Dutch sociologist and Holocaust survivor Frederik Lodewijk Polak, in his seminal work “The Image of the Future”, created a powerful way to test for your view of the future. Measure along two axis, using the following questions:
1) In the next 10 years, do you see the world as getting better or getting worse? 2) How capable do you feel of personally affecting the future?
People, when answering these two questions fall into one of four categories: The world is getting worse and I have little agency to affect it; The world is getting worse and I have a lot of agency to affect it; The world is getting better and my own efforts are not important either way; The world is getting better and my own efforts can help direct that positive change.
Many entrepreneurs fall squarely into the “The world is getting better and my own efforts directly affect it”-quadrant. Most “normal” people aren’t quite as optimistic – which can lead to tension and misunderstanding.
I found the test (known as the “Polak Game”) a powerful way to identify perspectives in a team, have an open discussion and create shared understanding and alignment. Forcing yourself to see the world from a different quadrant can further your understanding of the world and how others see it.