Foresight Frameworks and Tools
Part of our mission at the Future Today Institute is to develop a culture of foresight in every organization. For that reason, the Future Today Institute's research and tools are now open source and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
We have spent nearly two decades researching, modeling, testing and refining the Future Today Institute’s forecasting methodology and tools, which are used in hundreds of companies and government agencies and as part of college courses all around the world. We invite you to use them within your own organization.
STRATEGIC THINKING FRAMEWORK
The FTI Forecasting Model
Our futures forecasting methodology relies on quantitative and qualitative data, and it has six steps. Our model alternates between flared and focused thinking.
How To Think About Time
To effectively plan for the future, organizations need to learn how to swim in different lanes simultaneously, and to think across a spectrum of time. For any given uncertainty about the future — whether that’s risk, opportunity or growth — leaders must think strategically about tactics, strategy, vision and systems-level change.
STRATEGIC PLANNING FRAMEWORK
Identifying Key Stakeholders
Leaders and teams should work methodically to identify every possible stakeholder using proximity as a guide. When FTI works with organizations, we always begin with the following exercise.
Axes of Uncertainty
Leaders often make common errors as they make strategic decisions about the future: they under-predict or over-predict change. The reason? Most of us find uncertainty uncomfortable, so we are reluctant to confront it. We can’t solve for future uncertainty, but we can prepare ourselves to think critically about signals and decisions — to understand all the dependencies we should consider that might impact the future.
STRATEGIC FORESIGHT FRAMEWORK
The Three Futures
Build different types of scenarios for specific outcomes.
ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
Future-Permitting Stages Matrix
This matrix guides analysis on how to take action on an emerging technology within organizations.
Assumptions vs Knowledge
This framework is used when discussing emerging technology, risk and scenarios. It guides conversations when making decisions about the future.
STRATEGIC THINKING FRAMEWORK
10 Sources of Change
Technology does not evolve on its own, in a vacuum. Even the most forward-thinking innovators are still grounded in reality, tethered to other areas of society. Trends are subjected to and shaped by external forces. Just as it’s useful to organize our thinking along a chronological path through time zones, it’s important to categorize the various dimensions of our everyday life, with technology as the primary interconnector.
In order to forecast the future of anything, you must listen for signals across these ten sources of change. Download this strategic thinking framework.
Incremental Actions Matrix
The FTI Incremental Actions Matrix helps determine what action to take on an emerging trend. Use it to take incremental actions.
STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT TOOL
The Four Futures
Which mode is your organization in? Not all foresight and strategic planning work fits the same purpose. Determine which of the Four Futures your organization is in before starting your work.
Is your organization planning to build an AI-powered chatbot? You must plan in advance for the future for voice recognition and speech. When developing your bots, we recommend that you rate your bot using the probabilities of future problems before deployment. Use this scale to rate your bot on its impact—and to determine, in advance, whether or not you’ve accidentally encoded bias into your system. Rate your bot on a scale of 0 - 10, with 10 being the highest (and preferred) score.