Tech PR Subject Matter
July 22, 2022
Are you a futurist? Here’s how to tell
When you rely on information about what the economy will look like in the next 12 months or the technology trends of the upcoming year, you’re relying on a futurist. We depend on the analysis of those who are thought leaders in their space and can speak to what’s expected, not just what is.
You use the information to plan your business, spending, or shift product development. And you’re not wrong. Relying on a futurist is often beneficial, but being a futurist allows you to become the go-to voice of authority in your industry.
What is a futurist?
A futurist is a type of social scientist who calculates industry trends, consumer habits, and environmental and economic shifts to forecast events in the next 12 to 18 months. The major advantage of utilizing information from these experts is to take advantage of opportunities and avoid missteps in business decisions.
The pandemic economy was a filter for the world’s best futurists. When the potential impact of the health pandemic began to surface in early 2020, a number of brilliant minds took note. Some 915 business innovators took part in a Pew Research study. They revealed in 2021 the technology trends that will emerge by 2025 because of the outbreak across the global healthcare system.
The experts forecast changes that will “worsen economic inequality,” favoring those who have access to digital tools and advanced technological training. In addition, technology is expected to create artificial intelligence (AI) that will eliminate some jobs in the workplace. The study participants also forecast flexible-workplace arrangements, technology that supports safer living, and smart systems that support education.
Nearly 18 months after Pew Research published the study, we can see the futurists were largely accurate. Gaps in Assistive Technology create significant impacts on the quality of life. An estimated 25% of professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022. And AI is fast-tracking disease progression models for rare diseases. Companies that listened to the futurists are a step ahead of those that refused to take a calculated risk.
Characteristics of a futurist
The best news is that there is no special training to become a futurist. To develop your mindset to forecast within your industry, incorporate these primary characteristics.
1. Macro and micro perspective
Building the skill to forecast requires that you research and digest information on the micro and macro level. Look at specific happenings within your industry and understand how they tie into the larger economic, environmental, and social realms.
2. Expect the unexpected
It’s a bit cliche, we admit, but it’s necessary to recognize the discomfort that comes with expecting something you’ve never personally experienced. The futurists who spoke to post-pandemic tech developments had never lived through a global pandemic. Yet, they were able to forecast based on the information made available to them. Be willing to push yourself out of the comfort zone of your own realities.
3. Be ready to cross-pollinate
What’s happening in other industries? Be aware of emerging trends, concerns, and consumer confidence levels in related and unrelated industries. Cross-pollinate your findings with happenings in your own industry to identify similarities. You’ll be in a better position to forecast industry expectations when you’re aware of signals from other lines of business.
4. Identify trusted resources
In order to be the go-to in your industry, you’ll need reliable resources to inform your forecasting decisions. Build a menu of trusted journals, news outlets, publications, and experts.
5. What does history say?
Understand historical data without risking a repeat. Study the context of drastic swings within your industry to identify elements that create positive or negative effects. Are there current similarities to noteworthy historical occurrences? What can you forecast based on those similarities or differences?
Create more accurate and successful forecasts for your company by developing the mindset of a futurist. Rather than reacting to what happens around you, learn to recognize the signs and get in front of trends and future consumer needs.
The Corelini PR Agency places primary focus on sharing your story with relevant news agencies. When you leverage opportunities and avoid missteps by thinking like a futurist, you can rely on our team to share your successes and bring awareness to your brand as an authority leader.
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