Participatory Futures Practitioner Design Course

Join the Action Foresight Global Swarm for a unique and custom learning experience as we explore approaches, cases, and assessment models for designing, implementing, and evaluating participatory futures engagements!


Learn how to apply futures thinking toward 21st century challenges, gain an in-depth understanding of participatory futures approaches through exercises and case studies, and gather tips and tricks for designing and delivering participatory futures engagements from leading practitioners.


Participatory futures refers to a range of approaches for involving citizens in exploring or shaping potential futures. It aims to influence and encourage long-term thinking and actions in the present.

Our course is designed to give you and your organization an introduction to:

  • Applying futures thinking at individual, communal, and organizational scales
  • Understanding the five approaches to participatory futures
  • Analyzing case studies of participatory futures from around the world
  • Designing more inclusive, imaginative, and impactful participatory futures engagements
  • Utilizing methods such as gaming and artifacts from the future(s)

Is this for me?

  • Do want to enhance your knowledge of futures/foresight through hands-on approaches and case studies?
  • Are you a practitioner/research who wants to enhance their capability in futures and foresight?
  • Are you an experienced practitioner/research interested in enhancing how you utilize participatory approaches?
  • Are you a civil servant seeking to leverage citizen involvement, collective intelligence, and critical creativity to enhance decision-making as well as policy, planning, and strategy development processes?
  • Do you work with communities, social movements, and/or any organization/institution that engages in citizen and public engagement?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this course is for you!

How much?

Standard registration: $750 AUD

Take advantage of our Primer2020, professional futurist membership, (APF, WFSF, and WFS) and student discount: $645 AUD


Starts on August 30th and runs through September 10th.

Cohort #1 meets at:
5am Toronto / Santiago
10am London
230pm Delhi
7pm Melbourne

Cohort #2 meets at:
3pm Boulder (day before)
5pm Santiago (day before)
10pm London (day before)
7am Melbourne (next day)

We are committed to running sessions at times that work for everyone and will also make session recordings and materials available to all participants.


Want to learn more about the curriculum?

Have questions about the course?

Want to chat before you sign up? Let us know!



The Action Foresight Global Swarm (hereafter Swarm) is a network of researchers, practitioners, and pracademics. We represent a diverse array of geographies, context, as well as a range of unique professional backgrounds and experiences. We first swarmed together in 2019 for a project with NESTA to research participatory futures, which led to the publication of this guidebook: Our Futures: By the people, for the people. We enjoyed working together so much that we are publishing a book together and decided to launch this course.

Key details

  • We will do a brief refresher on the basics of futures/foresight (first session)
  • 7 session totaling 10-hours over 10 days (Aug 30 to Sep 9th) as well as an individual, one-hour coaching/mentoring session (with two members of the Swarm) that will be scheduled in the weeks after the course concludes
  • We will use Miro, Zoom, and Mentimeter to create an engaging and hands-on learning experience
  • Cohorts are capped at 20 to maximize shared learning
  • We aim for maximum convenience in terms of timing, and depending on the number and location of the course attendees, we may offer multiple cohorts by region and/or experience level
  • Participants will receive a “Certification of Completion” upon successfully finishing the course

If you’d like to learn more about any aspect of the course or have questions not answered here, please reach out and let’s chat!



Strategic foresight helps people to understand how the future may be different to the present, and how to create a preferred future for their organisations. Anticipating changes in their operating environments allowing for proactive planning, strategy development, risk management, operational agility, innovation and new business development.

Strategic foresight approaches and techniques can be used in a variety of settings. Policy makers want to be able to anticipate changes affecting particular regions,, and develop proactive policy. Corporate and business thinkers need to understand key industry shifts if they wish to develop new strategic intent, business and innovation strategies.

Social development professionals need to understand the challenges that will be faced by communities in the future, and develop action strategies to address these.

Strategic foresight integrates an eclectic mix of thinking and methods, such as forecasting, systems analysis, communications / discourse analysis, organizational psychology, participatory development processes, and organisational learning and development.

Many of our projects use and incorporate strategic foresight approaches.

