Philanthropic organizations are called upon today to lead the civic sector in becoming future-ready—to go beyond piecemeal and incremental solutions and catalyze systemic changes. This requires boldly imagining new possibilities, generating insights, understanding larger trends, and creating action pathways to achieve desired futures. Diffusing the literacy of foresight and futures thinking widely in the philanthropic sector and within individual organizations is necessary for creating a future-ready civic society.

IFTF delivers time-tested, practical, highly engaging foresight learning experiences. For over five decades, our staff has worked with leaders in the private, public, and non-profit sectors to help build future-ready organizations and communities. Our engagements employ innovative techniques such as alternative scenarios, horizon scanning, ethnographic foresight, ten-year forecasts, and artifacts from the future. IFTF has channeled our expertise with these foresight methodologies into highly engaging trainings, to ground you in comprehensive foresight techniques and level up your strategic and creative toolkit.

Foresight is a skill. Learn it from the experts.

  • Learn how to create impact with IFTF’s Strategic Foresight Cycle
  • Develop more confidence and agility for managing uncertainty
  • Learn how to convene and lead stakeholder conversations about possible futures, insights, and actions
  • Become a part of a vibrant community of foresight practitioners from philanthropy
  • Practice a robust set of tools and methodologies to create awe-inspiring organizational and sector strategies
This training is for you if
  • you work at a grantfunding or grantmaking foundation or organization
  • you want to learn how to build a strategic vision that effectively serves your grantees

Training Dates

Institute for the Future
290 S California Ave
Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Covid-19 Visitor Policies

Day 1: Tue, Sept 17 | 9am-4pm, with optional early dinner
Day 2: Wed, Sept 18 | 9am-4pm, with optional reception
Day 3: Thu, Sept 19 | 9am-4pm, inclusive of graduation ceremony

Register now

Institute for the Future
290 S California Ave
Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Covid-19 Visitor Policies

Day 1: Tue, Jan 14 | 9am-4pm, with optional early dinner
Day 2: Wed, Jan 15 | 9am-4pm, with optional reception
Day 3: Thu, Jan 16 | 9am-4pm, inclusive of graduation ceremony

Register now

The expertise of the IFTF staff was exemplary throughout and connecting with thought leaders in other organizations was of tremendous significance. It is truly one of the best three-day professional investments I have had in a very long time. Sr. Manager, Learning Innovation and Technology | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

This course includes:

  • Immersion in futures-thinking skills and methods built on 50+ years of proven futures research and practice.

  • Expert instruction from professional foresight practitioners active in the field.

  • Proprietary IFTF Toolkit with 23 tools and templates, along with presenter slides.

  • Intentional links to grantmaking strategy, philanthropic operations & foresight for learning & evaluation.

  • Networking opportunities with leaders from other philanthropic organizations.


Day 1
Through small group work and whole group discussion, we get to know each other and orient ourselves toward the basic skills and practices of strategic foresight. We explore the four fundamentals of foresight: the foresight practice, the foresight mindset, key foresight terms, and the forecast. We learn how to prepare evidence from today, frame futures questions, and loosen up our minds for futures work. We end the day by developing an initial set of forecasts — “stories and narratives about the future, designed to provoke insight in the present.”

Day 2
We flex our foresight muscles and practice structuring our forecasts in multiple ways. Through upbeat peer-to-peer interactions and group discussions, we reflect on how to integrate these tools and processes into our day-to-day practice. Then we shift from Foresight to Insight — the “aha moment” — when you draw meaningful connections between an outside-in view of the future and your present-day context. Insight tools include mapping the implications of foresight for various stakeholder groups or impact domains, and identifying waves of change.

Day 3
We learn tools and processes for moving from Insight to Action, such as assessing catalysts of change and rallying our networks. After all, the purpose of strategic foresight is to take new, different, and better actions in the present. Our capstone activity provides peer feedback and coaching on your personal, practical action plan for weaving the foresight methodologies into a meaningful project. Participants can use the original project they had in mind—or develop something entirely new. In small groups facilitated by IFTF faculty, we share our plans, challenges, and questions.

Session 1: Orientation (1.5 hours)
In our kickoff gathering, we frame our upcoming learning journey, orient to our tools and platforms, and get to know each other.

Session 2: Prepare (4 hours)
Building on the pre-work videos on the fundamentals of foresight, we reflect on the four different roles of the foresight practitioner, connecting them to our strengths and current contexts. We look back over history to identify patterns, then build our evidence from today—the building blocks of forecasts: signals and drivers of change.

Session 3: Foresight (4 hours)
We practice the ability to interpret futures evidence and work on developing forecasts— “statements about the future designed to provoke insight in the present"—with a wide range of foresight approaches. Foresight tools include drawing out consequences, revealing unexpected possibilities, artifacts from the future, and more.

Session 4: Foresight to Insight (4 hours)
Session four continues our work with foresight tools and the transition from Foresight to Insight—the “aha moment” when you draw meaningful connections between an outside-in view of the future and the work you’re doing today. Insight tools include mapping the implications of foresight on various stakeholder groups or impact domains and identifying waves of change.

Session 5: Insight to Action (4 hours)
In our final tool-based session, we discuss tools and processes for moving from Insight to Action. After all, the purpose of strategic foresight is to take new, better, and different actions in the present. In addition, we cover instructions, tools, and guidance for our capstone activity — an action plan for weaving the methodologies into a project that is meaningful to you. Participants can use the original project they had in mind or develop something entirely new.

