Who am I?
Hi! I am Tanja and I am a Futurist. Saying that most people believe I own a crystal ball or predict the future. However, this is not at all what a futurist does. We help organisations to explore multiple and alternative futures. Hence, they broaden their horizons on what may come while simultaneously thinking about which future they want to shape with the purpose of their organisations.
How do you become a futurist? Mostly you have to be naturally curious. I’ve always been interested in exploring things I do not understand. Being a trained Engineer, physics and electrical engineering provided me with the structure to make scientifically sense of the world. But there is more to it. Besides that, I am also a passionate dancer, and foster my creativity through dancing, singing and laughing.
My third passion is travelling. By being open to many different cultures, languages and food, we learn to see the world through different eyes. This is of high importance for facing the future because the way we imagine it relies heavily on our past experiences and our current belief system. Good Futurists challenge themselves and their beliefs constantly to explore new futures. A Futures Mindset does help to make better decisions in the present, as we imagine a future we want to create.
We never lived in more complex and uncertain times. Many are afraid of how the future will unfold. The future seems to be this unpredictable black box that is so blurry that we tend to avoid spending too much time thinking about it. And if we mainly worry about the future. Especially after experiencing a global pandemic, people and organizations seem to be more concerned about the future than ever. Still, we see much short-term thinking rather than the bravery to explore the future. The world is facing many challenges that need to be solved. Only organisations that will serve a greater purpose, solving technological, social and environmental problems, will thrive in the long run. However, this requires letting go of the past and seize future opportunities by making future-oriented decisions in the present. The future is not written yet, and it is on us to explore and shape it.
My highest motivation lies in empowering individuals and organisations to create the future back into their hands. When I was introduced to Futures Thinking many years ago, I instantly fell in love with the topic. Why? Because it empowers people to shape their own futures and create the present lives they desire. In school, they told us all about the past and history, but nobody told us about the future and how to imagine, handle, and best how to shape it. By introducing individuals and organisations with the concepts of Futures Thinking, they learn to understand that the future is more a space to be created rather than a time waiting to arrive. Once we occupy that space, we can learn how to dance with the uncertainty of the future. By not being afraid of what may come, we need to be curious and motivated to take the opportunity of creating a desirable future. This does not mean that everything will come as planned or wished. However, by imagining multiple futures, we will become comfortable at dancing on the floor called life – and life is always messy, unpredictable and still beautiful. Over time, you may even be able to improvise on the dancefloor of the future. So shall we learn how to dance?
Past - Present - Future
Tanja Schindler is a passionate, international and award-winning Futurist for more than seven years and has international experience in foresight, innovation, leadership and strategy. She holds a double MBA/Master of Strategic Foresight with distinction from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Through her international application of foresight, she sees the world from various perspectives and enables others to deal with the future and its uncertainty. Her focus is to emphasize the advantages of a Futures Mindset. Further, she is the founder and guardian of the global community Futures Space. There, she explores the future with members from all over the world to create future maps that identify opportunities and challenges to shape the future jointly. She also leads foresight projects for the EU Commission, particularly with a focus on participatory future design. Since January 2021, she is also Vice-Chair of the board of directors of the Association of Professional Futurists.
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