Digital transformation continues to revolutionize companies in every sector, and the C-suite evolves accordingly. Today, many of the existing executive roles—CXO, CTO, CISO—address the increasing demands of a digital-first consumer base and complex cyber threat landscape.
However, the onset of the Metaverse could call for a new seat at the table. A seat to be filled by a professional with the unique skills to help a company innovate in this emerging and unknown space.
What Is a Futurist?
Most people probably have a rough idea of what a futurist is, but many may not have realized that the term actually identifies a job role. So, for this article, let’s first define what a futurist is and what they do.
The term futurist came to prominence in response to the development of science fiction to describe famous authors like H.G Wells and Arthur C. Clarke, which is why you would be forgiven for thinking of a futurist as a purveyor of fiction instead of as a genuine professional.
Today, futurists use various scientific, mathematical, and creative techniques to make predictions on any kind of topic. Often, futurists will be employed to predict trends in technology or demographic changes to help support a company’s long-term strategies.
What Benefits Does a ‘Chief Futurist’ Bring to Metaverse Strategies?
Today, most futurists work as consultants on a freelance basis, advising organizations on the predicted direction of travel their industry could take. However, having a futurist in a leadership role in your organization could be a game-changer.
The Metaverse is an ideal subject for a futurist. While it is constantly changing and developing, its core technologies—decentralization, gaming, virtual and augmented reality, social networking—already come with petabytes of data attached to them.
While many in your team may be able to examine some of this data to make predictions on what might and might not work, a futurist will take this a step further to help you develop a strategy that leads to something no one has done before.
They are willing to take risks and think differently mainly because they trust the data and, more importantly, the unique processes they develop to make predictions. For most other businesspeople, maybe is a forbidden word, but for a futurist, it’s a guiding principle.
So, where does a Chief Futurist (CF) fit? While hiring a futurist to advise is beneficial, establishing a dedicated “Futures” team gives you a unified resource for continuous research and analysis.
Every team needs a head, but more importantly, if you intend to make a large commitment to the Metaverse using unique creative predictive analysis techniques deployed by a futurist, then you need to ensure that they are part of the leadership team. Otherwise, their opinion could quickly be drowned out by the board.
What Does a CF’s Team Look Like?
At the top of the hierarchy is the CF. They are responsible for relaying ideas and strategies to the board and guiding and supporting the futures team.
In that team will be senior futurists to verify strategic decisions before passing them over to the CF. Researchers collate and distribute the information required. Software engineers and designers develop the visual models and other assets needed to bring analysis to life. And crucially, data engineers and scientists conduct extensive data analysis that will eventually become a verified prediction.
Blue sky thinking is almost a caveat of Metaverse success. Even the concept of creating a futures team could push companies ahead of the competition. And if for nothing else, it shows that they are willing to accept a maybe.
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