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  3. Acquisition Leadership: Futures Thinking

Acquisition Leadership: Futures Thinking

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Futures Thinking



What is futures thinking?

Futures thinking is a creative and exploratory approach to thinking about the future in a structured and intentional way. It’s useful for anyone who wants to spot opportunities, adapt faster, and become better prepared to benefit from the inevitable changes ahead. For additional information about futures thinking watch the Futures Thinking video at this website at dau.edu.

Why use futures thinking?

Here are some reasons why it’s beneficial:
•   Adaptation and preparedness: It helps individuals and organizations adapt faster, become better prepared, and benefit from inevitable changes. It provides the capacity to proactively anticipate changes, recognize opportunities, and ease the transition toward desirable futures.
•   Spotting opportunities: Futures thinking can help spot opportunities that might not be apparent in the present.
•   Strategy development: It allows for the identification of options, development of strategies, and actions to shape the future.
•   Assumption inspection: It can be used as a way of inspecting beliefs, habits, and assumptions, helping to reveal constraints and reevaluate what’s possible.
•   Fosters hope and optimism: A futures-thinking mindset fosters hope in what may currently seem unattainable but is still possible.

What is foresight?  

Foresight is not a prediction of future events.  Rather, it is knowledge or insight about the future.  DAU uses a six-step process to guide futures thinking and develop foresight, with various methods and tools available to carry out each step.  The steps are as follows:

  1. Framing
  2. Scanning
  3. Futuring
  4. Visioning
  5. Designing 
  6. Acting
What is strategic foresight?

When an organization develops foresight to inform its strategic planning or decision making it is called strategic foresight. It is used to critically consider the future to better make decisions and take action in the present. Applying futures thinking to develop strategic foresight is a growing practice in large companies, government, and non-profit organizations. For additional information about strategic foresight watch the Strategic Foresight video at this website at dau.edu.

What is the difference between strategic foresight and futures thinking?

While both strategic foresight and futures thinking involve considering possible futures, strategic foresight is more focused on planning and decision-making within an organizational context, whereas futures thinking is a broader approach that can be applied by anyone to understand and prepare for future changes.

Why should I include strategic foresight as part of my strategic planning process?

Strategic foresight can enhance your strategic planning process by providing a more comprehensive view of the future, improving decision-making, and helping your organization adapt to change.

Futures thinking resources & training

DAU – WSM 028 Workshop – Strategic Planning with Futures Thinking

DAU – 6.0 Futures Thinking – Video, 2022

DAU – Seeing the Future, and Acting on It – Webinar recording, 8.19.2020

Futurology: The Card Game

Futurology is a card game where an end state is given at the beginning.  The game helps participants appreciate how futures thinking can help develop foresight in a fun, challenging, and thoughtful way.

Learn more about futurology by clicking this link.


For more information, contact [email protected]