Patricia Lustig on The Future of Work

40 Futurists: Your Child’s Success in Tomorrow’s World of Work (1)

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Sowing the Seeds of Hope

Today, we are clearly in a place of great uncertainty. Although this is often the case, since Brexit, it is suddenly very apparent to everyone that no one knows what is going to happen next. There are, however, things that you, as a leader, can do to manage the uncertainty and to help identify what you can and can’t control going forward. There is one thing that is clear to me, hope – and a vision of a positive future – is needed. And this is the responsibility of everyone in a leadership role (even if you are leading only yourself).

Managing uncertainty is something that we all do, although most of the time, we are unaware of it.  For instance, you take a train and will usually consider what to do if there are delays – you create a plan B.  In business, you consider all angles of what is facing you, by constructing a set of potential futures based upon trends that you see emerging.  You explore how things might play out, and then you make plans (A, B, and C) for the different possible futures which may unfold. You then implement those plans; foresight won’t help you without action.

From that range of potential, plausible futures that you identify, find a preferred future, the one you like best and where you see the biggest advantages. You figure out what you can influence to make that future unfold (as opposed to any other).  Sharing this preferred future and what needs doing to get there is what leaders do when sharing a vision.

From reading the press and social media streams, there hasn’t been much of a positive future vision shared (if any) regarding Brexit, both before and after the referendum. Perhaps now is the time to start exploring different potential futures going forward – even if only in the short term – and choosing (and sharing widely) one that gives you and your team the most hope.

Strategic foresight is not about prediction; it is about exploring a range of different futures so that you are prepared when any one of them unfolds. By doing the preparation work and strengthening your foresight muscles, you are prepared to act quickly and proactively when you notice a different future emerging, to the one that you have already considered unfolding. You can meet the future with an existing, well thought through plan; a positive vision and hope.

Although this may well sound like a big investment which has you envisioning a full blown scenario planning exercise, it can be much easier and quicker than you think. While it will take reflection time, there are many tools to help you get started that needn’t take as much time and will enable you to identify a preferred future and start building hope. We have many tools that can help you, from those that explore the impact of a particular trend to some that enable you to look across several timelines (short, medium and long term) from today and extrapolate what could happen.

Let’s together work towards a positive future and allow us to help you sow and grow some hope.


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Article in BL Magazine about Strategic Foresight & Patricia Lustig


Dr. Liz Alexander has written an article in BL Magazine about Strategic Foresight which mentions our CEO and her recent book.   See: BLMagazine_strategicforesight or see the journal online – article is on page 42.



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Tales of the future

This is a book review of a Communities of the Future: tales from Suffolk in 2030
By Stephen and Joanne Aguilar-Millan

It explores a series of related possible futures and in so doing gives you quite a good view of how futurists actually construct a range of plausible futures. It was recently published in the Compass Newsletter of the Association of Professional Futurists (APF) in January 2016.

click link below for more details


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NEW BLOG on RSA Website

New blog is up – another one! Written by our CEO, on the RSA Website about the importance of foresight and conducting your due diligence on the future:

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New blog for British Airways Business Life


Our CEO has written a blog for British Airways Business Life on the benefits of strategic foresight.  See:

We can all use some foresight to improve decision making.



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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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Strategic Foresight Author Patricia Lustig Believes Business Leaders Put Their Business Futures at Risk through Lack of Future Due Diligence

LONDON, England – (12 October, 2015) – Future-thinking authority Patricia Lustig has published one of the most practical guides to foresight and foresight tools available today, enabling business leaders to conduct the process of due diligence on the future of their organisations.  Written for leaders, Strategic Foresight: Learning from the Future delivers practical processes, tools and techniques that turn foresight theory into practice, empowering organisations to create “hindsight” visibility for informed decision making and strategic direction setting.

“I believe that leaders in private sector companies are putting their futures at risk by not possessing the confidence, skills nor methodologies to engage in the process of assessing more than a single possible future,” said Lustig, author and CEO of LASA. “Leaders are no longer safe in assuming a single future scenario, as the slow moving linear world many leaders grew up in is changing so quickly there is no single guaranteed path to take. Only by undertaking the process of future due diligence can they truly envision a range of future scenarios, and my book gives leaders the practical skills and methodologies they need to create the fullest picture of all possible futures.  Strategic Foresight won’t turn them into psychics or fortune tellers, but into leaders who can guide their organisation forward by understanding the challenges and opportunities they may face, not just the ones they already know about.”

Published by Triarchy Press and available now, Strategic Foresight, cites real-world examples of good and bad foresight.   These include the recent disruption caused to established businesses in the taxi and hotel industries by start-up technology companies Uber and AirBnB and the recent woes of Tesco and their failure to spot the shift from mega-stores to convenience shopping.  These are both examples of where changes in the market were visible through foresight rather than hindsight.

