How does it work ?

Image by Miguel A. Amutio

Future studies as a discipline exists since many decades, and provided us with a rich toolbox of future foresight methods ever since. 

 

A more recent format are 'Futures Literacy Labs' (FLL) that use a mix of these methods, in changing constellations according to the specific context and anatomy of every foresight project.

The main objective in FLLs is to identify expected, preferred and alternative futures. FLL make use of different foresight methods but also add their own layer and perspective to the process.

The most commonly used frameworks are :

  • Trend analysis

  • Scenario Planning

  • Visioning

  • Indicators

  • Delphi method

  • Horizon Scanning

  • Systems analysis

  • Futures wheel

  • Cross Impact

  • Theme tree

  • Roadmaps

  • Robust decision making

  • Casual Layered Analysis

Some of these frameworks overlap in their scope and methodology, but also have their own perspective as a starting point. The art of futurizing thus includes the ability to choose the right mix of methods for very foresight project.

Also, all of the above frameworks can be classified along different parameter, such as

 

  • the level of expert knowledge required for applying the framework,

  • the considered time horizon for each foresight project, 

  • whether the method can be used outside of the considered system or whether it requires an interaction with that system

  • whether the method uses rules to steer the system or whether new systems can emerge

Future science methods

The most commonly used frameworks are :

  • Trend analysis

  • Scenario Planning

  • Visioning

  • Indicators

  • Delphi method

  • Horizon Scanning

  • Systems analysis

  • Futures wheel

  • Cross Impact

  • Theme tree

  • Roadmaps

  • Robust decision making

  • Casual Layered Analysis

Some of these frameworks overlap in their scope and methodology, but also have their own perspective as a starting point. The art of futurizing thus includes the ability to choose the right mix of methods for very foresight project.

Also, all of the above frameworks can be classified along different parameter, such as

 

  • the level of expert knowledge required for applying the framework,

  • the considered time horizon for each foresight project, 

  • whether the method can be used outside of the considered system or whether it requires an interaction with that system

  • whether the method uses rules to steer the system or whether new systems can emerge

Futures Literacy Know Labs

Future studies methods

The most commonly used frameworks are :

  • Trend analysis

  • Scenario Planning

  • Visioning

  • Indicators

  • Delphi method

  • Horizon Scanning

  • Systems analysis

  • Futures wheel

  • Cross Impact

  • Theme tree

  • Roadmaps

  • Robust decision making

  • Casual Layered Analysis

Some of these frameworks overlap in their scope and methodology, but also have their own perspective as a starting point. The art of futurizing includes the ability to choose the right mix of methods for every foresight project.

Also, all of the above frameworks can be classified along different criteria, such as

 

  • the level of expert knowledge required for applying the framework,

  • the considered time horizon for each foresight project, 

  • whether the method can be used outside of the considered system or whether it requires an interaction with that system

  • whether the method uses rules to steer the system or whether new systems can emerge

They therefore also differ in their ability to imagine something completely new, often referred to as preferred and even alternative futures, as compared to the mere expected futures.

Futures Literacy Labs

  • An FLL typically follows the following phases: 

fll phases.png
  • A 4th 'Redo' phase is often added to the process as the best FLLs are those where participants engage in real action following the lab's learning. 

  • FFLs can last from a one day workshop to a several months process.
     

  • Every single stakeholder, every single point of view should be represented in an FLL in order to maximise the use of collective intelligence and imagination.
     

  • An FLL should start with one or more strong and carefully chosen questions as the value of the outcome is directly linked to the quality of those question(s).
     

  • An FLL should be based on real dialogue, where everybody has an equal voice, bypassing existing hierarchies.
     

  • The process of FFLs should be inspired by inclusive and collaborative facilitation methods like The Art of Hosting, Open Space, World Café and Appreciative Inquiry.
     

  • Also, the particularity of an FLL is that it explores expected, preferred and alternative futures ("outside the box"), to stimulate imagination and creativity, based on existing and emerging anticipatory assumptions thereby going further than some of the more traditional foresight methods that only operate within the current system.
     

  • An FLL should also embrace playfulness where possible, to make it a gratifying and engaging experience for all participants.
     

  • FLLs have to be carefully planned and skilfully moderated.
     

  • FFLs also are a discursive way for investigating the future as opposed to more normative ways for investigating the future.
     

  • Different above mentioned Future Studies Methods will be embedded in an FLL based on the project's specificity, scope, anatomy and context.