Futurology – Research the Future

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What is it?

Futures studies (also called futurology and futurism) is the study of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. There has been an ongoing debate for some time as to whether futurology is an art or a science, although most people agree it can be deemed as some kind of social science.

Why is it useful?

If you can predict the future you can prepare for it, either in the sense of developing a product for a future market or protecting yourself against ecological catastrophe.

How to use Futurology 

Below is a ‘Prezi’ Presentation, created in 2012.

As you can see from the presentation, there are various types of futurology techniques.

  • Cross-Impact Analysis – How future events can interact with each other.
  • Relevance Tree – An analytical technique that divides one large subject into smaller topics.
  • Simulation and Modelling – Using computer-based tools used to represent reality, and understand connections between events and factors.
  • Futures Wheel – Primary impacts are written in the first wheel, with secondary impacts and consequences outlined in the second ring.
  • Workshops and Conversations – Simple discussions and workshops on the events, impacts and consequences.
  • Visioning – Using assumptions about the future to change people’s choices and behaviours.
  • Speculation – Simply speculating on the future, using key issues that we believe we will face in the future.

You can use futurology to predict what changes may happen in a market when designing a product. For example, what will environmental factors do to impact your product? Will economic factors have an impact on your product? Predicting what will happen next (or at least attempting to) can ensure that a design you create is futureproof. Use the techniques and methods above when creating a product, in order to ensure a longer lifespan of that design.


More about futurology: 

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