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Futurist Friday: Critical Thinking

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
Image of a skyline from the ground and looking skyward. Text overlay, "The world in 2040".

It’s time for CFM’s weekly micro-tutorial in strategic foresight! Today’s lesson: how to evaluate forecasts that “in the future…this or that will be true.”

When you read (or view) a projection like this, ask yourself these three questions:

  • How likely is it this projection will come to pass? Is it based on pretty stable trends (e.g., population growth), or does it posit a disruptive event that may or may not happen?
  • What would the impact be for me, personally, for my organization?
  • Is there something I can do to avert/prepare for/adapt to this future?

If the answers are likely/high/yes (respectively) its worth spending some brain time exploring this forecast.

You can try this approach on this 2 1/2 minute video by science communicator Hashem Al-Ghaili, which makes a couple dozen “mini-forecasts” about demographics, culture, health, technology and the environment in the year 2040.

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If you want to dig into Hashem’s sources, as you ponder whether it is likely that we will face global food riots by 2040, or print personalized food, he lists the signals (stories) that inspired each projection on the video’s YouTube page.

And if you want to dig into another, museum-centric, version of the year 2040, download the most recent CFM publication, Museum 2040.

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