Certificate in Strategic Foresight

I got an email last week from the World Future Society telling me about the Certificate in Strategic Foresight that's running for 5 days in Houston, Texas from January 11 – 15 2010.

This five-day program in January 2010 provides tools to create a positive future for your company and yourself in today's constantly changing world.

It's related to a Masters in Technology in Future Studies in Commerce. I took a look at the content of this and am very tempted by both the Masters (it is online) and the five day course. Unfortunately I can't go to the January one but I'm hoping it will appear again later in the year.

It's tempting because one of the things I'm constantly telling the people I do organization design work with is that there is no 'future' state that is predictable and so designing for the gap between current and future is somewhat of an empty exercise (if they believe the future can be planned). The Master's degree outline notes that:

Professional futurists emphasize systemic and transformational change as opposed to traditional forecasters and planners who focus on incremental change based on existing conditions and trends. Since long-term predictive forecasts are rarely correct, futurists describe alternative plausible and preferable futures, in addition to the expected future. Instead of limiting themselves to traditional forecasters' quantitative methods, futurists also use a balance of qualitative and quantitative tools. The program provides collaboration and innovation with multiple perspectives on foresight, business and marketing, consumer science and retailing. Our experience suggests that the demand for strategic foresight graduates in commercial and public sectors will continue to rise.

So taking the program may well give me insights into how to help organization designers work with these approaches. Meanwhile I enjoy the notes and forecasts from the World Future Society – one of several such forums that are involved in this type of thinking.