How futurist Steve Wells structures his future insights

Jun 15, 2022 1:45:00 PM

Steve Wells is a futurist and keynote speaker who advises his customers about future change. Over the years, Steve has compiled an impressive collection of future insights, like descriptions of future trends and change factors.

Previously, Steve has used Blogger to publish his future insights. It worked moderately well for him, but for a while now, Steve's had the feeling that the platform is not the best solution for organizing and making sense of his future insights.

"I had a feeling I could do much more with the information I had. Blogger has key word search functionality but that's about it. There were limited possibilities for exploring the information and creating cross-linkages within the information, like connecting the general to the specific, for example."

steve-wells-300x300Steve Wells
Futurist

A new way to look at information

With FIBRES, Steve can structure his content into phenomena of different sizes: megatrends, trends, signal clusters, and signals. He can link his larger pheneomena with smaller phenomena that are a part of it.

He can also place his content on a trend radar that's configured with segments relevant for his work, and use an additional classification to assess the likelihood of a given change taking place.

All of this helps Steve create structure within his data. Thanks to FIBRES, he is able to go from sharing individual insights to building a comprehensive future narrative  – in other words, tell a better story.

"I've really enjoyed adding my information to the platform. Doing that is forcing me to relook at the information and consider it in a more structured way: What might the impact be? How uncertain is it? How far out is the peak impact? How might it link with other trends or signals?"

steve-wells-300x300Steve Wells
Futurist

A bit of help from AI – making connections within the data

Steve wasn't actively looking for a solution like FIBRES, but when he talks about using the software, he makes it sound like he didn't know what he was missing out on.

Steve says it struck him how intuitive FIBRES was to use. Using it feels like things fall into place almost by themselves.

What he didn't expect was how the software is able to assist him in making sense of his data. FIBRES uses natural language processing to analyze Steve's content and recommends possible connections – which are usually spot on, helping Steve understand his data in new ways.

"The visual network that grows with each linkage I make is another valuable feature. In the center of my network map, I see a mass of connected items. Around it, there are smaller groups of connected findings. But on the outskirts, there are some disconnected findings. That fascinates me! What is the reason? Are they actual outliers or do they relate to something but I just haven't made the connection with yet? I think a lot of companies would benefit from seeing their insights in this way. It can ignite conversations which are crucial to collaborative foresight."

steve-wells-300x300Steve Wells
Futurist

So far Steve's focused on using FIBRES to work with his existing information, but he's already discovered ways that he can use FIBRES to grow his futures understanding.  He's found a lot of value in the web clipper combined with the aforementioned recommended linkages, which make it easy to connect his new findings with his existing findings.

"The web clipper is SO good. When I see something interesting on BBC News for example, I can simply add it to my radar, and FIBRES will recognize what the article is about and recommend others like it from my existing findings."

steve-wells-300x300Steve Wells
Futurist

Evaluations based on domain, impact time, and uncertainty

Steve's FIBRES account was configured to support his foresight work. Here's the type of trend radar and additional classification Steve uses:

Steve's radar layout

Domains


  • Political & geo-politics
  • Economy & enterprise
  • Society & social structures
  • Technology & scientific
  • Environment & climate change
  • Legal, regulatory & ethical

Peak impact time


  • Near term
  • Mid term
  • Long term

Classifications

Phenomenon uncertainty


  • Expected
  • Low
  • Moderate
  • High

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Milla Lappalainen is head of marketing at FIBRES. She's excited to learn foresight best practices from the top organizations in the world already running their own foresight workflows and to share those learnings with others.

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