“Visionaries spend more time thinking about their world in ways they might not have thought about before!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
I’m typing this post as my flight comes up into the sunrise over the Irish coast as it begins its descent into London, England. Here’s my current view.
Tomorrow, I’ll speak to over 500 dentists and other dental professionals about the future of their industry and profession. I’ll challenge them to think big, suggest they start with small steps to prepare for a different future and then be prepared to move fast when it happens. So it goes.
Why is this type of talk important? Let me put it another way. What does a futurist do? We help you think about the world in a way that you might not have thought about before!
The folks in the room on Saturday – dentists from leading-edge dental practices from throughout the UK – are busy people. They’re flat out, running complex operations, dealing with staffing issues, budgetary challenges, and the ongoing impact of the pandemic … they are too busy thinking about today to worry about tomorrow. The rest of their day – I’m the luncheon speaker – will be spent learning about the advanced new trends involving methodologies, technologies, materials, and instruments of today. The typical dental practice is digitizing quickly and accelerating quickly Even so, this won’t bring them fully into tomorrow – traditional PD courses and day-to-day updates like what they will cover on Saturday tend to focus on the nuances of the profession as it currently exists and might exist soon.
But what about 5 years out? 10 years? Maybe 3 years, or 1 year if things speed up?
One day, they’ll wake up and realize that everything around them has changed to an even great degree. In the world of dentistry, the foundation for that change is happening now: we are seeing rapid advances with 3d printing technology for dental implants; we’re on the edge of an era in which we can grow actual human tissue (i.e. bone) for transplant; not to mention advancements in laser-guided surgery; advanced digital scanning and AI analysis; 3d panoramic imaging; self-healing compounds; acceleration of chairside milling/ same-day indirect dentistry; genomic-based dentistry; virtualized and robotic dentistry; regenerative dental science and CRISPR!!!!
Tomorrow will be here before they know it, and their profession, working life, and day-to-day routine will have been further transformed. And yet … they have no time to think about this type of stuff. And that’s my job. Because, after all, the Jetsons predicted tomorrow’s future some 60 years ago, and I channel my future self through George (LOL!)
I know how the room will react to my talk in advance because it will be typical for most audiences. At least 30% will zone out, not hearing what I’m saying at all – they will continue to live in their zone of complacency. 40% will hear my message and will start to watch the trends and take small steps to a different future.
But it’s the remaining 30% who are the visionaries – they will come to realize that everything is changing and that it is going to happen faster than they think. They’re the ones that will begin to innovate, change, and adapt – and be ready for tomorrow when it hits!
In that context – which type of person are you?