We are all challenged by change. Changes generate turbulence and uncertainty, calling into question much that we take for granted, and also expanding what we can achieve, if we choose. Futures research and foresight (we shall use the terms interchangeably throughout the toolkit) help people, organizations, communities, businesses, and governments explore and manage change. That does not mean predicting change – futures research and foresight focus on heightening the awareness of change, spotting emerging changes early, and exploring their implications.
- Where might certain trajectories of change take us?
- How do those possible paths align with our values and preferences?
- What can we do today to shape our futures and achieve preferred outcomes, avoiding undesirable ones?
The earlier we think through the implications of transformative and disruptive changes, the better our options for response – whether by influencing change, or adapting to it.
We have organised futures research and foresight tools around six activities critical to futures thinking:
Organizations and institutions adapt, innovate and renew themselves in an environment of continuously unfolding change. The unexpected, novel or intractable challenges that such an environment inevitably produces cannot therefore be addressed by solutions that are only based on an understanding of what may have worked in the past. To create ways forward that are informed by the continuously emerging future as well, the ILO and ITC-ILO are helping ILO staff and constituents to become familiar with well-established futures, foresight and horizon scanning tools and methods.
The fifty-year-old field of futures research has collected, developed, and refined a wide range of analytic and collaborative tools for each of these key foresight activities. The different futures methods featured in the above present an illustrative (not an exhaustive) list of futures methods.
In this webpage, you will find a variety of tools and question sets to help you think more effectively about emerging change and uncertain futures.
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