Insights · March 13th, 2023

Prepare for the Future of Business Today.

Join Nikolas Badminton, recently appointed faculty at the Schulich School of Business ExecEd, to understand the fundamental theories on foresight and futures design and the role and responsibilities of futurists and foresight practitioners in any organization. The Foresight and Futures Design Program combines adult learning and best practices to teach the fundamentals and basics of foresight and futures design.

The next Schulich School of Business – Foresight and Futures Design Program starts on April 3rd, 2023 – sign up today – click here.

Who is the program for?

The Foresight and Futures Design Program is for executives, directors, strategic planning, and creative professionals who are eager to understand the value and application of foresight and futures design in their organization.

What is the program about? 

The program will help attendees understand the fundamental theories on foresight and futures design, the role and responsibilities of futurists and foresight practitioners in organizations, and will prime them to understand signals scanning and trend identification; scenario building and identification of unknown risks; backcasting and strategic considerations; and, futures storytelling.

What is the format of the program?

This is a two half-day virtual asynchronous program – 6 hours in total- that combines adult learning best-practices to teach the fundamentals and basics of foresight and futures design. It features lessons and activities, and guest appearances by established futurists practicing and advising impactful clients globally.


We all think about our futures in one way or another. However, there are organizations that have established anticipatory capabilities – the ability to see what is coming – using foresight and futures design capabilities. These capabilities scan for signals of change, identify trends, and develop scenarios that support a more anticipatory, vigilant, and future-prepared organization. 

Anticipatory organizations can develop bolder visions, imagine new products and services, and evolve corporate strategic planning to integrate future scenarios. In addition, they create increased awareness of risks and opportunities and targets for incremental consumer engagement and revenues.

This interactive program acts as a primer and covers the fundamental theories on foresight and futures design and provides understanding on the role and responsibilities of futurists and foresight practitioners in organizations. In addition, it provides overviews and exercised that teaches signals scanning and trend identification, futures scenario building and identification of unknown risks, backcasting to inform strategic planning, and the opportunity with futures storytelling.

This program uses aspects of the methods outlined in Nikolas Badminton’s new book ‘Facing Our Futures: How Foresight, Futures Design and Strategy Creates Prosperity and Growth’ and discusses the value of exploring our futures to provide a holistic view of the way forward towards 10, 20 and 50+ year horizons ahead of us.

Learning Outcomes

The program will focus on these learning outcomes:

  • Establish an understanding of fundamental ideas that underpin foresight and futures thinking using established frameworks and thinking
  • Know the process to identify useful signals and trends and discuss the implications
  • Consider trends, outcomes and solutions and then structure simple what if scenarios that show the dynamics of these ideas playing out at a future horizon
  • Understand how to undertake backcasting to help identify strategic considerations that can be applied in current strategic thinking.
  • See the capabilities and change in thinking needed to Implement a foresight capability in your organization.

What organizational pain points can this program serve?

  • Lack of foresight and anticipation – a lack of long-term vision can affect the ability for organizations to see where disruption is coming relating to macro global events and new developments from within their industry.
  • Limited organizational vision – organizations can be limited in articulating what they will provide to humanity and the planet today and in the following decades.
  • Short-term strategic planning and unknown risk identification – see strategic opportunities, challenges and unknown risks that are likely to appear in 10, 20 and 30+ years that have an effect of your organization’s strategic planning today.

Course Structure

Day 1 will be 3 hours and consist of modules 1, 2 and 3.

Module 1: Understand foresight and futures thinking fundamentals

The program begins by focusing on creating foundational understanding of the history and discipline of foresight and futures design. We will cover:

  • The history of Foresight, the role and responsibilities of a Futurist and the role of foresight in modern organizations.
  • The steps of scanning signals, identifying trends, defining scenarios, and imagining futures through stories and experiential futures.
  • Foresight fundamentals and methods – the plurality of our futures, Four Futures Model, Generic Foresight Model, Futures Cone, and the Futurist Think Tank’s Foresight Framework used with clients by Nikolas and his team.

