Back to the Future Day – #BTTF

Today is the 21st of October 2015, the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrived in the future.  I remember seeing the film 26 years ago and thought it was wonderful then.  The film is a great example of how we just can’t predict the future.  While there were many things it got right (e.g. wearable tech, voice controlled television, flat screen television, smart glasses/Virtual reality glasses, video calls like Skype and computer controlled door locks), there were also many things it got wrong (e.g. flying cars, Mr Fusion energy converter powered by rubbish, pizza hydrators and everyone’s favourite, the hoverboard).  It also missed some important things like our ubiquitous smartphones… but then 1989 was the year that Tim Berners-Lee invented the worldwide web.

The point is that we can’t predict the future.  At best and by exploring several potential, probable futures, we can get some things right, like they did in the film.  But we will also undoubtedly get some things wrong, possibly because we missed a trend or we didn’t consider how two different trends might combine.  Strategic Foresight helps us get as much right as is possible by examining a range of possible futures and providing frameworks to minimise what we might miss.  It helps us to recognise when we are approaching one or another of the futures we’ve thought through.  And then we can execute the appropriate plan for that future giving us the best opportunity to thrive.

And I’d still love my own hoverboard….

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