Moving to Virtual Blog

Reinventing Future Associations and Non-Profits

July 16, 2018 | Posted in eLearning Best Practices, What's New by icohere

Guest Post by Dr. Amanda Batson, ADB Partners.

Will you leave your organization in better condition than when you joined it? Then you must lead today with an active, dynamic grasp of the future. In other words, lead future-forward.

In The Future Reinvented Reimagining Life, Society, and Business by Fast Future Publishing Ltd., their team of experts and authors challenges the reader to consider a constellation of future trends and their myriad impacts.  Association and non-profit leaders will benefit today and tomorrow by diving into this collection of thought-provoking articles.  There are numerous facets that speak to the future of associations and non-profits, leadership, and professional learning.  In this post, I will highlight three facets using quotes from The Future Reinvented v3 followed by reflections for association and non-profit consideration.

Reimagining Industries and the Future of Business

“The key to survival in the digital age will almost certainly be our ability to use the technology to help unleash human talent.”  Excerpt From: “The Future Reinvented v3.” iBooks. p. 17

Reflections for Associations and Non-Profits

Are associations and non-profits really using technology to unleash human potential?  Or, are we using technology to promote organizational potential? This may seem a subtle difference, yet it is a critical difference if associations and non-profits are to be sustained across time.

Today organizations are creating experiences across multiple channels:  eLearning courses, virtual conferences, networking via apps, videos, eBooks, and, of course, websites.  These digital tools are requirements in today’s not-for-profit world.  The design and development of these tools, however, often are driven first by organizational survival and secondly to unleash human potential.   To be future-prepared, these priority drivers should be switched:  first, design and develop digitally to unleash human potential and, then organizations will survive even thrive.

Won’t Get Fooled Again:  Anticipating Surprises in an Unpredictable Business Environment for Travel, Hospitality, and Business Events

“what futurists can teach clients to do is embrace the unpredictability of the current moment and allow imagination and vision to infuse business planning with greater versatility.”   Excerpt From: “The Future Reinvented v3.” iBooks. p. 81

Reflections for Associations and Non-Profits

What planning models can give associations greater flexibility in the face of unknown aspects of travel and related events? For example, how could we approach conference and meeting planning to advance human potential even if unexpected economic, travel, or safety issues arise?  For many years, annual conference planning began with geographic location; which city has sufficient meeting space, hotel rooms, transportation, and infrastructure for a meeting of say 25,000 attendees?  Rather than geography as a key starting point, what if annual meetings were one component of a future-forward plan based on an analysis of needs vs. readiness:   human talent needs of professions, businesses, industries compared to the human talent readiness to meet these needs?

Preparing regularly for the unpredictable must be part and parcel of a future-forward organization. Whether it is the increasing number of natural disasters, think hurricanes, flooding, wildfires or those unexpected economic, travel, or safety issues, plans a, b, c must be regular organization practice.  Design and develop your organization plans so that they can be deployed regardless of circumstances.  This means that there is an articulated, adopted, reviewed, and maintained set of plans designed for multiple channels.

Teaching Smarter

“While AI might teach the more technical lessons, teachers could gravitate towards a life coach role that inspires those in their charge.”  Excerpt From: “The Future Reinvented v3.” iBooks. p. 121

Reflections for Associations and Non-Profits

What if trainers, speakers, and instructors could become on-site and virtual coaches, rather than stand & deliver presenters?   Future forward organizations will seize digital tools including AI for technical, repetitive, short-answer training.  Instruction that is especially prone to memorization or mastery of professional basics via code, software, or apps could be delivered via AI.

Support, engagement, community networking, and individual coaching would be handled by teams of humans who are experts in subject matter and/or life success strategies.  This future-forward approach has direct implications for associations and non-profits.  We will need to spread our nets beyond specific industries or professions.  We will need to build a human web of SMEs and life coaches, facilitating connections among employers, talent, AI, and our organization.  Really, what is the purpose of associations but to associate?  In the future reinvented, associations and non-profits will pursue that original purpose with AI as an active participant guided by human talent.

Future associations and non-profits will use digital to unleash human potential, always prepare for the unexpected, and coach members for success.  Are you ready?

The Future Reinvented Reimagining Life, Society, and Business is a thought-provoking journey.  It is vitally important, however, for organizations that want to survive and thrive in the future.  The good news is that we can travel that journey together via the Unified Learning Academy.    Steve Wells, a global futurist, keynote speaker, author and COO of Fast Future Publishing, is presenting a UL Academy webinar. He will discuss 12 change drivers and take a deep dive into five.  Then Steve and I as well as a panel of association leaders will explore connections to these drivers.  And, of course, your questions and comments will be invited.  Join us on 18 July 2018 and step future forward!

*Talwar, Rohit; Wells, Steve; Whittington, Alexandra; Koury, April;  Romero, Maria.  Edited by Rohit Talwar.  The Future Reinvented Reimagining Life, Society, and Business.  United Kingdom and United States of America:  Fast Future Publishing, Ltd., 2017.  

This post appeared first on


Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Notify of