Futures Literacy benefits

Image by Brandon Morales

There are multiple benefits to futures thinking, futures literacy and strategic foresight.

Benefits to consider

Sohail Inayatullah, one of the leading future scientists in the world, identfies the following benefits of Futures Thinking:

  • Creates flexibility in decision-making by moving from a focus on one future to an analysis of alternative futures.

  • Moves from the management of reality to the creation of possibilities.

  • Moves from the day-to-day operational considerations of management to the longer-term transformative dimensions of leadership.

  • Moves from narrow problem-solving approaches to broader and deeper systemic and trans-disciplinarian perspectives and solutions.

  • Anticipates emerging issues and weak signals that may derail strategic plans and policies. Through environmental scanning, strategic foresight intends to solve tomorrow’s problems today, and discover opportunities early on.

  • Through logic and creative thinking, articulates the first and second order – the long term - consequences of current issues.

  • Changes the temporal horizon of planning from the short-term to the medium- and long-term; indeed, strategic foresight provides methods and tools to navigate the three horizons (short, medium, and the long-term).

  • Seeks to ensure that the inner stories of organizations, institutions and nations are linked to systemic strategies. Often, strategies fail not because an inaccurate assessment of alternative futures but because of a lack of understanding of deep culture.

  • Reduces risk by understanding the worldviews of multiple stakeholders. Blind spots - which are always built into the knowledge framework of each person and organization - are addressed by including difference. This makes implementation far easier.

  • Moves from risk avoidance to risk reduction to risk management to opportunity and innovation creation.

  • Uses the future to change the present.

On their side, UNESCO defines Futures Literacy's virtues as follows :