In IFTF Foresight Essentials you will learn to:
Use 23 practical tools to cultivate a robust foresight practice
Transform your mindset to imagine new possibilities
Facilitate and lead thoughtful, strategic futures experiences and conversations
Generate insights to drive innovation, equity, and growth
Integrate foresight into your workflow, organizational culture, and community
Build a global network of inspiring futures colleagues
Grow your career as a foresight professional
I wish I'd known about IFTF Foresight Essentials years ago. Foresight is the key to breaking free from the status quo and bringing about disruptive futures!Sean Su | Head of Design, Logitech
This course was transformative. Not only was it comprehensive and engaging at every moment, it challenged me to think, and ultimately act, in ways that are new and exciting.Jacqueline Mitchell | Chief of Staff, Reparations Finance Lab
While no one can predict the future, the immense amount of thought that has gone into creating a curriculum aimed at helping me prepare for potential futures is incredibly useful.Karan Patel | UX Strategist, Google
The IFTF Foresight Essentials training transformed me from 'future-frantic' to 'future-ready.'Riz Angeline De Guia Mapa | Senior Economic Development Specialist, NEDA
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:
Immersive, content-rich, multi-session instruction facilitated by experienced IFTF faculty
A proprietary IFTF Foresight Essentials Toolkit with 23 specialized tools and processes built on 50+ years of proven research and methodologies
Video lectures on the foresight fundamentals
Exercise templates to use in your own foresight practice
Complete set of presenter slides, including key takeaways
Two optional meet-ups to get to know fellow learners and learn from other foresight professionals
Personal access to instructors during dedicated office hours
Networking opportunities with participants from a wide range of professions and sectors
Certificate of Completion demonstrating your accomplishment, to share with potential employers or clients
Personalized applied futures project plan to guide your next steps
Membership in the global IFTF Foresight Essentials alumni community, with exclusive meet-ups
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.”
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.
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 (2 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.
Optimized for U.S. East, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America
Session 1: Mon, Nov 20 | 9-11am EST | 2-4pm GMT | 3-5pm CET
Session 2: Thu, Nov 30 | 9am-1pm EST | 2-6pm GMT | 3-7pm CET
Session 3: Mon, Dec 4 | 9am-1pm EST | 2-6pm GMT | 3-7pm CET
Session 4: Thu, Dec 7 | 9am-1pm EST | 2-6pm GMT | 3-7pm CET
Session 5: Mon, Dec 11 | 9am-1pm EST | 2-6pm GMT | 3-7pm CET
Office Hours: Tue, Dec 12 and Wed, Dec 13 | Varying time slots
Session 6: Thu, Dec 14 | 9am-1pm EST | 2-6pm GMT | 3-7pm CET
Session 1: Orientation, Wed, Feb 21 | 9-10:45am PST | 12-1:45pm EST | 6-7:45pm CET
Session 2: Wed, Feb 28 | 9am-1pm PST | 12-4pm EDT | 6-10pm CEST
Session 3: Wed, Mar 6 | 9am-1pm PST | 12-4pm EDT | 6-10pm CEST
Session 4: Wed, Mar 13 | 9am-1pm PDT | 12pm-4pm EDT | 5-9pm CET
Session 5: Wed, Mar 20 | 9am-1pm PDT | 12pm-4pm EDT | 5-9pm CET
Office Hours: Thurs, Mar 21 and Mon, Mar 25 | Varying time slots
Session 6: Wed, Mar 27 | 9am-1pm PDT | 12pm-4pm EDT | 5-9pm CET
Orientation: Wed May 8 | 8-9:45am EDT | 1-2:45pm BST | 2-3:45pm CEST
Session 2: Wed May 15 | 8am-12pm EDT | 1-5pm BST | 2-6pm CEST
Session 3: Wed May 22 | 8am-12pm EDT | 1-5pm BST | 2-6pm CEST
Session 4: Wed May 29 | 8am-12pm EDT | 1-5pm BST | 2-6pm CEST
Session 5: Wed Jun 5 | 8am-12pm EDT | 1-5pm BST | 2-6pm CEST
Session 6: Wed Jun 12 | 8am-12pm EDT | 1-5pm BST | 2-6pm CEST
Session 1/Orientation: Thurs, Sept 5 | 9-10:45am CST/SGT/HKT | 12-1:45pm AEDT | 2-3:45pm NZDT
(Session 1/Orientation: Wed, Sept 4 | 5-6:45pm PST | 8-9:45pm EST )
Session 2: Thurs, Sept 12 | 9am-1pm CST/SGT/HKT | 12-4pm AEDT | 2-6pm NZDT
