Inspired by a question posed to me on social media, “How is one a futurist?”, I decided to write about my perspective of what it means to be a ‘Futurist’. Futurists are either there by profession, or as part of their being. Being a futurist and strategist are part of my being and vital elements of my work as a futurist leader and creator. Futurists explore trends, patterns, history, logic and strategic knowledge to predict what the future may hold. I didn’t discover that I was a futurist until after a period of learning that I was either ahead of the curve in certain disciplines and activities, or that I was predicting what would happen in the future. I always seek out the cutting-edge, and armed with a broad spectrum of good knowledge rather than being an in-depth specialist in every subject, I decipher how technologies and practices can either be innovated or leveraged in intelligent ways right now, or in the future.
Genuine futurists and strategists make informed predictions and recommendations, based on information, knowledge, know-how, data and trends (usually within the realm of their expertise, transcending into other areas where they can translate their competences). I research, work with experts to research, use my own knowledge and new information and predict new trends, before I consider strategy for the future. From a personal perspective, I have a particular ability to see most scenarios like a map, either looking down at an overall view, or as a tree branching out with different scenarios, options, risks, benefits and solutions. I then find an optimal pathway to a goal or solution, using a blend of logic and creativity. I seem to be able to see patterns and make interesting connections, which helps when formulating a roadmap with creative and logical actions and ideas, but also for disaster prevention.
Futurists are interested in a future enabled by technology. One area I am interested in is how technology and ‘digital’, a particular field of my expertise can be used to help humanity. My creation Toward Utopia TV Series, is a vehicle through which a collective can explore, discuss and evaluate whether new practices, technologies and ‘digital’ will be harmful or helpful to humanity. The ethics debate then enables others to take forward initiatives to regulate, maximize, implement practices or remove technologies, practices or risks altogether.
Futurism interplays with ‘futurology’ which focuses on social sciences and other areas. Toward Utopia is futurism and futurology united to explore the journey toward a Utopia (the version of which is different to each and everyone of us).
About the Author
Deborah Collier is an education and business leader known internationally for strategy, future vision and predictions, based on informed analysis and research, logical reasoning and creative thinking.