Social entrepreneurs are society’s best hope for the future” – Road warrior and international futurist Joyce Gioia

Originally published on the blog of Dutch Future Society

The Dutch Future Society is part of a global network of futurists. On Friday April 7th, DFS has invited world class futurist speaker and treasurer to the Association of Professional Futurists (APF) Joyce Gioia to have an informal conversation led by DFS vice president Peter van der Wel. The event was hosted at DFS partner organization Amsterdam Impact Hub, which attracted an interesting crowd of futurists and social entrepreneurs.

Of course everyone wanted to know Joyce’s vision on the role of foresight in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But Gioia has also proven to be an excellent guide when it comes to (sustainable) travel tips and spicing up talks and presentation. And as a treasurer at APF, Gioia presented some very interesting options for everyone to benefit from the growing relations between DFS and APF.

Progressing the Sustainable Development Goals

According to Gioia, social entrepreneurs are a great example for all of us. They truly have their heart in the right place and put caring for people and planet on the foreground of the ambitions. As they are society’s best hope for the future, it is important that they have a proper understanding of uncertainty regarding the future. Strategic foresight is the one and only approach that helps to embrace these uncertainties in order to make better decisions today. Futurists help decision makers to look more than six months into the future and see the (unintended) consequences of their actions. Futurists also help in understanding the wild cards that could profoundly change our future.

Have fun and play a game while exploring the future together

When it comes to developments in the toolbox of strategic foresight, Gioia has noticed an increase in the use of (serious) games. In particular board games are giving us lots of fun while we learn at the same time. A related trend that Gioia has observed is the greater drive towards collaboration. As part of her role on the board of APF she closely monitors the APF List Serve. This is an online platform where APF members pose questions, ask for help and post job opportunities. The platform makes it easier to find likeminded people and collaborate with peers. The APF will soon also start a Wiki platform about the future of government.

Positive experience and good vibrations

Gioia’s latest work focuses on happiness on the work floor. She poses that employees are an organization’s internal customers. Employee engagement is one of the most important things to get an organization focused on creating a better future. Positive experience is one of the topics regularly covered in Gioia’s widely read newsletter and trend alert.

Future of sustainable travel

Sustainable travel is also one of the topics that Impact Hub and their entrepreneurs focus on. Some of the trends that Gioia discussed with us are first of all adventure and experience, instead of a more traditional visit of places of interest. Gioia also talked about the merging between tourism and volunteering. New and interesting travel concepts have recently been developed. On the one hand they provide services in terms of travel arrangements. On the other hands they enable people to contribute to a local cause as a volunteer. The name for this trend is voluntourisme.

Tips on speaking

Gioia has been a professional speaker for over 25 years. What are her secrets? One of the best tips she has ever received comes from a Toastmasters session: When you don’t know what to say, just pause. After this advice, her speaking career took off. Gioia is famous for dancing on stage and even dances with her audience. Although she strongly advises to connect with your audience first to see if they are open to this… What we all learned from Gioia is that spicing your talk with humor and being at ease while on stage is great for your performance.

To close the session, Gioia gave away a copy of her latest book to a lucky member of the audience. After a short stay in Amsterdam, Gioia’s travels will take her to Korea to present at the closing session of the Asian-Pacific Futurists network. We thank Joyce Gioia for her time and her pleasant way of connecting futurists globally.