17The Futurist

Image of the icon for “The Futurist” depicting a chess board with some coins placed on it and three arrows pointing outward from the board.

Mindsets are about how leaders of the future need to think, but in this section on skills we're going to specifically look at the things the leaders of the future need to know how to do. Again, these were identified from the over 140 CEOs I interviewed as being most crucial for leaders in the coming ten years (see Figure 17.1).

Hari Seldon is a mathematics professor at Streeling University on the planet Trantor and is known for developing psychohistory, a science that combines the disciplines of mathematics, history, and sociology to probabilistically predict the future of the galactic empire (it only works at a massive scale, not for a single person or small groups). This was the premise for one of my favorite science fiction series, called Foundation, written by Isaac Asimov. Through the series readers get taken on a journey of how psychohistory is used to influence world events, and it's a fascinating read. Hari is the ultimate example of a futurist, even though he's a fictional character.

When most people think of a futurist, they think of someone who predicts the future, like Hari, but nothing could be further from the truth. In the business context we frequently hear of this desire to “look around corners.” Instead, futurists help make sure that individuals and organizations are not surprised by what the future might bring. This was ranked by CEOs as the ...

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