work. Taken to its extreme, being useful can be perceived as knowing better than others themselves.How may our futures be realised, if we know what is best for you?

The desire to belongidentifies us with our herd of 7-8 close friends. Or to larger, noisier, more public tribes linked by sport, religion, language, consumption. Our desire to belong may drive mindless compliance and conformity.Which herd or tribe drives our future choices?

The desire for moreis often the shadow of other blocked desires. More leads us to seek stimulations, comforts, distractions, addictions, eating/ drinking, hunger for money, more spending and indulgence.How may futures of less be realised, when they emotionally, rather than rationally, driven?

The desire for controlis the desire most likely to frustrate and disappoint with theillusionof control. We can become anxious lacking control, over-controlling others, excessive in survelliance or abusing our power. Or we may narrow our control, over-controlling ourselves in perfectionism.What if we see further Future Shock?

The desire for something to happenis our need for excitement, action, realising dreams, challenges or change. We are what we do! Is online activity sufficient? We both are pulled towards and push away from change in life.How do encourage or thwart future actions?

The desire for loveinvolves many kinds of love: romantic, erotic, divine, companionship, unconditional love, faith, acceptance, and intimacy. And in frustration, lacking love we feel cold, empty,angry or even introspective.How does love influence options for our future?Building trust, being consistent, supportive opens potential.

So readily it explains events and behaviours with the benefit of hindsight, our complex web drives and surprises… can we notice and listen?


Reference:
Mackay H. 2010,What makes us tick? The ten desires that drive us, Hachete Australia, Sydney.

Tags:  choice  future  web 

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2025 from outside looking in...

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 14, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sandra Geitz shares her thoughts on “2025” in this blog post for our Emerging Fellows program. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the APF or its other members.

Causal layered analysis of three 2025 foresight client/customer clusters

There has been considerable discussion on professionalism and the field foresight recently within the APF, and various approaches have been proposed to analyse and recommend proposals for action. For this blog post, I am seeding an initial view from Outside-the-field, as some have suggested, to describe potential future client or customer clusters in 2025. This is done to generate ideas and potential added futures competencies relevant to any shifting demographics, business and global trends in a ten year horizon. Many other APF members have contributed extensively to the topic of professionalisation, since founding and recently as part of the Professionalisation Task-force.

CLA, or the causal layered analysis futures method, was chosen to look at three potential 2025 foresight client or customer clusters: the first cluster is Baby Boomers, now aged from 50 to 68 years, and in 2025 who will be 61 to 79 years old. Next is the Generation-X potential clients, who will be 44 to 60 years of age in 2025, and who are likely to have increasing influence on future global and business decisions. Finally, Millennials emerge as potential foresight clients towards 2025, as they will be 22 to 43 years of age.

Generational clusters were chosen due to available research into social, technological, economic, environmental and political (STEEP) factors, and also the ready availability of value systems research. From this CLA, future client scenarios and foresight responses may be assisted. This initial analysis tables only the broad view of external systems and value continuities facing the field.

Headlines, in the first row, are widely discussed topics in daily news and social media of each cluster. Next, STEEP systemic data, that contributes to the headlines, is compared by each cluster. Then research into each cluster’s dominant values are tabled; these influence each of corresponding system views. The final row, summarises each clusters general story or beliefs.

Data sources for a 2025 systems view, included the US-based Technology expert, Joichi Ito3 in a TED conference talk, and respected think-tanks for society, technology and the environment such as the Brookings Institute2,5 and Pew Research1.

Global perspectives of potential external trends impacting outside the US are shown in colour, e.g. data sourced from The Lowy Institute4,6, an Australian think-tank, intersects economics, geo-politics and society. The Brookings Institute article,Still ours to Lead, outlines the tension between America and other emerging powers in both competition and collaboration sot US political leadership is critical. Another,Does inequality make a country insecure?suggests that inequality impacts stabilityif combinedwith either flexible political institutions, or external shocks from resource prices, or global wealth mobility impacts.



The table illustrated is one seed, or thought-starter…

What futures competencies in 2025 would be valued by Baby Boomer clients, potentially retiring?

What foresight capabilities may Generation X leaders want most in 2025?

Which foresight competencies may be relevant to Millennials emerging in 2025?



Reference Notes

1. Anderson J and Rainie L, 2014, Predicting the future on the Web’s 25th anniversary, Pew Research Internet Project, Pew Research Center, viewed 11July 2014,http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/03/11/predicting-the-future-on-the-webs-25th-anniversary/

2. Winograd M and Hais M, 2014,How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America,The Brookings Institution, Paper, viewed 11July 2014,

http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/05/millenials-upend-wall-street-corporate-america-winograd-hais

3. Ito, J 2014,Instead of futurists, let’s be now-ists: Joi Ito at TED2014, TED, TED blog, viewed 11July 2014,

http://blog.ted.com/2014/03/21/instead-of-futurists-lets-be-now-ists-joi-ito-at-ted2014/

4. Hill M, 2014,Does inequality make a country less secure?,The Lowy Institute, viewed 11July 2014,http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2014/06/20/Does-inequality-make-a-country-less-secure.aspx?COLLCC=2196411653&

5.Jones B, 2014,Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension between Rivalry and Restraint, The Brookings Institution, Book, viewed 11July 2014,http://www.brookings.edu/research/books/2013/still-ours-to-lead

6. Thirwell M, 2009,The Spectre of Malthus: Lessons from the 2007-08 Food Crisis, The Lowy Institute, The International Economy blog, viewed 11July 2014,http://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/spectre-malthus-0

Tags:  foresight  futurist  generations 

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