Messages from the Future

A psychological surprisingly powerful Foresight Mindset tool are Messages from the Future. Foresight thinkers get the task to write a newspaper article dated ten years from today. The headline talks about the bankruptcy of their own company, giving some general and specific reasons for the failure. Such an approach is in sharp contrast to the usually positive strategies and visions, dominated by success stories.

Messages from the future can be different types of messages and information:

  • Newsletter
  • Press release
  • Eulogy
  • Artefacts
  • The Thing
  • Tweet
  • Letter from your future self to your granddaughter or grandson.

A press release from the future talking about the successful product launch is a favorite tool that Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos uses. For each of the mover 500 products that Amazon launches every year, developers – before they even write a single line of code – have to first write a press release and FAQ. In those the product features and benefit for customers are being described and praised. This approach forces development teams to get the most difficult out of the way from the beginning and have the team focus. If the team fails writing a convincing press release, then probably the usefulness of the product was never really clear.

This technique is suitable not only for companies, but also for depicting your own future. Write your own eulogy as a Tweet in 280 characters. Try to describe yourself. What would be the values and things you did that you would want to read? How is this related to the things that you are actually doing today?

By researching on how you or your company shall be memorized, you carve out the values that show the true character and true mission. Knowing that allows understanding what necessary steps need to be taken to get to this future.

The effect of a eulogy or newsletter from the future on workshop participants can not be highlighted enough. To observe oneself or one’s own company in five to ten years from now and describe them either as successful or failed helps the individual or team to get faster into a future mindset and l get out of the daily routine and thinking.

This article has also been published in German.

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