Messages from the Future

A psychologically surprisingly powerful Foresight Mindset tool is messages from the future. For example, participants are given the task of writing a newspaper article from the future ten years from today’s date, with the headline describing the bankruptcy of their own company, with general and more specific reasons for the failure. Such an approach is in sharp contrast to the usual positive strategies and visions dominated by success stories.

Different types of messages and information can come from the future:

  • Newsletter
  • Press Release
  • Eulogy
  • Artefacts
  • The Thing
  • Tweet
  • Letter from the future self to the granddaughter or grandson

The press release from the future that talks about the successful product launch is a tool beloved by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. For each of the more than 500 products Amazon launches each year, developers must create a press release and customer service page before they have written a single line of software code. This extols the product’s features and what benefits it has for the customer. This approach forces the development teams to remove the most difficult obstacles right from the start and focus the entire team. If the team fails to write a compelling press release, then the product’s benefits were probably not sufficiently clear from the start.

This technique is not only suitable for companies, but also for painting a personal future. One writes nevertheless please its own obituary as Tweet with 280 indications, whereby one visits itself to describe. What were the values and deeds that one would like to read in one’s own obituary? How is what you do today connected to how others will think of you?

By exploring how you want yourself or your company to be remembered, the values that describe your true character and mission are chiseled out. This helps clarify the future, where you want to be, and the steps you need to take to get there.

The effect of an obituary or newsletter from the future on participants cannot be overstated. Looking at oneself or one’s company in five or ten years from today and describing it as a failure or a success helps an individual or group very quickly put themselves in a future mindset and get out of the daily routine.

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