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Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?

This interesting article from Forbes makes the case for hiring science fiction writers!

...what we lack in some of our workplaces are the dreamers. The kind of people who can think far ahead in the future on a human scale, and dream about what is needed not today, or tomorrow, but 100 years ahead. Some exceptional people have both skills, and are familiar, household names like Jobs, Musk, Gates...

If a company needs to move ahead in its’ market, over a period of time, it strives to become a leader. What’s next? There could be critical innovations at the fundamental layers of the software, but in spite of all this, the product or company stalls in that field/arena.

This is when dreamers are most required (of course they are required at the beginning, too). Dreamers have the ability to see far into how the function can pan out. Maybe the function would die, transform, and reform. Maybe how humans behave changes completely. This type of planning requires a certain discipline to dream and construct compelling stories.

Who better to do this than Science Fiction writers?

Science fiction writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle made use of the idea of sf writers advising the government in their excellent 1985 novel Footfall, in which herd aliens invade the solar system and the government asks for help.

The government creates a special think tank of science fiction writers who try to understand the aliens and extrapolate their capabilities. Eventually, they even invited a captured member of the aliens to join their "herd" - the Dreamer Fithp. The military called them the Threat Team.

They took their places in the lecture room, but they tended to sit for a moment, then get up and gather in clumps. Most of them talked at once. Working with the science-fiction people was an educational experience. They had no reverence for anything or anyone...

"Admiral Carrell has assembled an intelligence group to advise the National Security Council. You are part of it."

"Makes sense. Who else knows about aliens?"

She looked at her seating chart. Curtis. She nodded. "...You are the Threat Team. The others will assume the aliens are friendly. Our group will examine the possibility they are hostile..."

As one character says in the book, you might as well listen to science fiction writers because, in some areas, "they're the only experts we have."

Via Forbes.

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