According to Sitra research on future, there are three ways to look at the future. First is to prepare ourselves. This means seeing threats beforehand and coping with them. If you look at the future like this, you are more of an object than the subject and future may seem a bit scary.
Second way of going towards tomorrow is planning. The possibilities we have ahead of us mostly depend on ourselves. All the possible scenarios can be seen to be true and it is us as a human race, who together build a future from these known and unknown possibilities. In this sense, unity comes increasingly important in order to have and achieve a common goal.
Third way to perceive the future is novelty. This approach is an analysis on what we assume, what we cherish as a truth and what is not questioned. Novelty often reveals the unknown possibilities and discovers the truly new things, which are not build on our existing assumptions.
Similarly, the future includes extended present, familiar futures and unthought futures. All these we need to take into consideration when discovering these overlapping possible realities.
Sitra researches global megatrends, creates and evaluates visions about the future and pays attention to weak signals, that indicate emerging trends and changes. There are now a handful of really relevant topics for humankind, which are global sustainability crisis, geopolitical tensions and interdependency and the way technology changes everything
These result in changes in our way of living as we know it. The biggest changes include the riddle of work and income, fatigued representative democracy and economy being at a crossroads.
Everything can be seen both as a threat and as a possibility, depending on the viewpoint. All of these changes and trends can both leave us in worse or better situation. People also vary depending if they embrace the change, include themselves in it and try to have an impact or if they close their eyes, shut their surroundings and try to hide in an imagined past, where this used to be better. It is strongly up to us to either plan the desired future or let others create their desired future for us.
One very useful way of fuelling thought is to think, what is strange about today? What would past and future generations look at and think, what were they thinking?
These strange or disturbing things might be some weak signals, that trigger us and therefore trigger many others as well. All the great changes are always weak signals at first. In the event we discussed for excample extreme hobbies, suicide mobile apps, bags and clothes made of human skin and the trend of expressing wealth by pouring champagne down the drain. These all can be seen as weak signals about something bigger emerging, maybe a lack of purpose among young people? If this is the case, lack of purpose can again be seen as a threat or a huge possibility to encage bright minds to work on something that really matters. As I said before, the future is entirely up to us and how we see it.
The presentation from the lecture can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tjbeprbmv7dn3a9/Megatrends%20and%20futures%20thinking.pptx?dl=0#
Sitra has all kinds of material and events for people interested in the future. Sitra megatrend cards can be ordered for free from the website: https://www.sitra.fi/julkaisut/megatrendikortit/and events held by Sitra can be found here: https://www.sitra.fi/#tapahtumat
Have a bright future!
Last updated: 2.11.2018