About Zurich

Zurich is a leading global insurance company whose mission is to help customers – from individuals to businesses – understand and protect themselves from risk. Our aim is to blend leading edge expertise and insight into the management and mitigation of business and personal risk with an informed understanding of customers’ needs and preferences.

As industry partner for the World Economic Forum (WEF) our Global Risks report for WEF 2013 concluded:

"Within human nature, there is a predisposition to focus on the here and now, rather than what may lie ahead. However, while it may be tempting to make choices about our lifestyle, finances and community involvement with only the short-term in mind, the reality is that the long-term effects of those decisions will create unsustainable conditions for society. The long-term treatment and management of risk and responsibility is a problem that is of equal concern to government, businesses, communities and individuals and needs a collaborative approach that transcends the short-term drivers of political and profit gain."

At Zurich we are committed to understanding how the issues discussed at WEF impact on organisations in the UK. Future History Now is our new campaign to interpret and apply some of the WEF themes in a practical UK market context.

Future History Now – Welcome to 2018

Future History Now is a series of films, articles and events designed to stimulate a positive way of thinking about and planning for our futures. It is a first step in encouraging people to think differently and positively about their future against the backdrop of major demographic, technological, workplace and social change.

Designed to spark debate and encourage Britons to imagine and plan for what lies ahead, the future history of over 40 people has been captured on film… now. Talking about life and work in 2018, these people hail from a range of backgrounds and perspectives, from Lord Hunt, Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, to James Heather, a former commercial pilot who is looking towards his own future following a serious brain injury.

On taking part, Zurich UK Life CEO Gary Shaughnessy commented:

"We all tend to think about the future from the point of today looking forward and I think being able to visualise yourself in the future and looking back does give you a different perspective. I think it also helps focus you on what really matters and it helps you support the optimistic side of your nature, so you focus on what you can choose, or what you would like to look back on rather than what might worry you."

Listen to Gary’s Future History Now about managing risk, analysing trends and setting big goals for 2018.

00B GARY SHAUGHNESSY from Zurich FHN on Vimeo.

‘Future History Fortnight’ which runs from 26 November to 6 December will kick off with ‘Future History’ evening talks on 28 November and 3 December, where a range of luminaries will share informal insights on the technology, culture, economics and society of 2018 at the Hallam in Central London.

The series will conclude with the flagship Future History Now seminar on the morning of 6 December 2013, where Zurich Life CEO Gary Shaughnessy and Jonathan Dimbleby will be joined by a select panel of guests to explore how they believe major changes in technology, demographics, politics, economics and society have impacted the workplace of 2018.

Future History in Five Minutes

We asked participants in our Future History Now project to talk about 2018 as if it is already here. Future History is a visualisation technique popularised by motivational speaker Steve McDermott, and widely used by leading sportsmen and women among others. Here's Steve's 10 point guide to the method...

1. Visualise your goals

Almost all world-class sportsmen and women are visualisers. As are other peak performers in just about any other field you care to mention. All these people see things, feel things, and experience things before they actually do them. Our goal setting planning sheet and goal check questions will help you identify and prioritise your own goals. The first step to effective visualisation.

2. Focus on what you want

The starting point is to run what I call “mind movies”. Focus on what you want and spend some time in the future. Visualise where you would like yourself, your team or even your organisation to be in five years time (as we have done with our Future History project). Work out the goals you would like to have achieved by then.

3. Discuss with others

Talk about these goals with a family member, friend or colleague – two or more people with a shared vision are like an unstoppable train. But – and this is the crucial part – instead of talking about them as future achievements, talk about them as though they have already happened.

4. Put yourself in 2018

Imagine you’ve just been catapulted through time and space to the future, and describe your achievements in the past tense as things which have already happened. So it’s not “I will…”, “I want…” and “I hope to…” but “I have…”, “I am…”, “I did…” etc.

Some thoughts you might want to consider:

  • Where have you travelled by 2018 and did you have a good time?
  • Where are you living in 2018 and who are you living with?’ (Be careful if you are doing this exercise with your partner!)
  • How are you spending your spare time in 2018?
  • How has your career progressed in the last five years? Are you still working at the same place, doing the same thing?
  • How has your business sector changed in the last five years? What impact has this had on you, your team, your clients, your organisation?
  • What are the major developments you’ve seen within society in the last five years that are important to you? Have you played a part in this change?

Remember, the purpose of the exercise is not to work out how you might achieve these goals, it is simply to get the vision of where you want to be.

5. Ask yourself: “When was the last time I did that?”

The usual answer is "never". The traditional blue sky business planning where we look from now towards some date in the future and talk about what we might or might not find but what makes this exercise different, and more powerful, is that we are looking back. It brings an extra dimension that is usually absent when thinking about the future. And that’s your emotions, which get involved because you are talking about what you’ve already done and achieved.

6. Ask yourself: "Did I get excited?"

If you don’t get excited talking about this stuff, when are you going to get excited? This technique can help you identify the things you don’t want as well as those that you do - sometimes what we thought we really wanted turns out to be something we don’t really care enough about. If you simply don’t have enough enthusiasm and energy to make it happen, forget it.

7. Ask yourself: “Did I quickly run out of things to say?”

If so, this might mean you aren’t future orientated enough. Remember 90 percent of the population spend all their time in the present and the past. Maybe you need to plan to spend more time thinking about the future.

8. Ask yourself: “How clear was my vision?”

You can only realise your vision to the extent that you can clearly see, hear and feel it. Athletes at the Olympics didn’t vaguely, kind of, see themselves winning the race. When they mentally rehearsed the events they saw everything in absolute, specific, clear detail.

9. Zero in on your motivations

Defining your goals with this method means you are giving more thought to the why than the how. If you have got a really good reason, you can make yourself do almost anything and will find the how. You will identify the obstacles you need to overcome; identify the help you will need; plan your priorities; get a clear mental picture, of the goal already accomplished; and finally back your plan with commitment, persistence and resolve.

Most importantly you will believe you can do it and take action. Our belief busting questions will help you do just that.

10. Practice

The more you practice your back-from-the-future thinking, the clearer your goals will become. Think about what success will look, feel and sound like five years from now.

Good luck with your Future History!

These are the views of the individual, not of Zurich.

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