January 4, 2017 by Andy Hines
How does your life story fit with your work? That question stuck with me after reading Bob Johansen’s “Get There Early.” This 2007 book is a quite useful futures book, but I’d like to focus on his provocative question here. It seems particularly appropriate at New Year’s, with its promise of starting over with a clean slate.
Andy’s presentation at TEDX Houston a few years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy-8zK1RXEo
I told a version of how my story fits with my work in my “Futurists Journey” TED talk a few years ago. As I reflect on my story and my work in 2017, I suppose the most significant change I would like to make came from a leadership training program I went through last year – we talked about “Impact per Engagement” as a way to help prioritize what to do….and not to do. I found myself more over-subscribed than usual this Fall (over-subscribed is part of the deal), but there are limits for even the most fanatical among us! But how to say no! Always so difficult. Thus, impact per engagement. When our schedules are so full, it is fair to assess how accepting or pursuing one activity compares to other options. Which has the largest overall impact aligned to my purpose of spreading high-quality work?
When I’m asking about changes in foresight and the work of futurists, I usually mention a growing emphasis on “know yourself and know your audience” as high on the list. We have trended away from being [allegedly] objective data analysts to providing more qualitative and deeper insight. As we get deeper (moving down the CLA layers or the presencing U) we need to be more aware of our own depth and that of our clients.
My anecdotal sense from chatting with students and those considering becoming students it that purpose is key. I have yet to hear some interested in becoming rich and a futurist. We do hear a lot of concern about being able to make a living. But it really comes through as having enough money to do the work.
What’s your story, and how does it fit with your work? A question to ponder as we begin 2017. — Andy Hines
About Andy Hines
Dr. Andy Hines is Program Coordinator at the University of Houston’s Graduate Program in Foresight, bringing together the experience he earned as an organizational, consulting, and academic futurist. He is also speaking, workshopping, and consulting through his firm Hinesight.
Before that, he was Managing Director of Social Technologies/Innovaro, and served as an Adjunct Professor with the university since 2004. Hines enjoyed earlier careers as a consulting and organizational futurist. He was a partner with Coates & Jarratt, Inc., a think tank and consulting firm that specialized in the study of the future. He was also Futurist & Senior Ideation Leader at Dow Chemical with a mission of using futures tools and knowledge to turn ideas into
new business opportunities. Before that, Hines established and ran the Global Trends Program for the Kellogg Company.
Hines is motivated by a professional hunger to make foresight practical and useful, and he believes that foresight can help deliver the insight that is so needed in today’s organizations and the world. His goal, he says, is to infect as many change agents as possible with this message. Thus, he has honed a skill set designed to make foresight more actionable in organizations.
In this pursuit, he has authored five books: Teaching about the Future: The Basics of Foresight Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); ConsumerShift: How Changing Values Are Reshaping the Consumer Landscape (No Limits Publishing, 2011); Thinking About the Future: Guidelines for Strategic Foresight (Social Technologies, 2007); 2025: Science and Technology Reshapes US and Global Society (Oak Hill, 1997); and Managing Your Future as an Association (ASAE, 1994) and has another in the hands of publishers: Teaching about the Future: The Basics of Foresight Education. He has also authored dozens of articles, speeches, and workshops, including the 2003 Emerald Literati Awards’ Outstanding Paper accolade for best article published in Foresight for “An Audit for Organizational Futurists” and the 2008 award for “Scenarios: The State of the Art.” He has appeared on several radio and television programs, PBS Houston, KRIV-26 News, and the CBS “Early Show.” He also co-founded and is former Chair of the Association of Professional Futurists.