(Session 2: Wed, Sept 11 | 5-9pm PST | 8pm-12am EST)
Session 3: Thurs, Sept 19 | 9am-1pm CST/SGT/HKT | 12-4pm AEDT | 2-6pm NZDT
(Session 3: Wed, Sept 18 | 5-9pm PST | 8pm-12am EST)
Session 4: Thurs, Sept 26 | 9am-1pm CST/SGT/HKT | 12-4pm AEDT | 2-6pm NZDT
(Session 4: Wed, Sept 25 | 5-9pm PST | 8pm-12am EST)
Session 5: Thurs, Oct 3 | 9am-1pm CST/SGT/HKT | 12-4pm AEDT | 2-6pm NZDT
(Session 5: Wed, Oct 2 | 5-9pm PST | 8pm-12am EST)
Office Hours: Mon, Oct 7 and Tue, Oct 8 | Varying time slots
Session 6: Thurs, Oct 10 | 9am-1pm CST/SGT/HKT | 12-4pm AEDT | 2-6pm NZDT
(Session 6: Wed, Oct 9 | 5-9pm PST | 8pm-12am EST)
$6,000 Standard early-bird
$5,500 Vantage partners
$4,000 Nonprofit/education/government early-bird
Email [email protected] to verify your organization’s eligibility to save $2,000.
Register at least 45 days in advance to save $500.
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.
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.
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.
For in-person trainings, digital course files (PDFs, videos) will be shared with you through Google Drive.
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.
Research Director Sara Skvirsky brings a diverse background in the fields of education, community organizing, and social justice advocacy to her work at Institute for the Future. Passionate about bringing the tools and methodologies of foresight to individuals, communities, and organizations, Sara developed and launched IFTF Foresight Essentials in 2014, with the inauguration of its flagship training and toolkit. She has gone on to become the program’s lead instructor, spearheading the group’s digital transformation and experimenting with new formats for participant engagement with futures thinking. In addition to that role, Sara has spent much of the past decade leading IFTF’s future of learning research, working with governments, educational institutions, corporations, foundations, and nonprofits globally to understand the shifting landscapes of education and work. She has delivered keynotes around the world. Before arriving at IFTF Sara lived and worked in Latin America and Spain for many years, where she worked to establish a youth leadership and community development programming. She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish from Oberlin College.
At IFTF, Gabe Cervantes helps lead custom forecasts, IFTF Foresight Essentials trainings, and speaking engagements across various industries and sectors. A leading strategist in scaling foresight, Gabe works closely with large organizations to help them foster an environment that encourages the development and application of foresight among the next generation of future leaders and top-tier leadership. Before joining IFTF, Gabe helped startups in Silicon Valley understand consumer needs to develop stronger sales and go-to-market strategies. Forgoing a career in law, he leaned into his training as a diasporas scholar from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in American Studies with a dual focus on Latino/a and Africana Studies. Gabe shares his learnings pro bono with communities of color and individuals who are the first in their families to attend college.
Susanne Forchheimer is responsible for providing research management for IFTF’s Emerging Media Lab(EML). Her core research focus includes looking at the impact of emerging technologies and how they affect communication, information-sharing, and collaboration between humans. She also researches and analyzes trends in user behavior and development to assist the IFTF community in assembling insights, policy, and products that take into account emergent social behaviors and cultural dynamics. In addition to her work in the EML, Susanne also teaches IFTF’s foresight essential courses. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Media Technology Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, as well as a M.P.S. in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University.