Our publications in the area of foresight / futures studies include:

Foresight in a Network Era: Peer-producing Alternative Futures

Anticipatory Governance: Traditions and Trajectories for Strategic Design

Forging the Synergy between Anticipation and Innovation: The Futures Action Model

The Futures of Power in the Network Era


Living Labs

Living Labs bring together researchers, businesses and end-users to co-create a solution to a real life problem. End-users participate in all stages of the Living Lab experiement, and real-life spaces and places are used to host the research process.

Participants in a Living Lab work together to understand end-user needs, create design solutions, develop prototypes and test commercial products.

Living Labs can be hosted by businesses, universities, communities or anyone interested in developing new services.

Throughout the Living Lab process, special emphasis is placed on end-user involvement and the use of real life contexts throughout the development cycle of the product or service.

This enables the production of products or services which can change peoples’ lives.

Action Foresight has recently completed a project called

Exploring the asset protection needs of Australians living on low-incomes: a living lab pilot“.

Anticipatory Design

We have been guided by a passion and vision to link foresight and action.  The link between design thinking and foresight has become more prominent, with renewed emphases on social innovation, social entrepreneurship and co-creativity.

A new generation of design thinking is emerging, trans-disciplinary, engaging across art, science and technology, commons-oriented and deeply collaborative and participatory. Service design thinking has become an important approach in the interface between creative industries, enterprise creation and social innovation. Service design both incorporates the use of foresight as leverage in conceptualizing services and innovations in the context of social change, and incorporates a participatory and (design ethnography) orientation so that design is tightly coupled with end users.

Applications for Anticipatory Design ranges from project development, and social innovation incubation to larger scale urban design foresight and anticipatory policy development.

Projects in this area includes:

Creating the Age Friendly City: An Initial Evaluation

Bendigo a Thinking Community

Financial Resilience Living Lab

Publications in this area include:

Forging the Synergy between Anticipation and Innovation: The Futures Action Model

From Social foresight to social entrepreneurship: pathways to sustainability

Anticipatory Innovation





Social Learning for Sustainability

Climate change, a swelling global population, demographic shifts and increased pressure on natural resources – it is clear that ecological sustainability is one of the greatest challenges that will be faced by the communities of the future.

We bring a unique set of future oriented ‘thinking tools’ to our work with people; helping them to understand how they can protect and enhance our local and global ecological heritage.

We  specialize in designing learning and educational programs, workshops, curricula and courses for both community and corporate groups.

Projects specialising in social learning for sustainability include:

Bendigo a Thinking Community

Community Pulse Project Strategic Evaluation

Creating the Age Friendly City: An Initial Evaluation

Our publications in this area include:

The wired village: sustainability, social networking and values in an urban permaculture community

Alternative Futures of Globalisation: A socio-ecological study of the world social forum process




Collaboration / Co-creation

Team formation and collaboration is a universal feature of working life – and one of its greatest sources of challenge and difficulty.
Only a healthy, learning-oriented team can effectively implement visionary initiatives that take root and thrive.

We can teach members of your organization simple, structured methods of communication, personal practices of self-awareness and an easy-to-grasp type model of team complexity to guide participants toward better teamwork that unleashes learning and reduces stress.

Action Research

Action research is an approach to organizational inquiry where researchers provide consulting services in close collaboration with key people in an organization.

Action research is a valuable approach because the research process is directly informed by the needs of organizational members (instead of research being outsourced or disconnected from organizational life).

We specialize in linking strategic foresight with action research methodology. This means that your organization’s exploration of changing dynamics in your sector (issues and trends) and the preferred future vision you hold for your organization, is coupled directly to the development of actionable and intelligent strategic pathways and the development of capabilities.

We have over a decade of experience exploring and designing approaches that suit client’s diverse needs.

Projects that have taken Action Research approaches include:

Financial Resilience Living Lab

The Foresight Epidemic

Bendigo a Thinking Community

Community Pulse Project Strategic Evaluation

Publications developing Action Research approaches include:

Forging the Synergy between Anticipation and Innovation: The Futures Action Model

Futures Education as Temporal Conscientization

Dimensions in the confluence of futures studies and action research

Empowering Entrepreneurship Through Foresight and Innovation

Action Research As Foresight Methodology