Tools, Tips, and Inspiration for Foresight Practitioners

 Issue #12 | August 27, 2020

Welcome to the IFTF Foresight Essentials Newsletter! In this issue we offer four practical questions for forecasting the future of technology, share a working hypothesis from an IFTF alumni about using Lego bricks with futures thinking, point you toward upcoming foresight learning events, and solicit your valuable input in Foresight Essentials' first community survey, about scanning for signals of change. 

Please note that our next newsletter will be in October because we’ll be busy preparing for our annual Ten-Year Forecast Summit in September (look out below for the link to free tickets)!

Four Questions for Forecasting the Future of Science and Technology 

By: Bradley Kreit; Director, IFTF Vantage Research

In this year’s research for IFTF Vantage—Institute for the Future’s cross-industry, global partnership focused on developing strategic foresight for the coming decade—one of our key research questions was: How will organizations integrate advances in science and technology to reinvent core parts of their operations?

In IFTF’s technology futures work we combine expertise from across technical domains, the social sciences, and the business landscape to sense not just the emerging technological landscape, but the broader impacts of those advances. There are four questions that enable us to build a perspective from the bottom up, look expansively, and then focus in on which innovations really matter.

Source: IFTF
Research maps like this one, "Organizing for Future Readiness: Anticipating the Future of Science and Technology", are the result of answering four questions.

Read more >> 


IFTF Alumni Share:
Infusing Futures Thinking with LEGO
® Serious Play®,
A Working Hypothesis

By: Roberto Cobianchi, Professor at the University of Bologna

In normal times I would have continued my consulting and teaching work on digital media. But these have not been normal times for some time, and now we need unconventional approaches.

I became a LEGO Serious Play (LSP) Certified Facilitator last year and a couple months ago, became a certified Foresight Practitioner, after completing the IFTF Foresight Essentials online course. During the IFTF course I asked myself: what could emerge from the intersection of the two methodologies?

LSP is a method born in LEGO® in the mid-90s. Today it is used worldwide by certified facilitators to make real-time strategy for teams and organizations, solve organizational problems, help teams collaborate better, work on their personal identity, and more.

Source: Roberto Cobianchi
The two models in the center represent the identity of a client company, the little models around them represent agents that can have an impact, positively or negatively, on the identity, and the connectors represent the connections among agents. We can use LEGO Serious Play, for instance, to represent a futures scenario and its consequences or represent a futures scenario and the network we need to rally.

One of the pillars of LSP is the hand-mind connection: our hands are connected to 70-80% of the neural structures of our brain, more than any other organ in our body. They have the ability to access the limbic brain (where emotions reside) and the reptilian brain (where instinct resides). Our hands are the Google of our mind, as my LSP mentor and member of the LSP Association of Master Trainers, Lucio Margulis, always repeats. So, when we build a 3D model with LEGO® bricks, our hands bring into the model information that we do not know we have, information present in our mind but which we cannot access in a rational way, with logical thinking.

Read more >> 


Coming up...

Make the Future Come Alive in the Present

IFTF Design Futures Training incorporates design principles, media, immersive experiences, and provocative insights to help your audience better understand what the future could be.

 Join IFTF's team of award-winning design futurists for an inspirational live-online session in which you'll learn to imagine and prototype informed alternatives to the future and design new offerings and policies for the next decade. We still have limited seats available for the October 13-15, 2020 training (see full session agenda). To Register, contact Neela Lazkani.


Public Webinars: Meet Master Futurists

IFTF FORESIGHT TALKS: Part Two of Steering Change in a Whitewater World: Working with Wicked Problems

Thursday, September 3rd | 9:00–10:30 AM PT / 17:00–18:30 UTC

Register here >>

We are now living in a whitewater world that is hyperconnected, rapidly changing, and radically contingent. In Design Unbound (MIT Press, 2018), Ann Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely Brown argue that a new approach is needed to address the complex and entangled challenges that are increasingly common in this dynamic world. They describe a new mindset, based on understanding complex systems from an ecological perspective, and introduce a new set of tools to respond to these challenges. In particular, they call for harnessing the power of a pragmatic imagination that engages a full range of mental activities to discover radically new solutions. Among the specific design tools they describe is the practice of “world building” that can be used to guide the development of transformational solutions to seemingly intractable (wicked) problems.

Part Two will go into more depth on the pragmatic imagination - how to scaffold and instrumentalize it - and present a case study that pulls all of this together. You do not need to have seen Part One of the webinar in order to learn insights from John Seely Brown and Ann Pendleton-Jullian's new approach to addressing intractable problems. 


IFTF FORESIGHT TALKS: How to Future: a Practical, Tactical Guide to Foresight

Wednesday, September 30th | 9:00am PT / 17:00 UTC

Register here >>

On Wednesday, September 30th at 9:00am Pacific Time, Institute for the Future will host renowned futurists and teachers Madeline Ashby and Scott Smith to discuss their new book How to Future: Leading and Sensemaking in an Age of Hyperchange. We'll get a taste of what's in the book, share reflections on how futuring feels different in a post-COVID world, and make room for your questions. Join us as Scott and Madeline share valuable lessons from their extensive careers as futures practitioners.


IFTF Ten-Year Forecast Summit 2020

The Ten-Year Forecast team has crafted an immersive and transportive experience for IFTF's first fully-virtual conference this September, with sessions spread across time zones over two weeks, from September 14-25. 

Interested in attending? Foresight Essentials newsletter readers can get limited exclusive free tickets (Password: TYF2020-FREE) before August 31st that allow access to most sessions during the week of September 14th. If free seats run out, you can still purchase a ticket to TYF (Password: TYF2020-IND).

We Want to Hear from You 

A Survey on Your Signals Searching Practice

We want to hear from you regarding what methods, resources, and tools you rely on to find Signals of Change. The results of this survey plus an internal IFTF survey will be presented during a workshop on the topic of Signals of Change, at the IFTF Ten-Year Forecast Summit, and we’ll also share the findings in our upcoming newsletter. You can complete the survey any time by next Friday, September 4, 2020 at this link.

Thank you in advance for your participation!


Thank you for reading the IFTF Foresight Essentials Newsletter!

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