Jacques Barcia is an award-winning journalist, author and futurist. His core interests are in the futures of narratives and the narratives about the futures. He holds a masters in Design and is one of the co-founders of Futuring Today, a network that blends foresight, design, and science fiction to prototype the futures.
Jacques is the futurist-in-residence of Brazilian non-profit science and technology park Porto Digital (www.portodigital.org), where he helps startups innovate for the the next decade. He’s also a fellow at the Centre For Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies (www.cppfs.org) and teaches Design Futures at Cesar School (www.cesar.school).
Jacques has written on technology, economics, crime, and human rights for newspapers in Brazil. He has researched on a range of futures topics such as energy, work, entrepreneurship, cities, media, and grief. Jacques’s fiction has been featured in Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic Science Fiction and The Apex Book of World Science Fiction; and has appeared in magazines such as Clarkesworld and Electric Velocipede.
Wayne Pan brings a deep passion for the power of futures thinking to his research director’s role. His work and research centers on envisioning just, equitable, systems-based solutions to intractable global issues. Wayne has spent the last decade focused on futures and foresight work. Prior to joining IFTF, he was a key member of the futures team at Kantar, where he helped Fortune 500 companies explore and plan for the future. He has also spent time working with Forum for the Future, UNDP, and what is now Deloitte Monitor. Having lived and worked in six countries across three continents, Wayne brings a global perspective based on a deep appreciation for cultural differences and local contexts. He has an M.S in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from an Erasmus Mundus program based at Central European University and Lund University. He also holds a B.A. in History, specializing in modern Chinese history, from UC Berkeley. He speaks Mandarin.
Program Director Rod Falcon co-leads the IFTF Vantage Partnership. Rod has served in several capacities at IFTF, including leading its Food Futures and Health Futures programs as well as leading research for IFTF’s Tech Futures program. He speaks to executive audiences, helping them find innovative strategies for participating in the global economy. His research areas include personal health technologies, communication and messaging practices, social networks and abundant connectivity, and health-aware environments. Born in Oakland, California, Rod attended UC Berkeley, earning a BA in American history and an MA in public policy. After working to enforce the Voting Rights Act for the Justice Department, he came to IFTF in 1995 to forecast the future of the California health care safety net. He brings a deep background in public health policy and extensive experience directing research and teams.
Artistic Director of Young Gifted and Black
Senior Partner at Edutainment for Equity
Hodari B. Davis is the Artistic Director of the award-winning youth performance ensemble Young Gifted and Black and a senior partner at Edutainment for Equity. Hodari served as the National Program Director for Youth Speaks for over 11 years, including as the Executive Producer and Key Organizer of the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival and Network. He was also the Executive Producer and Creative Director of the Life is Living campaign and the Bigger Picture Project. His extensive experience as an educator and arts administrator has made him a leader in the field and a sought-after speaker and pedagogue. He has presented his work and pedagogy in countries around the world including Iran, Malta, Spain, Ghana, and London. He has organized events in the most prestigious theaters in the United States including The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. As an artist, he writes poetry, makes films and manages two musical performance groups Antique Naked Soul and Candice Antique.
Toshi leads IFTF’s Emerging Media Lab (EML), where he explores the implications of the rapidly evolving technologies and platforms that transform human communication. He has worked on a wide range of cutting-edge experiential media projects utilizing interactive and immersive technologies such as A/R and V/R. Under his direction, the EML serves as a prototyping studio, an independent research group, and an active participant in the continually evolving relationship between humans and the sophisticated media systems they create.
Toshi’s work explores not only the direct applications of emerging technologies but also the wider implications and impact on individuals, organizations, and society at large. Prior to joining IFTF, Toshi served as media technology consultant for famed futurist Ray Kurzweil, with whom he produced live VR demonstrations for the TED stage and co-directed the feature-length documentary “The Singularity is Near” based on Kurzweil’s best-selling book. Toshi studied film at Mass College of Art and Design and religion at Bryn Athyn College.
