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Projecting Forward

 

Explanations > Thinking > Lazy Thinking > Projecting Forward

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

When we are thinking about the future, we usually start with the past and project this into the future.

In doing this, we take current models, dynamics and trends, and plan on the assumption that these will change very little in at least the short term.

Example

A person plans holidays assuming they will still be able to afford it, the travel company will still be operating, etc.

I see a movie is at the cinema. I go to town the may day to see it. I am surprised and disappointed that it is no longer being shown.

Discussion

Projecting forward is assuming the future will be much like the past. By and large this is true. Even in times of great change, the sun comes up each day and people act in pretty similar ways. However no two days are the same.

Blind projection can be lazy when it is not difficult check that things will be as assumed. It is also a common cause of business failure when assumptions such as of continued market growth and business domination turn out to have an end-stop. Working to ensure the future is like the helpful past is a useful business practice but cannot be fully predicted.

So what?

To shift viewpoints, highlight the assumptions people are making and show how they may be invalid. Replace these with assumptions that lead in the direction that you prefer. Or to keep people on their current track reinforce perceptions that the past will predict the future.

See also

The Need to Predict

 

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