What Does “A Practical Tool” For Facing An Uncertain Future, Really Means?
If you have been following my recent posts, you probably know by now that I have developed a practical decision making tool, based on the methodology of scenarios planning, to enable every manager and team to act, plan and prioritize their decision in the face of uncertain futures.
In a previous post I even tried to climb on the shoulders of giants, when I’ve used Elon Musk’s TED talk’s differentiation between inevitable and non-inevitable futures to explain why this tool is so valuable. But, what I haven’t done yet is explain what is meant by “a practical tool” and how can a tool be practical when it is intended to directly face the uncertainty of the future.
So let me fill this gap. Here I’ll explain how this decision making tool is practical in three different ways. The first, is that it will answer a practical question for you, not give a vague theoretical or contextual advise. The second is that it will be practical for your way of thinking, and allow you to see things in a very new way. The third way in which this tool is being practical in the face of uncertain futures, is that it will allow you to plan and act while gaining new flexibility and agility.
1. A Practical Question
When we think of how to plan in the face of the future and its uncertainties, we often think in terms of identifying trends and having contextual, sector specific, foresight. This way of thinking gives us answers to questions like, “How would the AI and robotic influence our business?”. The tool I’ve developed, Fit For Futures, help you ask much more specific question you as a manager or your team is facing. Such a practical question can be “Do I need to hire people with new skills to my team?”
2. A Way of Thinking
In the Fit For Futures tool, you’ll be guided in an easy process of five stages to come up with four equally plausible futures, in which you’ll answer that practical question you need a decision about. Many times people confuse plausibility and probability. Probability of futures, means the chances for them to occur. This statistical assessment even if based on existing knowledge and information, still gives you a set of chances, a roulette table, a game of dice. Plausible futures are not about chances, they will probably not occur at all, but because the FFF tool is sketching the futures based on the most key uncertainties in the context of your practical question. It will give you the right coordinates for understanding the most plausible things that could happen in your future without giving any of them up. This is a major change from how we go about thinking and planning the future. It can practically give you a new sense of non linear vision of your future. Something that you’ll find to be mind opening.
3. Plan and Act
When you’ll get your four plausible futures, and answer your practical question. You will also be left with a map of forward movement. The FFF tool is very practical in that term. It demand that you’ll put a plan to monitor the development of your future as you move into its plausible reality.
I am not sure all this helps to understand how this tool is a practical decision making tool, but I hope it gives some food for thoughts.
To practically showcase the tool, I’ll be starting a full year project called “The Future Of” where I’ll be using the FFF tool to answer practical questions about my own future actions. Please see more details and join the ride.