Is your strategic plan is based on what you’ve always done, or what’s coming next?
You wouldn't drive your car across the country in reverse looking through your rearview mirror. But that’s what we do with our plans - we base them on the past instead of the future.
You need a better way to anticipate your future. You need Futurist Camp.
What is Futurist Camp?
Futurist Camp is a six month, all-access program that teaches you
- the tools that professional futurists use to figure out the future
- how to develop a futurist’s mindset, so you can spot opportunities and threats that others miss
- how Fortune 500 companies, the military, the energy sector and entire countries (outside the U.S.) use foresight to innovate and adapt
- how to apply foresight to your project or organization (a powerful alternative to “strategic plans”)
- how to facilitate a long-range foresight project with a broad stakeholder group
- why people are afraid of the future and how to make people comfortable using foresight
- and more…see the 2017 curriculum below for details
Futurist Camp is not lecture-based or theoretical. It’s applied, hands-on, learn-by-doing training. Your instructors include Fortune 500 leaders, professional futurists, subject matter experts, military personnel, and Rebecca Ryan (more on her later.)
Futurist Camp has two parts: Camp and After-Camp
All campers attend a three-day intensive residential camp. You have two options in 2017:
Option 1 (The Original): Futurist Camp - Camp Wandawega
Location: Camp Wandwega, Elkhorn WI
Dates: August 14 - August 17, 2017
Tuition: $3,500 includes all materials, lodging and meals plus six months of post-camp instruction and coaching. You pay for your travel to/from Madison, Wisconsin.
Small print: Camp Wandawega is where Futurist Camp started. You sleep in a bunk house. You use camp showers and toilets. You have access to canoes, a private lake, archery, hatchets, tree houses and teepees. You eat at picnic tables and sit around bonfires. There will be bugs. And frogs. You have a chef who feeds you delicious, seasonal food. There is a signature cocktail each night.
Option 2 (New in 2017): Futurist Camp-Decatur, GA
Location: Decatur, GA (outside Atlanta)
Dates: September 25-28, 2017
Tuition: $2,500 includes all materials, meals and post-camp instruction and coaching. You are responsible for lodging in Decatur and travel to/from Decatur, Georgia.
Small print: This is urban camping because not everyone likes “outside.” You stay in a hotel. With air conditioning. You walk around town in tennis shoes, on asphalt. You eat some meals in restaurants and we have a chef who prepares delicious locally-sourced meals. There is a signature cocktail each night.
What happens after Camp?
A lot. For six months campers get:
- Monthly webinars with camp faculty to go deeper into what you learned at camp and stay connected with your class. The 2017-2018 webinar schedule (subject to change):
October 5 - The Power of the Delphi with Dr. Charles Grantham
November 7 - Stories and the Future with Ari Popper, SciFutures
December 5 - Lessons Learned - Stories of Camp Alumni with Ben Thurgood, City of Tacoma
January 16 - Causal Layered Analysis with Rebecca Ryan
February 6 - Project Showcase from Class of 2017
March 6 - Graduation!!
- Monthly one-on-ones with camp faculty, to focus on your specific project and challenges
Sign up for August 14-17, Futurist Camp - Camp Wandawega Wisconsin
Sign up for September 25-28, Futurist Camp - Decatur, Georgia
Who attends futurist camp?
Past attendees have included Executive Directors of national nonprofits, city planners, CIOs, public health professionals, college professors, budget analysts, leadership and workforce development professionals, Chamber of Commerce directors, and City Administrators. Many of our attendees work closely with the public sector, economic or community development, and local government.
What, exactly, will I learn I camp? (How do I sell this to my boss?)
The 2017 curriculum and faculty includes:
1. The six steps of the Foresight process
- Frame the domain
- Scan for forces and trends
- Design scenarios
- Identify crossover issues
- Envision your preferred future
- Backcast your plan
Campers will develop their own foresight project and apply these six steps. You’ll leave camp with a draft plan that you’ll refine during after-camp coaching and one-on-ones with faculty.
Featured faculty (scheduled): Matt Benson is the Director of Ventures and Advanced Innovation at Faurecia, a French-owned company that supplies auto parts and accessories to leading automobile brands. Matt will share how his team uses foresight to anticipate trends and work with clients and how foresight and the innovation process work together.
2. The futurist’s mindset
In the mid-1970s the CIA began to fund research about how to remove cognitive bias and improve agents’ intelligence. Today, professional futurists benefit from over 40 years of cognitive bias research and training. You’ll learn:
- The mindset of the professional futurist
- Your score: how does your mindset compare to the best, and how can you improve?
3. Using powerful stories to shape the future
Many people are afraid of the future. But no one is afraid of a story. Scenarios, or stories, are the third step in the foresight process and often the most powerful. Campers will:
- Deconstruct stories about the future: what makes a good scenario great?
- Develop alternative stories for their project and receive feedback on how to improve their story’s impact and effectiveness
Featured faculty (confirmed): Lauren Azar is a former public service commissioner and a senior advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. She’ll share her experience of how the U.S. energy sector uses scenarios in their forecasting processes and share several plausible scenarios for the future of the U.S. energy grid. http://azarlawllc.com/about/
4. Master facilitation skills and meeting techniques
Futurists need to facilitate processes, make people feel safe exploring the future and (occasionally) deal with obstructionists. Campers learn:
- How adults learn, e.g. why is it better to facilitate a tabletop game where adults talk with each other about trends rather than presenting a slideshow of trends?
- Case studies of common project “errors” from the Department of Defense and Fortune 500 companies that help Campers avert disaster in their organizations-
- The value of the “Red Team” to proactively and intentionally ask the hard questions
Featured faculty (confirmed) Dr. Charles Grantham, former U.S. Army Special Operations will share insights on how to help adults learn at three levels: intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. This is not woo-woo, it’s master-level sociology.
What’s the deal with the “Certificate”?
All campers are eligible to apply for their Foresight Certification, a designation from NEXT Generation Consulting, Inc. To earn your certification, you must complete at least one successful application of foresight to an issue of your choosing within one calendar year of camp (by August or September of 2018). After you earn your foresight certification, you are listed on NEXT Generation Consulting’s About Page and added to our professional network, making you eligible to join NGC’s foresight projects or be referred to clients.
How can I get the most from Futurist Camp?
Here’s what past campers advise:
- Don’t expect lectures. Or powerpoint. Be ready to roll up your sleeves and apply what you’re learning to a real world challenge.
- Be willing to help others. You’ll be helping — and be helped by —your co-campers and teachers who’ll give you valuable feedback on your project and help you sharpen your foresight skills.
- Come with a project in mind. It will help you put what you’re learning to work.
- Don’t worry, you’ll have time to yourself. We start early and work late, but there is time off every afternoon (especially for the introverts) to nap and get quiet.
- Be ready to unplug. Camp doesn’t have wireless access.
- Bring business cards. You’re going to meet some amazing people and you’re gonna want to stay in touch.