Chapter 1. Introduction – Our Emerging Foresight Field

Foresight Certifications

There are also a small number (at least twelve, by our count) of foresight certificate programs, ranging from five days to ten weeks in length. These, as well as standalone foresight courses, are ideal entry points for most professionals interested in foresight training.

U. Houston Certificate in “Future Studies” (now called Foresight)

U. Houston Certificate in “Future Studies” (now called Foresight)

The University of Houston’s foresight graduate program offers a popular five-day certificate in strategic foresight. The European Business School, Swinburne U. of Technology, University of Manchester, and University of Oxford also offer five-day programs. Singularity University offers a ten week Graduate Studies Program every summer which introduces general and technology foresight to entrepreneurs. They also offer and four-day and seven-day Executive Programs several times per year, and a startup accelerator. Draper University is an entrepreneurship training program, started in 2013 by venture capitalist Tim Draper, with a ten-week residential and shorter executive programs, which introduces futures research, ideation methods, and predictive analytics to entrepreneurs, and also offers an accelerator. Six European foresight consultancies, led by Kairos Future in Sweden, offer an International Certified Future Strategist certificate program where students work on foresight consultancy projects as part of their training. The Turku School of Economics in Finland offers a nine day Certified Foresight Professional course. The World Future Society offers master courses during two days prior to their annual conference. The Association of Professional Futurists offers online and traditional professional development seminars. These are all valuable first training options for incoming foresight professionals.

Cheng (2012)

Cheng (2012)

Those interested in foresight consulting should also master the skill of case interviewing, one important job interview process used at McKinsey and other consultancies, and at leading companies like Google. In case interviewing, an applicant is given a question, problem, or challenge and asked for advice to improve or resolve the situation, usually a business case that has happened in real life. Good case problems assess general world and business knowledge, ethics, estimation, numerical and verbal reasoning skills, research, communication, empathy, and presentation skills. In short, they discover the applicant’s current ability to produce practical and influential business strategy and rough plans under time constraints—all key competencies of foresight. Case interviewing skills select for folks who might have superior organizational foresight impact, in a very predictable manner. Top consultancies know this, which is why they rely on these interviews as a big part of their selection process, even though they can be a pain to implement. Victor Cheng’s Case Interview Secrets (2012) and his website,, are good places to learn more about this very valuable skill.

Whiteley (2007)

Whiteley (2007)

Debating is another skill valuable to good foresight work. In the 18th century US, young men of many walks in life were involved in private debate clubs, in which interesting questions were debated, with responses rated by their peers. The confidential nature of club membership, debates and ratings encouraged each debater to experiment with ways of thinking and arguing, without social cost. Debates ranged across the STEEPS categories (Science: Is Darwin’s theory of evolution correct? Technology: Which tools do our farmers most need? Economy: What trade policy should our state have on imports? Environment: How do we keep our cities clean? Politics: Should there be a voting test? Society: Should prostitution be a crime?). Such topics deal implicityl with the past, present, and future, and debaters use facts, argument, and rhetoric to take positions on complex, uncertain, and often ambiguous topics. When club members are kept cognitively, ethnically, and experience-diverse, with peer-grading of both oral and written debate work, debate is an excellent training ground for foresight professionals. Preparation for a good debate question helps one better understand the world, take a series of positions on social progress, and improve their ability to influence others. For a good primer on debate, see Richard Edwards Competitive Debate (2008). Greg Whiteley’s documentary Resolved (2007) is also noteworthy for highlighting the idiocy of modern rules in academic debate that allow debaters to speak far faster than average (aka speed reading, or “spreading”, at up to 500 words per minute), gaining points with judges but confusing their audiences. The use of word counting software, with penalties for exceeding the professional average of 150 words per minute, would return modern debate to what it should be – a tool for convincing audiences via evidence, argument, and rhetoric. I believe we can look forward to a rule modification to eliminate spreading in the better debate clubs and programs in coming years.

In an ideal world, all foresight certification and graduate programs would diagnose the foresight student’s case interview skills prior to admission, and admit and remediate students based in-part on their case interview performance. In addition, continual confidential foresight debates, ranging across all of the STEEPS categories, should also be a central feature of our better foresight training programs. I am hopeful we’ll see such improvements emerge, and the effectiveness of our foresight program graduates continue to improve.

Civil life, and our conceptions of the future, are all built around the judicious use of facts, analysis, and argument in social context, for persuasion. Generating influential and adaptive foresight is one of the most complex roles the consultant, manager, or employee plays, second only to adaptive leadership, a related skill we discuss in Chapter 5. Hopefully, our top foresight certification and graduate programs will start distinguishing themselves, and preparing their students for career success, in these and other manners in coming years.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice