How I started to think about futures

How I started to think about futures

Krystel Leal

On the first day of February 2017, I moved to Palo Alto, California. I was so excited! I grew up in Portugal, moved to Paris at 19 years old, and lived in Germany for a year while traveling through Europe. It wasn’t the first time I visited the United States, but  it was the first time I felt that I was experiencing the real United States. Living in a place is completely different from visiting.

The idea of living in the heart of Silicon Valley fascinated me. I watched the HBO TV show Silicon Valley, and as a person working with technology, I was thrilled to live in the place where almost every app and website I used was born.

Almost five years later, I sometimes still don't believe I have 94301 as my zip code. But more than new technologies, new mindsets, and different new perspectives about innovation, Palo Alto has put future studies on my path.

I live three blocks away from the Institute For The Future (IFTF), and during a long time, on my way to Whole Foods or Philz Coffee, I walked by the Hamilton Ave building and thought to myself:

What's that?
What's an Institute For The Future?
What's the Future?

One day I came home and googled "Institute For The Future". After a few articles, their writings, research and ideas fascinated me. I always liked talking about the future. I'm always excited about what tomorrow will bring. With futures studies, I feel that I have found my place.

I studied social sciences and communication throughout my life, but I always did something different. I spent most of my time in technology, learning HTML and CSS, experimenting with all kinds of CMSes, websites and apps, exploring SEO and how the Internet works. I have studied one thing, but since 2015 I have been working on things that have nothing to do with it. I have created my career, but my freelance work is still difficult to define. I work with content creation and optimization. But I'm also working with web development. And I'm also working with marketing strategy. I love many things, I know a lot, and sometimes it's difficult for me to connect the dots. Futures studies brought me a sense of purpose: what I do, what I always did, was  to innovate as a person, experiment with many things, and adapt to the context and reality I was in.

In 2019, I attended my first event at IFTF, and during the same year I began their "Introduction to Futures Thinking" course. In 2020, I began to read and follow Tiago Mattos, a Brazilian futurist and founder of Aerolito, and began a series of courses with them. Today, I am working on my first research project, which I'll be presenting to Aerolito's team in a few months, with the hope of getting their certification, which will make me the first Portuguese citizen certified by Aerolito in terms of their methodology.

I'm excited to discover and (once again!) trailblaze my own professional path, based on something that makes sense in my life. I feel that a futurism or innovation strategy path will connect all the dots that I drew over the past six years of my professional life.

This blog will be the place where I share some scenarios, visions, signals and ideas about the futures. Futures, always in the plural, because there are an infinite number of them. Thanks for reading!