Devon Powers, author of On Trend: The Business of Forecasting the Future will give the closing keynote at the New Future of Work Microsoft Virtual Conference.
Why spend time planning for “the future?” A common answer to that question is that we do so in order to prepare, so that we can be ready for whatever possibilities may unfold. However, we can also think about futures thinking as a technique to manage uncertainty and exert control. Often, talk about the future appears to be opening up options and embracing trends, but actually limits future possibilities and replicates thorny problems of the past and present. This talk will explore some of the approaches to the business of futurism and highlight the importance of thinking broadly and critically about futures planning. It will examine why, in the age of COVID, imagining the future is more necessary than ever, and more fraught. And it will argue that in order to plan resilient, inclusive futures we may need to adjust our lenses and ask different questions about whom our futures are for.