Future design requires a new kind of process

  • Instead of considering immediate needs, identify higher-order needs as they will always be relevant and lead to more comprehensive solutions.
  • Devise a description of the world the team wants to create, rather than creating a financially oriented five-year plan.
  • Align action with intention. Run a collaborative design sprint with key stakeholders. Instead of using the sprint to create new products or features, use it to arrive at new futures.
  • Build a shared mission.
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Companies prefer to plan for the next quarter or year. This leads to minor improvements of 3% or 5%.

The liberating thing about future design is that companies can try on multiple futures. Each future design should be a fully rounded picture of what the company is doing, how it's operating, how it works with communities and the planet, and how shareholders benefit.

A first step is leaders' intent toward something greater than personal success. The intent may result from an intrinsic motivation to leave a positive legacy, or they may be compelled by investors, employees, or outside pressure such as governments.

But intent is not enough. Issuing a new purpose, sympathy, and compassion are only helpful if a company proactively designs the future they want to work toward. Given that futures will be bleak if design continues to ignore the environment, more companies should consider a planet-centred design.

Leaders, employees, customers, shareholders, and citizens are looking to achieve new levels of success that is wider, deeper, and more sustaining.

This creates an uncommon opportunity for companies that don't operate by default - they don't continue in the tried-and-tested or dabble around the edges. With clarity and intention, companies can design their future.

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