Futures Thinking Specialization 

Ready Yourself for a Changing World. Learn the skills and mindsets of the world’s top futurists, so you can forecast what’s coming, imagine new possibilities, and seize control of your own future.

Online business courses to jumpstart your future.

Course 1 : Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking

Do you want to think about the future with more creativity and optimism? Do you want to see what’s coming faster, so you can be better prepared for disruptions and more in control of your future? Do you want to get better at changing what’s possible today – in your company, your industry, your community, and in your own life? This course will introduce you to the practice of futures thinking, as developed and applied for the past 50 years by the Institute for the Future, a Silicon-Valley-based research and learning group founded in 1968. In this course, you’ll build your understanding of what futures thinking is and what you can do with it. You’ll master essential foresight techniques. You’ll meet some professional futurists. And you’ll choose one or more future topics you want to investigate with your new foresight skills. This course is for anyone who wants to spot opportunities for innovation and invention faster. You can gain the skills and confidence to help YOU become someone who makes the future, instead of letting the future happen to you. Many thanks to the Enlight Foundation and the Enlight Collaborative, which provided a grant to support the creation of this course.

C 2 : Forecasting Skills: See the Future Before it Happens

For many people, the future comes as a surprise – or even a shock. But with strong forecasting skills, YOU can avoid future shock. You can adapt faster, and become better prepared to benefit from the change. In this course, you’ll build your future forecasting skills. You’ll learn how to turn groups of “signals” (clues about the future) and “drivers” (global forces that influence the direction of change) into compelling future forecasts. Forecasts help you discover new possibilities and opportunities for yourself, your company, or any community you want to inspire to make a better future. You’ll also learn how to write future scenarios. Scenarios take forecasts one step further. They spark imagination and tell a story about what might happen if a forecast comes true. Scenarios help you evaluate: Is this a future I’m ready for? Is this a future I want? Leading futurists from the Institute for the Future will show you exactly how it’s done. They’ll share with you the forecasts and scenarios they’re most excited about right now, and walk you through the key steps they took to create them. Then, it’s your turn! You’ll create a forecast and a scenario on any future topic you choose. How will you benefit from taking this course? With strong forecasting skills, you’ll get better at seeing the future before it happens. You’ll be ready to consider possibilities that others never see coming or refuse to accept. You’ll be able to help others prepare for and adapt to the future. You can decide which futures you want to make more likely, and which futures you want to prevent. Many thanks to the Enlight Foundation and the Enlight Collaborative, which provided a grant to support the creation of this course.

Course 3 : Simulation Skills: This is Your Brain on the Future

Do you want to learn how to simulate the future more creatively and more effectively? This course is for you. Humans are the only living creatures with the ability to think about and make plans for the long- term future. Even so, our brains don’t always make it easy. Over the past decade, scientists have discovered a number of neurological “road blocks” to effective futures thinking. These glitches in the brain make it harder for us to accurately predict how we’ll feel and what we’re likely to do, when a particular future arrives. They lead us to make faulty assumptions about which futures are likely or unlikely to happen. And they convince us we have less power to shape and influence the future than we actually do – leaving us stuck in the present. In this course, you’ll learn how to overcome these obstacles so you can think about the future more strategically and creatively. You’ll practice simulation techniques for “unsticking” the mind when it comes to seeing what’s possible in the future and accepting how things could be different. You’ll also learn how to lead others through “first-person future” simulations, which have been shown in scientific studies to improve strategy and increase motivation and hope for the future. Along the way, leading futurists from the Institute from the Future will share some of their most challenging forecasts to help you stretch your imagination and improve your simulation skills. This course will ensure that you can put all of your new forecasting skills to the best possible use, by helping you nudge your brain toward more effective ways of simulating and preparing for the future. Many thanks to the Enlight Foundation and the Enlight Collaborative, which provided a grant to support the creation of this course.

Course 4 : Collaborative Foresight: How to Game the Future

You’ll never have a complete picture of what’s possible in the future if you look at it from just one point of view. The best way to expand your vision? Engage as many people as you can, and “game out” the possibilities together. In this course, you’ll learn how to use collaborative gaming techniques to go beyond your own thinking and see many, many different sides of the same future. Over the past decade, the Institute for the Future has pioneered new methods in “massively-multiplayer foresight.” You’ll learn how to adapt these methods to get diverse, surprising views of what’s possible, build your empathy for other people’s futures, and reduce your risk of being “blindsided” by the future. This course features content from the Ethical Operating System, a tool created by the Institute in collaboration with Omidyar Networks’ Tech and Society Lab. It’s designed to help technology companies anticipate risks and prevent unwanted consequences of the things they build. Whether or not you work in tech, the Ethical Operating System will give you the chance to participate right now in an urgent future forecasting game. The stakes of the game are the future of truth, privacy, democracy, security, and our collective well-being. It’s a unique opportunity to join creative and strategic forces with people who are making the tech that’s inventing the future, and with fellow futures thinkers like you. Many thanks to the Enlight Foundation and the Enlight Collaborative, which provided a grant to support the creation of this course.

Jane McGonigal

Instructor

Research Director

Jane McGonigal, PhD, has more than a decade of experience leading futures research and technology development at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California. She is the creator of the “How to Think Like a Futurist” workshops at Stanford University Continuing Studies, and has previously taught at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of two New York Times bestselling books, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World and SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully. Her popular TED talks on gaming and the future have more than 15 million views.

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