Chapter 1. Introduction – Our Emerging Foresight Field

Foresight Courses

A few hundred foresight courses, both topical futures courses and foresight methods/practice courses, are available from universities and other organizations globally, in both traditional and online formats. A number of smaller lists of foresight courses exist, but our field is in need of an updated online global list of foresight courses that is representative of foresight’s diversity of skills and methods. Would anyone like to take on this volunteer project for FERN and


One very innovative new foresight course is Singularity University’s ten-week Graduate Study Program, started in 2009. It challenges 80 students each Summer, selected from around the world, to develop projects that could improve the lives of as many as a billion people over ten years, by leveraging exponentially advancing technologies. I am an advisor in Futures and Foresight for this program. It has tuition fees of $29,500, and helps student applicants with fundraising for that tuition, and has a growing pool of scholarship and fundraising matching funds for deserving applicants. By asking its applicants to fundraise for their tuition, and having a very selective application process (typically over 1,000 annual applicants) SU ensures their students will have some entrepreneurial abilities and be highly motivated. Thus the peer interactions and the growing network of course graduates become themselves a great advantage for students.

It would be excellent to see more institutions offer multi-week foresight, strategy, and innovation courses of the SU-type in coming years. SU has leadership of the premium price position, but there is ample room for new entrants at the lower end of price. Keeping applicant and network quality high without high price is of course a challenge that course designers must creatively overcome. Startup courses, like Plug & Play’s Startup Camp, and startup MOOCs (massive open online courses) like Udacity’s The Lean Launchpad and Coursera’s Startup Engineering are moving in this direction, but foresight is presently a minor component to these programs.

What would also be excellent to see soon would be a few low-cost foresight MOOCs offering high-quality overviews of our field, for self-motivated professionals not yet sure of the value of spending $3-5K on a foresight certificate program. We could also use a low-cost MOOC-based strategic foresight program offered by a top-tier educational institution, similar to the $7,000 Masters degree in Computer Science now available from Georgia Tech via Udacity. MOOCs are not yet for everyone. At present they work best for highly self-motivated and online-savvy students. But when they offer good online and offline socialization and professional networking opportunities, MOOCs can provide a peer and alumni network that can be just as valuable (weaker but far larger) as the social networks students enter when they physically attend a selective university. With the right course providers, socialization activities, and team dynamics, today’s MOOCs will become much more motivating and career-useful in coming years. Let’s hope we see many more foresight MOOCs in coming years, affiliated with good universities and consultancies, and designed with great team dynamics and much better online social and alumni networks and work opportunities for MOOC graduates.

Showing 2 comments
  • Maura

    I couldn’t find this course do you have an update?

    This year, FERN associate Sandjar Kozubaev is teaching Introduction to Strategic Thinking, as a free gateway MOOC for potential foresight professionals.

    • John Smart

      Hi Maura, Sandjar has since stopped teaching that course, so we’ve removed reference to it from the guide. But the best MOOCs on strategic thinking do discuss foresight as a “front end to strategy”. Check their curricula and try to sign up for strategy courses that implicitly include foresight methods. Warmly, John

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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