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Summer Residential Intensive Program 2002
Dr. Wendy L. Schultz
Course Description | Assignments | Course Materials

The two futures research methods courses -- Futures Research Methods I and Futures Research Methods II -- are designed to offer tools and techniques directly related to the five primary activities of futures studies:  identifying and monitoring change; critiquing change; imagining difference; envisioning the preferred; and planning implementation of a preferred future.  Thus the first course in the sequence, Futures Research Methods I, focusses on environmental scanning and the gathering of trend data, critical thinking regarding the inferences that may be made based on the data gathered, and their extrapolation into forecasts.  Such forecasts provide a quantitative approach to imagining difference; this course, Futures Research Methods II, begins by exploring the theories of applied creativity, thus offering a foundation for the qualitative tools used in futures studies to imagine difference [and thus to critique change], and to envision the preferred.  The two-course sequence concludes by discussing how these tools may be integrated with strategic planning models to provide organizational foresight and change management.


  • participation -- 10 points;
  • completion of homework exercises -- 10 points;
  • a description and content analysis of three different existing scenarios -- 15 points;
  • three complete scenarios, each illustrating a different approach to scenario building -- 30 points;
  • an example of an existing vision statement for an organization in one of your cognate domains, and your choice of a vision approach for a sample client  in that domain which might produce a better vision -- 20 points; and
  • a strategic planning model which would help to achieve that vision, tailored specifically to the client using various futures research tools -- 15 points.

Formats for each assignment/class activity: specific, detailed descriptions of the format and content required for each assignment are contained in the assignments handout.

Grading: see University grading policy, last page of assignments handout.  Any written work may be revised and resubmitted for a grade revision, on the student’s initiative, prior to the end of term.


  • Understanding theories of creativity and practical applications of methods to enhance it, both individually and in groups;
  • Define foundation concepts, perspectives, methods, products, and applications of scenario building, visioning, and strategic planning informed by futures research;
  • Compare the relative usefulness and applicability of different approaches to scenario building, visioning, and strategic planning vis-a-vis different clients and contexts;
  • Understand how the output of environmental scanning, critical thinking, systems analysis, and quantitative forecasting contributes to and integrates with qualitative methods;
  • Complete portfolio-quality examples of scenarios and visions; and
  • Communicate the above clearly to others via discussion, presentation, and writing.


Required Texts

MILLER, William C.
Flash of Brilliance
1999:  Reading, Massachusetts:  Perseus Books
ISBN 0-7382-0018

Scenario Planning:  Managing for the Future
1998 New York:  John Wiley and Sons
ISBN 0-471-97790-X

KAKABADSE, Andrew, Frederic Nortier, and Nello-Bernard Abramovici
Success in Sight:  Visioning
1998 London:  International Thomson Business Press
ISBN 1-86152-160-X

Plus selected articles as distributed by the instructor.


Supplemental/Recommended Texts

De Bono, Edward
Lateral Thinking
1990 New York:  Harper Collins
ISBN 0-060-903252

Van Der Heijden, Kees
Scenarios:  The Art of Strategic Conversation
1996 Chichester, England:  John Wiley and Sons
ISBN 0-471-96639-8

> Resources > Course Syllabi > Intro | Classics | Systems | Methods | Facilitation | Governance | Images | World | Leadership

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