futures thinking

Futures thinking, speculative design, and long-term thinking are tools to help us change perspective on the times we live in, change our mindsets about the future, and provoke the urge to act, through identifying signals of change and visualise plausible scenarios of the future.

It also helps considerations for the long-term which are often ignored in strategies, mitigate potential negative consequences, anticipate new risks and opportunities. This helps us adopt more "cathedral thinking" mindsets, and designing a world liveable for generations to come.

key resources

The toolkit a set of design anticipatory instruments suitable for different future relating approaches, designed by a consortium of leading design-educator-researchers.

The Futures Toolkit provides a set of tools to help embed long-term strategic thinking within the policy process, and explains how to ensure they have real impact. It's a bit old (2014) but has great tools that are valuable beyond policy officials and analysts across government it's intended for. View the UK governnment Futures, Foresight and Horizon scanning team here.

Powered by Forum for the Future, the Futures Centre is an open, participatory futures platform which helps track and make sense of change in order to create a more regenerative and just future.

The Long Time Project is focused on finding new ways to help us care about the long-term future, so that we take responsibility for it in the short-term.

Arup's Foresight practitioners explore four plausible scenarios based on our planet's health and societal conditions; from the collapse of our society and natural systems, to the two living in sustainable harmony.

The PORTALS report is a collaboration between Omidyar Network and the Guild of Future Architects, exploring open-ended provocations and scenarios, designed to stir imagination and action, from a yearlong process of collective foresight.

other resources

Pick of futures strategy resources to build your capacity for futures practice, including: top three futures reads, a directory of futures tools and resources, a selection of futures institutions and communities to follow or join.

A report by the RSA Futures with recommendations for organisations, policy-makers, and society to realise the value of futures and foresight; mindsets to think long terms, ways to include futures thinking, pressures for change, and trends analysis, along with a few examples of methods of applications of Futures and long-term thinking.

The Three Horizons Toolkit has been developed by Public Health Wales and the Future Generations Commissioner’s Office to help public bodies avoid making decisions that don’t stand the test of time. It is based on a model developed by Bill Sharpe and the International Futures Forum.

"The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term word" book by philosopher Roman Krznaric, explores six profound ways in which we can all learn to think long, exploring uniquely human talents like ‘cathedral thinking’ that expand our time horizons and sharpen our foresight.

A great example of embedding long-term thinking in public policy by advocating for the rights of, and impact on future generations.

A french nonprofit enabling enabling people to learn to prospective approaches, get inspiration from the the living, and adopt strategies for overcoming uncertainty and catalyse positive action.

other useful ressoures

  • Imagination Infrastructuring – change happens if our collective imagination changes, as Cassie Robinson put it. There's an emerging practice consisting of developing the tools and infrastructure needed to allow people to imagine their desired future, so they're better positioned to realise it.

  • Reclaiming the Future – an article by Philipa Duthie, RSA Oceania Director, exploring the duty of current generations to those who come after us, through the lens of different currents of thinking and worldviews.

  • Institute for the Future – a futures and foresight organisation based in California, and their Future Readiness playbook for embedding