We would rather say: futures literacy, adding an additional ‘s’ to the word future as there is not just one single future. Or at least, there is not at this moment in time: there are multiple possible paths going into the future. Imagining and dissecting these paths to identify what the crucial stepping stones are to create the future you want to see, is core to our methodology. We teach this in several training programs on offer. For us ‘futures literacy’ is the training of others so they get agency for the future and can apply their thinking to their organizations.
For us, systems thinking is the understanding of complex problems and mapping them against the possibilities of the future. We map these possibilities and the relationships between them in a ‘cone of possibility‘. The cone of possibility applied to your organization creates a ‘Radar for the Future’. On this radar you are able to track future developments and you will know when to act when a weak signal gets stronger and stronger and becomes a sign of times changing.
In the WEF article it says about this: “in the present, there are signals of the future; and these signals are of something that is not yet evident but which has the potential to become empirical evidence if circumstances permit. Therefore, today there are futures in progress even if they are not clearly visible for most of us.” We help organizations and individuals to anticipate the future by designing future scenarios with them. We use a methodology called ‘Stories for Change’. Over the past decade we have created many of these scenarios. Reading through them and designing them yourself creates a clearer picture and making the future more visible to you. You can find some examples of this here.
Strategic foresight is the exploration of various worldviews that underlie possible, plausible, preferable and probable futures. It’s the ability to make strategic choices between these that allows organizations to actively step into the future they want. In our strategy work we have helped numerous organizations to make these strategic choices and define the action that is needed to get agency for it. You can see some examples of this here.
The question is: how actively are you already using these four skills in your work and for your organization? We can help you to embrace these skills and anticipate the future more actively so you can make (your) world a little better.