Thinking constructively about the future is a highly-creative process.
It takes a considerable amount of mental freedom and creativity to let your mind wander around in the vast possibilities of what could be in the future; this practice works even better when coupled with a curiosity to discover good evidence about the future.
Futures thinking takes practice; it often works very well with a good facilitator and requires concentration and effort to be meaningful.
It's an art.
The process of categorising and analysing imaginative futures thinking and plausible evidence of the unknown requires structure and logic. There are numerous frameworks and processes that can be used to make better judgements and sense of the research.
Judgement of the knowledge about the future needs to be made relevant through robust science.
But art and science are meaningless without action.
They both become an exercise of considerable waste if all of that knowledge isn't properly applied to purposefully create the future that is desired.
Which is where the often neglected craft of implementation comes in.
In the vast majority of cases - strategy work tends to die a sad death at the crucial implementation stage.
All of that great research and the countless hours spent in workshops and conferences and on fancy PowerPoint presentations falls flat because so little attention is given to the developing of the craft of strategy implementation and execution.
Unlike the other two glamour stages of the futures process - implementing and execution doesn't happen in an exciting breakaway venue, fully-loaded with tea and biscuits and a free, branded notepad and pen.
Implementation and execution need detailed planning, wildly effective communication, leadership, accurate measurement, a shift in mindset, ongoing coaching, accountability and rewards - all combined in a delicate balance that really can be considered a management craft.
When it comes to future growth - the art, science and craft of the process is key; any one of them done in isolation without the others is problematic.