Future Foresight: What is it?

Yentl Croese
Author: Yentl Croese

Remember the last time you were caught off guard by an unexpected event, like the sudden surge in utility bills or the rise of virtual assistants like ChatGPT? What if you had the ability to spot these changes ahead of time?

Future Foresight isn’t just about gazing into a crystal ball; it’s a powerful methodology we’ve adopted at the Leiden Learning & Innovation Centre (LLInC) to anticipate and navigate future challenges and opportunities.

Decoding Future Foresight

What exactly is Future Foresight? At its core, it’s a systematic approach to not just understanding the future but shaping it. By combining creativity with analytical thinking, we open the doors to the opportunities and challenges that lie on the horizon. Whether you’re an individual, a large corporation, or even a government, this method enables you to make sound decisions for today that set the stage for a promising tomorrow.

Why has LLInC embraced Future Foresight?

Our mission is simple: equip the university for what’s next. And here’s how Future Foresight aids us:

Anticipating Change: In our ever-evolving world, understanding emerging trends is paramount.

Identifying Opportunities: By painting a clearer picture of the future, we stand ready to seize new possibilities.

Risk Mitigation: By spotting potential pitfalls, we can strategise effectively.

Preparing for the future: Future foresight can help us to build a better future. By understanding the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, we can develop strategies to create a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.

But that’s not all. On a personal level, Future Foresight has transformative power. From boosting resilience to fostering innovation, it’s a toolset that everyone can benefit from.

  • It can help us to be more proactive and less reactive.
  • It can help us to be more resilient to the impact of change.
  • It can help us to be more innovative and creative.
  • It can help us to build a better future.
  • It can help us envision the aspects of our future personal and professional identities.

How can we use Future Foresight?

Just how do we harness Future Foresight? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. From deciphering clues about emerging trends, sketching out scenarios of potential futures, to backcasting and visioning, it’s a multi-faceted process.


  • Clues: What are the key trends that are shaping the future?
  • Scenarios: What are the different possible futures that could unfold?
  • Backcasting: What would need to happen to achieve a desired future?
  • Visioning: What is our ideal future?

Our Foresight Journey at LLInC

Our journey with Future Foresight began in 2020, initiated by an enlightening MOOC by Jane McGonigal and the Institute for the Future. The revelations from this course not only inspired but compelled our team to experiment, leading to initiatives like The Royal MetaUniversity of the Netherlands game.

Fast forward to now, and our understanding has deepened significantly. From being learners, we’ve transitioned to actively sharing our knowledge, with numerous workshops under our belt and an upcoming Master’s Honours Class to look forward to.

This piece is just the beginning. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be delving deeper into the fascinating field of Future Foresight. In a series of four comprehensive blogs, we’ll explore its practical applications, real-world case studies, and theoretical foundations.

Whether you’re a seasoned educator or a curious student, Future Foresight holds immense potential. Curious? Reach out to us or join our upcoming Honours Class: Contact Yentl Croese: y.croese@llinc.leidenuniv.nl.

Let’s shape the future, together.

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