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So, what is Futures Thinking after all?


So, what is Futures Thinking after all? This term that's being increasingly talked about? Yeah, it's a relatively new term that many people have heard of, but many others still don't know about. There are countless definitions out there, which can end up confusing more than helping, but we've decided to be brief and pragmatic to give you a summary that can help you understand better. Remember, this isn't a "definitive definition", but a practical, brief one that can be very helpful in making you look more into the topic.




DEFINITION In a brief summary, Futures Thinking is an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to understand and anticipate future trends and changes in the world at various scales, in order to prepare people and organizations for future challenges and opportunities. It involves analyzing future trends, scenarios, and possibilities, as well as reflecting on the implications of these trends and scenarios for society, culture, technology, economy, and other areas.

MAIN TOOLS The main tools of Futures Thinking include trend analysis, creating future scenarios, system modeling, and qualitative research. Additionally, the approach also relies on concepts from social sciences, economics, technology, and futurism.

OBJECTIVES The objectives of Futures Thinking are to help organizations and people prepare for the future, identify future opportunities and trends, and make informed decisions based on future predictions. Additionally, it can also be used to help organizations adapt quickly to changes and position themselves strategically in relation to them.

EXPECTED RESULTS The results of Futures Thinking can be beneficial for both organizations and people's daily lives. For organizations, it can help them prepare for future trends and position themselves strategically in relation to them, increasing their competitiveness and success. For individuals, Futures Thinking can help them prepare for future changes and make informed decisions, helping them build a safer and more successful life.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? To learn more about Futures Thinking, a person can take the following steps:


Read books and articles on the subject: there is a large amount of literature available on Futures Thinking, including books, articles, and magazines. Researching in the library or on the internet can help you find relevant materials. Some authors and books include:

Authors: Alvin Toffler John Naisbitt Hazel Henderson Peter Schwartz Ray Kurzweil Jacques Attali Jaron Lanier Amy Webb Wendy Schultz

Books: "The Third Wave" by Alvin Toffler "Megatrends" by John Naisbitt "Building a Win-Win World" by Hazel Henderson "The Second Curve" by Ian Morrison "The Art of the Long View" by Peter Schwartz.

And a few more: "The Power of Intuition" by Gary Klein "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" by Yuval Noah Harari "How to See the Future" by Jose Mujica "The New Era of Creativity" by Michael Hattersley "The Economics of Happiness" by Ulrich Beck "The Revisited Origin of Species" by E.O. Wilson "The Post-Industrial Society" by Daniel Bell "The Information Age Trilogy: Economy, Society, and Culture" by Manuel Castells "Sustainable Futures" by Peter Barrett and David Tawil "The Future of Employment" by Frey and Osborne


Attend events and forums: Futures Thinking events and forums are a great opportunity to listen to experienced speakers and participate in debates and discussions on the subject.


Some include: World Future Society (WFS) Annual Conference Global Futures and Strategic Foresight Conference European Futures Forum World Future Council (WFC) Annual Assembly Global Futures and Innovation Conference All events from Zeit Org


Participating in courses and training: Courses and training offered by educational institutions or experts in Futures Thinking can provide a deeper and more practical understanding of the subject. Some options include:

  • Institute for the Future (IFTF)

  • Futures Studies Program at the University of Houston

  • Center for Strategic Foresight at the Copenhagen Business School

  • Graduate School of Futures Studies at Tamkang University

  • Graduate Institute of Futures Studies at National Taiwan University

  • All the free courses, workshops, and programs offered by Zeit Org.

Joining online groups and communities: Online groups and communities about Futures Thinking are a great way to share ideas, learn from others interested in the subject, and connect with experts in Futures Thinking. Some options include:

  • Zeit Org

  • World Future Society (WFS) online community

  • Futures Studies Group on LinkedIn

  • Global Futurists Community on Facebook

  • Futures Thinking Forum on Reddit

  • International Association of Foresight Professionals (IAFP) online community

Applying knowledge in real-life situations: The best way to learn is through practice. Applying the knowledge gained in projects or real-life situations can help develop skills and a better understanding of the subject. Here are some examples:

  • Personal financial planning: When planning your investments and future expenses, you can use Futures Thinking concepts to evaluate scenarios and make more informed decisions.

  • Professional career: When evaluating your professional career, you can use Futures Thinking to identify future trends and opportunities and prepare for changes in the job market.

  • Community: When planning community projects, you can use Futures Thinking to evaluate future scenarios and develop more effective strategies.

  • Consumption: When shopping, you can use Futures Thinking to evaluate consumer trends and make more conscious and responsible decisions.

  • Environment: When evaluating your environmental habits, you can use Futures Thinking to develop strategies for a more sustainable life and protect the environment for future generations.

DIFFERENCES FROM "PLANNING".


"Futures Thinking" and "Planning" are related but different concepts.

Futures Thinking refers to the process of thinking and planning for the future, and committing to it, considering hypothetical scenarios and trends, with the goal of preparing organizations and individuals for the uncertain future and guiding them towards the desired one.


Planning is the process of defining goals and objectives, allocating resources, and devising strategies to achieve them. Planning is usually based on the present and past and may not consider or underestimate the impact of future trends and hypothetical scenarios.

In summary, Futures Thinking broadens the vision for the future and helps to prepare for future challenges and opportunities, while Planning is more focused on present goals and short-term objectives. Both are important, but Futures Thinking can complement and improve Planning by providing insights into the uncertain future.


DIFFERENCES FROM FUTURES LITERACY, FORESIGHT, AND FUTURISM:


"Futures Thinking," "Futures Literacy," "Foresight," and "Futurism" are related but different concepts within the field of futurist studies.

Futures Thinking refers to the process of thinking and planning for the future, considering hypothetical scenarios and trends.


Futures Literacy refers to the basic understanding of the disciplines and tools involved in Futures Thinking, including futurism, trend analysis, futurist strategy, and futurist problem-solving.


Foresight is a systematic methodology for identifying and evaluating future trends and developments, with the goal of helping organizations and individuals make informed decisions for the future.


Futurism (or Futurology) is the interdisciplinary science that studies the future and its possible developments, trends, and impacts, with the goal of providing valuable insights and information for organizations, governments, and individuals.


In summary, Futures Thinking is a practical approach to planning and acting in the future, Futures Literacy is the basic understanding of the concepts and techniques involved, Foresight is a specific methodology for assessing future trends, and Futurism is the science that studies the future in a broader and deeper way.


IN CONCLUSION:


Futures Thinking is a valuable skill for anyone or any organization that wants to prepare for and thrive in a constantly changing world. By learning about Futures Thinking, you can develop the ability to anticipate future trends and scenarios, commit to desirable futures, identify opportunities and challenges, and make informed decisions. Additionally, Futures Thinking can help build resilience and flexibility, making you and your organization more prepared to deal with the uncertainties of the future. If you are looking for a way to improve your skills and prepare for the future, Futures Thinking is an excellent option to consider.

Zeit is a non-profit community, formed by Futures Thinking enthusiasts (among other things), and is waiting for you to help you on your journey within future thinking.

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