A Venn diagram of four situations: bank robbers, DJs, preachers, and mom taking off your sweater
A Venn diagram of four situations: bank robbers, DJs, preachers, and mom taking off your sweater
Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1ZbrA1HL_6

Are you guilty of being a “doer” or “fixer”? I sure am. Tell me you’re hungry within an earshot and I will immediately think about what to do about it. Being able to just listen and acknowledge is just as important, but the problem solver in me is a deeply ingrained part of how my mind works.

That might be why one of my favorite parts of the foresight process is the shift from creating scenarios to actually using them, from exploring alternative futures to deciding what should happen to pursue a preferred future. After asking “What could happen?” …

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Strategic Doing is an action-oriented approach to strategy that comes out of Purdue University. It is a proven approach that builds on pre-existing strengths and assets, cultivates great ideas, and focuses the entire team on ideas that have minimum startup costs and maximum impact.

Step by step it helps you form collaborations quickly, move them toward measurable outcomes and make adjustments along the way. You can use this approach to start right now, with the people in your work group or network, to launch a conversation and find and develop products and services that create brighter futures.

As a futurist, for example, I find this approach useful to help people take the conclusions from their strategic foresight work — where you look into the future to figure out what’s coming, so we can be ready — and translate them into concrete aligned actions and projects that help them get started today, in actually building their preferred futures. But you can use it too without a strategic foresight process. …

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Image Credit: https://wayback.archive-it.org/13466/20200205005411/https://altfutures.org/pubs/propoor/Foresight_For_Smart_Globalization_Summary.pdf

To break a habit, you don’t eliminate it; you replace it. Similarly, to strive for better than “back to normal,” start with imagining alternatives that are surprisingly successful or aspirational. What is it that you want to create instead of what we currently have? What is it that you wish to pursue and translate into norms and practices that make up the “new normal?”

We’re not talking about the “pie in the sky” variety of aspirational here. Rather, it’s the kind that is plausible, challenging (just beyond people’s comfort levels), and relevant to your arena of influence.

Imagining such things, however, can be extra difficult when we feel scared, furious, uncertain, isolated, helpless. Even in “normal” times, we tend to be naturally better at worrying and focusing on what comes to mind most easily. This is normal. …


Yasemin Arikan

All about creating better futures. Futurist, social scientist, Nutella fan. I workshop my ideas here. Also at rebeccaryan.com.

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