EVERY BRAIN THINKS ABOUT THE FUTURE…BUT SOME BRAINS DO IT BETTER THAN OTHERS.
From a neuroscience or brain-based perspective, foresight can be understood as the ability of the brain to imagine and anticipate possible future scenarios. The future thinking brain has provide humans an evolutionary advantage over other species through it’s ability to simulate possible and alternative future scenarios far into the future. This has allowed individuals and organizations to make more informed decisions, develop strategic plans and prepare for future challenges and opportunities.
The brain’s ability to imagine and simulate possible future scenarios is supported by a range of distributed and competing cognitive processes, including past memory, present perception, attention, values-based decision-making and sensory motor anticipation.
Memory allows the brain to use past experiences to extrapolate possible future scenarios. The ability to perceive both the Inner and outer world allows the brain to harvest available information, while attention helps to focus the brain on relevant information and filter out distractions. Values based decision-making processes enable individuals and organizations to evaluate the potential outcomes of different scenarios and make informed choices about how future events might impact the integrity of the individual or organization. Anticipation allows for the pre-activation and rehearsal of future neurophysiological states and prepares mental, emotional and motor resources to take action in response to future outcomes.
From a neuroscientific perspective, foresight involves the activation of certain brain regions and systems, such as the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus and the Default Mode Network The activation of these brain regions correlates with the capability and capacity for future thinking and future preparedness. But when it comes to the ability to think about the future, not all brains are equal.
DEVELOPING THE CAPABILITY AND CAPACITY FOR FUTURE INTELLIGENCE.
The brain’s ability to imagine and simulate possible future scenarios is a critical component of foresight, and understanding the neuroscientific basis of this process provides insights into how individuals and organizations can improve their ability to anticipate and prepare for the future, and also enhance the ability to individually and collectively navigate any future that emerges from the unknown.
This neuroscience or brain-based approach to foresight, we call future intelligence. Just like There is a cognitive intelligence, and emotional intelligence, there is a future intelligence. And just like the other intelligences, future intelligence is a skill that can be developed. Currently, this skill is underdeveloped and underutilized in leadership teams and organizations. In a world that is increasingly more complex, more uncertain and exponentially changing, future intelligence becomes an essential skill for the next generation of leaders to develop individually and collaboratively to ensure the success of their organization.
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