Here are three lenses to view a potential future that can help frame a good outcome.
Lens 1: It’s an ecosystem. Do you remember creating terrariums in elementary school? One purpose of this science project was to teach kids about ecosystems. With the right balance, once the jar is closed, the plant uses water, sunlight, and nutrients from the soil to survive. Innovations, regardless if its web3, AI, digital twins or smart cities, are part of a greater ecosystem. Each coexists with changes in the economy, public policy, consumer sentiment, behavior, climate change, and (we were recently reminded) public health.
We need to keep the ecosystem in balance.
Lens 2: Everything we do always has a second-order effect and often a third. Every action has a consequence, and each consequence has another consequence. Consider the bio-hacking movement where everyone tracks their steps, their sleep, their bowel movements and now wants to live to be 120. I mean, who doesn’t want to live longer? However, few consider that people want to age in place, exacerbating the housing inventory crisis. Or that we know little about how our brains work and that the current statistics show almost 50% of people who live past the age of 70 will have some form of dementia.
I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t try to live longer. What I am suggesting is we intentionally do the “what if” exercise.
Lens 3: “Which World'' are you intentionally, or unintentionally, pulling yourself toward? As I mentioned, you are creating the future today. The question is, which worldview are you creating?
- A Transformative World where there is positive change across society, production, technology, and consumption. Where holistic approaches to business, policy, and education models are becoming mainstream. Where collaborative innovation occurs across international boundaries.
- A Market World which is an extrapolation of the present world, including the forces of globalization. Is it a world where growth of megacities as hubs of innovation, the “cloud” empowering individuals but increased separation between the “haves” and the “have nots” and social unrest expanding in developed nations.
- Or is it a Fortress World where market forces, governmental policies, and technological innovation could not contain social tensions and environmental degradation. The tensions created by population growth, economic development, and the unlimited exploitation of resources create crises that cannot be mastered by policies or institutions. A world where there's fear around personal and organizational security and an increased influence of corporations.
We can create a future that is abundant and where access and affordability has been democratized. Let’s be intentional.
While it’s impossible to provide detailed maps for every potential future, or any future, I hope these views help you create a brighter, more sustainable future. Remember, you are all creating the future every day with your actions.
For more information about the “Future of Real Estate,” I invite you to NAR’s iOi Summit. If you haven’t attended before, iOi stands for Innovation, Opportunity, and Investment, and it has become the preeminent technology and investor conference focusing on how PropTech is driving digital transformation in real estate.
Hosted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the sixth annual iOi Summit will be the best we’ve ever held. If you can’t attend, send someone from your team to network with 700 of the smartest people from real estate innovators, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, brokers, title officers, mortgage lenders, and more.
Excerpts of this article are attributed to The Futures School where I received my Certified Foresight Practitioner designation. Natural Foresight® by The Futures School is licensed under Attribution 4.0 International.