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My Futurist Era: Yvette’s Version

Chapter One – This is life before you know who you’re going to be

 Every famous artist can look back at the “before times,” representing their lives prior to their big break.  Similarly, futurists can pinpoint a “before foresight” and “after foresight” in their own timeline. I find it interesting, however, to reflect on my past self and recognize all of the underlying futurist traits and behaviors I demonstrated while being blissfully unaware that the field of foresight even existed.  From my insatiable curiosity when researching school assignments (never met a rabbit hole I didn’t jump into), to my love for the spotlight (never shied away from the microphone), and my desire to continually explore new opportunities and capabilities (Author Oliver Herford’s quote – “A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it gains a certain polish” – describes me to a tee!), I’ve always exhibited many of the traits of a successful futurist! If I could travel back in time and tell my younger self one thing, it would be that all the times when I felt pressured to dim my light to fit in, where I thought “I’m the problem. It’s me” – I was wrong. In due time, my strengths and passions would align to help me reach my higher purpose. In my experience, many people who discover foresight after successful careers in other arenas often feel as if they have found their “tribe,” having felt like the outsider until then. This is why foresight can feel like a warm homecoming – it reassures those that see the world through a different lens that they aren’t all that strange after all.

Chapter Two – I was all ears for Foresight

My formal entrance into foresight was as Disney’s futurist. But before you get too jealous, it wasn’t all pixie dust and fairy tales. Life as a corporate foresight practitioner is not for the faint of heart. Even at a place as wonderful as The Walt Disney Company, I battled against short-termism, risk aversion, bureaucracy, and company politics. However, the experience I gained in relaying and embedding futures thinking was invaluable. I had to lead others in question the way things had always been done, learn not to be afraid to challenge the status quo, and definitely grow some thick skin. However, the main reason that I was a successful corporate futurist was because I understood that people are at the heart of every foresight effort, and building strong relationships with my stakeholders was key to creating a foresight capacity within the organization. It was during this time that I made the transition from the “Main Street” of finance and planning and planning to the “Tomorrowland” of futuring. 

Chapter Three – When you jumped in first, I went in too

The decision to leave Disney and join Frank Spencer as a partner at Kedge was an easy one. After 13+ years hanging out with Mickey Mouse, I was ready to branch out and help other organizations and individuals unlock their inner futurist. It’s definitely been a wild ride, and one I never could have predicted (after all, futurists know we cannot predict the future!). We’ve ended up helping some of the largest companies and governments across the world to instill foresight as a core competency within their organizational structure, among their talent, and throughout their culture, but we’ve also faced the hurdles of a world addicted to linearism, quarterly forecasting, and “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Even with all of the ups and downs of building what we now know as the global foresight, innovation, and strategic design firm TFSX, I wouldn’t trade one second of it! 

Chapter Four – And if my wishes came true…

One thing about futurists is that we are never happy with the status quo. Frank and I – and the rest of the TFSX team – will continue to shake up conventional thinking, challenge the dominant narratives, and elevate the field as we’ve done for the last two decades. Beyond dreaming into existence the globe’s most popular foresight training program, a world-renowned foresight framework, a comprehensive learning management system dedicated to foresight the Global Foresight Advisory Council, a f2f retreat for those seeking transformational realities, and a portfolio of unrivaled foresight projects and outcomes, I will personally not rest until everyone has the opportunity to live their best futurist era, too. Truly the future is a blank space full of untapped opportunities!