The value of a good futurist

Time is the most valuable resource that is also the easiest to waste.

"What kind of work does a futurist do?"

This is a question that we are often asked. Unlike working as an accountant (where the boundaries of the role are clear), practising as a trained futurist comes with a fair amount of furled foreheads and squinting eyes when people hear the term.

Here's our best shot at an explanation.

When quantifying the value offered by working as a 'futurist' the first thing to note is that this is a profession that offers value in a particular time dimension. Unlike historians who accurately record and analyse the pasts of societies, or psychologists who help individuals frame and grow from their past experiences; futurists are skilled in the use of a range of tools and methodologies to help their clients better understand the dynamics of change so as to take advantage of these insights in a time that is yet to come (i.e. the future).

Futurists maximise the value of the world's scarcest resource - TIME.

Their particular role is to assist clients to spend their available company time better; developing profitable innovations that will deliver outperformance as change inevitably affects the behaviour of markets, building relevant brands over the long-term that will give a business an unfair advantage with the evolution of customers, generating significant margin and profits.

Futurists obviously cannot predict the future, but what they are able to do is think and frame the uncertainty related to the future in a logical and thorough way so as to make better judgments and decisions about where to invest in the present. Rather than allowing the noise and confusion that can so often cloud our sound judgment when thinking about the future; a good futurist thinks pragmatically about change and gives an organisation the means to design more effective strategy based on foresight.

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Frankly there is no profession or skillset that is as useful.

The demands on our time are not decreasing and the number of viable options we need to consider as pathways to progress are numerous and complex. The capability to strategically navigate this chaotic landscape successfully is an incredibly valuable skillset to master.