Tuesday Tip: Getting your team to ‘think like a futurist’ – to see the bigger picture

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The problem:

All too often team meetings become routine, centred on the usual operational issues and well…a little boring. The need to get our team members to (what we in TomorrowToday call), ‘look out the window’, to see the bigger picture. To think about what disruptions might impact on your team / business, is important. Of course the on-going need is to concentrate on the daily operational aspects of what makes your business a success but failure to intentionally and smartly engage with disruptive forces, can prove fatal – no matter how well you do the former!

This Tuesday Tip is to help you and your team ‘think like a futurist’ – with the emphasis on getting everyone thinking. It was Meg Wheatley who said that, ‘thinking is place where all intelligent action starts’. That should be motivation enough!

The Solution:

Have everyone arrive at the team meeting with a current daily newspaper. A variety of newspapers will be helpful but not entirely necessary. Have the individuals then scan through their paper highlighting articles that have anything to do with the following five areas: technology, institutional change, demographics, ethics & the environment and societal values. This is our TomorrowToday tool known as ‘TIDES’ that suggests that these are five important disruptive change drivers that will shape the future.

Spend a few minutes paging through the respective publications highlighting any article that has something to do with any one of the ‘TIDES’. Spend some time discussing what each one could mean for your industry. You might then want to ask the question, ‘within each of these five areas, what are the questions we should be asking but aren’t?’

You are sure to have an engaging and invigorating discussion, one outside of the routine discussion your team may be accustomed to having.

Of course all kinds of further initiatives could flow from this agenda item but if nothing else, it will have served to get your team looking ‘up and out’ and thinking about the ‘bigger picture’. Essentially it is a ‘101 Guide to thinking like a futurist’’ and is something your team will enjoy and is something that might influence how you think about the future of your industry and / or business.

Notes:

  • You will need copies of a current daily paper – one for each team member. For variety, you might want to use an Economist or some other suitable current news magazine.
  • Highlighters – one for each person
  • Allow a bit of time to this agenda item (you can decide what is an appropriate amount of time to dedicate to this exercise) and think through what you would like to do with the suggestions / thinking that might emerge from the exercise. Better still, at the conclusion of the exercise, ask your team what they think needs to happen next.

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