Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Mar 2022

A View of Tomorrow

Sometimes we look at the future as something so far off that it’s almost unimaginable. But what happens when we look at the future and consider that it’s not only attainable, but the route to getting there is probably a series of smaller steps? What does the organization, or it’s leaders, do to instigate an attachment to that future view, while also fostering a sense of accomplishment in the now? Perhaps, it’s nothing more than being a great storyteller. Perhaps, it’s something a little bit more… a bit of pulling the future into the now.

Pulling the future into the now?

A bit more than a visualization. A bit more tangible than a prototype. Pulling the future requires a behavioral grabbing of uncomfortable proportions. For some leaders, this might mean not only getting the feedback from teams, but moving out of the way as the teams address the issues they see within their sphere of power and influence. For some teams, it is taking a process, and doing more than revisiting it, but throwing out all except it’s outcomes and choosing a “if this were reinvented today, what would it look like” approach.

The latter, redesigning something based on starting from today and the outcomes versus the past pains, tends of offer a lens which is one part imaginative and another part attainable. Often not realizing how many solutions are anchored to older problems - when those solutions are repeated too long, it becomes a rule of culture, instead of emphasize the outcomes initially desired. This shift in perspective ought to excite. New branches find unexplored areas to settle, and the ground for outcomes often finds a stability and efficiency all were once blinded towards.

Once this view of tomorrow is in sight, and the behaviors/actions are contorted towards making it happen, the only thing left is the continual decision to hold onto the next, versus revert back to the comfort of the past. This is no different than any other psychology at this point, but neither is productivity at it’s core — it is a psychology of work. And as such, the past is often helpful as a stone to build, but not as a stone to carry. A view of the future launches that stones, and you it’s rider, into a flow of something befitting desired outcomes and opportunities.