Born in a small village in Northern Italy, Ilaria Forte has travelled across the length and breadth of our planet to find the meaning and purpose of her own life. As the founder of radicalfuture, a global network of human and social scientists, futurists and creative professionals, she has initiated and facilitated several social, creative and radical change initiatives around the globe.
What waves are you making, Ilaria?
As a futurist and transformation catalyst, my purpose is to inspire and catalyze transformation in people, organizations and communities. I believe that we can improve our lives and create a better world by giving every person on this world the chance to discover, unblock and fulfill her or his unique potential, and by positively channeling this potential to generate meaningful and heart-driven innovation that changes our world for the better. Assessing the impact and measuring the overall success of any type of change and transformation initiative can be complicated business. The way I measure and report on progress is mainly focusing on qualitative factors and how these factors improve the overall quality of life and the relationship of the people involved in the change initiative and transformational work.
Beyond a portfolio of research projects for private companies and large european institutions on, for instance, the Future of retail, health, consumers behaviour, and hybrid projects at the intersection of technology, art and commerce, some of our ventures include WE & ME FAMILY, an urban family-life club for local and international families who live in big cities. We connect and re-connect families through a network that provides a sense of community, well-being and belonging. WE & ME FAMILY is inspired and based on the work of Jesper Juul, a Danish internationally renowned family therapist, author and public speaker with activities in more than 15 countries.
We are launching MOVABLE^LAB, a transdisciplinary and transcultural program designed around the new generation of leaders, their current and future challenges. It has been developed in collaboration with the think/do tank The Social Innovation Foundation (TSIF.EU)
We are working on a publication called WHAT HAS LOVE TO DO WITH INNOVATION, to be published in November 2013. It's a research project inspired by Chilean biologist and philosopher Humberto R. Maturana. It starts with his assumption that Love is "the grounding of our existence as humans" and "the basic emotioning in our systemic identity as human beings.” Our book is focusing on how to break the habits of ego minding and advance (through strategies of reconnection, awareness and reconstitution) into more systemic, holistic and radical patterns of understanding the Self and World. It is a great time for radical collaboration and radical openness, for true creation and inspiration that come from within and raise from the roots. Innovation inside-out and outside-in. Inclusive rather than exclusive.
You are a multicultural and multilingual being, how does it help you in the work you do?
Mastering numerous languages gives you countless possibilities. You have access to different cultures and your brain is flexible and trained to acquire new languages very easily. I think both multiculturalism and multilingualism help me to expand my understanding and awareness. While travelling boundaries are gone. The only thing that stops me is the border control to check my passport.
What top 3 tips can you share for social entrepreneurs to be more futurecentric, in their business operations, business models, stakeholders engagements?
1. Think holistically and systemically to understand how the choices you make in your everyday life individually and collectively change our future.
2. Be a future maker rather than a future thinker.
3. Don’t have fear! Be radical and courageous to make a positive difference.
You've worked with large organisations and companies to change their perceptions, unleash their creative ability, what would you say is the most common successful trigger for change in individuals?
Fear and doubt built a prison for the mind. You have to push the boundaries, step outside your comfort zone and feel the thrill that comes from the unknown. The true will to change, infused by a clear sense of purpose is what makes change happen.
What assumption about the future should we get rid of now, and where should we rather concentrate?
Get rid of all the fear-based and destructive apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic predictions, related scenarios and systems. Words and thoughts create worlds. Start focusing on creating a bright future for humanity, a love-based and constructive possible future. Embrace our true nature, unblock and develop our full human potential in harmony with the Earth, with ourselves and with others. We have to invest time and energy in developing positive relationships and real human interaction. Too many distracted and disconnected people armed with a cell phone and an Internet connection are getting lost in a 24/7 battle between digital lines, tweets and likes. Let's talk now. Let’s talk please.
What is your future self telling you, Ilaria?
The future is self-telling me to slow down, focus my attention and expand my awareness and my understanding. Be fully present with my eyes and my heart open to discover and embrace unexpected revelations and future route. My future is telling me to stay completely centered on the here and now. And, of course, deep breathing.
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