There are many different tools and capabilities to use when studying the future. Some, like scenario planning, have a long history that goes back to the foundation of futures studies as a discipline in the 1960's. Others, like futures literacy, are emergent capabilities that are continously studied, developed and taught.
Through a systematic but open-minded exploration of how trends impact and intersect, new avenues of change will appear that might otherwise have been hidden from our view. Our research is based on the assumption that the future, to a degree, can be explained by a range of relatively certain societal driving forces (megatrends) that take us from the past over the present, and into the future. Other aspects of the future are out of our control, which means that the future can never be singular or predetermined, and that a range of uncertainties give shape to different possible trajectories.
Our fixed assumptions about the future determine our field of view and thus our range of actions, so continuously challenging these assumptions is central to achieving a more unhindered approach to futures thinking. How we talk, write, and think about the future also actively shapes its outcome, further highlighting how we need more, not less, awareness of the future in today's world.
We all contribute to making the future happen, and our actions today have consequences down the line. Therefore our work and research is founded in the principle that the future can and must be influenced on an informed and transparent basis, which is why the Institute has remained a self-governed, non-profit think tank independent of outside commercial and political interests since its foundation in 1969.
You can read more about our methods and approach here.