Personal Foresight Skills Practice + General Foresight Education
the spread of required foresight curricula in universities the world
over is a major priority for the ASF. Our community has developed
a required (core) introductory undergraduate course in Foresight
Development (futures studies education plus personal foresight
skills practice). The first instance of this unique course, first
taught Fall 2007, now exists at the University
of Advancing Technology, a distinguished four year
university in Tempe, AZ, whose mission is educating innnovators
of the future.
Course materials for this fifteen week course can
be found online at our creative commons-licenced wiki, Foresight
Development - Course Wiki. All foresight educators
are invited to use and modify this material for your own courses.
Course slides are also available to qualified instructors on request.
Are you a foresight educator or researcher, or interested
in becoming one? Please join ASF's Foresight
Education & Research Network (FERN), a group of
150+ individuals presently teaching or researching foresight education
around the world. Help us spread quality foresight education globally!
Today's students face a very different world than
their parents did. They will live longer, change careers faster,
learn new skills more frequently, and have more freedom than ever
to choose their experiences, social networks, and values. The rollercoaster
of scientific and technological (sci-tech) change runs faster every
year, spinning us irreversibly toward a very extraordinary future.
Our planet is wiring up into one vast, instantaneous, transparent
and increasingly intelligent global network, just one of many sci-tech
innovations that are creating amazing new opportunities for business
Yet there are great challenges ahead as well. Fundamental
problems (hunger, drought, disease, overpopulation, poverty, underemployment,
corruption, human rights violations, violent conflict) persist in
the developing world, and the most developed countries (MDCs) are
gaining new problems (obesity, addiction, dependence, institutional
educational decline, media centralization, erosion of democracy)
related to their affluence. What’s more, several global problems
(environmental degradation, climate change, global security, rising
energy cost) are likely to get worse before they get better, and
the world is now so interconnected that big problems anywhere are
becoming everyone's problem. Most curiously, cultural change in
developed societies the world over is in many ways "saturating,"
or heading for one common, stable type of future, while our technology
continues to speed up and complexity all around us. Economic, political,
legal, social, environmental, and even ethical standards in every
nation on the planet are moving toward one common set (with small
variations between nations) of global human rights and entitlements—and
most of the developing nations are seeing the fastest changes and
In our lifetimes, benefits and leverage from the
positive use of science, technology, business, politics, and social
activism will only get more powerful, while "immune systems"
guarding against the rising potential dangers in our high-tech world
will only get more important. Meanwhile automation, computers, robots,
and avatars/agents are progressively exceeding our biological capabilities,
and becoming increasingly intimate extensions and representations
of our individual selves. There may come a time this century when
our most advanced technology becomes 'organic' (evolved, not built
by humans) and when our biological selves become 'technologic' (increasingly
closely connected to our modern machines).
Some time after 2015 the main way most of us talk
to the web may be by speaking natural sentences, through what is
called a 'conversational
interface.' Shortly after that, many of us may be using software
avatars, or 'cybertwins,' which will act like simple secretaries
for us, and which will answer our questions (they will in turn ask
'the web') when we want to do any complex thing. These twins will
model our personality, and because they will use artificial intelligence,
they will become increasingy useful advisors to us, improving our
global 'digital democracy', and at the same time, better "copies"
of us every year. When we die, our friends may continue to talk
to these twins, as they will be the best available '3D digital scrapbooks'
of our lives, our stories, and our personalities. Some of us may
even allow them to continue to improve their intelligence over time,
until one day they "feel" to our survivors like we are
Are you ready for the extraordinary future? You should
be, because a good deal of it is already here in nascent (beginning,
blossoming, embryonic) form, as we will see in this course. Every
choice you make today helps steer the future in a direction you
choose. What an extraordinary, special time to be alive.
Humans have practiced creating, discovering, planning
for, and benefiting from change since the dawn of our species. Foresight
is an empowering skill to have, and something you can get better
at every year of your life, with practice. Come learn how.
Foresight is the act of looking to the future. This course helps
you learn better global, business and personal foresight, so you
can better enjoy and manage your own future. This course will
explore the big picture history of accelerating change from universal,
historical and technological perspectives, and consider global
trends that are affecting individuals, society, businesses and
governments. Additionally, the course will examine how organizations
make bets on the future, and gives the student a chance to explore
career prospects in a variety of fields. Finally, discussion of
how biology, psychology, community and culture help and hinder
personal thinking about the future will be discussed. We will
explore four fundamental foresight skills: creating the future
(innovating products and services); discovering the future (models,
trend identification and analysis); planning the future (developing
shared goals and processes); and benefiting in the future (achieving
measurable positive environmental, social, or economic results).
Assignments will be personalized to your own foresight goals,
and include brief readings, writing, discussions, debates, visuals,
film, podcasts and games.
Learning objectives include:
- Systems Thinking
Learning and Study Skills
and Developmental Models of Change
Discovering, Planning and Benefiting Skills
Global, Societal, Organizational, and Personal Systems Thinking
- Basic Technology,
Economic, and Sociopolitical Literacy (History, Current Affairs,
Smart if you would like to join ASF's curriculum development
or review communities for this course.