Why we need to imagine different futures

Why we need to imagine different futures

How are our visions of the future shaped and formed? What power do we have to influence them?

As we pursue our tasks at work, attending meetings, completing deadlines, assimilating information for a sales forecast, or collaborating on a new project, our future is defining itself all around us. It can be a notification, a headline, an electoral result, or a law passed through Parliament. The actions of other individuals can directly affect our own daily lives, and alter our future. We may need to adapt and change previous plans, reaffirm our values, and reconsider our priorities in our future.

In her recent TED Talk “Why we need to imagine different futures”, Anab Jain, the Co-Founder of Superflux, introduces her work on visualising alternative futures through theory, then experimentation and examination of the results. Jain calls herself “an archaeologist of the future”.

Basically, Superflux takes the task of creating your affirmations in forming SMART goals to a much higher level. The team visualises a future with a theory starting from where we are now. Then they design experiments, build prototypes, and tools so that the “planned” future is tangible and realistic, you can really feel the impact of those future possibilities in the present.

Jain says the aim of Superflux’s work is:  “about creating tools — tools that can help connect our present and our future selves so we become active participants in creating a future we want — a future that works for all.”

By visualising alternative futures with different actions continued or added, and experimenting on those futures, Superflux is able to provide realistic reports of the impact of technology, politics, and climate change.

Our Director, Heather Wright has an excellent piece of advice she gives in our courses “Control the controllables.” The work of Superflux is a grand extension of this advice – they take the controllables we have now or envisage using in the future, and control them to see the impact.  They can show the dramatic effects of drones, Artificial Intelligence, and genetics manipulation in healthcare in our everyday lives as well as the impact on technology, politics, society, and the environment.

Earlier this year, Superflux worked with the United Arab Emirates on designing their air energy policy; they explored various scenarios of the future and showed the impact through the air quality that would be the result in 2030. The day after the presentation, the government announced a huge investment in renewables. The idea of “The Future is Now” became a reality. They took control of the controllables.

How can we adapt Jain’s ideas to help to plan our future?

Our Advance courses provide a comprehensiveToolkit for your detailed planning of your own future by forming affirmations, Life Lists, considering our values and “why”, and then setting out SMART goals. Forming the actual plans to work on to achieve a goal ensures we take control of our future.

As Jain explains from her work at Superflux, we have to consider the reality of a future that we do not want to happen so that we can take the responsibility to make the change now to create the best possible future.  This may be changing our diet or increasing exercise, reorganising a project, managing a building extension, or hiring new staff members. Every plan and goal we deal with needs our consideration so that we can achieve our potential.

We are in charge of our behaviour by our thoughts and beliefs, and establishing the best habits to achieve the success we pursue, and ensure the affirmations we visualise leads to the best “Future Is Now” scenario in reality.

Just as Superflux is creating tools to help connect our present and future selves, we take the responsibility by using our practices learned on the Advance courses to ensure we are active participants in creating our own best possible future.

Anab Jain’s final paragraph is such an inspiration we can take on board in our own careers and personal lives:

“By putting ourselves into different possible futures, by becoming open and willing to embrace the uncertainty and discomfort that such an act can bring, we have the opportunity to imagine new possibilities. We can find optimistic futures; we can find paths forward; we can move beyond hope into action. It means we have the chance to change direction, a chance to have our voices heard, a chance to write ourselves into a future we want. Other worlds are possible.

For more information on the work of Superflux and a profile on Anab Jain.