By Robert Hickson 13/11/2016

SingularityU’s summit happens in Christchurch this coming week. It’s purpose is to see how to “… thrive in an exponentially changing world”

I’m not a fan of SingularityU. They seem overly enamoured with exponential change, rather than taking a more considered approach to looking towards the future.

However, as an event to highlight emerging technological trends it is useful, and if it helps raise awareness that’s excellent.

My question though is, what next? We stimulate interest, but then how do we capitalize on that?

We are good at inviting in experts to give us their thoughts on where technologies are heading. I’ve heard several of these. They are like fishing boats, coming into port, off-loading their catch and then sailing back off into the sunset. It can be a good starting point, but we shouldn’t become dependent on them.

Good futures, or foresight, is more than just prediction and inspiration. It is about asking the right questions about implications, and teaching others how to fish, not just handing them the catch of the day. It involves applying a set of methodologies that help you discover what the implications may be, test assumptions, and explore potential futures.

That’s where people like me come in. Several of us in New Zealand are well trained in futures methodologies, and can help build capabilities. Not just in wowing you with the latest developments or in spotting “what’s next”, but showing how you can incorporate futures thinking into your business as usual, how to make more effective use of such information, and determining what your best options may be.

The need for New Zealand to do better at looking ahead is also made in Jamie Morton’s piece in the NZ Herald. In addition to comments by me, he includes viewpoints from Peter Griffin, Wendy McGuinness, Jonathan Boston and Shaun Hendy.

I think that we are informed enough to do our own futures fishing now.


Featured Image: Steinar La Engeland, Unsplash