The Future That Never Was

closer than we think futurism

What did futurist from the late 50’s and early 60’s get right, and what did they get wrong?

I’m not a huge fan of making predictions, but rather the act of considering possibilities helps you think through scenarios that could happen; not believe that something will happen.

Every business leader should be doing some type of futuring exercise to future proof themselves. Whether it’s asking themselves provocative questions, scanning the horizon for what’s coming, or having a separate group consider alternative scenarios, leaders must be open to unpredictability.

Predictions don’t have to be true, what matters is they get people thinking. You see, you can’t predict the future because cultural and behavioral change is hard to predict, but you can consider the possibilities.

Still, futurism is a very popular activity and its not surprising that at the end of every year the are countless predictions written by publications, companies and bloggers about the year ahead.

But where did futurism start?

The years between 1958 and 1963 are considered the Golden Age of Futurism when Arthur Radebaugh, the greatest futurist illustrator, published a future-thinking comic called Closer Than We Think where he laid out technologies that would change the world.

Much like the tech journalists of today, Mr. Radebaugh went about getting his insights into the future in a very deliberate way. Such as driving his van on cross country trips to have direct contact with the technologies he was interested in; not so different from what we do today.

The Big Bang podcast is about considering possibilities, so on this episode we take a look back and talk about what Mr. Radebaugh got right and wrong.

What do you wish existed today? What do you wish you could un-invent?

Let us know what you think on Twitter @jorgebarba and @adrianpedrin.

Like our weekly podcast? Subscribe to my YouTube channel or blog newsletter.

The Big Bang is a weekly podcast. Tune in every Tuesday for more discussions on what’s possible.

Intro audio is by Arturo Arriaga, outro audio is Candyland by Guy J.