NAPO Members who joined us for NAPO2016 in Atlanta may have also attended the new “Global Trends” session. In all truthfulness, some members wandered into the room out of pure curiosity, as the session title was very different than most others on the schedule. Based on how the topic resonated with the attendees, a similar trends session has since been delivered either in-person or virtually to a handful of our NAPO Chapters. We also had the first “Trends Wall” onsite for attendees to share their insights and ideas. The fact is that NAPO Members are beginning to LOVE trends watching.
NAPO Members engaged in thoughtful and probing discussions related to how the world of professional organizing and productivity consulting might be impacted by some of the trends that are surfacing. I thought I should continue the discussion and help you understand how creating a “culture of foresight” within NAPO and your very own business is so important.
As an active member of the ASAE Research Committee, (ASAE is the professional society for association professionals), I was invited to attend a full day “Foresight 101” program in Washington DC. The program was delivered by two true futurists. The goal of the session was to explain to the ASAE Learning Team the basics of the foresight process and discuss ideas on how to incorporate foresight into existing educational opportunities.
A few critical takeaways from the “Foresight 101” session include:
- One engages in forecasting/futures work to prevent something from happening.
- Foresight is about looking wider, longer, and deeper.
- Looking deeper was described as:
- Lack of information – what we don’t know
- What we think we know – unexamined assumptions
- What we believe we know – change drivers
- Foresight is about understanding change.
- Time horizons that we discussed:
- 1st horizon (next 1-3 years) – current issues
- 2nd horizon (next 3-5 years) – emerging issues
- 3rd horizon (5+ years) – weak signals
- Futurist don’t make things up, the ideas are based on weak signals.
- Foresight takes work and time!
- You can “influence” the future. Some changes happens to us. There are also some changes that we can create.
A goal of the ASAE Foresight project is to create a forum for volunteer leaders, association members, and association staff to gain confidence and comfort in discussing weak signals and the potential opportunities and threats they may present. As a 35-year career association professional, I have experienced a lot of changes. The goal of engaging and sharing information about the ASAE Foresight project is to create a culture where talking about weak signals becomes a routine discussion topic. The result is associations and businesses that may operate in a different fashion and serve a different type of member/customer but are all SUCCESSFUL!
By: Sue Pine, CAE
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