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.