Insights · June 17th, 2024

Thank you for attending Nikolas Badminton‘s futurist keynote at Igniting Futures Thinking – forIgniting Futures Thinking – for James Richardson & Sons on Saturday 22nd June in Winnipeg. It was amazing to meet you all to present my thoughts on the future of electrification, and the signals, trends and scenarios that are shaping our world and your industry.

This is an invitation to kickstart your futures thinking, and reach out at any point if you have questions on the process and discipline.

We hope that you were inspired and amazed at the incredible futures that are just a few short years away. Here Nikolas provides a resource for you to start scanning for signals, exploring new trends and building scenarios to bolster your strategic thinking and to start futures work – HOPE ENGINEERING.

Become a futurist with the 3-day Futures Challenge!

Now is the time to step up and lean into futures thinking with The 3-day Futures Challenge. I’d like you to spend a few minutes per day for the next 5 days doing 3 things before you start your day – and then keep going!

Day 1 – Scan for signals of change – review the signals and trends discussed in Nikolas Badminton’s keynote, and any others that you observe that indicate that there is the potential of change (there’s a guide of how to scan for signals a little further down in this post as well). Then select one signal and think about how that could affect your industry in 5 to 10 years. Write down 2 or three things that will affect your job, your clients and your organizations.

Day 2 – Think about trends – Then select a second signal and ask “what happens when that combines with the first signal?” – that will help you identify trends. Wonder, what is created, what is changed and what goes away. Ask “What if…” – think about how that trend could accelerate the changes in your industry in 5 to 10 years. Write down 2 or three things that will affect your job, your clients and your organizations. And then, how you can adjust your strategy to be prepared for change.

Day 3 – Share your ideas with colleagues and peers own your industry – Once you have these thoughts, share them. You’ll find that the conversations will be brighter and more dynamic, you’ll have more questions than answers and (hopefully) your passion to look beyond hype to hopeful futures informs your strategic planning.

Or, crush it all in one day and start igniting your imagination, building your anticipation and deepening your empathy for the future human solutions you will deliver.

Reach out to Nikolas if you have any questions.

The business case for foresight

This is your opportunity to kickstart your futures exploration. You’re here most likely because Nikolas Badminton has had the pleasure of presenting to you and your peers and you want to get started thinking about futures thinking and the power of anticipation.

“As Futurists we explore futures, ignite imaginations and engineer HOPE.”

Nikolas Badminton

That’s a bold claim and it’s true. Every organization undertakes review and analysis and creates strategic plans for the next 12 to 36 months. Organizations that scan for signals of how their industry and the world is changing and then wonder what if… really do have the advantage. It’s even been proven through studies.

In 2018, René Rohrbeck and Menes Etingue Kum published their paper ‘Corporate foresight and its impact on firm performance: A longitudinal analysis’ (you can read and download that study at ScienceDirect). The findings were powerful:

‘Companies that recognize that the future might change the very foundation of their business, that prepare for it and change their course of action accordingly, are 33% more profitable than companies on average. In addition, these vigilant companies have achieved a 200% higher growth rate than the average company.’

Rohrbeck and Kum, 2018

The Cole’s Notes are – More revenues and growth come from the vigilance that futures thinking gives your organization. Those that don’t are reactive and have far lower performance on revenues and growth.

The Futurist Think Tank work with organizations that are building out foresight practices internally and installing foresight practitioners as Futurist-in-residence, and some are installing Chief Futures Officers (CFuO) as well. You can learn more here.

Build your futurist mindset and skillset

We can start simply by undertaking 3 simple actions – and we’re going to share some simple ways to get going:

  1. Scan for signals and trends
  2. WHAT IF… scenarios
  3. Anticipate horizons

1. Scan for signals and trends

Signal scanning can be simple and a fun way to level up your thinking on a daily basis. We scan academic journals, attend conferences, host podcast interviews, social media posts and discussions, read a lot of media articles and so much more. It’s our lifeblood.

