The Future Today Institute prepares leaders and their organizations for deep uncertainty and complex futures. We are trusted advisors to some of the world's most-admired companies.
What Is A Futurist?What is a futurist? You may be wondering what, exactly, a futurist is. Don’t worry—you’re not alone. A futurist is someone who models next-order outcomes using a broad spectrum of weak signals, strong signals, trends, and other factors. Futurists work in an interdisciplinary field combining hard sciences (mathematics, engineering, sciences, technology), social sciences (game theory, economics, cultural anthropology) and other fields, such as design, philosophy and management theory. Futurists do not make predictions. They make projections in order to create a state of readiness, to determine strategic actions, to aid in decision-making, to build long-range plans, or to simply imagine alternate future states.
Future Today Institute's Research, Insights and Frameworks
OUR 2021 REPORT LAUNCHES IN MARCH
Our updated edition features an interactive table of contents and an easy way to navigate the digital report. The Future Today Institute's 13th annual Tech Trends report identifies 406 emerging trends across 31 industries that will begin to enter the mainstream and fundamentally disrupt business, geopolitics and everyday life. We offer analysis, strategic recommendations, business opportunities and detailed risk assessments, as well as 26 futures scenarios.
Forces, Signals and Trends
For nearly two decades, the Future Today Institute has tracked emerging technologies and scientific breakthroughs to model their impact on business strategy and on government. We use a simple but powerful framework to measure macro forces of change, identify weak and strong signals early, and track long-term trends.
Scenarios Guide and Templates
Scenarios serve different purposes and there are many ways to write them. Before you begin your scenario planning process, determine the strategic purpose of your scenario, your time horizon, the amount of data you have access to and how your work will be used by others.
Strategic Planning Like a Futurist
Futurists think about time differently, and company strategists could learn from their approach. For any given uncertainty about the future — whether that’s risk, opportunity, or growth — we tend to think in the short- and long-term simultaneously. To do this, FTI uses a framework that measures certainty and charts actions, rather than simply marking the passage of time as quarters or years. That’s why FTI's timelines aren’t actually lines at all — they are cones.
Assumptions vs Knowledge
Assumptions vs. Knowledge is a scale we use in meetings to help determine whether an assertion made is based on fact or feeling. The scale is a great way to keep sentimental bias from clouding your strategy.
The Axes of Uncertainty
Futurists use a simple tool in times of deep uncertainty. It’s called the Axes of Uncertainty, and it’s easy to understand and apply. Companies, like people, have limbic systems. Corporate anxiety can spread fast and cause leaders and teams to make poor decisions. Without concrete answers to questions about the future, corporate anxiety grows. We must shift our mindset from making predictions to being prepared. Use the Axes to help you and your organization prepare for disruption.
Future Forces Theory
FTI’s Future Forces Theory explains how disruption usually stems from influential sources of macro change. It is a way of understanding where disruption is coming from and where it’s headed next. The sources of macro change represent external uncertainties—factors that broadly affect business, governing and society. They can skew positive, neutral and negative. We use this simple tool to apply the future forces theory to organizations as they are developing strategic thinking on trends.
The Four Futures: A simple tool for taking strategic action
The matrix has four quadrants and measures your level of confidence about emerging trends and asks whether your team needs actions or insights. The answers to those two questions reveals what action to take: brainstorm ideas, build capabilities, develop strategy or find future areas of disruption.
Escalation Triggers: A simple framework for making decisions
When you discover weak signals, strong signals and trends, what should you do next? This framework helps you operationalize signals and trends within your organization. Answer the questions to determine whether to monitor, make a decision about next steps, or take action.