I regularly receive a few questions on a regular basis. Here there are:
Q: What does the Food Futurist do?
A: The main purpose of the Food Futurist is to help clients to anticipate the changes to come, identify successful strategies to adapt timely – meaning before their competitors – and thus be the prosperous winners of the future. My approach is practical and concrete. Foresight is not an intellectual exercise, but it must lead to effective action. That is exactly what I offer. For more details, please browse the website, as it is quite rich in information.
Q: Is the Food Futurist a think tank?
A: I do not see myself as a think tank. Most think tanks are actually part of interest groups and push particular agendas. I do not do that. I am completely independent and review possibilities on their merits only, not on the basis of my personal preferences. Further, the world is full of thinkers and intellectuals. Personally, I find them boring. As I am a member of Mensa, I feel comfortable making that statement. What our world really needs is effective action, not just words. That is what I offer. Thinking is easy, but execution is a lot less so. Even though my work requires quite a bit of thinking, my focus is on how to make it happen.
Q: Is the Food Futurist just another futurist?
A: No. I am specialized in food and agriculture. Unlike most of other futurists, I do not talk about the future of everything. To know my personal views of what being a futurist means for me, please read the My Futurism page. Although I keep updated in the developments in many sectors, I serve only clients involved in food and agriculture. Considering the amount of inaccuracies and erroneous information that are spread around, having the practical background in food and agriculture gives me – and therefore you as my client – an advantage. This is why I am always a few years ahead of others with my predictions, and why my predictions are accurate. With the Food Futurist, you are at the right address when it comes to the future of food and farming. The only other agriculture futurist that I consider offering objective, unbiased and sensible information like I do is Dr. Lowell Catlett.
Q: Is the Food Futurist a consultant?
A: Since I provide advice, I guess I belong in that category. However, unlike most consulting companies that work on convincing their clients they have problems so that they can be hired, my focus is on spotting the opportunities for my clients and how they will be able to transform them into reality. Looking at opportunities is a much more positive and motivating approach that pinpointing the problems that my clients already know anyway since they hire me. I consider myself an atypical consultant. I do not like to deliver long and pompous reports and I use plain language, which in my opinion is the language of action. I have been on the other side of the fence. I have dealt with the typical consultants. I know firsthand what is useful and what is not. My goal number 1 is your success, not my bank account.
Q: Do you do market research?
A: In my view, market research and other long reports are not really useful. In this day and age, you can find all the information you need by doing a search on Internet and you will find it for free. You would be amazed by how often I find the very same text in different reports published by various organizations on Internet. Either, you do it yourself or hire a student intern and you will have exactly what you need and the quality you need for a fraction of what a consulting firm will charge you. Save yourself the money! Further, most market research will give you an idea of what the situation is today, but if you look 10 to 20 years ahead, the information of such a research will hardly be of any help. The kind of strategic foresight that I offer is much more useful, much more stimulating to experience and will point to you what will really be crucial for you to be ahead of the pack.
Q: Do you advocate any particular food production system?
A: Food production systems depend on many factors. There is such a diversity of landscapes, climates, soil types, agrarian structures, economic conditions, political climate, sociological and cultural heritages, and market opportunities that influence how food is produced. Thinking there is a one-fit-all miracle production system is simply non-sense. The future will be about optimizing by using all the possibilities that this diversity offers. The only thing that I advocate is common sense, open-mindedness, pragmatism and responsibility as well as critical thinking without complacency. Only the best interests me. I advocate that if something is good, it must be praised and rewarded. Similarly, if something is bad, it must be replaced by a better alternative as soon as possible.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: Every time a customers or a reader or listener tells me that my work is useful to them, it gives me the same great feeling of accomplishment. The greatest accomplishment of all in my opinion is each time I have created a job, directly or indirectly, because I know I have helped provide someone with economic security and with self-esteem. More as an anecdote, I got a particular sense of achievement when the FAO published an article on June 15 2013 with the same title as an article I published on my blog on December 4 2014, called Hunger is more than about just food production. I was quite pleased to read that I had come to the same conclusion as a Nobel Laureate of Economics two and a half years before he did. Not too bad, isn’t it?
Q: Are you some kind of a guru?
A: I do not see myself as one. I am not too keen on terms like guru or even expert. Quite often, the most visible ones in the media are not always the ones who say the most accurate things. I just do my job the very best I can. I say what I think in the most objective manner that I can, but I never think that I am always right. I like to lead my audience to come to the important conclusions themselves. For them, the sense of ownership increases their involvement to lead change more effectively.