Some simple steps can really level up what you are tracking and there are a number of ways to do so.

a. Set up Google Alerts for key areas of interest for your business – you just need a Google Gmail account to do this and you can enter whatever. Just go to and type in the area of exploration as you would do a Google Search:

Set your options – we recommend for you to get emails ‘At most once a day’ and ‘Only the best results’. Over time you can refine using boolean logic in your phrases.

You can find out more at Google Help – link.

b. Spend 15 to 30 minutes each morning for coffee and scanning – just search on Google for areas of interest and read articles under the ‘News’ tab. This is ;ess refined than Google Alerts but allows for free-form discovery. We love jumping down into the rabbit hole.

c. Reddit – The ‘Front Page of the Internet’ has an incredible futures community and they share and discuss amazing developments in the world. It’s a free social media platform and you can find incredible references there and bookmark them for reading and sharing later. The core community for Future(s) Studies is You can enter search phrases in at the top of the page to focus in on specific areas and then click through to the articles and deeper discussions.

d. Podcasts – it’s so great to work and listen to incredible thinkers discuss our futures. Here are some of our favorites (we are sharing Apple Podcast links and they can be found on most platforms):

  • Exponential Minds Podcast with Chief Futurist Nikolas Badminton – link
  • Team Human with Douglas Rushkoff – link
  • FUTURES Podcast with Luke Robert Mason – link
  • The Future of You with Tracey Follows – link
  • Flash Forward with Rose Eveleth – link
  • Singularity.FM with Nikola Danaylov – link
  • Looking Outside with Joanna Lepore – link
  • WSJ’s The Future of Everything by The Wall Street Journal – link
  • The World Ahead from The Economist – link
  • Switched On with Bloomberg Finance Talk – link

Of course there are many more out there and please feel free to share podcasts you love with us here. And, if you have a suggestion for Nikolas Badminton’s Exponential Minds Podcast then please contact us here.

2. WHAT IF… Scenarios

We can also take things to the next level by building scenarios of what may happen in our futures using the signals and trends and then really taking a deeper dive into the positive and negative implications of speculative future products.

We can start simply by asking what if is an invitation to be curious and consider all possibilities:

  • What if automation supercharges (or burdens) our business, our competitors, consumers, and supply chain – cost, time, access, efficiencies?
  • What if we invest in new technology startups taking bigger risks to advance our industry and we let them run pilot projects with us?
  • What if we explore 10 or 20+ year future horizons to create bolder visions of our impact in the world, see unknown risks and create more robust organizational strategies?
  • What if our futures work informs our innovation programs / R&D, organizational messaging, and excites our customers, investors and shareholders?

Just living with simple statements and exploring your futures more really starts to open up your thinking.

These what if…statements are just some example and we can use a simple scenarios framework to create short scenarios:

What if in the [future horizon] solutions [a, b, and c are implemented], which creates these [opportunities and risks], and impacts [dimensions of change].

The ‘dimensions of change’ are where we start to explore deeper dynamics and effects of change – financial, organizational, regulatory, cultural, experimental, political, technological, and social.

This is a little more nuanced. You can read about the method in detail in Nikolas’ new book – ‘Facing Our Futures: How Foresight, Futures Design and Strategy Creates Prosperity and Growth’ – here’s a link to pre-order with a discount – grab a copy today.

3. Anticipate horizons

You can also take things to the next level by collating multiple areas of exploration, signals and trends, WHAT IF.. scenarios and considering the larger contact reflected again the current state of your business. This is deep futures work, a creative task, and needs some funding and definite focus.

One such example we have done was with Vancouver International Airport at the YVR 2037 project we did. The Futurist Think Tank worked with executive leadership to create public engagement for the 2037 Master Plan that looks to an incredible future, and ensures the best use of YVR’s land, drive growth in passenger, aircraft and cargo volumes. We wrote five short science fiction stories (read them here) and produced a video that used alongside media engagement to engage stakeholders and the communities YVR serves.

