The Strategic Design, Foresight, and Futures Thinking nexus: Future-proofing processes to deal with high levels of uncertainty

  • Joern Henning Buehring (Invited speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Among the drivers of change challenging strategic considerations today are globalization, digitization, commoditization, politicization, and they are clearly captivating the attention of leaders in government and business across all sectors of society and the economy. Derived from cross-disciplinary insights in Foresight and Design studies, the hypotheses around the broader role of the strategic design conversation, is to include systematic futures thinking as a transformational approach to producing visions of desirable and sustainable systems futures. This talk and presentation will illuminate how foresight with design and design with foresight can inform organizational strategic innovation decision-making with creativity, imagination, visualization, and prototyping capabilities. Specifically, the aim in whole systems design foresight is to highlight the interconnecting aspects of strategic foresight and design and expand the conversation to include design principles in strategic foresight processes to transform individual experiences, frameworks, and perspectives into a shared, understandable, and actionable area of insight into the future. Resulting from theoretical and applied field research in a diverse industry context, a series of conceptual ‘high-level’ futures thinking factors were identified: (1) Achieving insights and alignment around current reality; (2) Facilitating a productive Design conversation; (3) Specifying a portfolio of desirable futures; and (4) Active experimentation to gather new knowledge and learning. Consequently, the purpose of this presentation is to make the case that decision-makers need to rely on a new, emerging approach to the future in the increasingly turbulent environments they face today. To this end, the foresight and design disciplines provide a new paradigm to approach the future that takes the uncertainties and opportunities of the current VUCA world into account.
Period29 Jul 2022
Held atRoyal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia, Victoria


  • strategic design
  • foresight
  • futures thinking literacy
  • future-proofing
  • uncertainty