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Collaborative Foresight: How to Game the Future

Institute for the Future via Coursera


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You’ll never have a complete picture of what's possible in the future if you look at it from just one point of view. The best way to expand your vision? Engage as many people as you can, and “game out” the possibilities together. In this course, you’ll learn how to use collaborative gaming techniques to go beyond your own thinking and see many, many different sides of the same future. Over the past decade, the Institute for the Future has pioneered new methods in “massively-multiplayer foresight.” You’ll learn how to adapt these methods to get diverse, surprising views of what’s possible, build your empathy for other people’s futures, and reduce your risk of being “blindsided” by the future. This course features content from the Ethical Operating System, a tool created by the Institute in collaboration with Omidyar Networks’ Tech and Society Lab. It’s designed to help technology companies anticipate risks and prevent unwanted consequences of the things they build. Whether or not you work in tech, the Ethical Operating System will give you the chance to participate right now in an urgent future forecasting game. The stakes of the game are the future of truth, privacy, democracy, security, and our collective well-being. It’s a unique opportunity to join creative and strategic forces with people who are making the tech that’s inventing the future, and with fellow futures thinkers like you. Many thanks to the Enlight Foundation and the Enlight Collaborative, which provided a grant to support the creation of this course.


  • Introduction to Collaborative Foresight
    • Welcome to Collaborative Foresight. Shall we play a game? This week, you'll learn the basics: What is a future forecasting game? How do you run one? And who should you invite to play? At the end of the week, you'll choose your own future scenario that you think would make for a great game.
  • How to Game Out Surprising Consequences
    • How can you spin up a new forecasting game, fast? This week, you'll learn how to use a future wheel to collect lots of surprising ideas from many different people. You'll be challenged to game out five different scenarios using the future wheel platform. And, of course, you'll have the chance to design your own future wheel! Let's play!
  • Positive and Shadow Imagination
    • Let's add another tool to your gaming toolkit. This week, you'll learn about positive and shadow imagination. What is it, and how can it help you run a successful future forecasting game? While you're practicing this new skill, get ready to take a deep dive on two exciting future topics: the future of space settlement and the future of neurosensing social networks!
  • Tools for Seeing the Future from a Different Point of View
    • This week you'll get to practice two more tools for seeing the future from massively many points of view: Leading-Edge interviews and the Four Future Feelings tool. Get ready to meet new people and organize your own playful conversations about the future!
  • Epic Wins
    • You've created and played a future forecasting game. Now what? This week, you'll learn how to take your game findings and propose innovative solutions to our most urgent challenges today. You'll also get everything you need to organize and play one more kind of futures thinking game: The Equitable Futures Card game. Ready, set... win!

Taught by

Jane McGonigal


4.9 rating at Coursera based on 239 ratings

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