The Future is Designed (An ACORD 2020 Research Commentary)
What does the future look like from where you're standing? A bright, peaceful place marked by growing prosperity and cooperation? Or a dark confusion of obscure conflicts over resources?
Will the future be radically different from the present, or more of the same? And while the seeds of the future must lie around us today, where are those seeds – and which are the ones that will take root and multiply?
the future may hold and preparing for it has been a major concern of humankind
ever since we started to think, plan – and worry. Our ability to imagine future
eventualities is what drives us to provide for our families, create
organizations and increase our knowledge. It's why we developed insurance,
which is a means of making the future more predictable, more certain.
But it's also why we buy into visions of the future that feed our desires or that indulge our fears. Sometimes it's hard to remember that no matter how good the research, or how high the status of the research's sponsoring body, no one can foresee the future with perfect accuracy. The best we can do is to create scenarios that are more or less plausible, expose the reasoning behind those scenarios and present options for dealing with them. Above all, we have to bear in mind that whatever we do today shapes the future, including the way we react to scenarios of the future.
While we can't have 100 % perfect foresight, we can make use of our insight. As decision makers, we're obligated to understand the possibilities awaiting us, and to control, to the best of our ability, the forces shaping them.
have generously given their attention, experience and creativity to our 2020
Vision project over the last year. Together we have examined the patterns,
interests, constraints and innovations that are contributing to our unfolding
future. We've looked at big-picture, global factors and specific industry
During our Roundtable discussions with members, I've noticed that not only is the shape of the future up for grabs, but that we also inhabit different presents. We collaborate in order to get on the same page: that's because as well as having interests in common, we also each have our own story to write. If you're a large, global underwriter you're going to see the world differently than a niche broker. Solution providers share some goals with their customers, but not all of them. Our diversity is one reason why we make the effort to share understanding and find common ground. The success of our industry relies on our ability to balance individual interests with the common good. And because we collaborate so effectively in sharing our presents, we are well equipped to shape our joint and several futures.