Futures & Foresight Overview

Leading and Learning through Futures & Foresight for Public Service

Futures studies is an art and a science with a strong emphasis on imagination and creativity to develop possible futures. Its main purpose is to discover and master the complex chain of cause and effect through conceptualization, systemic approach, and feedback loops which ultimately provide innovation in both the social and technological fields.

When discussing or introducing the art and science of futures studies — or if integrated with planning in strategic foresight — it is generally assumed that foresight experts intend to predict the likely future based on data, existing trends and evidence. But in high quality futures studies, in addition to the probable future, the desired, normative, plausible, and possible futures are also considered.

Imagination of the possible worlds can be facilitated when guided by the growing literature and best practices provided in the futures studies field. Government and corporate initiated vision building and foresight exercises are playing an increasingly important role in contributing to the enhancement of futures literacy.

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Are you aware of the importance of futures literacy as a key capability to develop creativity and imagination about possible futures?

For over a decade, DMS International has provided custom-tailored professional development services to various federal agencies.

Today, we want to tackle the poverty of imagination by extending the range of strategic options, decision-making alternatives, and to address the challenges of planning for the long term in the face of uncertainty and accelerating change. The Academy will draw on experts in Futures Studies combined with tools and simulations to bridge the gap between the possible futures and preferred futures.

We want to be a catalyst for new thinking in the field of public service by promoting innovation and collaboration combined with complex adaptive systems thinking.

What are the alternative futures methodologies, processes, and tools that you use?

Our overall methodology of Observe, Orient, Decide and Act (OODA) comes from military and defense planning. We combine this with various analytical approaches such as systems dynamics, uncertainty analysis, value analysis, and assumption analysis.

We aim to train professionals to be conversant in the deep and broad debate of alternative futures by using tools such as scenario building, simulation, and games. This strategic conversation helps to shape a more effective long-term planning for public practitioners and a better anticipatory governance for all.