Methods you can use in your life
Futurists use a number
of different methods to explore or describe possibilities for the future. A few of the more popular are described very briefly
A method that looks outside of the organization's or individual's
normal realm to see what changes are coming. Technology is one area that changes quickly and impacts many areas of life and
business. Some futurists use the acronym "STEEP" to remind them of broad categories of change, including: Social,
Technology, Economic, Ecologic and Political change.
Trend identification and analysis-
lines indicate the direction and speed of change and are based on measurements of an indicator over multiple time periods.
A line that connects the data points on a graph, for example of population over 50 years, would indicate whether the population
is growing or declining and how rapidly the population is changing.
Trend extrapolation -
An extension of a trend line into the future, usually based on the present direction of the trend line supplemented by the
futurist’s knowledge of related factors. In the example above of population forecasts, instead of simply extending the
existing line along the same direction, futurists and forecasters might consider factors such as declining birth rates and
increasing life expectancy.
One of the best-known methods for exploring
the future. The scenario method develops several stories about possible futures. These stories are based on forces, trends
and other factors that exist in the present that can be projected into the future, usually including an optimistic scenario
and a pessimistic scenario. There are at least a dozen variations on this method, but for personal futures we will start with
a four-scenario matrix method.
This method is very common in business,
and is often used in conjunction with scenarios by futurists. In this approach, scenarios suggest possible futures, and strategic
planning provides strategies and plans to deal with those futures. Here we will use a version of personal strategic planning
that includes creating a vision of your future, developing strategies and an action plan to achieve that vision, and contingency
plans to deal with the unexpected.
Personal Futures Workbook is available as a FREE download on the "Downloads" page.