Dubai: are you a futurist? Do you need skills to be a futurist or is it anyone’s game? And how do we measure what a futurist does?
On the first day of the Dubai Future Forum, a three-member panel debated this question and helped find some answers.
The Dubai Future Forum will be held at the Future Museum on November 27 and 28.
The Forum hosts more than 2,500 participants from various future-focused sectors and 150 speakers in 70 sessions.
Futurists are not just people who look to the future, they also influence policy-making and help people understand how to make decisions.
“There is currently no job market for a futurist, so you can’t make a living doing it,” said Professor Alex Fergnani of the Rabat Business School.
But the panelists agreed that diverse voices were important in the field and were quick to point out that skills were definitely needed.
What do you look for in a futurist?
“A person who goes beyond trends, ideas or current events,” said Professor Fergnani. “The person must be able to pose scenarios,” without being carried away by the fear caused by the current circumstances.
“You don’t need degrees, but it’s important to develop skills.”
Sara DaVanzo of the Pierre Fabre Foundation pointed out curiosity as one of the defining qualities of a futurist.
“Specialization is needed in this field, just like in other professions,” he said.
According to the panelists, communication and customer engagement skills, and the ability to manage emotions are qualities that favor futurists.
So, are imagination and curiosity skills or talents?
“They are talents that can be cultivated. “Everyone has the ability to imagine and take risks,” said Alisha Bhagat of the Forum for the Future.
But the important thing is to understand what people need, he said.
The panelists also felt it was important to measure the impact outcomes presented by the futurists. Key productivity indicators (KPIs) for futurists would help do this and determine how accurate they are.
Do we need credentials to be futurists?
Until a certain point. “But it’s just a base,” Bhagat said.