How to Think about the Future

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

It can be provided as an online course for up to 20 people over either four or eight weeks, or as an in person course, run either over 2 full days, or over four half day sessions (or we can provide other bespoke options to meet your needs).

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.

It also introduces core competencies for futures thinking, provides an opportunity for participants to assess themselves against the competencies.

Session 2
Understanding Context – Looking Back to Look Forwards

This session equips participants with the ability to scan and to build an information base for thinking about the future, understand different patterns of change, spot signs of emergent change and identify deeper underlying drivers of change. Participants are introduced to scanning techniques and analysis tools then given the opportunity to practice applying them.

Session 3
Understanding Context – Driver Analysis

Understanding the drivers of change, and your assumptions about them is a foundational aspect of thinking about the future. In this session, participants take a deep dive into identifying and analysing drivers of change in ways that provide a robust basis for thinking about the future.

Session 4
Exploring Possible Futures
This session introduces tools for exploring possible futures, explains their relative strengths and when to use them. Participants have the opportunity to ‘walk through’ these tools to create a range of possible futures.

Session 5
Testing today's strategies against tomorrow's worlds
In this session participants learn how to stress-test current strategies or policies against the futures they created in Session 4 to see how well they stand up to those conditions, and to generate insights about what might need to change.

Session 6
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.  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 7
Identifying Forward Paths
In this session, participants learn techniques for connecting their futures thinking back to their organisations' missions, strategies and policies. Having thought about the widest possible range of responses, these techniques help participants to select the most promising combinations of approaches in the face of ever-shifting futures.

Session 8
Applying Futures Tools and Concepts in Everyday Work
We conclude by reviewing good futures practice and useful tips for designing and communicating your futures projects. 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.

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 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 over two decades 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.  

Ready to talk to a futures expert?

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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