We created incredible local engagement through over a dozen stakeholder and community design sessions. This was incredible as only four were initially planned but demand was overwhelming due to the campaign. There was wide media engagement with 13m+ impressions. Ideas about the future inspire community thinking.

Sitting here reading this you may not feel that anticipating horizons may be a simple or quick task as we may need to produce more artifacts to help us understand those futures. The truth is, it can be as involved, or as simple, as you want. We always start by posing 5 simple questions that help us speculate:

  • Who are we (the organization and society) at that future horizon – what do we think and believe, where do we live, how do we live, what do our families look like?
  • What does that future feel like? How does it look and smell? How easy does it feel?
  • What cultural artifacts from today exist in that future – art, media, social media, transportation methods, architecture, historical artifacts and reminders of our past?
  • What signals from today – that you’ve been tracking, or seen in a futurist keynote – have accelerated and how have they disrupted your work and industry? Have they been good or bad for business?
  • What new organizations, services and products will be needed in that future?

Overall, we hope that you have found this article to be useful as a primer to kickstart your futures thinking. You’re already a futurist by the virtue that you turned up to the discussion and participate in life. You are already an active participant in our futures – either through positive exploration and action towards it, or through inaction – both are contributory.

That’s a good start and feel free to reach out to schedule a time to connect and discuss this and your futures thinking with Nikolas Badminton and the Futurist Think Tank.

Thanks so much for taking the time to look further into our futures and we look forward to connecting with you in our futures.

Four Ways to Ignite Futures Thinking

Want to start exploring futures to ignite imagination, build anticipation and deepen a sense of empathy for the people, systems and dynamics in our futures?

It starts with 4 things…and Nikolas Badminton teaches these to every client.

  • Question your own history and perspectives – break out of your beliefs and bias. Challenge preconceived ideas and modes of thought.
  • Be wildly creative and collaborate – take signals, smash them together (especially those that are unlike each other) and push the boundaries of what might come next. Then share those ideas and invite people to remix that thinking and challenge. Land in unfamiliar and exciting places.
  • Look for pockets of the future in the present – evidence of the futures that will unravel are all around us. Lift your head up and look for the people pushing thinking, the new innovations, the companies challenging the status quo, and the global dynamics that will come home to roost. Always be scanning!
  • Shift your mindset from what is to WHAT IF… – change is constant. We either change, or change happens to us. So, always ask – what if the world changes, we change, and what we need changes. I also encourage people to challenge naysayers that state ‘X is unlikely to impact us’ by tagging the word ‘yet’ to the end of sentences. It helps us go deeper.

Develop your futures thinking, develop your practice

Facing Our Futures: How Foresight, Futures Design and Strategy Creates Prosperity and Growth – is Nikolas Badminton’s award-winning and best selling book that draws upon his decades of experience as a futurist. It provides executives and world leaders with the knowledge, skillset and methods they need to prepare their organization, team and themselves for whatever obstacles the future may hold. CEOs, executive teams, government leaders and policy makers need to gain a broader perspective and a firmer grasp on how their relevant industry, society or community is evolving and changing.

We are proud to announce that Nikolas Badminton’s book Facing Our Futures: How Foresight, Futures Design and Strategy Creates Prosperity and Growth is an Amazon and Porchlight best seller and was selected for 2023 J.P. Morgan Summer Reading List, and featured as the ‘Next Gen Pick’ to inform the next generation of executive that lead them into our futures. It has also been named The Next Big Idea Club’s Top-50 Business Book of 2023 and contender for the 2024 Business Book Awards.


Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist at He’s a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, author, media producer, and executive advisor that has spoken to, and worked with, over 400 of the world’s most impactful organizations and governments. He helps shape the visions that shape impactful organizations, trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments, and 200+ billion dollar investment funds.

Please contact futurist speaker and consultant Nikolas Badminton to discuss your engagement or event.

Facing Our Futures
Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas