Thursday, February 23, 2012

Are You A Futurist

If you are a leader of a company or a brand manager with employees and you don’t know what a futurist is, you need to learn and become one quickly.   That was just one of many profound takeaways from futurist David Houle’s presentation at the Country Radio Seminar.  His favorite definition comes from a colleague who describes it as someone who has the ability to “sell something that doesn’t exist to people who can’t see it”.   Now more than ever, you need to see, embrace and sell change at an exponential rate.

Houle sees 2010 as the start of the transformation decade.  We are in a “Shift Age” with three forces upon us that will cause a change in nature, character and form.  This shift age will force us to change the way we do business and build relationships.  The companies and individuals who can see and understand these three forces will thrive in the transformation decade. 

The (1) Flow to Global, (2) Flow to the Individual and the (3) Accelerated Connectedness of the world are affecting everything we do in a very profound way.  Houle warns that conventional thinking and projecting the rate of change by the current pace will be the demise of many businesses.  He quoted 19th-century Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, “We should try to be the parents of our future rather than the offspring of our past.”

According to Houle, we now live in an age with no time, distance or place limitations on communication.  It is the age of “disintermediation”, the removal of the intermediary.  The individual holds all of the power.  There is no alienation because you can always find your “tribe” on the social network.

Houle elaborates on how the shift age will empower individuals and affect business.   The explosion of choice combined with the creation of two realities in every individual’s life is setting us on a course of change like we have never seen before.  You have to manage your “physical reality” and your “screen reality”.  Any information you need is at the touch of your fingertips.  Conventional ways of teaching and learning are outdated.  Intellectual property is the wealth of the shift age.  Creativity and inventiveness will be even more critical to success. 

When asked how radio can overcome being seen as a passive consumption medium, Houle encouraged us to “focus on the emotion” and “build on the unique relationship” we have with our community.  Focus on the five C’s; creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, content and context.  These are the keys to education and also to understanding where we need to be in the future.

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