An agency strategist on how to imagine a different future after coronavirus

An agency strategist on how to imagine a different future after coronavirus

It’s our job to help people imagine new futures. Yet this spring, we, alongside the rest of the world, entered into a new dimension with a seemingly uncertain future. This sounds scary, until you realise that no future is ever certain.

We’re hearing these are 'unprecedented' times (It’s interesting to note that Google Trends reported searches for the word 'unprecedented' grew by over 5000% between March 22 and 28 in the UK alone. Unprecedented growth, even!

Covid-19 is a tragedy and a challenge. But we must fight the urge to pine for the past or hold on to ‘business as usual’. What brought us to today may not be what helps us thrive tomorrow.

We can’t ever predict what the future holds. But in the absence of hard data, we still have a critical tool - the power of imagination.

Clarity in Crisis

At PS London, we look at things differently. Our FutureThinking methodology is used to think the unthinkable and help our clients start from a new future and work backwards to today.

The first step is to dismantle old dysfunctional truths. Now is a moment to take stock, step away from what had become a frantic, short-termist world, and begin to think about what could be.

Many are looking for a clear set of instructions for navigating this crisis; a checklist with clear steps that will guarantee success. Most spend so much time defining the perfect first step that they don’t start moving at all. Incremental movements toward better is better than idle perfectionism.

Ask yourself, point blank: “Why am I doing this?” Clarity on what to do comes from two surprising places: Imagination and play.

Permission to imagine

Imagination breeds change. It brings about new ideas, allows us to manifest things that aren’t yet real, true or possible.

We’ve seen a world embracing imagination and creativity. We’ve imagined new ways to celebrate, with birthday parties via car parades and at-home dance parties. We’ve seen organisations who had Digital Transformation as a 5-year plan becoming digitised in days and virtual happy hours allowing us a sneak-peak into the living rooms of our colleagues. By taking away everything that we felt was ‘normal’, covid-19 has forced us to imagine new ways to work, play, share and learn.

Permission to play

We rationalise the world by starting with objective, scientific measures. But we all know that those don’t always translate, and often even reduce our ability to imagine new futures.

How can we give ourselves permission to move outside of the objective, into a space where new ideas flourish? By giving ourselves permission to play.

In our most playful we are our most creative – get the glue, scissors and paper out and begin crafting. Create collages, build your own adventure, and get a bit messy. This is the time for hands-on, tactile experimentation and a no-mistakes mentality.

That’s it. Sort of

As you navigate this brave new world, there is value in taking a step back. Call up your team, exchange ideas, connect the dots, inspire and be inspired. We were FutureThinking long before this crisis and we’ll be FutureThinking long after it.

We do not and cannot know exactly what will happen next. The future may be unknown, but it’s not unimaginable.

If you feel like seeing the world differently in just one afternoon with your team, join PS London for a FutureThinking© workshop. It’s free, fun and can be done from the comfort of your home. You can also find a new white paper on the subject here.