This leaves associations in a bind because predicting future trends is tricky. By this work’s very nature, we can be wrong when we are forecasting or trend spotting. So what role should association’s play? I have an idea for you but consider this first.
If you want to see how we will live in the future, look at how rich people are living today. I heard Tim O’Reilly, renowned technology trend spotter, talk about how he uses this framework to think about the future. A hundred years ago only rich people frequently ate out, now most of us do. Remember car phones? They cost a fortune, rich people had them, and for a while now flip phones have been virtually free so everyone has one. What if we extend this framework to associations?
Could it be that if you want to see how organizations will function in the future, look at what the most successful are doing now? Often, associations report on what the average member is doing or the processes of most members. How about if we find our most innovative members, our most successful members and find out what they are doing? Likely this group of high achievers has goals, mindsets, processes, and strategies that are the cause of their success and are unique to them.
Knowing what the elite are doing know can help us accurately predict the industry trends of the future without the guesswork.
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