Future context (Host edition)






Pens, post-its, wall


Head of Program


#contextual understanding

Introduction: In Future Leaders, we are preparing ourselves to navigate and lead in a complex world. We aim to develop the leadership capabilities that will help us to face the challenges of tomorrow, and to shape the future in positive ways. This is why we start by looking collectively at our future context - the world we will all live and work in. This is the future we are preparing for in this program. Of course, knowing what the future is like is tricky! We are preparing for a world that does not yet exist. The world is changing rapidly, and there is much more information than one person can take in. No one has all the answers. This means that most useful will be to learn how to learn. To be able to adapt, we need to learn how to see what is important, being aware that our own knowledge is limited.

Research in foresight and futurism shows us that to have a fuller picture of where we are going, it is useful to explore the different scenarios that we can imagine, and what is personally relevant for each of us. They also claim that statistically larger groups of nonexperts will together come up with a more precise prediction of future events than โ€œexpertsโ€ in that field, since they have access to a broader range of data points (Epstein 2019). Intention:

In this task, we are going to collectively explore the future context in 10 years - the โ€œterrainโ€ in which we all will need to navigate, work and live in. Everyone has their unique perspectives and together we can help each other unfold the future context we see, as this group of people in this room. Each person will have space to share what they see as important in our shared future. This will not only give us an idea of the futures we imagine in this room, but also the futures we want to shape and create. Finally, we will explore what this future context requires from us, and what we want to learn to meet it.


Facilitator Preparation:

On a large wall in the room, set out these three words for organizing post-its around: FEAR EXPECT WANT


30 Min:

Individually: Imagine the Future context that we might see emerging in the next 10 years.

Reflect on the following three questions, and write down the keywords on post-it notes. It is your choice which question you start with. There are no right or wrong answers here. This is for finding out what is relevant for you personally:

  • What do I fear will happen?

  • What do I expect to probably happen? / Where do I see the world going?

  • What do I want to happen?


40min: Take turns to share the thoughts you have written on post-its, one person at a time. While you speak, map out the post-its on the wall. You can work together and cluster similar ideas into post-it groups with similar thematics. Add new post-its if new ideas come up. Alternatively ( if you are too many people to give everyone enough time to share): Gather in groups of three, and take turns to share. After that, add post-its to wall and collectively cluster them.


20min: Take time to look at the post-its gathered on the wall. We cannot know what the world is like in 10 years, but we can prepare ourselves so we are able to shape the world to be more like we want, as well as have the skills to face different scenarios. Individually. Based on the perspectives we have gathered as a team, reflect on the following questions: What kind of knowledge, skills and mindsets do we need to learn, to face this future? What kind of leadership is needed in this future?



Epstein, David. June 2019. ยซThe Peculiar Blindness of Experts.ยป www.theatlantic.com.

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