Masterclass ‘How to Future’ Masterclass ‘How to Future’

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This fast­moving, one­day masterclass is designed to introduce participants to a range of concepts and practices used in strategic foresight as it connects to strategy and design—the Minimum Necessary Futures Toolkit. The Masterclass teaches students how to apply these tools for trends research, simple scenario development and prototyping.

Our condensed “taster” class covers the main concepts typically taught in a two­week intensive and teaches participants key tools which they can then apply inside a team or organization. Participants also gain an understanding of how to generate structured futures in a range of situations and contexts. Strategists, designers, writers, consultants, planners, policymakers, activists and many other roles find immediate benefit from learning and applying these tools and methods. Workshops can be focused on particular markets, industries or other themes.

 1-Day Workshops typically run 7-­8 hours and include introductions to:

  • Scanning and signal identification — How to understand and organize signals of possible futures.
  • Collection, organization and synthesis — How to start making sense of signals and see emerging trends.
  • Trend taxonomies — How to sort, prioritize and understand relationships among trends.
  • Mapping and clustering for pattern recognition — How to make sense of emerging patterns.
  • Timelines and horizon models — How to connect the near and the far to expose gaps and needs.
  • Quick scenarios — How to combine patterns and themes into narratives about the future.
  • World­building and rapid prototyping — How to turn narratives into rich stories and artifacts.
  • Communicating through scenarios and speculative prototypes — How to bring others into your possible future to share and debate insights.



This 1-­Day Workshop is a mix of introductory exposure to each approach, and hands­on exercises to put these approaches to use. Participants are given a simple homework assignment in advance of the Workshop to jumpstart signal collection and enrich the morning discussion.

Time is set aside for discussion, and sharing examples from participants’ own experience. All effort will be made to cover the range of topics listed here, but program is subject to editing based on group progress.

Participants will come away from this Masterclass with a common vocabulary for talking about the future, essential tools and research approaches for gathering future trends and signals, ability to map futures along timelines, basic scenario skills and prototyping experience that will enable internal teams to start envisioning and building their own futures immediately.

About Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the founder and managing partner of Amsterdam­based futures consultants Changeist, where he leads strategy, research and design activities. His work is built on over 20 years’ experience tracking social, cultural, technological and economic trends, and combines grounded research with narrative design to explore the unanticipated. Scott has over two decades of experience in the forecasting and futures fields, having worked and led workshops in almost 20 countries.

Scott has been deeply involved in foresight and innovation education, first as co­developer, lead instructor and advisor for the Futures Institute at the Duke University TIP program, and currently as programme coordinator and lead lecturer in futures, innovation and design at IED Barcelona. He was also a 2015 visiting lecturer at the School of International Futures (SoIF) in the UK.

On the public side, Scott is also a commentary writer for Quartz and has been a contributor to How We Get to Next, WIRED UK and HOLO. He has guest lectured at the RCA in London, and has been a returning speaker at LIFT, FutureEverything, and

Media Future Week, and has spoken at SXSW, EPIC, NRC Moonshot, and The Next Web Europe. He also designed and led an innovation lab for FutureEverything in fall 2015 in Singapore.