Most reports stop before they ever get started (in our humble opinion), failing to extend their thinking into imagined futures that drive meaningful implications for what’s to come. So for us, this is where things get really interesting.
Our Future Mapping process was built on a philosophy of 3 Ps: balancing push with pull so that we could ultimately plot a path of action into the future that would set the course for our incubation and delivery stages.
This meant starting with a work-session where we gathered the project team, research squad, and other relevant community members to explore the push and pull of the future based on the new structures, new stories, and new behaviors we’ve just explored.
With a 10-year outlook, we used worldbuilding techniques to unpack what felt possible and probable (the push) and what was preferable based on all things RADAR (the pull). There were even moodboards — and they were glorious.
We explored questions like:
What kind of world will the tailwinds of these trends push us toward?
What cultural ideas will emerge?
What societal structures will be reconsidered?
What technologies, mediums, arts, and sciences will be used to connect people, places and things?
What goods and services will we make and how will we consume them?
and just as importantly...
What kind of future do we want this to drive toward?
Given RADAR’s values and beliefs about what makes for better, more inclusive futures, what ambitions, desires, and visions of the future do these trends inspire?
What do we want to pursue that can be both aspirational and achievable given RADAR’s incubation process?
Where these ideas intersect would become our center of gravity: the clearly defined future from which we’d reverse engineer a path of action.
While we worked as a small team in the initial session to ideate what that might look like, this was a pivotal moment where we knew we wanted to engage the whole RADAR community. And so, from our push and pull conversation, we curated three visions of the future — potential centers of gravity for the community to vote on. And by the will of the community, we emerged with just one to guide us in our final future mapping session.
So we set about backcasting: plotting the potential path of action required to manifest our World Beyond Words. In this final session we gathered the original crew that engaged in push and pull, while also bringing in members of the incubate squad to help us think through the kinds of possibilities, products, partnerships, and platforms that could serve as stepping stones to our desired future. These could be just about anything: cultural artifacts or activations, transformative technologies, new goods and services, coalitions and collabs — you name it.
The outpouring of ideas was incredible: full of visions of the future that can lay the foundations for and — we hope — inspire even more creative brilliance as we work our way toward incubate’s FUTURETHON.
But first, a teaser.