Are You an Applied Futurist?

By Karen Carnahan & Marsia Gunter

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We identify ourselves as applied futurists, and many of the people we interact with ask us “what does that mean?”


Well, before I answer that directly, I would in turn ask you some questions about how you look at your future.

Questions That Awaken Possibility

Think about these questions and answer them for yourself:

  • How often do you think about the future different from the past?
  • How often does the future appear full of possibility and hope?
  • What do you want now and in the future and how do you get it today?
  • How much time do you spend thinking about the future and possibilities? One hour a day, more, less, never?
  • What action are you willing to take every day to bring what you want into actuality?
  • How do you deal with the difference between where you are today and where you want to be? How do you keep moving forward?
  • What action can you be in today to get what you want?
  • What do you specifically want your future to look like?

Applied Futurists Take Action

Most people want accomplish something that’s related to their future, but they don’t know what they need to do to get it. Sometimes they don’t know where to start—so they don’t start at all. Sometimes people get distracted by the tasks at hand and never act on the future they want.

Applied futurists do the work to define what they want their future to look like by asking themselves questions. They take any action from any angle, and start wherever they can start and keep moving. They take action every day to make their future happen, no matter how small the action may be. Five minutes a day is better than no minutes a day.

Gaps & Hiccups

Applied futurists look at gaps where the road to the future appears to be missing, as hiccups. They re-align themselves with their future by asking “what action is possible now, today.” And then they keep moving. They do the action. And they explore what’s possible over and over again based on what they articulated their future to be. 

Possibility and Hope

We believe the future we have chosen is already accomplished, and that we are just filling it in. Put another way – the future is present now through the actions you take today. Applied futuring is a choice--do I choose to articulate the future and stand in hope and take the action that goes with it?  Or do I let myself drift into a future of no possibility and no hope? Possibility and hope are absolutely key. The action you take today brings your future forward.

Pick something that you want in your future, and do something every day and make it happen. Starting today.

Are you interested in taking a more active role in shaping the future for yourself, your company or your organization? Explore the future you want to create through ongoing coaching to develop business growth strategies, professional leadership development and business ownership, and transitioning your business for the next generation. We believe in the future you envision, and stand with you to help achieve it. 

Marsia Gunter