is Infinite Futures?
Since 1980, my futures work has focussed on facilitating
futures fluency: helping groups of people explore --
and celebrate! -- the myriad possibilities that change creates.
This focus on process, rather than output per se, has resulted
in over a decade of participatory futures work: designing
sea-level-rise/environmental management workshops for leaders
in the Republic of the Marshall Islands; helping U.S. court
administrators envision the future of justice; exploring alternative
futures for human endeavours in space with participants at
the International Space University; and building alternative
scenarios for dental health policy in Great Britain. While
such projects required every aspect of futures research --
identifying emerging issues of change, imagining the alternative
futures arising from various trends, envisioning preferred
futures as goals, planning strategies to create those visions,
and monitoring progress towards the vision -- my focus, and
the focus of Infinite Futures, is on workshop
design, facilitation, and documentation.
is Futures Research?
Futures researchers track technical innovations,
value shifts, geopolitical tides, environmental perturbations,
economic developments, demographic patterns, and other trends
of change. From these data they create scenarios of possible
alternative futures, which are then used as contingencies
within strategic planning. Working as facilitators, futures
researchers can help communities and organizations envision
their preferred futures and compare those visions with current
trends and scenarios of possible futures. The process leads
to practical planning and policy-making.
Wendy L. Schultz
Fellow, World Futures
in Futures Studies, '01-'02;
Faculty, Univ. of Houston-Clear Lake
MS in Studies of the Future
In July 2002
I had the great fun of drafting three essays for TechTV's
Catalog of Tomorrow ; I am currently adapting Catalog content
into interactive foresight exercises for this website. From
December 2001 through May 2002, I had the honor of joining my
colleagues at the Finland Futures Research Centre for a six-month
stay as a Fulbright Lecturer and Researcher. I am very grateful
to the U.S. Fulbright Commission, the Finland Fulbright Committee,
and my colleagues in Turku for this opportunity, and am currently
organizing and writing up the resulting research.
From August 1996
through August 2001, I was Visiting Assistant Professor in
Studies of the Future at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
During that time I organized two conferences, designed and
taught six different graduate seminars, edited the five-year
program review, and served for one year as Acting Chair. My
sojourn in Houston also included co-designing and teaching
a graduate seminar on Public Health Leadership at the University
of Texas School of Public Health. My relationship with UHCL
and my colleagues in Studies of the Future continues with
annual participation in the program's Residential Intensive
Summer Session, which offers the Master's program in an innovative
combination of immersive, face-to-face classes in two successive
summers, joined by year-round on-line activities.
My permanent home
is still in Oxford, England [my spouse, Jay Lewis, is the
Korea Foundation Lecturer in Korean Studies], where I am currently
working with a small group of business and community futurists
creating foresight resources for business, government, non-profit,
and community leaders. Since moving to the UK, I have also
worked with the International Space University, lecturing
on futures studies and visioning at ISU's Summer Session `95
in Stockholm, at the inauguration of their Master's program
in October 1995 in Strasbourg, France, and most recently at
Summer Session '02 in Los Angeles.
Prior to my 1994
move to England, I spent a decade and a half working at the
Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies (University of
Hawai'i at Manoa). While there I developed participatory workshops
to enable people to learn various futures techniques and perspectives
experientially. My research experience has included, among
other projects: designing group scenario-building for Hawai'i's
planners; creating a visioning process for U.S. state courts;
developing Hawaii's Ocean Resource Management Plan; planning
for sea level rise in the Republic of the Marshall Islands;
and forecasting world natural gas trade.
I completed my
doctoral dissertation, "Futures Fluency: explorations in vision,
leadership, and creativity," in 1995, and have served as both
an Executive Council member of the World Futures Studies Federation
(WFSF) and as a Course Director for the WFSF Futures Seminar
in Dubrovnik, Croatia.