Futures Wheels:Workshop Instructions
Enter your assigned change in the inner circle of your worksheet.
Everyone take five minutes by themselves to imagine possible impacts of this change over the next fifteen years.
Share your individual lists within your group. Which of these are immediate, or primary, impacts? Write those down next to the appropriate “spoke”.
Now consider each primary impact, one by one. Brainstorm two or three impacts it will have, and map those, connecting each to its primary impact.
For example, let’s say we chose to create a futures wheel from the provocative statement, ”By 2010, we talk to our computers, they talk back, and recognize us via biometrics.” This statement is a vivid way of expressing several related trends: 1) increasing multiplicity of input and display devices for computers, with consequent decline in use of keyboards; and 2) increasing use of “biometrics” – identifiers based on unique characteristics of living organisms, like our fingerprints, retinal patterns, blood type, or DNA.
What are the first effects you can extrapolate would emerge from this shift in the computing infrastructure – and everything connected to, or depending upon, it? For example:
- working – and education – environments noisier;
- nobody needs to remember passwords anymore;
- precipitous drop in incidence of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome;
- market emerges for ”great voice” modules to personalize computer speech.
These are just a few examples of primary effects these changes would have in our immediate lives. If your thinking gets stuck, look at the subdivisions in the futures wheel. These effects address the areas of work, education, daily life, health, and the economy – what about hobbies? our homes and family life? the arts? etc.
Next, take each of these primary effects, one by one, and ask what effects they in turn will have on our lives:
- working – and education – environments noisier:
- wireless ”earbud” headphones/microphones to communicate with your computer;
- ”visual display” goggles for silent response, eye movement navigation through menus:
- accelerated development of hyper-reality;
- development of ”workpod” office and schoolroom furniture, with built-in sound barriers:
- people in the same room conversing through their computers’ wireless network.
While listing the secondary effects of the chosen primary effect, tertiary effects also emerged, as the indented, italicized items illustrate.