For companies both large and small, there’s always one lingering question: what’s coming in the future and how do I get my business there? The future is predictable, but the outcomes are not. As we kickoff 2022, we sit down with Business Futurist Cecily Sommers to discuss business trends, habits of mind, organizational needs and more to help your business stay the course no matter what the future holds.
Munoz: First thing's first, when we hear the term 'futurist', we might have visions of crystal balls or wild predictions or tarot cards, but tell us a little bit about what you do and exactly what is a futurist.
Yes, well thank you for asking for that clarification, because futurist can be used in a number of contexts. I am a business futurist, and what that means is that I practice strategic foresight, which is a kind of analytical approach to understanding the forces of change and how they're shaping society and business. So it helps us see the landscape and what kind of choices that we might make when we're casting ourselves into a set of potentials. As futurists, we talk about the potentials the future may hold. We don't make predictions. I like to say that the future is predictable, but its outcomes are not. And what I mean by that is that there is a way for understanding how change works that really gives us a stable, secure and smart way to investigate what potentials are there for us to consider.
Munoz: So the signals of change, tell me a little bit more about that. When it comes to internal, as well as external, what would be some signals of change that businesses can look for?
Sommers: You know, most of the time we get nudged from the inside. If we get nudged by frustration, boredom, judgment, resentment, longing, and all kinds of things, that tells us that what we're doing currently is maybe expiring. For me, dance helped me for a very, very long time. And what I began to rub up against was some unhappiness, and I had to investigate what's going on here. At that time, I had to ask myself a couple of questions. Is this situational? Is it about changing from the company I was in, hich was a full-time position? I was doing very well. Or is it conditional? Asking myself that question, I recognized that it was conditional, that when I'm doing best I'm kind of following my own mind and that has continued to be a very kind of key characteristic of what makes me happy. And that there is some freedom to explore things and create from that place. So I would say that's frequently when we're getting crabby or crusty around the edges, it's because the form that we are currently in is expiring, and we are seeking, like the content that's evolving in us is seeking new form. And that is what evolution often looks like. And so it asks us to start again and think about who am I now, what matters now? What are the conditions of my, not just happiness, but when we're doing well? It's when we're contributing the most. It's when we're being stretched and learning and so forth. So I find that we often have an attitude that when we're not feeling great that something's wrong with us. And I really counsel people to say, no, this is your wisdom speaking. There's great information for you, lean in to what's getting crabby here and turn to it and go, "What are you trying to tell me? What needs to be prepared for?" Let's investigate and pay attention so that you can start to shape your next set of choices and that's a whole different path. But those would be the crispiness, I would say, that starts to show up and is really telling us there's something new here that needs to be seen and cared for. And we turn to that so those are the internal splines and a generic way.
Exclusive Bonus Content: After the show, we kept the conversation going with Cecily where no topic was off limits in this unscripted, off-the-cuff Lightning Round.
Click here for even more bonus content from Cecily about the futurist's way and the three 'How-to's touched on in our conversation:
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