Office Hours (25 mins, varying time slots)
Coaching session with an IFTF veteran to help you refine your applied futures project plan.

Session 6: Building Your Foresight Practice (4 hours)
We start our final session with an exercise consistently ranked as a highlight of the training session—peer feedback on action plans. In small groups facilitated by IFTF faculty, participants share their plans, challenges, and questions. We gain insight into alternative ways to implement the tools and thoughtful commentary from peers and IFTF. And we participate in the final rite of the program—graduation—knowing that the community will continue to be a resource moving forward.

Foresight Essentials Faculty

Lyn Jeffery leads IFTF’s Foresight Essentials program, supporting people, organizations, and communities to develop their own foresight capacities. A cultural anthropologist and an IFTF Distinguished Fellow, Lyn explores how people make sense of the rapidly changing world around them, whether a “left-behind” child in a Sichuan village, a leader in a multinational organization developing their own futures thinking skills, or an amateur musician experimenting with new VR instruments. Before joining IFTF, Lyn worked in China as a tour guide, nonprofit researcher, Fulbright scholar and television producer. Lyn has enduring interests in learning experience design, mobility, social media, collaborative technologies. She holds a BA in Chinese Studies and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Katherine Haynes, MBA, has made a career of founding and leading new functions in complex organizations. She was the founding Director of Technology and Information Exchange at University of California San Francisco’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies where she pioneered and spread a method of community collaborative research. As the founding Executive Director of Diversity at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Northern California, her team transformed language access and fostered disparities reduction work in the health care delivery system. In professional and volunteer roles, Katherine has led strategy development and governance, and overseen organizational change. As a consultant, she has worked across industries to build health and social services strategies. Currently, she leads philanthropic efforts to advance Black health equity at California Health Care Foundation, is an Affiliate of Institute for the Future, and serves on the board of American Jewish World Service, a human rights organization working in the Global South.

Katherine honed her foresight skills as a senior IFTF researcher. She applies them in her work with health providers and health foundations to design and implement scalable, sustainable programs.

Director, Vantage Program –Over his more than two decades at IFTF, Rod has brought this interest in how people face the future to a diverse portfolio of projects, including in the Future of Health, Food, Technology, Education, Immigration and Work among many others.

IFTF Fellow and Affiliate. Partner and co-founder of Edutainment for Equity, and key organizer of the Life is Living Festival, Hodari develops projects and campaigns that focus on elevating the voices of Young People, and African people worldwide, actively engaging them in explorations of the past and the future.

Chief Operating Officer–recently returned to IFTF after a tenure as a senior program officer at a foundation in Northern California. Rachel bridges the world of foresight and philanthropy. She is in a unique position to make foresight tools actionable for the sector.

In addition to this core team, throughout the course we will be bringing many of IFTF’s researchers and practitioners to share their expertise, including IFTF Executive Director Marina Gorbis.


$3,700 Standard
$3,200 Early-Bird

All costs given in USD.

Email [email protected] to verify your organization’s eligibility.

Register at least 45 days in advance, unless otherwise noted.

Do you need financial assistance? IFTF offers a limited number of scholarships for individuals who are underrepresented in the field of foresight or using foresight for social good/change. Apply here.


Read our training registration policies here.

Institute for the Future is conveniently located in downtown Palo Alto, California (SFO or SJC). We are in the heart of Silicon Valley, close to attractions such as Stanford University, medical and research centers, cultural institutions, and leading-edge tech startups. Visit us.

IFTF Foresight Essentials is for people and teams ready to build their foresight capacity. Attendees come from the public and private sector and often work in innovation, strategy, community services and organizing, design, research, education, engineering, technology, planning, operations, consulting, management, HR, learning, and organizational change.

In-Person Trainings
Participants can expect to participate in three full days (9am-5:30pm each day) of learning. There will be additional optional evening networking opportunities. Before the training begins, there will be 2-3 hours of preparation work.

Live-Online Trainings
Participants can expect to spend 22 hours of live instruction over six structured sessions (including breaks). You should plan to spend 1-2 hours completing independent assignments between each session, which includes videos, exercises, and buddy work. There will be an optional 1-on-1 coaching session with a faculty member and two optional “Sip & Chat” networking opportunities.

This video conferencing platform will be our primary virtual tool to hold all our live-online training sessions and optional social gatherings. Please ensure you have a stable internet connection to join us by video.

This online workspace is where we'll capture the entire visual narrative of our learning and where you'll collaborate with colleagues and work independently on futures exercises. We strongly recommend you prepare access to a laptop or desktop computer and familiarize yourself with Miro before the training begins.

IFTF Foresight Essentials home base
An easy-to-use online learning platform designed specifically for IFTF Foresight Essentials. Here you'll find your agenda, training materials, prework instructions, instructional videos, session recordings, presentation slides, and more.

Google Drive
For in-person trainings, digital course files (PDFs, videos) will be shared with you through Google Drive.

The easiest and fastest way to register for a training is to click here and pay by credit card. Space is limited. Early registration is recommended.

We also accept checks, wire transfers, and purchase orders. Please email [email protected] for more information.

Please email [email protected] for questions about a training.