Can we see into the future?

The desire to know the future has been with us since the dawn of humanity – consider the popularity of Nostradamus, the apocalypse described in the Bible, or – closer to our own time – the Y2K frenzy. The ability to predict the future in late 2019 – before the pandemic – could have made our communities better-prepared for what was ahead, or helped some of us to become millionaires by investing in hand sanitizer or toilet paper. Is it possible to see into the future?

Our newest podcast episode focuses on this question, with a discussion about “foresight,” a discipline that helps leaders identify the range of possibilities that lie in the future. It positions organizations or communities prepare for what’s ahead, build capacity for resilience in hard times, and capitalize on strategic growth opportunities. While it doesn’t provide predictions per se, it can give valuable guidance so that decision-making is based on more than a “gut feeling.”

Doug Barrett, director of the Center for Innovation & Economic Development at the University of North Alabama, has developed his own expertise in foresight, and shares key lessons in this episode. Give it a listen. If you’re interested in hearing more about foresight, the Strategic Doing “Third Thursday” on March 18 will feature Rebecca Ryan, who’s well-known for her work in this area.