The future is often discussed as if it is a singular thing. As if everyone will experience the same future. They won’t, of course.
At the most fundamental level, even before you take into account your geographic location, social and economic situation, we all experience the present slightly differently. There are as many worlds as there are people, subtly shifted through the lens of our own interpretation.
For every single present experience, there is an infinite number of possible futures, all shaped by macro factors and personal choices between now and then. We can paint possible futures for the many based on a balance of probabilities, or we can help individuals and organisations to plot the path to their future, understanding the likely external influences that will affect their journey.
Doing this requires a clear understanding of the picture today, both objectively and subjectively: what are the facts and how do you perceive your position? You need to know where A is before you can plot a route to B. We understand this primarily by looking at pressure points: where are the existing stresses — particularly for organisations. Change is more likely to come first at these stress points.
Then it’s a question of understanding the macro factors: what is driving change and how? How will these factors interact with the pressures you already face? Will they create new opportunities or expand existing threats?
We can map these things from the perspective of a single individual, a company, or a whole industry. But the critical point is that it is your future, not a generic future. If you want to know what’s around your corner, you need to plot your own path.