Thinking About the Future in the Age of Surprise

by Joanna Pineda Posted on July 24, 2014

Figure holding multiple directions I had the pleasure of speaking at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) last week during their Benefit Communication and Technology Institute in San Jose, CA. My topics? Getting Started with Video and Website Best Practices. But that’s not the topic of this blog post.

The closing session made a real impression on me. Terry Grim, a partner at the Foresight Alliance, talked about the art and science of predicting the future and boy was she terrific.

Terry started off by saying that many things that seem to catch us by surprise were actually predicted, including 9/11, the rise of drones, extreme weather. And yet, despite our technological advances, it’s still very hard to predict THE future. Why? Terry says:

Ultimately, good forecasts must allow us to make better, more informed decisions. So how do we do this? Terry says:

Terry called this time The Age of Surprise because there are so many forces of changes pressing on us at once: technological, medical, political, economic. She called on all of us to question our assumptions, look wider, deeper and longer to understand the future, and use more comprehensive data to make decisions.

As someone who has been “surprised” many times this year by turns in the market and marketplace in which Matrix Group operates, I’m thinking hard about possible and plausible futures, and hoping to bring better data and forecasts to our strategic planning.


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