Glad you asked.
Because everyone takes history classes but no one takes futures classes.
Because you're not fighting for the past; you're competing for what's coming.
Because three days off the beaten path in Wisconsin's Northwoods with passionate and committed change-makers is good for your soul.
WHAT IS FUTURIST CAMP?
"Futurist Camp" might be a tiny bit misleading. We start with Camp, a real Camp, for adults in August. But then we keep going with six months of live webinars featuring some of the world's kindest (yes, that matters) and most experienced futurists. Here are the details:
Day 0: Arrive in Madison and attend a little get-together with other Campers. This is optional for those who want to (or whose airline schedules force them to) arrive in Madison the night before Camp starts.
Day 1: The bus leaves Madison for Camp Lakotah, which is located about 83 minutes (who's counting?) from Madison. Camp starts that afternoon.
Days 2-4: At Camp, you'll learn the fundamentals of foresight, meet amazing new friends working on cool stuff (or asking really big questions), and have a load of Camp fun. We're talking canoe races, archery, arts+crafts, sleeping-in-hammocks, bonfires, fancy s'mores and more. Have we mentioned that we have our own chef?
September-February: Live monthly webinars with rock star faculty who'll teach you what they know; and office hours with Rebecca and her team to get support for your foresight project.
WHAT WILL I LEARN?
Here's what's on tap:
(1) How to think like a futurist
Are you a futurist? You might be! Some of us have these tendencies already. But we'll dial it in for you: what do futurists do, know, or think about that others don't? Believe us, anyone can learn this stuff. It just takes practice. And Rebecca's list of 1,100 scan sources.
(2) The Strategic Foresight process
Wait, there's a process for this? Yessirree Bob, there is! You'll learn a seven-step foresight process that you can apply to nearly any issue or situation that needs some future thinking. (It's the process Mike Golat is talking about in his testimonial below.) You'll learn the framework, practice some of the steps, and develop a plan for how you can apply the process to your thorny issue. More on that below.
(3) Case studies: How foresight is used in the real world
You don't read much about this in the news, but the military, Fortune 500 companies, large NGOs, governments, and cities all use foresight. You'll get a behind-the-scenes look by experts in their fields. We admit, most of this happens during the live monthly webinars after Camp. Because it's too expensive (and, carbon footprint'y) to bring all these nerds to Wisconsin.
(4) How to apply foresight to your thorny issue
Every Camper is invited to bring an issue to Camp, something you want to know the future of. It might be your community (if you work in community development or local government), it might be your organization's future (if you're a CEO or business leader), or it might be your own life. (No kidding, about half of our Campers apply what they learn at Camp to their own life.)
What do you need more foresight about? You'll build a foresight project plan around it. If appropriate, you'll learn the fundamentals to facilitate a long-range, multi-stakeholder foresight project like the kind we do for our clients.
(5) Strategic Doing
Foresight helps you craft an ambitious, long-range strategy. But how do you get there? Strategic Doing is a lightweight, durable process that helps you and your stakeholders identify do'able projects that don't require money or permission, and help you make progress towards your vision. Our clients love it! Futurist Yasemin Arikan will teach Campers how to use strategic doing, too.
Small print: Yes, it's camp. You sleep in a bunk house. You use camp showers and toilets. There will be bugs. And frogs. And possibly a raccoon. You also have access to canoes, a private beach, archery, fresh air, and acres of trees. You eat at picnic tables and sit around bonfires. You have a chef who feeds you delicious, seasonal food plus staff and volunteers who will shake up a signature cocktail each night and make sure you're well cared for. After all, if you're gonna help us take care of the future, the least we can do is take good care of you.
What are you waiting for?
Email Gregg Potter, our Camp Director, email@example.com and tell him you want to come to Camp!
"The conversations were at a level that most people never have the opportunity to experience. From the content and camaraderie to the food and Camp environment, every single element of Futurist Camp is so much better than you expect."
