Have you ever thought about where you are in ten years? Have you ever thought about how the world looks then? That is thinking about the future. 

Did you have a few alternatives where you are in ten years? Did you have a few alternatives to how the world looks then? Did you think which of those alternatives would be more desirable? Did you think about how you can make that happen? That is Futures Thinking. 

Defining Future Thinking

By Futures Thinking, we use our imagination to form images of possible futures. Based on our own values, we form opinions about which of the possible futures images are desirable. If the future image really excites you and you are a determined person, you start to strive towards that future image. 

Futures Thinking is defined as “identifying and challenging current developments and assumptions about the future, imagining alternative futures and linking them with the choices we make today” by Liisa Puosa (1). 

Why is Future Thinking Important to Youth Today?

In recent years, we have faced crisis after crisis. Global warming, biodiversity loss, Covid-19, war in Europe, inflation… All of these crises have been overwhelming for youth – and for adults too. In these times, we all need hope for a better future. 

The youth should learn how to imagine desirable possible futures. But not only imagine, they should also learn that what they do today and tomorrow, can make those futures happen. This is what Futures Thinking is about: You imagine possible futures, you choose a desirable one and then you think what you can do to achieve it. 

A desirable future for a young person could be a dream profession or even a world without climate change. They choose. They know.

1 Liisa Pousa (2022) Webinar: HERÄÄMÖ x Waves: Enabling change through narrative foresight. SITRA. 25.8.2022 https://www.sitra.fi/en/events/heraamo-x-waves-enabling-change-through-narrative-foresight/