When it comes to exploring the future, Professor Sohail Inayatullah knows a thing or two. Presenting at Private Wealth Network’s Family Office Congress VIII, the renowned futurist discussed how, in an increasingly complex and heterogeneous world, we can shape the right future for our families.

Sohail is known for his expertise in futures thinking and strategy transformation. He specialises in helping individuals and organisations develop their alternative and preferred futures using theorisation and practical methodologies. His teachings seek to reveal how we can all recover personal agency and create the alternative futures we desire.

Boy Looking Through Binoculars --- Image by © B. Bird/zefa/Corbis

In practical terms, his recommendations on the day were clear. Here are 3 things you can start doing to help make your family’s future the one you want:

Change the stories you tell, so they serve you and your family

The future is an asset, a resource and a narrative to utilise to our advantage.

Deloitte Private Partner, Kate Ahern, knows that succession planning and the legacy families want to leave can influence the stories:

‘With the transfer of private business ownership, we’ll see a significant transfer of wealth in Australia within the next 10-20 years – whether that be wealth from sale, or from transfer of ownership of the family business itself. Families shouldn’t be waiting until these events occur to tell their stories, they should be seeking advice and having open and honest discussions with family members now.’

According to Sohail, changing your story means finding the current metaphor you consciously or unconsciously use to describe your life, or a part thereof, and transforming it:

‘Ask yourself, what’s the one thing I’m doing that doesn’t create the future I want?’

It is crucial to go deep, and find a metaphor that serves you.

Understand and embrace robotics

Will the future be bots everywhere and apps for everything? Sohail says, ‘You bet it will!’

We’re in for the internet of everything: persons, places and data driven by digital natives. Sohail’s research suggests 44% of jobs will be automated in the next 10 years and 60% of current students are chasing careers that don’t exist. One of the key ‘megatrends’, robotics will have a huge impact on this – and rather than resist the change, learning about and using robotics to our advantage is the way to go.

In the future one criterion for getting a job could be; ‘how well do you get along with your robot?’

Kate sees similarities in the adoption of robotics and embracement of cloud accounting:

‘Cloud accounting is the way of the future. For clients, it’s not a matter of if they migrate to cloud, but when. Those that don’t embrace cloud will be left behind and be forever failing to benefit from the evolving features of cloud accounting and associated technology. Greater automation facilitates real time reporting which in turn facilitates strategic advice and vital decision making’.

Remember, young kids won’t view the cloud or robots as ‘technology’ – it’s their normal and it should be yours too.

Learn more languages – and bring your children up to be multilingual

The rise of mega-nations like China and India (‘Chindia’) and decline of the USA are indicative of how global the future will be.

Your children and grandchildren could well be citizens of the world, and in order to do business in it, source the wisdom of the international crowd, and create their own desired futures, they will need to communicate in global dialects.

As Sohail surmises, we can use these tools to keep things the same – or we can use them to create change. If we are to predict what the world will look like in 2030, how will we do things differently?

When it comes to the world your children and grandchildren will live in, you are the point of difference in shaping the future you all want.


Written by Emily Emmerson of Deloitte