- NICK O'BRIEN, ENTREPRENEUR, 2017 CAMP ALUM
CAMP BY THE NUMBERS:
30 attendees - small enough to know everyone and big enough to have a diverse range of experiences
9 amazing meals - locally-sourced, prepared on site, and crafted with love by Chef Pat Greene
8 expert faculty- including futurists Rebecca Ryan and Yasemin Arikan
4 days in the woods of Wisconsin - where you'll dive deep into the art and science of foresight
3 bonfires - one for every night you're sleeping in the woods
2 Camp counselors - all are Camp alum, committed to ensuring you have a great experience
6 month of post-Camp instruction and coaching - including webinars and live discussions with leading futurists and practitioners from around the globe. Past faculty have included Fortune 1000 futurists, the head of the World Futures Society of the Netherlands, the authors of The Zen Leader and Teaching About the Future, and leading strategists from the Department of Energy
1 epic workbook of materials, tools and resources
0 powerpoints, conference rooms, or dried-out bagels
Contact Camp Director Gregg Potter: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Camp was a pivotal point in my career, and I reflect on it often as a helpful intervention in my life at that time."
- JAMIE BERGLUND, CEO, SPARK CDI, 2016 CAMP ALUM
WHO ATTENDS FUTURIST CAMP?
Past attendees' titles
Executive Director, City Planner, Budget Analyst, Chief Information Officer, CEO, President, City Administrator, City Manager, City Councilor, Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, Marketing Director, Social Media Director, Regional Director, Founder, Professor, Director of Innovation, Director of Strategy, Director of Membership, Communications Director, Economic Development Director
Organizations who've sent a Camper
Alliance for Innovation, Arlington County VA, Association of Government Risk Pools (AGRiP), Charleston SC Chamber of Commerce, City of Altoona WI, City of Aspen CO, City of Beaufort SC, City of Charleston WV, City of Kasson MN, City of Philadephia, City of San Mateo CA, City of Tacoma WA, Cricket Design Works, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Filene, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Hennepin County MN, Ho-Chunk Nation, Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, Lawrence County TN Chamber of Commerce, Lifeline Foods, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, National Association of Counties (NACO), San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, Sauk County WI, Savannah Consulting, Stantec, SourceWell, St. Joseph MO Chamber of Commerce
Our faculty have included
Lauren Azar, former advisor to the Secretary of Energy at DOE; Matt Benson, Faurecia xWorks; Dr. Peter Bishop, Executive Director at Teach the Future and (ret) Director of the Strategic Foresight program at the University of Houston; Janyce Fadden, co-author of Strategic Doing; Dr. Charlie Grantham, Co-Author and Co-Founder at Work The Future!, Today; Adam Lee, Incubator Director at Filene Research Institute; Rebecca Ryan, founder of Futurist Camp; Ben Thurgood, City of Tacoma; Freija vanDuijne, CEO of Future Motions, President of the Futures Society of the Netherlands; Dr. Virginia Whitelaw, author of The Zen Leader and President of the Institute for Zen Leadership
"I have been able to apply the principles learned during Camp on a project here in the Chippewa Valley and I can tell you it works. In three meetings, using the process I learned at Camp, we were able to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders and come away with a very tangible plan for advancing and growing the region's creative economy. The process works, and it is fun."
- MIKE GOLAT, CITY ADMINISTRATOR, ALTOONA, WI & 2017 CAMP ALUM
"I had never used a tool like strategic foresight, and for me it was a game changer. I still long for more experiences like I had at Camp, with smart people, learning and working together."
- BEN THURGOOD, ASSISTANT HR DIRECTOR of CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, TRAINING & ORG DEVELOPMENT, CITY OF TACOMA, 2017 CAMP ALUM & 2018 CAMP CO-FACULTY
SOUNDS GREAT. HOW DO I SELL THIS TO MY BOSS?
Excellent question. Start with this blog by Camp's founder and cut and paste this next bit into an email:
The Futurist Camp curriculum includes:
1. The six steps of Strategic Foresight
- 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 and execute after camp. In the six months following Camp, you'll get one-on-one and peer coaching.
2. Developing a 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 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
4. Strategic Doing
Foresight helps you develop the long-range future. Strategic Doing helps you take action in the next 30 days. In this module, Campers learn:
- What Strategic Doing is, and how it can be used to develop momentum and action plans after the first three steps of foresight
- How to facilitate a Strategic Doing process
Your boss can contact our Camp Director, Gregg Potter, at any time with additional questions:
I HEARD I CAN EARN A CERTIFICATE?
Yes. Two certificates are available:
Campers earn a Certificate of Completion after they complete Camp Lakotah in August and participate in all six months of post-Camp training.
Campers earn a Certificate of Achievement after they complete requirements for the Certificate of Completion and complete a supervised foresight project within 12 months of Camp.