So, are the tools and methods of futurists actually applicable to people outside of academia?
I can see several clear benefits to our adopting some of the practices of futures studies in our everyday lives.
- We grant ourselves a richer and more mature perspective on our actions when we include the future perspective in our planning and decision-making.
- By adopting the scenaric stance and anticipating and preparing for a range of possible futures, we are able to take a more proactive approach, instigating and driving change rather than waiting for it to come to us. As Candy says, ‘The future is not predictable, but it can in some ways be shaped. This is not a class in predicting change, it’s a crash course in participating in change, more mindfully and effectively.’
- The act of envisioning what future scenarios might be possible in the coming years and decades, given where we are today, is a valuable imaginative act. By giving us a space to envision what kind of future we want, we can be aspirational rather than critical. Professor Steve Duncombe points out that, ‘These impossible dreams open up a space for democratic participation in the process of imagining the future, which also offers the possibility of escaping the tyranny of the present… for people to imagine, ‘why not?’, and ‘what if?”
- Finally, there’s a measure of compassion that comes with asking ourselves the futures-informed question: Are we being good ancestors?