Futurist Fire Drills Scenarios

What does a Health and Safety Fire Drill teach us about futures thinking?

A fire in a building is a worst case scenario. People’s lives are in danger and property, both physical and intellectual, is at risk of being destroyed. It can set a business back years to recover what was lost, if in fact the business survives at all. 


Let us compare the good reasons for having a fire drill in your office, with the good reasons for thinking like a futurist, about the other potential worst case scenarios for your business.

Practice life saving skills

There are practical things we should know in a fire drill. We should know our evacuation routes. We should know how to quickly and safely leave the building and what nick-nacks we should not waste our time in stopping to collect on the way out. And there is the very important roll call to ensure that everyone is out safely and that no one has been left behind. 


When we think about other dangers to our business, we are practising a mental fire drill. Disruption to the market, a popular and innovative competitor, new innovations that make our business offering irrelevant are just some potential dangers. Do we have evacuation plans? Do we have plans to navigate out of business corridors that may become costly instead of profitable? Are there emotional nick-nacks that our teams are attached to that should be left behind? Is there a way to ensure that everyone can make it out of the product line that may need to be shut down, or will we have casualties of staff who need to be retrenched?

Test systems and alarms

Part of the fire drill is ensuring that fire extinguishers and water pipes are working and accessible and that fire alarms are working and can be heard by everyone in the building. 


Taking the time to consider how a business would respond to future threats and disruptions allows the team to create systems and alarms to respond to them. If there is an early alarm of a potential threat to a product, the team would have time to respond, to change the product or create a new line, or disinvest too much in the way of staff and development costs on a product that may not remain profitable. But if those alarms aren’t created and tested then they will never work and a business will be left vulnerable to huge losses that could have been avoided

The real Value

No one runs a fire drill hoping one day to actually experience a fire, but the preparation means that even for other potential dangers, the office is safer and the staff are more conscious of their responsibility to everyone’s safety. 


No one runs a scenario exercise hoping to one day see their business threatened with becoming irrelevant and going under. But by regularly practising futures thinking, by making the team conscious of thinking like a futurist, the business becomes more robust, more responsive, more innovative and everyone on the team is more conscious of their responsibility to bring new insight to the company.

Quick Wins

Draw up an emergency evacuation plan for your business. If the business were to be closed down, what assets or intellectual property would the team have that they could use in the future? What innovations have been employed that might lead to future business? What mindsets do the team members have that could help them to respond and find new opportunities? If that evacuation plan is too thin, then its time to seriously invest in thinking like a futurist.

Look out for the 'Think Like a Futurist' series

Attend the webinar or sign up for the 4 part Workshop to develop your futures thinking skills