News from the Future


curated by Institute for the Future

February 17, 2021 — Issue #69
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Are You Ready to Face the Future with More Creativity and Optimism?

Coming March 1, 2022: IFTF’s Urgent Optimists

At IFTF, we know firsthand how long-term thinking and foresight can help people feel better prepared and ready to face the future. That's why we're thrilled to announce Urgent Optimists: an IFTF community, our first-ever individual membership program launching in celebration of (and in solidarity with) World Future Day—the 24-hour global conversation about the future that happens on  Tuesday, March 1. 

Hosted by renowned IFTF research director and author of the upcoming book ImaginableJane McGonigal, Urgent Optimists is a facilitated community experience designed for people who want to feel authentically hopeful about the future and are motivated to create positive transformation in society and their own lives. Urgent Optimists is centered around fun, inspiring thought experiments, private learning sessions with IFTF researchers, forecasting games, and tools to build habits of optimism.

Stay tuned for ALL the details coming soon, and be ready to join us on March 1. IFTF readers who sign up early will receive a special Founding Member lifetime designation and the opportunity to work with Jane in shaping the community, plus special, behind-the-scenes access during our annual Ten-Year Forecast.

Get there early! Add your email address to our VIP list and we’ll send you an invitation to join the community 24 hours early—on February 28.

I want to become an Urgent Optimist!

Signals from the Future


🏂  Winter Olympics could be a thing of the past

 From rising temperatures and unpredictable weather to the quality of snow on the slopes, climate collapse is posing a long-term threat to winter sports. (Will we have to broaden them and move them indoors?)


🧓🏿  Boomer "granfluencers" are smashing stereotypes

 A growing number of internet influencers in their 60s and 70s are aging well by inspiring their younger fans and spreading positivity—not to mention making money as social media sensations.


🛰  Pentagon looking for garbage collectors...for space

If we’re gonna race for it, we’d better tidy it up. The Pentagon’s Orbital Prime program is offering seed money to develop technology to gather up the spent rocket parts and dead satellites littering low Earth orbit.


💇🏽‍♀️  A hair-based test for autism?

The FDA has granted “breakthrough device” designation to StrandDx, a new test that analyzes chemicals in a child’s hair to help predict their chances of being autistic. (If they are, let’s help them see the future.)


✅  Gun owners must purchase insurance

Strengthening the social fabric, San Jose, CA, passed a first-of-its-kind law that requires handgun owners to buy and maintain liability insurance and pay a fee that funds gun safety training, mental health services, and domestic violence and suicide prevention.


🐝  New houses to be built with bee bricks

Meanwhile, in Brighton and Hove, in southern England, a new law calls for new-building construction to include special bricks designed for bee nests.  (Will the insects detect diabetes in return?)

Future Factors is IFTF Vantage’s proprietary, easy-to-use platform for sharing and synthesizing signals from today that are likely to affect the transformation of tomorrow.

Don't Miss Jane McGonigal's Imaginable

Pre-order your copy of Jane McGonigal's Imaginable today and you'll receive an invitation to a private book club meeting with Jane on April 12, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. PT (limited to U.S. customers). Order before March 22, and you'll be automatically registered for this exclusive event.

For Imaginable, Jane draws on the latest scientific research in psychology and neuroscience to show us how to train our minds to think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable.

Tell Us More!

We want to know what you want to know! There are so many ways to be a part of the IFTF community, and we would love to hear from you about what interests you most. We've created a form to guide us.
Tell us more!

Upcoming IFTF Events


WEBINAR—Learn with IFTF Foresight Essentials
Tuesday, March 1 | 5:00 p.m. PT
Join us to celebrate World Future Day!

Register here. >>

WEBINAR—IFTF Foresight Talk
Imaginable: How to be Fearless in Realizing a World with Possibilities

Wednesday, March 2 | 10:00 a.m. PT / 18:00 UTC

The COVID pandemic has made it more challenging than ever to feel prepared, hopeful, and equipped to face the future with optimism. How do we map out our lives when it feels impossible to predict what the world will be like next week—let alone next year or next decade? What we need now are strategies to help us recover our confidence and creativity in facing uncertain futures. For this event, IFTF Research Director Leah Zaidi talks to Dr. Jane McGonigal, IFTF Director of Game Research + Development, about her inspiring new book Imaginable, which draws on the latest scientific research in psychology and neuroscience to show us how to train our minds to think in creative new ways. 

Register here. >>

WEBINAR—Learn with IFTF Climate +
Tuesday, March 8 | 10:00 a.m. PT
IFTF presents its newest offering: a series of ways to build foresight capacity for your organization around the urgent future of climate change. Join us on March 8 and learn how IFTF can help your team or organization become climate-positive by identifying opportunities for strategies that remove more atmospheric carbon than they produce while improving the health and resilience of Earth’s life-sustaining environmental systems. Sign up now below!

Register here. >> 

WEBINAR—Live Book Event
Tuesday, April 12 | 5:00 p.m. PT
Join author Jane McGonigal for a live virtual event that will help you tap into your own sense of authentic hope for the future. Jane will teach you how to play her favorite games from the book. She'll show you how to practice creative mindsets that can keep you feeling motivated and ready for anything—even things that seem impossible today. The festivities will also include an audience Q&A with Jane, so come with your questions!

To register, pre-order a signed copy of "Imaginable" by March 21. >>


TRAINING—IFTF Foresight Essentials
April 29–June 24 | 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EDT | 2:00–6:00 p.m. CEST

Designing Sustainable Futures is an eight-week intensive program to develop the skills and mindset of practitioners who are passionate about building a better world. Whether you have a design or management background, want to create a for-profit or nonprofit, the Designing Sustainable Futures course will enable you to strengthen your resilience for making an impact. Starting with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, specific participants will explore and practice the essential skills of strategic foresight, world building, and transformation.

Learn more here. >> 

IFTF In the News

“Envisioning the future, and the tech it will take to get us there.” Kimberly Adams and Sasha Fernandez mention IFTF in this piece about the Smithsonian Institute’s Futures exhibit. Marketplace (2/11/22).

"New Frontiers: The Future Narratives of Refugee Crises." IFTF Research Director Leah Zaidi writes about foresight methodologies. UNHCR Innovation Service (2/14/22).

“Visions of the Internet in 2035.” Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie quote IFTF Distinguished Fellow Mike Liebhold. PEW Research Center (2/7/22).

“About this canvassing of experts.” Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie quote IFTF Research Affiliate Jamais Cascio. PEW Research Center (2/7/22).


About Institute for the Future

Institute for the Future is the world’s leading futures organization. For over 50 years, businesses, governments, and social impact organizations have depended upon IFTF global forecasts, custom research, and foresight training to navigate complex change and develop world-ready strategies. IFTF methodologies and toolsets yield coherent views of transformative possibilities across all sectors that together support a more sustainable future. Institute for the Future is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, California.

201 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301

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