One of the primary goals of Institute for the Future is to develop leaders who can create better futures. In 2022, we partnered with Politecnico di Milano, the largest technical university in Italy, to offer the "Designing Sustainable Futures" executive education class. We designed the 8-week online course to equip professionals with strategic foresight and speculative design tools to help them imagine more sustainable futures, guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

IFTF faculty and Politecnico di Milano led participants around the world through recent research and case studies on strategic foresight, design futures, worldbuilding, storytelling, system design, circular design, social innovation, and leadership. The participants gained insights into where megatrends were going and developed an aspirational direction for a better future.

Collaboration among participants provided opportunities to apply the methods and tools to speculative projects and inspire one another. For example, one group explored the future of non-human life forms being granted universal legal rights and applied these concepts to the Amazon rainforest, generating a range of possible experiences to reverse the negative impact of human activities.

Additionally, immersive, interactive sessions helped learners develop resilience and expand their information intake through the five senses. Through this experience, they prepared for the leadership challenge of change and embraced uncertainty, essential skills for driving the transition to a more sustainable future.

Course projects allowed participants to apply what they learned to their own sustainable futures projects, from exploring the future of finance in Argentina to introducing strategic foresight into a US-based consulting firm.

The "Designing Sustainable Futures" class is a unique opportunity for changemakers to navigate the uncertain future and drive the transition to a more sustainable future. We are excited to announce the second edition in the fall of 2023, and we invite you to contact Joseph Press ([email protected]) for more information on how to design sustainable futures in your organization or community.