The Flare and Focus of Successful Futurists

The ability to plausibly forecast the future requires alternating between broad and narrow ways of thinking.

Futurists are skilled at listening to and interpreting signals, which are harbingers of what’s to come. They look for early patterns — pretrends, if you will — as the scattered points on the fringe converge and begin moving toward the mainstream. The fringe is that place where hackers are experimenting, academics are testing their ideas, technologists are building new prototypes, and so on. Futurists know most patterns will come to nothing, so they watch and wait and test the patterns to find those few that will evolve into genuine trends. Each trend is a looking glass ...

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