The Game of Foresight, a One-Day Experiential Course

Introduction

Everyday we make decisions based on assumptions about the future. All too often our businesses, our organisations, and us … don’t examine these assumptions about the future, and we are living for a ‘used future’, the context has changed but our mindsets have not! Change is happening all around us, and when we widen our gaze, there are threats to avoid, opportunities to access, and visions that inspire us. So we actually need to challenge our assumptions, renew our understanding of the social changes that impact us, and renew our vision for the future.

Strategic Foresight provides critical perspectives and methods for helping us to navigate our changing world. Foresight helps us to make decisions in the present with our eyes wide open to the horizons of change, actions which are aligned to our preferred futures. Without foresight and vision, we hardly know where are actions are taking us. By challenging and renewing our assumptions about the future, we gain the ability to make decisions and take actions that are consistent with how we want the future to be.

Invitation

You are invited to this introductory one-day foresight course, August 4th in Melbourne, taught completely through the medium of games. If you want to learn cutting edge foresight thinking and techniques to apply to your organisation or business, or if you love to play games, or both, this course is for you.

The course is based on the “Five Modes of Foresight” approach developed by Jose Ramos. Five Modes is a holistic, easy to understand and apply approach which includes: Forecasting, Scenarios, Perspective Taking, Embodiment and Shared Action. Participants will learn about each Mode by playing games that provide key experiences, ideas and techniques.

The course will be facilitated by Jose Ramos and Gareth Priday from Action Foresight. (Bios below)

*All participants will get a digital resource pack they can use to run the games on their own.

Eventbrite - Foresight through Games

Course Outline

Introduction

The course begins by presenting the Five Modes of Foresight approach. This provides a framework for the holistic application of strategic foresight.

Mode 1: Forecasting

We then launch straight into the The Weak Signals Forecasting Game. Inspired by Futurist Dr. Elina Hiltunen, The Weak Signals Forecasting Game is a game process that gives players an opportunity to test and refine assumptions related to forecasts, by employing weak signals analysis. Players bet against each other based on their perception of the relative weakness or strength of a signal or “future sign”.

Mode 2: Scenarios

The next game, scenario windtuneling, uses a process whereby participants play with the potential for interaction between various trends and emerging issues, exploring their implications and developing scenario sketches that test participant’s strategy assumptions. The game provides the basic principles and processes for understanding how scenarios are developed, and an understanding of the principle of ‘windtunneling’ for strategy testing.

Mode 3: Perspective Taking

We then do a game called the Polak Game, developed by Dr. Peter Hayward. In this game, participant get to experience different generic worldviews, and how taking these perspectives shapes the nature of how we see social systems and the strategies for change we employ.

Mode 4: Embodiment

The fourth game asks participants to embody the future through a particular role, using the Sarkar game, also developed by Dr. Peter Hayward, and based on the work of Dr. Sohail Inayatullah. The Sarkar game gives participants an opportunity to experience the challenge of working for change within a complex system.

Mode 5: Shared Action

The fifth game bridges foresight with action. Participants will play the Futures Action Model Game, developed by Dr. Jose Ramos and Gareth Priday, in which teams are challenged to design solutions in the context of the emerging future. Configurations emerge between the future, the design ecosystem, and global pioneers which lead to novel insights and solutions.

Learning Outcomes

  • A holistic understanding of the different modes of foresight and how they fit together (based on the Five Modes of Foresight approach).
  • An understanding of modes of foresight based on experiential processes, rather than just abstract learning, aiding memory and comprehension.
  • An introduction to at least 5 key foresight frameworks and methods, with the critical concepts for each game.
  • The experience of playing foresight games that can help in running the game in your organisation / community.
  • An emerging awareness of what modes are needed in different contexts, and how the different modes can be applied in organisational / personal / community domains.

*Please note that many of these processes require movement. If you want to do the course and are movement restricted or are a person with a disability, please contact the organiser so that we can find a way to make it work.

Schedule

9:00 – 9:30 Introducing ourselves, introducing foresight
9:30 – 9:50 Overview of the Five Modes
9:50 – 10:50 The Weak Signals Forecasting Game
11:00 – 11:15 Morning Tea
11:15 – 12:30 The Scenarios Windtunneling Game
12:30 – 1:15 Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 Polak Game
2:15 – 3:15 Sarkar Game
3:15 – 3:30 Afternoon Tea
3:30 – 4:45 Futures Action Model Game

… to 5:30 Game Reflect and Review

About the facilitators

Dr. Jose Ramos is founder of Action Foresight, a Melbourne-based business that focuses on bridging transformational futures with present-day action. He holds a Doctorate from Queensland University of Technology in Global Studies and Strategic Foresight and has taught and lectured on futures research, public policy, social innovation and globalization studies at the National University of Singapore, Swinburne University of Technology  the University of the Sunshine Coast and Victoria University. He is senior consulting editor for the Journal of Future Studies, and has over 50 publications spanning economic, cultural and political change. He is originally from California from Mexican American and Indigenous ancestry, now residing in Melbourne Australia with his wife De Chantal, son Ethan and daughter Rafaela.

Gareth Priday is a foresight practitioner and researcher with a focus on systemic innovation and Living Labs, with a Master of Management in Strategic Foresight. He is a co-founder of the Australian Living Labs Innovation Network (ALLIN), has held a research positions with the Queensland University of Technology (Smart Services CRC) as a foresight researcher. He has taught Foresight at Swinburne University of Technology and has published in the Journal of Futures Studies and presented at a number Futures and Innovation conferences. His first career was in the financial services sector working for large international banks in the UK and Australia (UBS Warburg, Macquarie, ABN Amro, Royal Bank of Scotland) where he delivered on large scale global projects.

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