Are you a futurist or a strategist?
Is there really that much of a difference?
I listened with great interest to Brian David Johnson talk about the future. From his first words, he disclaims any predictive ability. He cannot tell you what will happen.
He can, instead, help you think through what might happen. In a conversation from last year, based on his book "The Future You," Johnson walked listeners through the frame for his methodology. He helps his clients understand and visualize their aim (what they want). He then helps them identify their sources of help, opportunities to leverage, and the threats they may encounter on the way. And then finally he helps them "backcast" from that envisioned future success to figure out the first steps on the road to take to get there.
That sounds a lot like what a strategist does. Visualize some desired end. I like to call this the North Star. Then think through how you'll get to that North Star. My personal metaphor for this is the compass. Build a compass to help you navigate a dangerous world on your way to North-Star-nirvana.
Does it matter what we call ourselves if we are basically in the same business?
For starters, let's observe that "futurist" is as loaded, maybe even more loaded a term as "strategist." They carry baggage. So there are pitfalls that come with both.
A futurist, like Johnson, will always point out that they don't carry crystal balls with them. They can't tell you what numbers to pick on your lotto ticket, they can't tell you what college your kid must attend to make millions.
Strategists have become ubiquitous, a penny a dozen. That title's worn out in every sense of the word "worn." Everyone's "strategic" nowadays. Businesses use it to elevate their brand, like the garbage truck I saw drive past a few years back, with an enormous side-logo, "STRATEGIC WASTE MANAGEMENT."
But, somehow, even if both futurists and strategists both engage in the pursuit of a better tomorrow, I think the title difference is meaningful.