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The Role of Big Data in Futures Research

The Role of Big Data in Futures Research

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

As research evolves and the greater digital age becomes more and more defined by its vastness and capabilities, so too does the way in which research is conducted. No longer are questionnaires, question prompts, and surveys considered to be the only methods scientists have to delve into the future of their chosen discipline, Gathered and collated data has become commonplace, and the big data analytics and insights that come along with this have allowed the research community to unravel the complexities associated with future forecasting. Here, we explore the role of big data in futures research.

In order for scientists to determine what the future may hold in any given field, they rely heavily on the available information that has been gathered from various sources and third-party data centers. This type of data, commonly referred to as “Big Data”, provides researchers with analytical capabilities, the ability to identify trends, and the capacity to draw accurate conclusions regarding future trends.

Big data can be found in virtually all fields, from healthcare to marketing and finance. With advancements in technology, researchers can gather, store, and analyze large amounts of data much more quickly than ever before. Additionally, the advancements in artificial intelligence have allowed researchers to embed algorithms into their analysis to develop more accurate trend predictions for the future.

Case Study 1 – Atlantic Council’s Global Futures Exchange

A great example of this is the work being done by the Atlantic Council’s Global Futures Exchange. This particular project has seen several big data initiatives implemented, such as machine learning algorithms and natural language processing to help it accurately predict future trends in global affairs. By analyzing massive amounts of data related to climate change, geopolitics, terrorism, and more, researchers can better prepare themselves for what the future may hold in a given field.

Case Study 2 – Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)

Another great example of the role of big data in futures research is the work done by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). This organization has been able to leverage big data to create a predictive model that helps inform their decision making and future forecasts. PIRE uses these models to generate forecasts related to various factors such as the global economy, risk management, and energy efficiency. Using predictive analytics, they were able to identify potential areas of risk before they became issues and equipped themselves with the necessary resources to combat them before they become serious.


It’s clear to see that big data and the insights it provides are becoming increasingly important to futures research. This type of data provides researchers with much more accurate and timely results, enabling them to increase the efficiency of their research. With big data analytics, scientists are now presented with the opportunity to use predictive analytics to identify potential trends and outcomes before they become a reality. By leveraging the power of big data, researchers are more prepared to better understand the future and what it holds in their respective fields.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Change Management: A Leader’s Guide to Effective Implementation

Change Management: A Leader's Guide to Effective Implementation

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

Change is a natural part of life, and so businesses must learn to make timely adjustments to stay competitive and successful in the long-term. As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that change is properly implemented and managed so that you and your organization are placing strategic efforts where needed. This article serves as a guide to help business leaders implement effective change management strategies in their organization.

What is Change Management?

Change management is a structured process of organizing and controlling a company’s adjustment efforts. It is considered the cornerstone of large-scale transformation and is executed with the general idea of limiting risks and maximizing the potential of positive outcomes from change initiatives. It includes four core components: analysis, planning, implementation, and review. Through these four components, organizations can strategically transform their operations, core systems, and approaches to mission-critical processes.

Why is Change Management Important?

Change management is important because it helps organizations respond to their changing environments efficiently and effectively. It serves as a system of checks and balances and ensures that all change initiatives are properly justified, planned, and implemented. The process also helps businesses minimize the waste of resources and ensure that teams involved in various projects are best working towards the same goal.

Case Study 1 – The Transformation of Microsoft

Microsoft launched an extensive internal transformation project in 2014 to update its core operations, systems, and approaches. This involved a massive overhaul of the company’s internal processes, such as switching to an agile development method. Microsoft implemented a comprehensive change management approach, which included extensive training, workforce planning, and organizational realignment initiatives. The transition was a success and enabled Microsoft to remain a leader in their industry.

Case Study 2 – The Reorganization of National Grid

National Grid, a major electric and gas utility provider, restructured its organization to meet new customer demands and market trends. The company implemented a state-of-the-art change management system to execute the reorganization process across all departments and subsets of the company. This involved a rigorous assessment process, strategic workforce planning, detailed metrics, and advanced decision-making methods. The reorganization successfully enabled National Grid to better respond to changes in its environment and remain competitive in the industry.


Effective change management helps organizations respond to changes in their industry and remain competitive in the long-term. As a leader, it is important to understand the various components of change management and ensure that initiatives are properly planned and implemented. By considering the two case studies provided in this guide, business leaders can gain invaluable insight into the tools and processes that can help their organization successfully manage change.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Design Thinking for Non-Designers

How to Approach the Problem Solving Process

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

In the world of design, getting started with creative problem solving can feel intimidating if you don’t have a design background. Understanding how to approach a problem from a different perspective is key to success when it comes to finding viable solutions. In this article, we’ll be discussing the basics of design thinking and introducing two case studies that demonstrate how it can be used for both creative and practical problem solving.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an approach to problem solving that focuses on human-centered solutions. It was popularized by design firm IDEO, which is known for its innovative products, like the now-ubiquitous Apple Mouse and the Segway. Design thinking is based on the idea that creative solutions and useful products can be used to meet pressing needs in any project. When it comes to problem solving, design thinking encourages a multidisciplinary approach that includes ideation, prototyping and iterative testing.

At its core, design thinking is about asking the right questions and understanding what the user needs from a product or service. The process starts with an initial investigation into the problem, followed by brainstorming to find possible solutions. Once potential ideas have been identified, the next step involves prototyping and experimentation to discover the best approach. Iterative testing and user feedback help to identify areas for improvement, while also informing the end result. Ultimately, the design thinking process can identify both creative and practical solutions that address the original problem.

Case Study 1 – McKinsey & Co: Designing an App for the Nonprofit Sector

In 2020, McKinsey & Co partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to design a mobile app that would help the nonprofit sector better organize its data. In order to create a product that could truly serve the needs of the sector, the team began by conducting research on the current state of data management and the pain points among nonprofits. Once they identified the problem, they used design thinking to create a product that would solve it.

The team conducted interviews, ran surveys and observed user behavior in order to gain deeper insight into the nonprofit sector and better understand their goals. This enabled them to develop an app prototype that addressed the identified pain points and provided innovative solutions for the nonprofit sector. After consulting with the target audience and refining the product, the final version of the app was released and it quickly became a success.

Case Study 2 – Zenden: Delivering Smart Energy Solutions

This example highlights how design thinking can be used to create a product that meets current needs. Zenden, an energy-focused startup, wanted to create a smart energy system that would improve the efficiency of renewable energy sources and reduce carbon emissions. The team used the design thinking process to develop a solution that would meet this goal.

The team first conducted research on the current energy landscape and identified challenges stemming from energy availability and sustainability. They then held brainstorming sessions to come up with possible solutions and interviewed energy industry professionals to refine their ideas. After extensive prototyping and testing, the team was able to develop a solution that provided a reliable energy source and drastically reduced energy waste.


Design thinking is an invaluable tool for problem solving that allows creators to understand a problem from a human-centered perspective and come up with creative solutions that meet users’ needs. Both of the cases presented here demonstrate how design thinking can be used to create products that consider the needs of the user and deliver potential solutions. With the right approach, even those without a design background can create products that meet the needs of their audience.

SPECIAL BONUS: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: Unsplash

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