Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Forecasting Skills: See the Future Before it Happens

Institute for the Future via Coursera


For many people, the future comes as a surprise – or even a shock. But with strong forecasting skills, YOU can avoid future shock. You can adapt faster, and become better prepared to benefit from change. In this course, you’ll build your future forecasting skills. You'll learn how to turn groups of "signals" (clues about the future) and "drivers" (global forces that influence the direction of change) into compelling future forecasts. Forecasts help you discover new possibilities and opportunities for yourself, your company, or any community you want to inspire to make a better future. You'll also learn how to write future scenarios. Scenarios take forecasts one step further. They spark imagination and tell a story about what might happen if a forecast comes true. Scenarios help you evaluate: Is this a future I'm ready for? Is this a future I want? Leading futurists from the Institute for the Future will show you exactly how it's done. They'll share with you the forecasts and scenarios they’re most excited about right now, and walk you through the key steps they took to create them. Then, it's your turn! You'll create a forecast and a scenario on any future topic you choose. How will you benefit from taking this course? With strong forecasting skills, you'll get better at seeing the future before it happens. You'll be ready to consider possibilities that others never see coming or refuse to accept. You'll be able to help others prepare for and adapt to the future. You can decide which futures you want to make more likely, and which futures you want to prevent. Many thanks to the Enlight Foundation and the Enlight Collaborative, which provided a grant to support the creation of this course.


  • Introduction to Future Forecasting
    • Welcome to our journey to the future! This week, you'll learn the basics: What's a future forecast? What makes a forecast good? What kind of data should I use to make my forecasts? By the end of the week, you'll be ready to analyze "drivers of change", and make your own first, tiny future forecast.
  • How to Create a Future Forecast
    • You've got the forecasting basics down. Now it's time to play and experiment with bigger ideas! This week, you'll take a look at some of the Institute for the Future's most interesting recent forecasts. Then, you'll practice combining signals and drivers of change to reveal your own surprising possibilities.
  • How to Write a Future Scenario
    • You've forecast the future! Now what? This week, you'll learn how to write scenarios. A scenario takes your forecast one step further. It tells a story about what might happen IF your forecast comes true. A scenario will help YOU evaluate: Am I ready for this future? Is this a future I want? Scenarios are fun. Let's go explore some!
  • How to Update Your Forecasts
    • What happens if your forecast is wrong? What happens when a scenario you wrote actually comes true? This week, you'll learn how to update your forecasts and rethink your scenarios. With these techniques, you can make sure you're never "stuck" with old ways of thinking about possible futures.

Taught by

Jane McGonigal


4.9 rating at Coursera based on 468 ratings

Start your review of Forecasting Skills: See the Future Before it Happens

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.