9 Actionable Insights to Make the Future “Happen,” According to a Futurologist
Futurologist Magnus Lindkvist shares his insights to make the future “happen.”
Published: June 22, 2023
In a world cluttered with clichéd visions of the future, self-described “disruptive” futurologist Magnus Lindkvist offers a refreshing perspective.
By shedding light on the intersection of innovation, creativity and embracing the unconventional, Lindkvist, speaking at the EMEA Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo, led a riveting session encouraging participants to reimagine their approach to shaping the future.
In this article, you will find nine key takeaways from the session “Everyday Future: Ignoring the Fluff and Making Things Happen.” Learn how to transform the concept of “The Future” from mere theory to an activity to practice daily, and how to harness it as an effective management tool.
1. Choose whether to compete or create
Understanding the dynamic nature of our world is of utmost importance in any industry, ambit or even task. By recognizing that the world is constantly changing and evolving, individuals and organizations can make more informed decisions about competing within existing frameworks, or exploring the unknown and creating new ones. In a discontinuous world, Lindkvist urges us to ask ourselves whether we want to compete or create, ultimately encouraging us to critically assess the environment and adapt our strategies accordingly.
2. Don’t be afraid to experiment
“New ideas are not born out of prediction; they’re born out of experimentation.” Unrestrained by rigid frameworks, creativity can roam free and create fertile ground for new ideas. By encouraging a culture of curiosity and experimentation, individuals and organizations can discover untapped opportunities for innovation.
3. Dance with rules, instead of breaking them
Creativity doesn’t require breaking the rules—at least according to Lindkvist, who suggested that rules actually make us more creative, not less. They force us to find new ways around constraints. By embracing limitations and using them as creative catalysts, we can leverage existing structures and frameworks to find innovative solutions, ultimately pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
“The future is not just a date or place; it’s an activity we engage in.”
4. Practice long-term thinking
Can we think within longer timeframes, rather than focusing on short-term goals and quarterly results? Lindkvist believes so. He invites us to add a zero in front of our calendar year—02023, for example. Just like in the odometer of a car, we are now looking at how much more time—or thousands of years—lies before us. This simple exercise invites us to think in terms of millennia, reminding us to adopt a more forward-looking perspective.
5. Prioritize diversity to bring new perspectives
“Creation can happen in all kinds of environments, with all kinds of people, in all kinds of companies.” How can individuals access this wealth of creativity? According to Lindkvist, by expanding our networks and engaging with different backgrounds and perspectives. By embracing diversity and seeking talent beyond their comfort zones, organizations can create an environment that nurtures creativity and innovation.
6. Foster creative friction rather than constant consensus
Embracing conflict creates energy. We can harness this energy and transform conflict into creative friction. By creating spaces where differing viewpoints can collide and spark new ideas, organizations can imagine forward-thinking solutions to problems and foster a culture of innovation.
“New ideas are not born out of prediction; they’re born out of experimentation.”
7. Be willing to be misunderstood
Blazing new trails requires courage in the face of skepticism. Innovation often challenges established norms, and disrupting the status quo can lead to resistance. Not everyone will understand your vision, and that’s OK—accepting this possibility allows us to stay true to our ideas, a sentiment embodied by innovators of all times, from Galileo to Steve Jobs.
8. Think of the future as an activity
“The future is not just a date or place; it’s an activity we engage in.” Rather than viewing the future as a final destination, it should be a mindset to shape our daily actions, whether by encouraging change or being proactive when we spot an improvement opportunity. By thinking of the future as a blank canvas, we can take conscious steps toward our desired outcomes.
9. Be open to the unexpected
Embracing the unexpected can be a catalyst for exponential growth. Things rarely succeed the first time around. But leading with tenacity allows us to see disruptions as opportunities instead of obstacles. Cultivating a mindset of adaptability enables us to seize transformative moments and leverage them for accelerated progress.
“Creation can happen in all kinds of environments, with all kinds of people, in all kinds of companies.”