Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking

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About Course

About this Course

Do you want to think about the future with more creativity and optimism? Do you want to see what’s coming faster, so you can be better prepared for disruptions and more in control of your future? Do you want to get better at changing what’s possible today – in your company, your industry, your community, and in your own life?

This course will introduce you to the practice of futures thinking, as developed and applied for the past 50 years by the Institute for the Future, a Silicon-Valley-based research and learning group founded in 1968. In this course, you’ll build your understanding of what futures thinking is and what you can do with it. You’ll master essential foresight techniques. You’ll meet some professional futurists. And you’ll choose one or more future topics you want to investigate with your new foresight skills. This course is for anyone who wants to spot opportunities for innovation and invention faster. You can gain the skills and confidence to help YOU become someone who makes the future, instead of letting the future happen to you. Many thanks to the Enlight Foundation and the Enlight Collaborative, which provided a grant to support the creation of this course.

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What Will You Learn?

  • Define futures thinking and give examples of futures projects
  • Collect and analyze signals of change
  • Identify historical change in the past to predict new changes in the future
  • Learn how to avoid future shock - and help others avoid it, too!

Course Content

Week 1: Welcome to the Future

  • 1.1 Are you ready to learn how to think like a futurist?(video)
  • 1.2 Take our 2-minute survey about the future
  • 1.3 Welcome to the course! Meet your professor Jane McGonigal(video)
  • 1.4 Give me some examples of futures thinking!(video)
  • 1.5 What is Futures Thinking?
  • 1.6 Meet some professional futurists(video)
  • 1.7 Who Hires Futurists?
  • 1.8 Introduce yourself!

Week1: What is futures thinking?

Week 1: When does the future start?

Week 1: What are the benefits of futures thinking?

Week 1: Example of a Futures Project: The Future of Food

Week 1: Choose Your Own Future

Week 2: Signal of Change

Week 2: More Examples of Signals

Week 2: How to Interpret Signals

Week 2: Where Do You Look for Signals? And Other FAQ

Week 3: Look Back or Look Forward

Week 3: How to Use the Tool: “Look Back to Look Forward”

Week 3: Let’s Look Back Together

Week 4: Four Types of Futures Thinking

Week 4: The Four Types of Futures Thinking

Week 4: A Day in the Life of a Professional Futurist

Week 4: Congratulations! You’re Ready to Think Like a Futurist

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