Imagine the Future; the art of forecasting can be useful not only for corporations but also for individuals

Corporations are used to think about the future. They put effort in understanding the different trends, identify various scenarios and have a concrete plan for each of them.

They usually have a base case scenario (the most likely one to happen) and also consider the best (better than expected) and worst case (worse than expected) . This exercise enables them to do the thinking and planning early, to decide where and how much to invest and then they focus on execution (in other words what they can control).

This technique can be useful at a personal level too. Instead of worrying about the future (especially during these uncertain times), it will be more useful if we channel our energy in imaging it.

This is not an exercise about predicting the future but about thinking what scenarios are probable. (There is an important distinction between probable and possible. Probable is what is likely to happen; possible is what might happen but it is not ce rtain. For example, although it is possible for me to win the lottery, it is not probable.).

Think what is likely to happen and use this as your base case scenario. Then, imagine how the situation could be better than expected and also worse. In this way, you will be better prepared..

In general, this exercise is not about fortune-telling, it is about forecasting.

As an example, let’s imagine when the virus will be under control and life will be normalised (albeit a slight different normal).

It is expected that effective vaccines will be available mid-2021. Hence, many people will be vaccinated by the end of 2021 (at least in the Western world) which will allow us to go back to normal activities (base case scenario). If vaccines are ready by the end of this year, then we might expect the situation to be under control from mid 2021 (better case scenario). If it takes longer to get an effective vaccine or there are manufacturing bottlenecks, then we may have to wait until mid-2022 (worse case scenario).

By imagining these scenarios, we are in better position to prepare for them. Instead of worrying about what might happen, we move to think about what we can do which is within our control.

Get into the habit of imagining how the future would look like. It might feel a bit awkward at the beginning. Like everything else, the more you do it, the better you become at it.

I personally prefer to do this exercise with friends. It is fun (my kind of fun at least!) and the input from others usually helps me to refine my thoughts.

Why you need to care: The forecasting technique that is widely used by corporations can be very useful for you too. The more you learn to visualise the future, the more you learn to focus on what you can control. Fear of the unknown will be replaced by action.

I started the b4iapply blog because I passionately believe in empowering people to make informed decisions about their career, their finances and other societal topics that affect all of us directly or indirectly. I only share my views and I aim to be balanced, constructive and solution-oriented.

I started the b4iapply blog because I passionately believe in empowering people to make informed decisions about their career, their finances and other societal topics that affect all of us directly or indirectly. I only share my views and I aim to be balanced, constructive and solution-oriented.

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1 Response to Imagine the Future; the art of forecasting can be useful not only for corporations but also for individuals

  1. Pingback: 10 predictions about how the “New Norm” would look like | b4iapply

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