Seeing change before it happens: The intentional futurist
November 19, 2021
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “futurist” as “one who studies and predicts the future, especially on the basis of current trends.”
An intentional futurist is a twist on this definition—and a cut above the ordinary futurist. The intentional futurist is constantly impatient, perpetually uncomfortable with the status quo, and rigorously committed to act. The intentional futurist is also fiercely undeterred when challenges or criticism threaten to block progress.
Throughout history, progress—in business, technology, science, medicine and countless other fields—has been driven by intentional futurists. No doubt, that pattern will continue. But it’s important to recognize that today’s model of an intentional futurist is new: This is someone who relentlessly seeks data, trends and insights to anticipate change before it happens—to boldly, with hyper-awareness, confront current realities and work to adapt, reinvent and transform their business.
Today’s environment requires leaders to be built for change and that is why becoming an intentional futurist is so critical.
The economic fallout of COVID-19, reaching into every corner of the globe, has been a wakeup call: Relying on patterns from the past is no longer enough. Black Swans—unexpected events of large magnitude and consequence—are, by their nature, surprises, but we need to use every tool, every piece of data and all technologies to become more attuned to and prepared for global shifts and opportunities.
To see change before it happens.
We all need to become intentional futurists. The leadership challenge is urgent: Recent research from Accenture indicates that only 6% of executives are completely confident in their organization’s ability to foresee and respond to future disruption.
Intentional futurists are the kind of leaders who will not just survive, but thrive, as the world continues to change rapidly and radically.
Accenture’s Business Futures 2021: Signals of Change report gives leaders guideposts to anticipate and become intentional about the future:
Intentional futurists are the kind of leaders who will not just survive, but thrive, as the world continues to change rapidly and radically. They will accelerate innovation and growth by seeing the future and seizing it with intention.