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What is Futures Thinking?


Did you know that companies that use futures thinking have been found to outperform the average company with 33 percent more profits, and with 200 percent more growth!

According to the Institute for the Future, a Silicon-Valley-based research and learning group founded in 1968, practicing futures thinking can help you build seven key strengths:


  • Creativity. You transcend traditional ideas, and invent new possibilities. You can imagine things that don't exist today or have never happened before.

  • Foresight. You anticipate hard to see possibilities that others can't or won't see. You don't get blindsided by the future. You see it coming.

  • Mental flexibility. You accept that things can be different than they are now, that virtually anything can change. This is the opposite of having a fixed or a stuck mindset.

  • Empathy. You have a strong awareness of the hopes and fears of others. You pay close attention to how any future could affect different groups of people and communities differently. With this kind of empathy, you can work for more sustainable, equitable futures that benefit everyone.

  • Practical skepticism. You apply critical thinking to claims about what's possible or likely. You don't buy into the hype. You have a clear sense of what's realistic and probable when.

  • Strategy. You become a master at setting clear goals, determining a course of action, and connecting the dots from the present to your preferred future.

  • Hope. You're confident that the actions you take today can potentially make a big impact on how your own future and the futures of others turn out.


Learn more about Institute for the Future at www.iftf.org. The Institute for the Future is declaring 2020 “The Year of the Future,” because they believe that foresight is a human right. Every human should have the chance to develop the creative skills needed to imagine how the future can be different, and to participate in deciding what the future will be. We believe futures thinking shouldn’t be something that only happens in Silicon Valley. With our specialization in Futures Thinking on Coursera, we are the first organization ever to offer massively open, free training in futures thinking. We aim to upskill the entire planet in future thinking and future making, by teaching one million online learners via the Coursera platform. IFTF will also be distributing 100 free readings as part of their “Year of the Future” training.

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