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Continuing our series of conversations with Gerd Leonhard of The Futures Agency, and myself, here is the one we kicked off with: what is the role of a futurist?

Here are a few of the topics we discuss:

* A key role of futurists is to develop and share foresights
* Someone who helps people think about the future to make better decisions today
* To examine and distinguish between trends and uncertainties in order to work out the best path forward
* Clients are interested in having help thinking about things they don’t have time to think about
* It is not a luxury but a necessity to think about the future, but it is useful to get help doing that from people who spend all their time doing that
* Going beyond the obvious is a special skill, but it is also about drawing out the implications of the obvious
* Stepping outside of beliefs and orthodoxies can be more easily done from outside organizations
* While some companies have resident futurists it is highly valuable to bring in people who can be disrespectful and challenge internal thinking
* Being a ‘provocateur’ means provoking not just thoughts but sometimes emotions

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About the Blog author

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Ross Dawson is globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy advisor, and bestselling author. He is Founding Chairman of AHT Group, which consists of 3 companies: consulting, publishing, and ventures firm Advanced Human Technologies, future and strategy firm Future Exploration Network, and events company The Insight Exchange.

Ross is author most recently of Getting Results From Crowds, the prescient Living Networks, which anticipated the social network revolution, the Amazon.com bestseller Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, and Implementing Enterprise 2.0. (click on the links for free chapter downloads). He is based in Sydney and San Francisco with his wife jewellery designer Victoria Buckley and two beautiful young daughters.

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