Photo: World Future Society / Facebook

By Ashley Alt

You may have a brilliant idea. You may have multiple brilliant ideas. You, along with thousands of other futurists, may have life-altering, world-changing ideas to create the future you want, but you aren’t sure how to turn those visions into reality. What separates wantrepreneurs from entrepreneurs and turns dreamers into doers is simple. Your voice.

Not being able to effectively communicate your potential endeavors drastically limits your influence and ability to create meaningful change. While there are many traits a driven, successful individual needs to have in order to implement change, the first and most important capability is communicating your vision with others.

United by a shared desire to tackle the world’s biggest challenges, The World Future Society ignites the future mindset in those who no longer want to be bystanders. A 50-year-old organization dedicated to empowering its community of future-minded citizens to affect positive change, members are ready to make those changes happen.

Chairman of the Board of Directors Julie Friedman has just moved WFS headquarters from Washington D.C. to Chicago in an effort to update the mission and purpose of the organization. She is hyper-focused and determined on turning observers into creators and at last, making the changes that prominent figures of WFS have been talking about for so long.

“We keep seeing this word innovation,” Friedman tells us. “But just because you put the word innovation on a building doesn’t mean there’s innovation happening. We’re creating an environment in which change is much more palatable and less scary for people.”

This global organization packed with history and comprised of members from 82 different countries is now centered in Chicago, which speaks volumes of the already forward-thinking community.

What is The History Behind The World Future Society?

Photo: World Future Society / Facebook

Photo: World Future Society / Facebook

Founded in 1966 by Edward Cornish, WFS came about based off The Cuban Missile Crisis, which was described as the most dangerous moment in history. Cornish started thinking of how he could implement foresight in a time of disaster.

A group of well-known futurists got together and created a magazine called The Futurist, which was the only place in the world that anyone could find this type of thinking and information. The biggest and the best of the future including Arthur C. Clarke, Buckminster Fuller, Alvin Toffler and Herman Kahn were all featured in the world-wide publication, which got a lot of people thinking differently about how to make the world better, stronger and safer.

What Does it Mean to be a Futurist?

Being a futurist is a mindset. A fixed mindset is the way society treats schooling. You go to school, you get good grades, you get a good job, you’re fine. The growth mindset, or futurist mindset, is the belief that learning doesn’t stop. You have an insatiable appetite for learning on a multitude of topics and yearn to look at issues from other perspectives.

“Anybody can be a futurist,” Friedman said. “We want to make sure people feel comfortable in the WFS community, but also have the capacity to understand the depth of our conversations.”

Having all different ages of people at different stages of their lives is what makes the futurist concept churn. In order to build a better future, members know they need to have an open mind. Not having emotional and social maturity is a huge issue in our culture right now, so empathy is a very important asset to being part of the futurist culture as well.

WFS members care about anything and everything as it relates to affecting our future. While topics range broadly from income and climate change to immigration and socialism, the common thread beneath everything is that it’s a human nature issue.

“It’s about addressing the issues at hand and going about it humanly,” Friedman tells us. “This makes more complex concepts much easier to frame to we can put ideas into action.”

Looking Forward, Together

With a new wave of history in the making, it’s obvious how important people coming together as a whole is. And right now is the time, more than ever, to channel our concerns in a way that will result in a powerful medium, finally being able to witness the power of community.

For the first time since the organization was founded, The World Future 2017 Summit will be held in Chicago. As a way to transport people to current needs and modern ways of thinking, anybody who isn’t just the status quo, who is passionate about what the future could and will be, is welcome to participate to see firsthand the much anticipated changes being made.

Creating a community of less isolation and more working together is the core concept of The World Future Society. While the WFS purpose is to unite the architects of the future, it’s up to us to implement change, starting with our voices.