30 Nov 2019 15:20 IST

MICA prepares students to be futurists

Futurists are people who actively view the present trends and try to envision what might happen

Students of MICA, Ahmedabad, attended a workshop that helped them envision the cultural context of an evolving world. The ‘Futuring’ workshop was conducted as part of a Cultural Analysis and Application (CAA) course, in collaboration with Quicksand, an interdisciplinary consultancy that works in the areas of design, innovation, and future studies.

‘Futuring’ is a field of study that uses systematic processes for thinking, picturing possible outcomes and planning for the future.

A total of 67 students of second-year attended the workshop and were exposed to the importance of this area of study through speculative design and trend forecasting. They used various tools to synthesise futures and present trend outcomes. The students worked on various themes like food, technology, fashion and media to imagine their futures. The Quicksand team also showcased the relevance of ‘futuring’ in industry through case studies.

Emerging area

Bikram Bindra, course facilitator, said: “With the minutiae of everyday business often taking up so much time in the corporate world, there is increasingly a need to focus on the bigger picture, and step back to see how our larger cultural context is shaping the world. Future studies is an important discipline that enables business leaders to design, innovate and be prepared for not just an unpredictable today, but also an evolving tomorrow.”

This is the first time that MICAN’s have been exposed to ‘futuring’ as both an academic discipline and an industry area of focus, and this is also an emerging area that management schools are venturing into, he said.

Prof Pooja Thomas, course facilitator, said: “MICA has always used cultural understanding as a formidable tool in understanding consumer contexts. In fact, our core courses in first year builds on their abilities to read culture for marketing. This course sharpens this by giving students industry facing methods, approaches, and attitudes as well as the experience of applying it in a live industry case.”

Envision and innovation

Futurists are people who actively view the present world as a window on possible future outcomes. They watch trends and try to envision what might happen. This is a skill that has immense importance in today’s evolving world for businesses, for example: Futuring can help plan the road map for the innovation in a product category basis how that category is expected to shape up in the next five years.

Shriraj Mukherjee, second year student, said: “The workshop was a great cultural tool to a business manager's arsenal, especially while designing for futures — products, experiences or even imagining what the future will look like and what kind of events/actions might lead us there. As an industry professional, one is preoccupied with immediate situations and such a toolkit will help one to anticipate upcoming threats/disruptions/opportunities which might be hard to detect otherwise.”