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Dr. Fabian Buder

WFSF 24th World Conference

Fabian, our Head of Future & Trends Research and expert for future management decision-making practices spoke at the WFSF World Conference in Berlin. 

To be able to shape the future in new and better ways, companies, organizations or even entities like cities and the people that live and act in those entities must first become capable of reviewing and questioning the seemingly given facts that prevent them from generating new ideas for the future. The future visions that we create and the decisions that we take to make our vision of the future a reality are rooted in our assumptions and mental models of the world around us. What can often be observed is, that those assumptions that are fundamental to our world views or that are shared beliefs in an organization are not recognized as assumptions anymore. They are treated as irrefutable facts and built into paradigms, in particular when they have proven over time to be good guidelines for decision-making. This is what we call “Toxic Assumptions””: unchecked assumptions that are treated as facts and that are hardly ever questioned and challenged. They “paralyze”” our ability to anticipate disruptive change and to recognize new perspectives. They prevent us from imagining different and more radical ideas of the future which are necessary to overcome the status-quo and create new future visions.

Fabian developed and tested a structured workshop approach that helps people to reveal their often implicit assumptions and mental models for a specific domain. Assumptions are clustered and evaluated before we take them as a starting point to reimagine radically different futures. This process also allows to identify toxis assumptions that organizations urgently need to overcome to become future-ready. The results allow more open and diverse scenarios.

The talk introduces the workshop approach and highlight insights from test workshops with different target groups like MBA students and employees of private corporations.


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