About this Course

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Earn a Certificate upon completion
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Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines
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Beginner Level
Approx. 14 hours to complete
Subtitles: English

What you will learn

  • Collect and Analyze SIGNALS OF CHANGE

  • Identify and Analyze GLOBAL DRIVERS OF CHANGE

  • Combine Signals and Drivers into FUTURE FORECASTS

  • Write SCENARIOS that tell a story about your FUTURE FORECAST

Skills you will gain

ForesightCreativityStrategic ThinkingScenario DevelopmentInnovation
Shareable Certificate
Earn a Certificate upon completion
100% online
Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines
Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level
Approx. 14 hours to complete
Subtitles: English


Offered by

Institute for the Future logo

Institute for the Future

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course


Week 1

4 hours to complete

Introduction to Future Forecasting

4 hours to complete
8 videos (Total 60 min), 7 readings, 3 quizzes
8 videos
Strong Opinions, Lightly Held6m
What's a forecast?10m
Mini-Masterclass: Forecasting 10110m
Looking for Drivers12m
More Global Drivers4m
Driver Example: Blockchain!2m
How to Make a Quick Forecast on any Topic9m
7 readings
Take our two-minute survey about the future!2m
Forecasting Skills Brief: Your "Cheat Sheet" for this course15m
Excerpt: Get There Early15m
Skills Refresher: Signals of Change10m
Examples of Drivers: The World in 203015m
Blockchain Futures25m
The Coming Era of Autonomous Vehicles15m
2 practice exercises
Future Forecasting Essentials10m
Blockchain basics10m

Week 2

3 hours to complete

How to Create a Future Forecast

3 hours to complete
4 videos (Total 34 min), 2 readings, 3 quizzes
4 videos
Combining Signals and Drivers into a Forecast (Part 2)8m
How to Reveal Unexpected Possibilities (Part 1)3m
How to Reveal Unexpected Possibilities (Part 2)9m
2 readings
Wired World: Forecasts for 2020 and beyond1h
TOOL: Reveal Unexpected Possibilities10m
2 practice exercises
Which forecast would impact you the most?15m
How would the Wired World forecast would change YOUR life?

Week 3

5 hours to complete

How to Write a Future Scenario

5 hours to complete
5 videos (Total 29 min), 4 readings, 2 quizzes
5 videos
DEMO: Building a Scenario From Scratch7m
SCENARIO: The Future of Learning and Earning7m
The importance of ridiculous ideas1m
A Few More Scenarios to Play With6m
4 readings
Signals of change behind the scenarios15m
Learning is Earning: Map of the Future25m
Scenarios from the Future of Technology (the Ethical Operating System)20m
The Future of Machines (3 Scenarios)25m
1 practice exercise
The Future of Machines10m

Week 4

2 hours to complete

How to Update Your Forecasts

2 hours to complete
3 videos (Total 14 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
3 videos
Updating a Forecast6m
Congratulations on finishing this course!1m
5 readings
Future of Money - A Forecast for 202110m
Future of the Internet: A Forecast for 202110m
Future of Households: A Forecast for 2020110m
Future of Social Media: A Forecast for 202110m
An invitation to join our free Alumni Network2m



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About the Futures Thinking Specialization

Do you want to think about the future with more creativity and optimism? Do you want to see what’s coming faster, so you can be better prepared for disruptions and more in control of your future? Do you want to get better at changing what’s possible today – in your company, your industry, your community, and in your own life? This Specialization will introduce you to the practice of futures thinking, as developed and applied for the past 50 years by the Institute for the Future, a Silicon-Valley-based research and learning group founded in 1968. You’ll master essential foresight techniques. You’ll meet leading professional futurists. And you’ll choose one or more future topics you want to investigate with your new foresight skills. The Futures Thinking specialization is for anyone who wants to spot opportunities for innovation and invention faster. You can gain the skills and confidence to help YOU become someone who makes the future, instead of letting the future happen to you. You'll develop a more future-oriented mindset to make positive changes in your own life, as you start to see new possibilities more clearly and craft the personal future you want. This specialization is based on the “How to Think Like a Futurist” workshops taught by Jane McGonigal, PhD for Stanford University Continuing Studies. By taking this specialization, you'll have access to key lessons and tools from the Institute for the Future’s professional “Foresight Training” certification program....
Futures Thinking

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Access to lectures and assignments depends on your type of enrollment. If you take a course in audit mode, you will be able to see most course materials for free. To access graded assignments and to earn a Certificate, you will need to purchase the Certificate experience, during or after your audit. If you don't see the audit option:

    • The course may not offer an audit option. You can try a Free Trial instead, or apply for Financial Aid.
    • The course may offer 'Full Course, No Certificate' instead. This option lets you see all course materials, submit required assessments, and get a final grade. This also means that you will not be able to purchase a Certificate experience.
  • When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. Your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

  • If you subscribed, you get a 7-day free trial during which you can cancel at no penalty. After that, we don’t give refunds, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. See our full refund policy.

  • Yes, Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford the fee. Apply for it by clicking on the Financial Aid link beneath the "Enroll" button on the left. You'll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you are approved. You'll need to complete this step for each course in the Specialization, including the Capstone Project. Learn more.

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