Area of Concern

Future Readiness

Whether shopping for a favorite brand of baby food, diagnosing a perceived illness, or deciding where to invest, issues of trust emerge at every step.

To guide our decision-making, we rely on credible sources of information, enforceable contracts and guarantees, and communities of individuals whose life experiences are comparable to our own. Since the earliest efforts to organize human societies, we’ve modeled trust from these building blocks of our society.

Today, as our services and interactions reach across the globe through complex digital networks, the bedrock of trust is eroding. Beyond widespread questions about fake news and a post-truth society, we find a more profound set of technological, social, and institutional transformations disrupting the landscape of trust by upending the foundations of our institutions and authority structures across the business, civic, and social spheres.

To help you navigate these risks and uncertainties, we’ve identified seven future forces reshaping our familiar building blocks of trust. From the rise of nonhuman actors to revolutions in biological science, the emerging landscape will challenge us to remodel trust to build, maintain, and communicate with our partners, neighbors, and customers.

In the coming decade, will we primarily filter distractions and viewpoints to keep out ideas and actors that conflict with our sense of identity and meaning? Outsource the burden of decision-making to smart objects and authorities? Leverage the ongoing flood of data to continuously verify the information behind our decisions? Or reinforce physical and digital boundaries to define who is in and out of our trusted networks?

As the future unfolds, how will we remodel trust to anticipate risk and clarify action?

How to use this research

  • IMMERSE yourself in the seven future forces transforming the landscape of trust across our business, civic, and social spheres
  • UNCOVER the changing building blocks of trust that will yield new challenges and possibilities for how we share information, make agreements, build community, and wield power in the coming decade 
  • EXPLORE four models of trust that leverage familiar strategies with new tools and practices to help you anticipate risk and clarify action in an era of heightened uncertainty, ambiguity, and possibility
  • DIVE deeper into the four trust models with our companion workbook that includes full-length scenarios for filtering, outsourcing, verifying, and boundary building between now and 2028 
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Engage with IFTF foresight researchers and powerful portfolio of tools and techniques to embrace strategic foresight, navigate large-scale change, and lead your organization toward a vibrant future.

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