Futures Thinking is a cross-disciplinary approach to considering potential futures through the exploration of trends and drivers for change that may lead to different future scenarios. This includes evaluating what scenarios are possible, probable and preferable futures. This is not about predicting the future, but rather critically considering the future, so that we can better make decisions and take actions in the present.
Futures Thinking enables you to consider the major changes in the next 5, 10, 20 or more years in all areas of life, including social interaction, education and technology. While the future cannot be reliably predicted, we can critically consider the future, so that we, as individuals and groups, can be more deliberate with actions, decisions and policies that may help promote desirable futures and help prevent undesirable ones.
It is especially important that everyone consider the future to offset short-term thinking often driven by short-term gains, such as profits or re-election, and to ensure that there is diverse input shaping a future that is preferable to all people. Futures Thinking has been applied to the technology and policy sectors such as energy, environment and transport. However, other sectors, such as education, have been less challenged or only recently challenged. The OECD has been leading the way on Futures Thinking about education, so that rapidly transforming societies are able to prepare the youth of today for the challenges of tomorrow. More information on this can be found on the OECD website. Only by considering the future can we deliberately help shape it.
Futures Thinking is not limited to policy makers and corporate executives. It can apply to all areas of life and be done by anyone. Thus, we encourage you to engage in Futures Thinking with your classroom. In order to engage with Futures Thinking, there are a few things that you must consider:
You can incorporate these questions into discussions, journal entries, research projects and presentations.