Everybody knows that the system is broken and everybody knows that an entirely different system is not only possible but necessary. It is pretty obvious that we need to solve the problems of our time, of the NOW. Therefore above all we need to have an idea of how the future should be and not only of how it might be.
In a recent article in Harvard Business Review Amy Webb makes some remarkable points in regards of critical thinking about the future in organisations. We think these approaches are very viable tactics for corporate strategy and for strategy in general and too often forgotten, but for us come short in creating true new systems, for these approaches try to manage uncertainty but are not aimed to create “new futures”.
The cone described in the article is basically a scenario technique that is useful to challenge decisions and directions, important for tactics and strategy, don’t get us wrong. But what it does not do, is do envision the future that breaks free from linear developments (trends), those most important futures that might be disruptive to current developments.
And isn’t that what we are all looking for: disruption, new systems?
Disruption and new systems we will not find by projecting the now, even if it is more than one scenario (cone). What it does is to change, to adopt to a might be future and to minimise risk. Valuable, no doubt. But it is not creating new futures and not building new systems.
In strategy work, in organisational development, in our work for a better future the first questions should not be how the future might be (with a high degree of uncertainty) and how we can adopt to it (reactive approach) but how we want the the future to be and how to create this future proactively. It thereby does not matter if we look on micro or macro level, if we strive for personal or organisational development or if we think about the future of society as a whole, the principles are the same.
What we need to change systems, no matter on which level: from the I to the WE, is a picture of the best possible future, a Utopia so to progress from the now to the future.