Written by Christopher Ransom
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Futurists are devoted to the prediction and anticipation of the future as it relates to society, the arts and business. Futurists are often widely at odds with each other on some topics and unified in others. The futurist movement began in Italy before World War I, when people embraced everything modern and disdained all that was old. Many futurists wanted to destroy museums as well as other historical items of value.

There are a few futurists who devote all their time to the studying of the future, but many are employed in other fields and spend their spare time studying and speaking to the idea of futurism. Many futurists study how businesses will change in the future. One of the popular futurist theories of business is that companies will be leaner as a result of technological advances. This futurist theory believes that many layers of management, support and supervision will be eliminated due to the influx of more effective technology.

In Theory and In Practice

Futurists who speak to business groups have a distinct disadvantage in that they are not talking about facts as found in history--they're talking about theories. Though many of their theories can be based upon historical events, they still must overcome the disbelief of staid businesspeople who regard things that aren't proven with suspicion. Therefore, a good futurist speaker is one who has learned (sometimes the hard way) how to first get his audience to be open-minded and comfortable with theoretical discussion.

Futurists, whether speaking of particular business events that they feel are bound to happen or of more general theories, often have valuable ideas to share. Futurists have usually based some of their thoughts on past findings, and just about everyone will agree that a studying of past business successes and failures can offer insight. And because futurists often offer more than one theory as to what will happen in the business climate in the future, many business professionals find it a good exercise to attend a futurist's discussion, as it gives them a reason to think of different events in unique perspectives.

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