I write and speak a bit about what the future of settlement work might look like. Some study it deeply. It's a topic that has been on the agenda for the almost 3 decades I've been working in the field.
One thing that I'm learning about the future, from futurists, is that it's not something we can predict. But it's something we can work toward.
And, so we should. And we should do it together, collaboratively, within the sector, with funders, academics and "unusual" settlement actors (who have become more mainstream than ever before, such as businesses, residents, etc.). There are some trends that are already happening that we need to get on top of, but as Amy Webb of the Future Today Institute says in this short video:
"The future is based on all of the decisions we make in the present. The best we can do is make connections using data in the present, which means that the future hasn't happened yet. It hasn't been predetermined. It doesn't just show up fully formed. If you want to have a better future for yourself, that starts with making terrific, data-driven decisions today."
Steps to craft the future
As Webb says, we need to better and more fully understand our present in order to craft the future. What she calls data-driven, we might refer to as evidence-based. Either way, the point is that we need to become better at getting and analyzing that data/evidence.
If you're looking outside the sector, The Future Today Institute’s 2019 Tech Trends Report is a great starting point. It is in its 12th year of publication, looks into 315 Tech and Science Trends, and includes alot of great insights, primers, toolkits and frameworks to help you and your organization get a handle on what is happening now when it comes to technology and how it is and might be adopted.
You might not think AI will impact you soon, but it will. You might not understand what the Blockchain is and how it might impact you, but you can. It's all worth a look.
It's a big read. To better understand why it will be worth your time, watch Amy Webb's recent presentation of the report: