If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic - being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago.
— Elon Musk

It is undeniable that the world has changed -  and this pace of change seems to be getting even faster.  It has become increasingly important for businesses to create a space where horizon scanning, spotting potential future trends and then responding to them before they occur are a team's sole focus, however, these teams are exceptionally rare.

Innovation or design thinking was never a career option for me when I was growing up, mainly because it didn't exist except within organisations that had a strong scientific or technological base.  Yet last week, the Lab was lucky enough to host Tom Cheesewright, an Applied Futurist, who gave a talk around the importance of creating these spaces and ensuring resources were available to always have one eye on the future.  For those who want to know more about being an Applied Futurist or Futureology, this blog piece from Tom titled 'How & Why To Be An Applied Futurist' will give you the perfect introduction and get you more than a little bit excited about this field of work.

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It's no secret that we've been big fans of Tom for a long time here in the Bromford Lab.  After all, the Lab ethos is around creating space for colleagues to dream big, test their ideas and concepts and fail, always taking the insights and learning from each iteration.  

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We didn't want to be selfish and keep Tom all to ourselves so we arranged for him to give a talk to a small group of colleagues around the changing landscape and the elements businesses needed to be aware of in order to spot those potential changes that could potentially have a huge affect in the (often not so distant) future. 

Turns out we aren't the only ones inspired - when we asked for feedback, the reviews were glowing.....

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It also served as a reminder to us that we still have some work to do in getting things in front of people much more quickly.  The last couple of weeks have been an interesting learning curve for us, as we realised that we need to go back to our Lab basics and start using prototypes and proof of concepts much more often so people can create their own links to what we are doing, how it might affect them and how it feeds into the wider organisational strategy.  So less planning and project documentation, more paper prototypes and social experiments.

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Tom himself reflected on his time with Bromford in his own blog post here - spoiler alert, it is far more articulate than these musings, but we're going to stay in touch with Tom and hopefully work with him more in the future.

In the meantime, I'm going to make sure I learn more about Futurology....after all, as Tom says, the world needs more people like us!