#24 Futurisms R Us

Image of hand holding a crystal ball

By simply being an advocate for long term outcomes, planning and solutions I would describe any such action as being futuristic or embracing futurism.

The way I define Futurism is by those who through their work of the past have become the realities of the now! For example the great work of HG Wells whose interest in society and technology were closely intertwined. Way back at the start of the 19h century Wells prophesized:

“since the inhabitants of different nations could now travel towards each other more quickly and easily, it was all the more important for them to do so peacefully rather than belligerently.”

If you have yet to read his classic book or watch the movie ‘War of The Worlds’ (several editions are available) there is a strong message of the need to balance the now (I refer to this as structure) with the future (I refer to this as spontaneity).

Such creative thinking and writing helped to inspire many other Futurists including another famous writer George Orwell who penned the 20th century classics of Animal Farm and 1984 (currently a play in the Westend London).

I would suggest that what Wells, Orwell and other Futurists were trying to encourage us to do is to think not just for those quick wins but also for the collective wins of the future. Today we refer to such actions as transformative disruption.

Interestingly there is a stark difference for the disruptors of the 19th and 20th century and those of the 21st century. With both the earlier periods of time most of the prophecies were realized long past their owners time on earth – whereas the 21st century and beyond, prophecies have the ability to bring the future right into the current day.

This pace of change is due to many reasons with the key being the knowledge era and transformative pace of change where shifts can not only be seen in a life time but within measureable moments – Steve Jobs and his desire for mobility in the palm of an individuals hand is just one of these examples.

If this is possible for consumerism then surely we can have some effect on societal wicked issues or at least purposeful prevention before they become so wicked. This brings my attention back to the opportunities as described in the collection of Australian essays – the Three sectors – which presents such a positive opportunity for Australia. These essays represent a call for action to collaborate across the public, private and social sectors to unite and make long lasting change. In this action there can be no authoritative role or one particular winner at the expense of others.

Such a collaborative approach must be navigated carefully with the constant tension and balance between structure and spontaneity needing to be held – (see Blog #7 where the language from my PhD ‘straddle’ was first introduced – now STRADDLE™ yippee PhD must be near completion!).

An example of STRADDLE™ in action is demonstrated by the recent AICD report AICD Not For Profit Report 2016 – Raising the Bar which refers to the notion of improvement for the Not For Profit sector. In some cases this sentiment may be most fitting BUT I equally counsel that such action must be taken with an understanding that within the new paradigm and purpose economy (and these mega transformative and disruptive times) it could be that the triple bottom line approach is not as fit for purpose and may not be where the bar that needs to be raised.

Being very aware of this debate including where and how the bar should be raised I enjoy a board position on The Growth Project which is an exciting five year case study of helping those who help. The long-term goal of this project is to bring both Charity and Business leaders together to share collective experiences for personal development and maximum positive social impact. The broad outcome of The Growth Project is to build collaborative learning between Charity and Business leaders that benefits society.

The Growth Project is a great example of a shared experience in raising the bar for both the now and for tomorrow. The end collective of the planned 10 cohorts (around Australia) and their individual experiences are being collated in the form of a collection of stories of social impact to be presented in an emerging book titled RIPPLES – available from the end of November 2016! RIPPLES is a perfect example of meeting the needs of today whilst laying important foundations for the future.

Speaking of futures, thinking for 2030 surely fits that bill. 2030 is part of a global dialogue and I am looking forward to sharing at the Social Good Summit 2016 Australia event with the theme of #2030NOWAU. To me this means having focus on both the now and future – what connections do we need for today to create the ones needed for tomorrow? The exact same question is being asked across the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDG’s)

I am a strong advocate for the SDG’s and with just under a fifteen year time frame to 2030 I would suggest that for every leader – charity, public, business – if you want to be transformative and the HG Wells of your time then find a way to STRADDLE™ the today and tomorrow across the realms of each of the 17 Sustainability Development Goals – just imagine what 2030 could bring!

To the future as resistance is futile!









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