Summer Residential Intensive Masters Program
Dr. Wendy L. Schultz
Infinite Futures

intro/overview | creativity | facilitation
scenario identification and analysis |
scenario building
visions and visioning
strategic planning and change management
Search using Google
COURSE MODULE: introduction and overview CLASS NOTES (courtesy Stuart Forsyth)
3 June
Course overview, review of assignments and expectations.
Discussion: What is futures studies? creativity?
Read: Miller, 2, 4, 5; Koestler; Gell-Mann.
Task: find a future.

Resources On-line:
Futures Studies and Foresight --
Wendy's easy-as-pie overview (1993), narrative;
Wendy's expanded version (2002), powerpoint.

[These notes are courtesy of Stuart Forsyth, who brought his computer to class during Spring 2001; our thanks.]

Methods II is the qualitative methods class; Methods I is the quantitative class
The big picture:

  • First third = creativity + facilitation.
    • Creativity can be learned
    • Flash of Brilliance by William C. Miller
    • Group creative processes enabled and enhanced by facilitation tools.

  • Middle third = scenarios and visioning
    • Development and identification of scenarios
    • Scenario Planning: Managing for the Future by Gill Ringland
    • Visioning
    • Success in Sight: Visioning by Andrew Kakabadse, Frederic Nortier and Nello-Bernard Abramovici

  • Last third = strategic planning and change management
    • Simplified Strategic Planning by Robert W. Bradford, J. Peter Duncan, Peter Duncan, Brian Tarcy,
      which is required for Facilitating Planning and Foresight, is recommended for this course segment.

  • Four specific assignments:
    • Describe/analyze 3 "found" scenarios:
      Cf. FuturesResearch Quarterly
      Intro reading packet
      Scenario found on-line
      An advertisement
      A science fiction movie
    • Write 3 scenarios:
      Demonstrate 3 different tools and 3 different ways of expressing images of the future
      It would be great if one could be expressed graphically
      Could use PowerPoint graphics clips
      Could do a collage
      Explore how much you can graphically express things
    • Vision analysis/proposal:
      Look at vision statements
      Look at one in light of the vision process, critique it, and describe a visioning process
      that you think would create a better vision statement for that organization.
    • Strategic planning/implementation guide:
      Pick an "imaginary" client
      Create a foresight based strategic planning process tailored specifically
      for their circumstances, as you understand them.
    • We will do exercises on these in class first!

There are more methods than can be covered in any semester course
This course assumes that you have taken the Intro to Futures course and experienced, if only briefly, the following:

  • Futures wheels
  • Incasting
  • Scenarios
  • Visioning

This course asks you to master the qualitative techniques:
3 to 5 approaches in each category;
we will set up a critical structure by which we can compare the different methods.
You need to understand how different tools are applicable under different circumstances.

Trying to help you create your own toolbox:
Methods I (quantitative) is about gathering data
Methods II (qualitative) is about what can create future change
We explore creativity:
How can you enhance your own creativity? Group creativity?
Will include a survival guide to group facilitation

The preceding is a build-up to looking at scenarios of plausible futures
The module on scenario identification and analysis goes with your first assignment:
Creativity is easier when you have a library of examples.

Scenario creation will feature 6 to 7 approaches to building scenarios;
will focus on some of the more participatory approaches.

Visions and Visioning will review 6 to 7 different techniques for group visioning;
these will range from very meditative to simple query-based dialogues about values and goals.

Strategic Planning looks at different models of strategic planning;
will take a modular approach.

There will be handout readings in addition to the three textbooks
Scenario Planning: Managing for the Future by Gill Ringland
Wendy has many project papers from the examples in this book

There is no final exam.
Environmental scanning is not part of this class -- although it should be an ongoing part of your life!
The idea is to play.
Think about these assignments in the context of clients you would like to have
The goal is to make you comfortable with all of these tools
Therefore, you must actually do them!

Read Miller, Flash of Brilliance, pp. 1-97;
"Habit and Originality" from The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler
(For further (voluntary) reading by Arthur Koestler, see also:
The Sleepwalkers and The Ghost and the Machine);
"From Learning to Creative Thinking" from The Quark and the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Mann
(did much work in particle physics in the 2nd half of the 20th Century).

What do you think creativity is?
What are all the forms it takes?
What are all the works we associate with creativity?
How does it get expressed and realized in the world?
What constrains or blocks creativity?