While my green and magenta Nike shoes brought me joy, the last 12 months have been a journey of many ups and downs. Six months after my original post, I owe thanks to a global community of futurists and foresight practitioners who have taught me so much about imagination, anticipation, creativity, hope, open-mindedness, exploration, and unlearning/relearning. 2020 was a dark time for so many, me included. In Spring of 2020, I was less than hopeful about the future for myself or the world in general. Everywhere I looked, I saw negativity and little possibility for improvement or change. There wasn’t much hope to be found from my perspective. That’s just it, it was my personal perspective at that time that was the problem. I’ve since come to learn that my perspective is so very tiny in the grand scheme of possibilities. I was looking through a keyhole at the world and wasn’t seeing all there actually was to see.
I started officially studying strategic foresight in June of 2020. One of the first things I learned was just how limited and narrow my perspective actually was. I knew what I knew, but I didn't know what I didn't know. Having to look at different perspectives might be a scary and unsettling for some who simply prefer to keep the blinders on and only look straight ahead or at the world through their own tiny keyhole. For me, it was the opposite. I was elated to remove my blinders! It was freeing to me for two main reasons. One, I had lost hope for the world. My anticipation for a preferable future to emerge was dimmed and this new perspective gave me back my hope for possible positive change. Two, I love growth and learning. Lifelong learning and continuous growth are two of my core values. I never want to stop learning and growing!
Sometimes you have to unlearn old ways and habits in order to learn new ones. That’s what strategic foresight did for me. I unlearned thinking about the world from my limited short-sighted perspective and relearned how to see the world from multiple perspectives far into the future. Summing up nine months of intensive studying, practicing, and certification in one sentence makes it seem like it was easy. It wasn’t!
Unlearning and relearning can be hard. Coming from my background of science and analytical thinking, it took a great deal of stretching and growing pains for me to be able to reframe my perspective in a way that incorporated creativity and explored value systems. I recall leaving class and group discussions on more than one occasion fatigued from the strenuous mental work out and feeling like I would never be able to stretch my creative imagination far enough to keep up with the brilliant ideas and insightful perspectives of such a globally diverse and intelligent group of classmates. Lucky for me, I’m pretty stubborn. I stuck with it! I have pushed myself beyond my comfort zones on many occasions.
I’m so glad I did because the world for me is now so full of hope and possibilities thanks to the practice of strategic foresight. I am still able to use my nerdy love of research and data. I’m also able to incorporate creativity and intuition into the equation.
Research + Creativity + Data + Intuition = Strategic Foresight
Strategic Foresight through the Natural Foresight Framework developed by Kedge can be used for personal development, change management, strategy development, and innovation. While it has impacted me personally, I also get to use strategic foresight as a consultant to help organizations and individuals see new perspectives, explore possibilities, map preferable futures, and create a better world. What could be better?!?
I’m empowered to democratizing the future through foresight because I do believe it is the key to giving us all hope and providing collaborative visions of the future(s), we can all work to pull ourselves towards. My shoes and I continue our foresight journey where everything is possible! It's my Joy Forward Strategy and I'm happy to share it!
Thank you to the The Futures School and all of its staff, my fellow students of foresight, the Futures Space Community, and all of the amazingly open and welcoming people I've met over the last year!