This is a guest post from Neerav Bhatt who attended the Gartner Symposium in Sydney, this post is reproduced with permission:
I had a press pass to the 2010 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo and specifically made time to attend Craig Rispin’s session “How To Think Like a Futurist” as I’d heard he had some thought provoking ideas to share.
He made a lot of good points including his first one which was that futurists need to read lots of science fiction because science fiction helps you understand that life will change, must change. Science fiction suggests how and why it may change in the near and distant future.
Craig explained that:
“Futurists are reverse historians. We try to peer over the horizon so we can make better decisions today. We analyse trends, anticipate significant changes and help people create preferable futures.”
In a world where social, technological, environmental, economic and political change is occurring so fast it is learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
To think like a futurist you need to think:
Global versus local
Long term as well as short
Of multiple Future possibilities rather than predicting one
About Trends not news
Cross industry vs industry specific
About multiple trend drivers not just the economy
About long term vision not short term tactics
Big picture versus micro detail
More details about some of Craig’s publications can be found on Neerav’s site.
Technology, the web, our phones, our laptops. All of these devices and platforms have become such a major part of our lives that we forget the impact they have.
But then it’s not about the tools, it’s about how we use them.
Our uses have adapted over time from being merely functional, serving a minimal purpose, to revolutionising the way we connect, allowing a constant state of being plugged in to the biggest pool of information and people ever known thus creating a type of global consciousness.
People like Ezio Manzini, a leading thinker in sustainability and collaborative project design, states that technology and the web is now allowing collaboration on a local level, and once successful, a scaling of these social innovations on a country and global level.
As you may be aware, this is the first Social Innovation BarCamp to be run in Australia, even though BarCamps have been been held throughout the world for a number of years now.
Attendees of the French BarCamp included entrepreneurs, community managers, researchers, technologists, bloggers, consultants, designers, NGO and social business representatives. It was the first social innovation barcamp ever in France.
At the beginning of the day it took 15 minutes for the gridboard to be filled with 16 workshops, presentations and discussions.
Popular discussions included:
How to manage an international online community
Research and development around social innovation
Industrialisation of social action
Neuro-connections and creative intelligence
A tour of Asian meeting innovative social entrepreneurs
Everybody now acknowledges that there is a problem concerning our environment. The unfamiliar and unsure part is what we can do to solve this.
Last week one of the leading thinkers in sustainable design visited Australia. Ezio Manzini shared his wisdom in helping us make this change now. He identified the tools and opportunity we have around us to embrace this change now.
Listening to him also put into context where we are at as a civilisation, the amazing achievements in progress we have had over the last 100 or so years, and what the next step for us is: To become more resourceful in using the materials around us, to reconnect as communities and to embrace the need for sustainability as an opportunity rather than some scary, overwhelming, costly exercise.
His blog contains some excellent examples of this innovation and one in particular is interesting is the ‘Walking Bus’:
Every school holiday it is amazing how much the traffic decreases. Parents feel a need to drive their children for safety but the organisation of this group means that children can walk together, reconnect with each other, under the supervision of a few adults. http://sustainable-everyday.net/cases/?p=52
What examples of this are already going on in Sydney? It would be great to hear about them at the Social Innovation BarCamp