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What is
Futures Studies? 

Futures studies explores possibilities, and various avenues for change. It examines our aspirations and desires to help us create preferred futures.


It allows for understanding of the complex dynamics shaping our collective future.

Future studies is an interdisciplinary approach that examines possible, probable, and preferable futures, grounded in the understanding that our actions today shape tomorrow. This field has evolved from ancient divination to a structured discipline: It seeks not to predict, but to explore multiple future scenarios, informed by past and present trends.

Central to futures studies is exploring different futures, so that we can navigate towards more desirable outcomes. This involves a mix of scientific research and creative imagination, acknowledging the role of human agency and the impact of external forces.


The field has flourished into various segments, including environmental, technological, and social futures, with methods like scenario planning and causal layered analysis providing deep insights into the complexities of future possibilities.

Futures studies is marked by its emphasis on participatory approaches, encouraging a broad involvement to democratise future-making. It integrates perspectives across disciplines, seeking to understand the interconnectedness of societal changes and technological advancements.

What is a Futurist?

Futurists are people who have studied Futures Studies or Foresight, and they are intellectually adventurous, optimistic, and believe in creating a better tomorrow.  The future does not yet exist, its evolution is inherently uncertain and ruled by a large number of ‘conditionals’; therefore, it cannot be foreknown or predicted. However, it can be shaped, influenced and created.  Futurists, who ‘research’ the future, focus on change and transformation management, using futures and systems thinking. The main task is to study the factors that are driving change, fostering conversation and creating awareness about the future and, ultimately, help generate consciousness and future vision.

Futurists are interactive, not reactive. 

Without foresight, we are mostly reacting to the world. In this reactive fashion, we continuously change as the world happens to us. Naturally, some of us try to plan and think there will be one certain future, which we proactively seek to pursue. The problem with this is that we’re betting on one tomorrow, which often sees many failures. It feels incredibly demoralising as the world spins into a direction our plans didn’t map out.  Futurists tend to be interactive in their planning. We understand that many futures could emerge, we prepare for the possibility and continuously stay in a state of interaction with the changing forces of our world.

Futurists articulate the future. 

Futurists don’t predict the future; they look at the world through a paradigm of possibility, while considering all the factors that are at play. They scope the environment and try to anticipate different futures, yes- plural. This is a key element as many possible futures can emerge, and no one has a crystal ball to predict a singular, certain one.  As a futurist, I look at the present and its surrounding environments to map out which futures appear possible. From there, it is about looking at those possible futures and asking whether they are plausible and probable. Out of these, we determine which are preferable.  In this way, futures thinking helps us articulate the future we want.

Futurists collaborate & create. 

Futurists believe the more brains, the better, especially when we are facing problems. Once we’ve got a good understanding of the system we’re dealing with and our current environment, we want to map out plans and create scenarios. Group participation is critical, as it ensures different worldviews in exploring various futures that take the interior psychologies and ethics of many into consideration.  By doing this as a group, we are collectively choosing the future we all want - the more support for the desired future, the higher the success of creating it.

Futurists look at the whole. 

Futurists understand that the world is a complex system, and any area we practice in is made up of the sum of its parts. All these elements are dynamic and influence each other in a continuous feedback loop. Our future planning has to consider these dynamic relationships. The prevalent practice of linear solutions tends to be superficial. Still, it remains the typical approach for most of us, especially in running the business of our practices and in times of crisis.  When we look at the whole, we don’t merely address symptoms; we try to understand the deeper levels, the systemic forces, and attempt to resolve them.

Futurists are conscious. 

Future consciousness means we are aware of time. We understand the past, present and the future. It is the active skill of enhancing ourselves to think, feel and set goals for the future. Increasing our consciousness of the future allows us to be more open, presents the world on a spectrum of possibilities, and empowers us as we see we have a choice in shaping our world.  Future consciousness is a value all firms should instil to ensure that everyone you work with looks out ahead and understands how the future unfolds and what power we have to shape it. It strengthens a team and its agility and productivity.

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