Module 2: Prime Futures Thinking – Current Signals, Megatrends, and Industry Trends

We will prime the attendees thinking, in preparation for the exercises, with a review the current state of the world with a 40 minute keynote from Nikolas Badminton on the signals, megatrends, and industry trends. With each trend area we will explore scenarios that may play out in our futures. Following the presentation there will be a discussion on the content of the presentation.

There will be time for an interactive Q&A.

Module 3: Explore futures using the Foresight Framework 

We will deep dive into the structure, steps of the Foresight Framework so that attendees can follow through the steps as we progress through the program. An overarching business hypothesis, positive futures principles, scanning themes and areas of exploration will be presented and discussed. There will then be an exercise undertaken in groups of 2 or 3 attendees that explores the

  • Analysis of multiple signals – from Module 2 – to identify pertinent trends. positive and negative effects (risks), and potential solutions
  • Building WHAT IF… scenarios

Day 2 will be 3 hours and consist of modules 4, 5 and 6 plus an interactive chat with Founder and Futurist Emeritus Glen Hiemstra.

Module 4: Develop speculative fiction and experiential futures

We will look at the role of speculative fiction and immersive futures design and look at leading examples in these areas from masters of futures storytelling. In addition, we will

Understand the discipline, creative processes and application of design fiction and storytelling
Review scenarios created on DAY ONE and brainstorm story actors, contexts, and situations that can lead us to writing stories about our futures – in the same groups of 2 or 3 attendees from Day 1.

Module 5: Link our futures to current strategic thinking using backcasting

We will understand how backcasting allows us to travel backwards from the futures we have created to where we are today by identifying strategic considerations from the futures scenarios we have built. We will:

  • Discuss what people need to be involved, what processes might need to evolve or be installed, what governance (internal and external) might be needed, and what solutions might need to be put into place to progress futures thinking.
  • Understand the intersection of backcasting with corporate vision development and brand positioning, and with planning models like with PESTLE and LEAN.

Module 6: Understand how to establish foresight in your organization

We will understand the role and importance of establishing foresight capabilities in your organization, the key individuals and the importance of governance, visibility, and transparency 

  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of key individuals – Chief Futures Officers (CfuO), Futures Creative Director (FCD), Futures Design Leads (FDL), Content Creators, and Signals and Trends Analysts
  • Understand how to develop personal and organizational futures consciousness, and how we can embrace new modes for thinking about our futures.

Bonus: A chat and Q&A with Glen Hiemstra

Nikolas Badminton will interview Glen Hiemstra who will share stories, his methods, futures thinking, and his advice gleaned from over 40 years working with private and public companies, governments, NGOs and not-for-profit organizations. 

There will also be an open Q&A between Glen and course attendees.

For more information about the course structure, timing and fees please visit the Schulich School of Business.

About Schulich School of Business

York is a leading international teaching and research university, and a driving force for positive change. Empowered by a welcoming and diverse community with a uniquely global perspective, we are preparing our students for their long-term careers and personal success. Together, we can make things right for our communities, our planet and our future.

Schulich has achieved its status as Canada’s preeminent business school by being ahead of the curve, anticipating new and developing trends in business. Here are some of the key milestones celebrating Schulich’s transformational role as thought leader, breaking new ground in management education globally.

About Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist at He’s a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, author media producer, and executive advisor that has spoken to, and worked with, over 300 of the world’s most impactful organizations and governments. He helps shape the visions that shape impactful organizations, trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments, and 200+ billion dollar investment funds.

The #1 Best Selling Book – ‘Facing Our Futures: How Foresight, Futures Design and Strategy Creates Prosperity and Growth’ at AmazonBloomsburyBarnes and Noble and other fine purveyors of books. We’s also love it if you considered visiting and ordering from your local, independent book store as well.

Please contact futurist speaker and consultant Nikolas Badminton to discuss your engagement or event.

Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas