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Little Find

The mistakes made by apprentice futurists

The example of Kodak is often cited to illustrate how difficult it is to listen to signals (even when they’re increasingly clear) and factor them into corporate strategy.

When Kodak called on a futurist, they ended up not listening to her because they thought her recommendations weren’t relevant. History, however, decided otherwise…
There are three common mistakes you should avoid if you want to ensure your forward thinking is a success:

  • Sticking to your own field: do you read the “10 trends to follow” in your industry? All well and good, but you run the risk of missing out on the innovations or breakthroughs occurring elsewhere that might have a critical impact on your business.
  • Only listening to the experts: it goes without saying that experts can be useful, but sometimes they overlook what is happening on the sidelines. Track down problem solvers who are exposed to a wider range of experiences.
  • Wanting to predict the future by drawing on the past: this is a natural tendency but it limits your thinking. It is better to start from an imaginary future – 10 to 20 years ahead – before retracing your steps so you can pinpoint what factors got you there. Don’t try to set specific milestones: that’s too risky an exercise. Instead, try to identify the key characteristics.

To go further

3 things you’re doing wrong when you try to plan for the future

by Kaihan Krippendorff (Fast Company, September 19, 2022).

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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.