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Our FutureReady Work Story

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Once an obscure emerging topic “The Future of Work” is everywhere. It’s a subject that has exploded into popular viewing range, especially in the business community, with a speed and ferociousness seldom seen in the marketplace. The future seems to be arriving faster than anyone anticipated. While not every organization is focused on building a FutureReady workforce many anticipating a complex uncertain future are already on board that train.

It seems like just yesterday that Elizabeth and I did our first Future Made Visible project with Richard Wurman in 1999! Since that time we have undertaken many futuring oriented engagements with organizations as information and sensemaking have always been central to future envisioning.

It was around 2007 when we created our Humantific Complexity Navigation Program that we began thinking about future work skills in relation to our work. In doing some reflection at that time we noticed that process knowledge/skills seem to have much longer active-life than many forms of content knowledge/skills that seem to arrive on a regular basis as flavor of the month trends and then become obsolete rapidly.

We also noticed that the conversation around innovation was changing. No longer did anyone need to explain why innovation is important as the vast majority of organizational leaders around the world were past that point in basic awareness. Now what we saw was that organizational leaders were and are more likely to be grappling with the question of: how to make innovation real?

As we viewed various institutions and organizations begin to publish their broad visions regarding Future of Work and Future Work Skills, including the Institute of the Future and the Global Economic Forum we were delighted to see so much of what we were already doing in Humantific practice and teaching in our academy reflected in those broad visions. Sensemaking, complex problem solving, adaptive thinking, creativity, thinking differently, team collaboration, inclusive communicating, transdisciplinarity, and design mindset all appear in multiple Future of Work Visions by others.

For us this meant that long before “big data”, “Agile” and “AI” came along we were already swimming in information-fueled Future Ready skills offering this skill-building to our organizational leader clients, many of whom have worked with us for years. Suffice it to say that in doing that marathon swimming we have already learned a lot from those rich and often complex capacity building experiences.

Of course, we have come to see the various Future of Work arguments bubble-up regarding technology versus humans. All of that helped us process and come to terms with our own place in the Future Work Skills story as long standing advocates of human-centered changemaking leadership skills. In the face of those, already well-worn arguments we are happy to be advocates of humanization.

What we teach in Humantific Academy are the high-value, adaptive human skills applicable in the context not just of product, service or experience creation but rather in the context of any complex fuzzy situation facing organizations and societies. We are happy to be helping folks become highly adaptive, highly useful, highly valued Humantific Complexity Navigators.

Along the way in our swimming we also noticed that right now organizations often need help to ground how the broad Future of Work visions coming from the Global Economic Forum and elsewhere relate to their industry and organization. At this time many customized Future of Work Skill-Building visions and plans are being created and we are happy to help with this customized FutureReady Grounding exercise.

Based on a synthesis of numerous future work visions, marketplace movements and our client needs, we have taken time to articulate anew a key set of skills that we concentrate on in Humantific Academy. Today we teach the Present and Future Work Skills that are strategic, human-centered, information-fueled and most adaptable across multiple contexts. These are thinking/doing skills that can be bolted onto existing skill-sets to superpower often already strong foundations. We work with organizations seeking to build highly adaptable, human-centered sensemaking & changemaking capacity.

In this post we have also included our view of the human-centered capabilities that many organizations will need to build asap in the face of that rapidly arriving future. (See Key Organizational Capabilities below.)

Of course no one knows exactly what the future will hold. Considering all the uncertainty we are happy to be on the road working towards making the world a more human-centered, life centered place for everyone. Its a future that we all get to work on everyday!

Ready for the future?


FutureReady: Urgent10

Key Work Skills:

Identifying what individual human capabilities have sustainable, high-yield value as the uncertain future unfolds continuously:

Assumption-Free Problem/Opportunity Finding*

Complex Adaptive Problem Solving*

Applied Creativity Thinking*

Open Challenge Framing*

Empathetic Insight Creation*

Deep Cognitive Flexibility*

Visual SenseMaking*

Inclusive Innovation Collaboration*

Accelerated ChangeMaking*

Innovation Enabling Leadership*

Note: *These are skills taught within Humantific’s Complexity Navigation Program.


FutureReady: Urgent20

Key Organizational Capacities:

Identifying what adaptable, sustainable, high-yield capabilities teams and organizations need today and will need tomorrow:

Navigate complex uncertainty

Proactively adapt to continuous change

Cocreate new forms of value

Make sense of complex unstructured information

Tackle complex monster challenges

Identify new arenas of opportunity for growth

Uncover unmet customer needs

Maximize data/information abundance

Envision Future Scenarios

Create new products, services & experiences

Humanize the future (in the face of constant technology change)

Maximize diverse brainpower

Build high performance change making teams

Integrate new forms of technology

Optimize existing value offerings

Build continuously adaptive capacity

Lead / drive / explain accelerated changemaking

Attract, retain and upskill a futureready workforce

Create an inclusive innovation culture

Enable continuous learning / continuous innovation

Note: These are capabilities that we help organizations build.


Ready for the Future?

Interested in building a FutureReady Skill-Building plan?

Send us an email: engage (at) humantific (dot) com

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