What We Do
Inspirational Experiences for Building Your Preferred Future
Experience the Future: IFTF Learning Journeys are highly interactive encounters with bits and pieces of the future playing out in some of the most dynamic innovation regions in the world—Silicon Valley, New York City, and Shenzhen, China. As our Executive Director Marina Gorbis writes in "What Makes the Valley Tick" (HBR), innovation in these regions is about more than just lots of money, start-ups, and great technology. It comes from the new social practices, projects, and communities at the intersection of technology, art, and social innovation—the people who are developing new ways of working, creating, and organizing.
With nearly fifty years of practice forecasting transformative change, IFTF's Learning Journey combine unique, independent research with a futures lens on present-day disruptions.
Build the Future for Yourself and Your Organization
For IFTF, foresight is a practical tool for developing new ideas and getting ahead of the curve. Ultimately, it’s about making better decisions in the present. Learning Journeys are a chance to step back and reflect on the profound, rapid changes taking place around us. They give your team space outside of the regular work environment to identify and address long-term opportunities and challenges. And they help your group create a shared vision of the future, with a priority on actionable insight.
Customize Your Learning Journey
IFTF Learning Journeys are single or multiple day immersions with tailored IFTF forecasts, site visits to future-oriented local organizations, a hands-on “digital trek” to explore cutting-edge mobile experiences, a dinner with some of our favorite entrepreneurs (both for-profit and not-for-profit), and synthesis sessions that draw out insights and possible action steps for you and your organization.
San Francisco Bay Area’s Silicon Valley
Known as a premier global innovation center of the past fifty years, the Silicon Valley is in the midst of another economic boom. The last few years have seen the rise of thousands of startups, expanding to areas outside of the traditional Silicon Valley boundaries to include the entire San Francisco Bay Area, home to Uber, Airbnb, Twitter, and many other technology companies. The region also continues to be home to a wide range of social and (counter-) cultural movements such as Burning Man.
New York City
Over the last decade, New York City has launched one of the most successful coordinated efforts to deliberately expand into the technology space, giving rise to a flourishing start-up scene across sectors such as finance, fashion, social activism, and big data for urban services. The result is a unique tech ecosystem, second in size only to the San Francisco Bay Area, with its own unique culture of innovation. It is “innovation with East Coast characteristics.”
Design, build, and ship: Shenzhen can do it all. At the heart of China’s massive formal and informal manufacturing sectors, Shenzhen could be called the ultimate Maker City. Shenzhen is home to the world’s largest electronics market, providing an endless source of material supplies for a growing global community of Makers, hackers, designers, and entrepreneurs. Western VCs bring in diverse start-up teams to test prototypes and connect with manufacturers, while a growing variety of Chinese start-ups build out the local design and hardware scene. Behind it all lies Shenzhen’s 35+ year history as a pioneer of new experiments in economics, governance, and lifestyles within the Chinese context.