The futures of futures studies
Pushing the boundaries of futures thinking
25 October 2023 (Wednesday), 14:00-15:00, inspire

Futures Literacy in Organizations

Preparing future-oriented leaders is a challenge for institutions of higher learning. Workforce skills and demands related to futures literacy are not well understood by most departments. Although Hawaii and Houston provide consistent programs, few universities provide full curricula for literacy and proficiency of futures thinking (Hines, 2023; Schreiber & Berge, 2019).
Significant challenges face organizations today due to rapid and tumultuous change in technology, globalization of economies and politics, and workforce diversity. A common organizational response is to use foresight methods to build viable scenarios to manage anticipated disruptions. Unfortunately, actualizing these scenarios can be elusive.
Futures literacy requires that organizational leaders recognize and appreciate strategic foresight as simply one component of a broader, more sophisticated process by which to establish an organization’s futures thinking orientation.
The goal of this presentation is to describe futures thinking from the perspective of a systems approach. This includes not only observation and interpretation of signals and utilizing foresight methodologies to build scenarios of response, but also incorporating emerging new roles for employees and managers, realignment of structure and function, and institutionalizing organizational policy to sustain efforts.
Final discussion provides strategies for building organizational capability for futures thinking and supporting futures literate organizational leaders.

Adjunct Professor and Dissertation Chair
UMassGlobal (A nonprofit affiliate of the University of Massachusetts, USA)