Strategic Foresight is based on over 35 years’ experience with clients and is written to help CEOs and members of the senior management team work together to develop robust and stress-tested business strategies that will enable them to thrive in the future.” said Lustig.

The book has received praise from leading executives across Europe.  Sir David Brown, Engineer and Industrialist said, “A common boardroom feeling is that never before have we needed ‘more hindsight sooner’. Couple that with the increasingly common feeling that the tried and tested approaches to strategy formulation are no longer enough. They still work – as far as they go – but they need to be supplemented with additional tools for looking ahead further than has become the norm, and with more intellectual rigour. This book shows us a way of doing that.”

Strategic Foresight covers:

  • Future Thinking: How we think about the future, ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • Preferred thinking styles and “baggage” and values that form our perceptions.
  • Models, tools and maps required for developing strategic foresight and how this can used to inform decision-making, uncover innovation and develop creativity for competitive advantage.
  • How to identify emerging trends, what impact they may have on business, the strategic importance of early recognition and how to apply the knowledge.
  • Harnessing strategic foresight as a springboard for innovation and creativity to take advantage of the future.
  • Practical methods for exploring potential futures.
  • Case studies throughout to allow readers to “think along” with the ideas.

More information about the book can be found at .

# # #

About the Author

Patricia Lustig is a widely-recognised practitioner in strategic foresight and strategy development, future thinking and innovation.  She has held senior advisory positions and led teams at major blue-chip companies such as BP, Motorola and Logica.  She was Programme Director at Management Centre Europe working in the In-Company division and a Visiting Executive Fellow at Henley Business School and CIPD Faculty for Scenario Planning and Foresight.

Patricia is the author of a number of respected books and has recently run interactive Foresight sessions for London’s Business School’s Executive Education.  She is also the founder of international business consultancy LASA.


New book just out!

Our CEO’s new book, Strategic Foresight: Learning from the future is now out, available at or via Amazon.

To read some extracts see:


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Demographics Are Driving Entrpreneurship

Suppose you have been led to believe that your ailment will get much worse in the future. But what if instead, things start to improve. How would you feel? You’d probably be pretty excited. Exactly the same sort of excitement is occurring in the UK economy. Debunking the gloomy forecast, things are on an upward swing. There is a small amount of growth and inflation is almost non-existant. Jobs, wages and disposable income have increased (even if only slightly), inflation has gone down and most importantly, there has been a surge in entrepreneurship.
Last year, 581,000 new start-up companies were registered with Companies House (as compared to 526,000 in 2013 and 484,000 in 2012). Experts are optimistic that we will see further strengthening of this trend and that by the 2020s entrepreneurship will be at a peak.
More and more people are setting up business for themselves. Why is this happening? Some argue that it is people who were laid off during the last recession who are actually starting their own enterprises. But the rate of emergence of new startups outweighs the rate of recent layoffs. The ease of starting internet companies could be another reason for this surge in entrepreneurship.
But the most plausible reason is demographics. The young and driven millennial generation (those finishing their education today) are finding it more difficult to land jobs. There are fewer opportunities. So they set up their own enterprise. Perhaps, it could be argued, that it is easier for them because they are more agile, tech-savvy and adept in marketing than previous generations. But, are they going to become the main drivers of the entrepreneurial economy in future?
Kauffman Foundation in the US says that the peak age for entrepreneurs to set up on their own is 40, not the late 20s or early 30s. The oldest people in the millennial generation (born between 1978 to 1992) is going to hit that age in the next decade and this potentially bodes well for the future, given their strong propensity for entrepreneurship.
The baby boomers (born between 1950s and 1960s) are venturing into entrepreneurship as their second career. And as a second career, often their ventures are lasting the course, given their wealth of experience and high optimism. They are more likely to succeed in their first try than the millennials. They are also contributing to the entrepreneurial trend.
Although immigration is a controversial issue, immigrants add value to the entrepreneurial economy. They have a hunger to succeed and are frequently risk-takers (as proven by the fact that they emigrated away from their homes). In the US, 40% of the Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants and in the United Kingdom, one in every seven companies is owned by an immigrant.
In UK millennials, baby boomers and immigrants combined together will fuel an upsurge in entrepreneurship by the 2020s. Outside the UK, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are also on the verge of an entrepreneurial revolution. India and China, particularly, buoyed up by large numbers of millennials who have few other opportunities, are ready to make rapid strides.
So, this can be a time of great excitement; innovation and creation; the managed economies of 1970s-2000s are giving way to entrepreneurial economies. Opportunities abound. This is a trend to watch, let’s hope it plays out well.

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