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Futurism is strategy and storytelling

The team at my new marketing agency tell me that people don’t know what futurism is, let alone ‘applied futurism’.

I think they’re probably right.

What is futurism to you? (Please don’t say ‘a fascist art movement’).

For me, it’s about two things: strategy, and storytelling.

Futurism is strategy

My friend, former colleague, and creative problem-solver extraordinaire Phil Lewis of Corporate Punk pointed this out to me yesterday. When I look back at everything I’ve written about applied futurism, it turns out I’ve always been saying this, but never clearly or explicitly enough. Futurism is strategy.

Strategy is a long term plan built in the face of uncertainty. The tools of applied futurism inform that strategy and clear some of the uncertainty. That’s perhaps why many of my customers are people who are fearful of the future, either for their company or their industry. A smaller number are excited about the opportunity.

Futurism is storytelling

Whether you want to compel people to follow your strategy, or whether you simply want to show some thought-leadership on the issues of tomorrow, you have to translate your vision of tomorrow into a story. This is a crucial part of futurism and largely explains the remainder of my customer base: brands and marketing agencies who are looking to say something new.

Futurism is the writing and telling the story of tomorrow’s strategy. But it appears I still need to work on the story of futurism.

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Tom Cheesewright