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Future Faking Innovation

Future faking is a term that has crept into the lexicon that originated from a harmful dating practice. When applied to innovation, someone is predicting a future to get others excited about it, with no intention of making that future a reality.

Phil McKinney
Phil McKinney
4 min read
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Future Faking Innovation is something to watch out for.

Future faking is a term that has crept into the lexicon that originated from a harmful dating practice. What is it? As all couples experience, once a relationship is established, the conversation turns to talk of the future — about where they will live, vacations they will go on, and children they will have. However, if they have no intention of following through, it can devastate and financially damage the other partner.

Future Faking Innovation

When it comes to innovation, the same narcissistic strategy can emerge. It is when someone is predicting a future in order to get other people excited about it, with no intention of making that future a reality.

Future faking is a type of lying and its manipulation. If someone is faking a future, they're counting on the fact that people want to believe in a bright future and that they are positioning themself as the ones with the answers while having no intention of making it a reality. The goal is to get people to invest their time, money, or emotions into what the “future faker” is pitching.

What a future faker wants may not be money. It could be attention, adoration, or just a sense of power that comes from knowing they can control what other people believe.

Examples of Future Faking

When you hear the term “future faking,” you may think of people who make empty promises about things they have no intention of delivering. But this is just one example of this type of behavior. There are several ways to future fake, and each one can be just as damaging.

Some use future faking to get ahead at work. They may make grandiose plans for the company, even though they have no intention of actually implementing them. This can damage the morale of their coworkers, who may have put in extra effort to make the plans a reality.

Others may use future faking to gain attention or admiration from others. They may talk about their plans for the future, even though they have no intention of actually achieving them. This can damage relationships and reputation.

There are those who use future faking to secure an investor in some cutting-edge innovation that requires an initial investment, with no intention of delivering what they promised. This can leave the person who invested feeling swindled and betrayed.

Are Entrepreneurs Future Fakers?

Some could say that all entrepreneurs are future fakers to some extent. They have an idea for a product or service that doesn't exist yet, and they have to pitch it to potential investors. In order to get people to invest in their idea, they have to make them believe that it's going to be a success.

However, there's a big difference between making someone believe in your idea and making them believe in a future that doesn't exist. Entrepreneurs may not always be able to deliver on their promises, but they have a vision for a future that they're working towards.

Future fakers have no intention of ever delivering on their promises. They're only interested in the immediate benefits they'll receive, with no regard for the future or the people they harm.

The future is full of opportunity, but be careful of those who would promise it without delivering.

Red Flags of “Future Fakers”

Here are behaviors that show that the person is likely future faking, and they should be a cause for concern.

Unrealistic Promises.

If the person is making promises they know they can't keep, or that are completely out of their control, then they're probably future faking.

Lack of Follow-Through.

If the person is constantly making plans but never actually following through on them, then they're probably future faking.

History of Lies and Manipulation.

If the person has a history of lying or manipulating others, then they're more likely to be future faking.

If you see any of these red flags in a person, then it's important to be cautious.

Best Practices To Protect Yourself From Future Fakers

The best practice to protect your reputation is to avoid supporting the vision being pitched by a future faker. Here are four recommendations that can keep you safe from the turmoil they create.

Go Slow.

Don't let someone's sense of urgency cause you to make a hasty decision. If they're pressuring you to decide right away, before any proof of the future they are peddling, then be suspicious.

Stay In Reality.

Don't believe everything you hear. Even if the person seems sincere, don't take their word for it. Wait to see if they actually follow through on making their vision of the future a reality before you believe them.

Hold Them To Their Future

Track and hold them accountable for the future they are selling. Understand the key milestones and proof points associated with their idea or project. If they are not meeting their promises, then walk away.

Get A Second Opinion.

If you're considering investing in someone's future, it's always a good idea to get a second opinion. Talk to someone else who is familiar with the person and their work to see if they think the future they're selling is realistic.

Being Cautious While Creating An Exciting Future

The world is constantly changing, and with it comes new opportunities for those who are willing to seize them. However, before you can seize these opportunities, you must first be aware of the dangers that come with them.

One of these dangers is future faking — when someone pitches a vision for the future that doesn't exist, and they have no intention of ever making it a reality.

Despite the dangers, don't let the narcissists hold you back from changing the world. With the right precautions, you and your team can create an exciting future that is full of opportunities.

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Phil McKinney is an innovator, podcaster, author, and speaker. He is the retired CTO of HP. Phil's book, Beyond The Obvious, shares his expertise and lessons learned on innovation and creativity.


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