What is an Actionable Futurist and why do you need one – introducing The Actionable Futurist
Over the last few years, I’ve started to focus my energies on discovering how best to stay ahead of the change brought about by digital disruption, with practical and actionable answers for my clients at IBM as well as a range of corporate clients.
I’ve given many presentations around the world, and in one of them recently, an audience member dubbed me “The Actionable Futurist” – a term that has stuck with me as it accurately describes what I do.
Why did they call me an Actionable Futurist? I think it had something to do with the advice that I gave from the stage that they could go and implement straight away.
Actionable vs standard futurist?
Now I’m not for a moment saying that futurists are not practical, far from it. Many futurists around the world look far ahead to try and discern what might happen down the track in terms of technology, business models and also society.
Futurists of note include HG Wells, Arthur C. Clarke and George Orwell, all of who looked at what life might look like in many years to come – some with blinding accuracy.
While there are many contemporary futurists, and many of them are my peers, those that look too far ahead are of less use in a corporate environment where you need to grasp what is happening next week, next month or next quarter.
What I have seen happen in the past is that many companies employ a futurist to kick off their annual sales-event or strategy retreat, and they can be great catalysts
I’ve been in those audiences in the past and often afterwards when people are talking they say look that was interesting, but how does that help us with our business strategy for the rest of the year?
This is where an Actionable Futurist comes in.
At a recent event in London, I was asked to address the entire digital team of a large Bank – some 300 people who had come together for the first of their yearly off-sites.
Mingling with the teams before my talk, it became apparent that they weren’t interested on the far-distant future, they needed to know how to get ready to defend the fintech companies lapping at the heels of a 326-year-old company.
At this event, I looked at the near-term things that the digital team could do and provided some practical and actionable insights. To prove this, directly after my talk, one of the senior managers took up one of my suggestions and mentioned that the bank would be in a position to introduce the concept I outlined in under 12 months.
The talk I gave was titled “becoming digital custodians”, and gave the digital team permission to drive the digital message even further inside the bank, peppered with practical tips. Often an eternal voice can add weight to what has already been said by senior management.
If you’re still not convinced that an Actionable Futurist could add value to your own thinking, have a look at this 90-second clip where I Was interviewed by Jonathan after an event I spoke at in London around digital disruption.
Three practical tips I gave were
1) you need to have a digital mind-set
2) set aside a digital budget
3) Get a digital lens on your board and ensure you have digital diversity
Notably, I also explained my digital manta: “In order to get digital, you need to be digital”
Don’t get left behind and don’t just enlist the help of a futurist- make it actionable with The Actionable Futurist.