Take Off The Blinders: Working Around Our Assumptions and Biases

A key focus of The Futures School is on assumption and bias work.  This unique feature set us apart from similar training programs, and is THE critical success factor of any foresight effort.

It’s tempting to skip the “Discover” phase (where we uncover our blind spots) and jump right to scanning and scenarios.  Unfortunately, if you fail to challenge your perspectives, you will only find trends and build scenarios that look much like today’s world, and that’s a waste of time and effort.

The goal in the discover phase isn’t to force a change in perspective or get you to adopt a whole different belief system—it’s only to get you to pause and ask, “what was behind that initial gut reaction?” This point of reflection allows you to ensure you aren’t dismissing a new idea simply because it is at odds with what you already know to be true.

In the video below, The Futures School instructors Frank Spencer and Yvette Montero Salvatico walk through the main lessons in the Discover phase, and demonstrate how they use the Gapminder tool to help challenge assumptions and biases.

Video Menu

Use the “bullet point” icon in the video player to navigate to these specific points in the video:

0s — 2m 13s: An introduction to the Discover phase of Natural Foresight

2m 13s — 4m 13s: “There’s no reason for an individual to have a computer in his home.” Ken Olsen, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

4m 13s — 4m 52s: Educated incapacity or illusion of certainty, knowing so much about what you know that you’re the last to see when things are changing.

4m 52 — 5m 36s: In this VUCA environment, we have to learn, unlearn, and relearn.

5m 36 — 7m 31s: Awareness of our biases is a huge step in making sure we don’t miss the future.

7m 31s — end: How can data help us overcome biases? A demonstration of the Gapminder tool.