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03. Future thinking. The mindset.

Cultivating a Future-Thinking Mindset: Creativity, Empathy, Strategy, and Collaboration

Example of future thinking: "Send your name to Mars"
"Send your name to Mars" Nasa
The "Send Your Name to Mars" campaign invited individuals to inscribe their names on a microchip aboard the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. This initiative aimed to cultivate a sense of communal ownership and involvement in space exploration. Narrating the journey to Mars, a planet months away, necessitates the sharing of trials and achievements, beating human emotions to establish a bond between the public and the strategic plan for Mars exploration. To identify changing trends and utilize future frameworks, it is crucial to cultivate a unique mindset. This mindset intertwines essential skills and practices from creative synthesis, empathetic storytelling, strategic vision, and open collaboration.

Creative Synthesis. Imagination

Without creative thinking, the birth of new ideas and perspectives for the future becomes unachievable. Envisioning desirable future scenarios is primarily an act of creativity. Just as creativity thrives on a variety of alternative ideas, the future demands numerous visions derived from the combination of weak signals and emerging trends. Open-mindedness is the key that empowers us to shape the future we aspire to create.


Empathetic Storytelling: The Narrative

Narratives have always been central to human understanding, providing context, evoking emotions, and offering insights into the human experience. When it comes to envisioning futures, storytelling is crucial for conveying potential predictions and changes. Empathetic storytelling enables us to craft narratives that place humans at the forefront, aiding in understanding not just the 'what', but also the 'how' and 'why' of potential futures. By weaving stories that resonate with emotions and lived experiences, we can foster a deeper understanding and connection to the possibilities that lie ahead, thereby resonating with people.


Strategic Vision: The blueprint

Every architect knows that a grand vision requires a detailed blueprint. Similarly, our visions of the future need strategic planning to come to fruition. This involves identifying key milestones, potential challenges, and the resources required. A strategic vision is not just about lofty goals; it's about the actionable steps we take to reach those goals. It's the roadmap that guides us, ensuring that we remain on course even when faced with unforeseen challenges. By focusing on both the big picture and the intricate details, we can create a future that is not only aspirational but also achievable.


Participative Exploration: The collaboration

The future isn't the domain of a select few; it's a shared journey that involves everyone. Participative exploration emphasizes the importance of collective intelligence and collaboration in shaping the future. By involving a diverse group of individuals, from experts to everyday citizens, we ensure that multiple perspectives are considered. This collaborative approach not only enriches our understanding but also fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility. After all, a future co-created by many is more likely to be accepted and embraced by the masses. In this era of rapid change, it's crucial that we move together, ensuring that no voice is left unheard and no perspective is overlooked.


Future thinking. The mindset: Sources and further readings

NASA. (2019). Send Your Name to Mars.


Robinson, K. (2011). Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative. Capstone.


Cornish, E. (2004). Futuring: The exploration of the future. World Future Society.


Josep Monguet Fierro

Professor at the UPC. Founder of SmartDelphi, Onsanity, and Innex Experience in digital healthcare innovation. Research coordinator of “Master Barcelona Design” UPC-UB.

 

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