1000 in exercise to envision future of the Coast

FORMER chairman of IBM Thomas Watson declared in 1943, "we think there is a world market for maybe five computers". Fast forward to 1981 and Microsoft's Bill Gates is rumoured to have projected that "640 kB ought to be enough for anybody".

These predictions weren't false prophecies from self-proclaimed priests of divinity, but rather market forecasts on products about which Watson and Gates were the experts of their respective generation.

Yet, as we know, history proved them wrong.

Over the last month, I have worked with about 1000 local 15- to 25-year-olds on an exercise called 'Envisioning the Future' to paint a picture of the Sunshine Coast 15 years from now.

On one hand, we want to protect the things we love most about the Coast while fixing the things we like least.

But taking control of our destiny requires far more that that. It requires us to envision the type of future we want and to take real action to get there.

By envisioning the future, our forums with young locals had them pose questions about the Sunshine Coast in the year 2030 to a fictitious character.

This forced them to identify the key uncertainties that are likely to impact the region.

Two broad categories of uncertainty emerged: one relating to the economy and the natural and built environment and another relating to society, community and culture.

This, in turn, has led to the creation of four alternative scenarios that paint different pictures of the Sunshine Coast in the year 2030.

Over the week ahead, the public will be asked to vote on which scenario they like best and whichever they choose will form the basis of the 2015 Futures Conference hosted by the University of the Sunshine Coast on November 27.