Digital Experiences Manager Teffera G. Teffera explores new media and online technologies relevant to IFTF’s staff, partners, stakeholders, and public audiences. He tinkers with creative and collaborative technologies that enhance the organization’s use of digital tools for storytelling and facilitation, translating IFTF’s works into engaging and memorable experiences. Prior to joining IFTF, he worked at the Voice of America and at the U.S. Agency for Global Media, serving as a multimedia producer, managing editor, and digital media strategist. Teffera’s storytelling and research covered African audiences across 14 languages, with a focus on youth, technology, and digital platforms usage and internet circumvention trends. His research interests include AI-enabled media, internet balkanization, and the development of digital public infrastructures. Teffera received a double B.A. in International Relations and Economics from Syracuse University and an M.A in Applied Cybernetics from the Australian National University.
IFTF Director Dylan Hendricks produces IFTF’s Ten-Year Forecast, the public expression of IFTF’s foundational research. Dylan brings strategic imagination and a whole-systems perspective to his work across the Institute, facilitating and synthesizing diverse perspectives and disciplines to better understand and communicate the macro forces that are transforming our lives, our organizations, and our communities. Before joining IFTF full-time in 2012, Dylan had a previous career in media production, working closely with innovative tech companies and nonprofits to better tell their stories. Dylan has a BA in Psychology and Comparative Religion from Bryn Athyn College, and has helped dozens of world-class universities, corporations and civic organizations to strategically explore the future landscape in his decade of experience at IFTF. Dylan’s original design framework, Systems Mythology, has been taught to thousands of students, executives, and foresight practitioners around the world, and formally recognized by the Association of Professional Futurists.
Quinault Childs is the Research Director of the Food Futures Lab at IFTF. He focuses on exploring the intersection of food systems, society, and climate change, describing possible futures where all of those things look very different than they do today. His work with the Food Futures Lab is a mix of projecting current-day data into the future, gathering insights from food systems leaders, and developing experiential, imaginative “edible futures” of food. Before IFTF, Quin was involved in launching startups in the food space, including a circular food waste company and the first zero-waste grocery store in Texas. He has a M.S. in Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Human Factors Engineering, both from Tufts University in Massachusetts.
As a research director at IFTF, Ben uses insights from his background in journalism covering issues of race and inequality to explore how well-being is shaped by social and environmental contexts. He has researched the future of food technology, environments that enhance well-being, and the design of healthy places; he has an ongoing interest in narrative and health, the meaning of place, and equity and social justice. In addition to his work at IFTF, Ben contributes to the Nichi Bei Weekly and edits the National Japanese American Historical Society’s official magazine, Nikkei Heritage. Ben believes that short-term thinking is a major cause of today’s social inequity and that foresight is critical to successful social change and effective governance. His upbringing in the diverse socioeconomic conditions of the San Francisco Bay Area inspired his interest in issues of race, class, and social justice. He spent half a decade covering these issues as a journalist at Youth Outlook, New American Media, and the Nichi Bei Times before coming to IFTF in 2011. Ben holds a B.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University.
IFTF Research Manager Nathalie Lopez manages a diverse portfolio of health and social research projects. As part of her work, she examines social patterns and gathers insights from personal and group interviews to inform futures thinking. Before joining IFTF, Nathalie worked for Mujeres Unidas y Activas, a grassroots organization focused on building community power for social and economic justice. Prior to that, she worked as a project coordinator at the David Geffen Medical School at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), supporting federally funded projects involving trauma-informed care and the juvenile justice system. Nathalie holds a Master of Public Health in Health and Social Behavior from University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. in Human Biology and Society from UCLA.
Sami has been involved in shaping the online and mobile worlds since the 1990s. From building the early online commerce and banking platforms in North America and Europe, Sami then spent several years with various aspects of the mobile business, from application development to network systems research for Nokia in Finland.
Since 2009, Sami has lived in Australia and until recently worked for Telstra Corporation in various roles spanning from mobile subject matter expert, CEO Communications to Innovation Program Management. He also created and led the Strategic Foresight practice for several years, focusing on long-term technology and related trends and how they impact the business, industry, and society at large.
Sami holds an MSc degree in Computer Science from the University of Helsinki. His current research interests include the impact of automation on skill degradation, complex systems, and architecting for resilience.