How to Think about the Future

How to Think about the Future – An Introduction to Concepts and Tools is a two day course that provides everything you need to start using futures concepts and tools in your everyday work.

How do you navigate your way forward in the volatile and unpredictable environment that the new normal for the twenty first century?  

The standard tools for strategy development, product development and policy development were developed for a ‘steady state’ world. On their own, they no longer work in a world characterised by disruption and convergence.  

Futures tools have been developed specifically to help navigate this uncertainty.  

Using futures tools can help teams and organisations anticipate the strategies, services and products that will be effective in the future, rather than being trapped into today’s assumptions.

What does ‘How to Think about the Future’ cover?
How to Think about the Future provides an accessible introduction to futures concepts and tools.  


Session 1
The Basics: Futures terms and concepts
This session introduces essential futures terminology and concepts that help to frame futures thinking, explains the main branches of futures thinking, and gives participants the opportunity to apply the terms and concepts to their own context.

Session 2
Futures competencies
This session introduces core competencies for futures thinking, provides an opportunity for participants to assess themselves against the competencies and undertake exercises where the competencies are put into practice.

Session 3
Understanding Context – Part A: Looking back to look forwards
This session equips participants with the ability to build an information base for thinking about the future, understand different patterns of change and identify deeper underlying drivers of change.

Session 4
Understanding Context – Part B: The Future Here Today
In this session, participants are introduced to scanning techniques and analysis tools to make sense of the current environment and emergent change, then given the opportunity to practice applying them.

Session 5
Exploring Possible Futures – Part A: The Toolkit
This session introduces a range of tools for exploring possible futures, explains their relative strengths and how to choose which tool or tools to use. Participants have the opportunity to ‘walk through’ using a selection of these tools.

Day 1 ends with a summary of material covered during the day and a group discussion.


Session 6
Exploring Possible Futures – Part B: The Futures Rubber Hits The Road
In this session participants are able choose one of the future exploration tools introduced on Day 1 to work with more deeply. They will apply it to an area relevant to their work.  The facilitator will support each group as they apply their chosen tool, discussing best practice, rookie mistakes and ‘old hand’ tricks for getting the most out of the tool.  Participants share the futures they’ve scoped and their experience of their tool with the group.

Session 7
Exploring Possible Responses
The primary reason for exploring possible futures is to make better decisions today.  A wider view of future possibilities is only useful if you also develop a wider view of the possible responses – including shaping the future.  In this session, participants are introduced to a range of creativity tools that support divergent thinking about responses to futures states that can be applied to all areas, including strategy, policy, services, products and business models.  

Session 8
Applying Futures Tools and Concepts in Everyday Work
The last session focuses on how to integrate futures tools and concepts into the everyday work of your team or organisation, including how the insights from futures tools can be fed back into conventional strategic and annual planning cycles, and how to start to scan and adjust on an ongoing basis.

Day 2 ends with a summary of material covered during the course and a group discussion.

This course combines high-quality information about futures tools and how to use them with practical examples and exercises that allow you to develop a deep and secure understanding of the material as the course progresses.  

What will I get out of this course?

After attending this two-day course you will:

• understand the terms and concepts used in the field of futures thinking
• understand the skills and competencies needed to do effective futures work
• be familiar with the range of different tools you can use and the strengths and limitations of each one
• understand how to apply those tools and get the most out of them for your team or organisation
• have hands on experience of futures thinking tools that are easy to use and share with colleagues
• know how to integrate futures thinking into the everyday work of your team or organisation

Who should attend this course?
This course is ideal for anyone who:
• needs to have a better grasp of the future in order to work effectively
• wants to be able to use futures thinking tools in their work
• is new to the field of futures thinking or would like a refresher course

This workshop is presented by Dr Stephanie Pride. Stephanie is a professional futurist and experienced futures thinker. She has a decade and a half of practical experience of designing and delivering futures projects herself, as well as supporting a diverse range of clients to develop their futures thinking capacities.  She is an experienced trainer and educator and combines a deep understanding of the futures field with knowledge of the neuroscience of learning.  She uses this knowledge to design training that is both highly effective and great fun.  Stephanie is also involved in developing the field of futures thinking, has published in this area and is involved in international research projects on taking the discipline forward.  

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Whether you've seen something on the site that you think would be right for your organisation, or you need something that is tailored specifically to your organisation and context, we're ready to help you on your futures journey. Get in touch now.

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