Forward Thinking

Futures thinking, or foresight, is a set of principles and practices that can be applied to solve complex problems. It combines data and trend analysis, pattern recognition, intuition, and imagination to envision desirable and sustainable paths of action.

Just as Tim Brown distilled the design thinking process to: inspiration, ideation, and implementation, futurist Gladys Rosa-Mendoza described the futures thinking process as: Asking the Question, Scanning the World, Mapping the Possibilities, and Asking the Next Question. It’s an iterative process which helps you consider a range of possible, probably, and preferable outcomes. It’s not predicting the future, but rather taking a structured approach to understanding the potential impacts of today’s decisions and actions.

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Gladys Rosa-Mendoza writes for all of us who try to predict what future products and services well be needed and wanted. In Forward Thinking, she helps us understand that we can see the future from where we are and where are customers are. And we can create products and services that were once impossible.

- Tom Kelley, general manager, IDEO