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Learning from the Future

Updated: Apr 23

Leveraging our imagination to solve complex problems



In the ever-evolving world of technology, finding solutions to complex problems requires more than just traditional problem-solving. A powerful technique to unearth solutions to complex problems collaboratively is: Learning from the Future. This method is not just about solving problems; it leverages our imagination to envision the future to develop strategies and solutions that are resilient and adaptable to upcoming changes.



Core Principles of Learning from the Future:

  • Developing a Bold Future Vision: Imagine a compelling vision of the future that guides your decisions and actions.

  • Balancing Present and Future: Ensure that your current actions are aligned with your future goals.

  • Anticipating Future Scenarios: Project your current work into the future to identify potential challenges and opportunities.


Techniques For Learning from the Future:

  1. Working Backwards:

  • Develop a bold future vision and ask what would need to be true to get there.

  • Rally stakeholders around the vision while they work on separate priorities today.

  1. Working Forwards:

  • Project current work into the future to anticipate where it will lead.

  • Consider different possible scenarios and how well today's actions prepare for those futures.

  1. Releasing Constraints:

  • Looking to the future allows for more resilient and shock-resistant solutions.

  • Effective future exploration is about recognizing complexity and striving for a better world.

  1. Imagining Time Travel:

  • Be prepared for different perspectives and possibilities when exploring the future.

  • Give yourself time to ponder options without getting stuck.

  1. Finding the Future in the Present:

  • Look for individuals and microcosms that represent future trends.

  • Engage with diverse perspectives to gain deeper insights.


After applying these techniques, take time to reflect on what you've learned and share your insights. Learning from the Future involves a balance of backward and forward-thinking, exploration of present indicators of the future, and tangible reflection on insights gained to inform strategic decisions.


This post is inspired by the IDEOU class: Creative Thinking for Complex Problem Solving.

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