Andspace runs implications session with Foresight students

crews photoChristian Crews, April Koury, and Laura Schlehuber of Andspace Consulting visited the Houston Foresight program on August 25th to run an implications sessions with students. Christian is a program alum and hired on April and Laura as interns. The students who participated were program “veterans” Omar Sahi, Kurt Callaway, Fatema Tuz Zorah; new students jason Crabtree, and Rachel young; Nathaniel Hernandez who is doing the Foresight graduate certificate; and retailing major Paola Pena who is taking a couple of foresight classes this fall.

Christian introduced himself and briefly described his “futurist journey.”  He introduced the project they are doing for the Institute of Food Technology project and the methodology they are using. They are using the futures wheels to brainstorm/forecast around some trends. He noted the value of this session is getting fresh views to help the client get outside their “official future.”

He briefed several trends they identified through their research, though he noted that they are considered “weak signals” from the viewpoint of the client, who are likely less aware of them than futurists might be. He also talked about the Verge framework that takes a more human centric view of trends.

The group then split in half to generate the implications of the trends for the next hour-plus. The approach used the futures wheels to generation 3 orders of implications along a time scale

  • The 1st order changes were roughly one to three years out
  • The 2nd order changes were roughly four to seven years out
  • The 3rd order changes were 7 years or further out

It was a terrific blend of real experience and getting some tips and pointers from Christian, one of the great practitioners in the foresight field today, ably assisted by April and Laura! Andy Hines

Cecily Sommers joins Foresight Program Advisory Board

I am pleased to announce the addition of futurist Cecily Sommers to the Houston Foresight Program’s Advisory Board.

Cecily Sommers_HeadshotI was introduced to Cecily by friend-of-the-program Derek Woodgate several years ago when she was leading the Push Institute and have been following her work ever since. We re-connected a year ago at the APF’s Professional Development Day on “Professionalization” in Chicago. I explained how I was taking over as the Program Coordinator, and she generously offered to provide some coaching. She led me through a visioning-planning mini-retreat at her home base in Minneapolis that proved extremely helpful to me in developing a revised vision and a strategic plan for the program. We check in regularly and I think it is about time that she officially join our Advisory Board.

Cecily speaks, writes, and consults on emerging trends, markets, and technologies shaping our future. She is the author of Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s Next, which was nominated as an APF Most Significant Futures Work. As I mentioned she was the founder of The Push Institute, a non-profit think tank that routinely put on excellent conferences.

She is a frequent contributor to Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and other media outlets. She was named by the Business Journal as one of twenty‐five “Women to Watch,” and selected as one of Fast Company‘s “Fast 50 Reader Favorites.”

Please join me in welcoming her to the Houston Foresight community! Andy Hines



The UH Foresight program is very happy to announce a “bonus” fall 2014 offering of the foresight certificate course.  Space is limited for this special seminar, which  coincides with the special issue of THE FUTURIST magazine (Sept./Oct. 2014) on Futures Education.  Houston faculty, alumni and  students are featured authors in the issue:

  • Collaborative Futures Education, Peter Bishop
  • Foresight in Middle School: Teaching the Future For the Future, Katie King

There is even a section devoted to THE HOUSTON EXPERIENCE, including Richard Yonck’s essay about the certificate program itself:

  • Transforming a Graduate Futures Program, University of Houston, Oliver Markley
  • A Training Ground for Professional Futurists, Andy Hines
  • Inside the Houston Futures Strategic Foresight Program, Richard Yonck

The UH Foresight certificate program is a 5-day, project-based, face-to-face workshop. Participants learn to anticipate disruptive change and work towards the creation of transformational change in order to influence the future of their organizations, companies and communities. Participants will receive a Certificate in Foresight and four (4) CEUs (Continuing Education Units) from the University of Houston for attending the seminar. Students can also obtain a separate departmental Certificate of Achievement in Foresight if they complete a foresight project after program delivery.

When:  October 6-10, 2014
Where:  University of Houston, UH Hilton, West Wing Hilton Conference Center 105
Registration:  Cost is $3000

Deadline to register is September 15, 2014.*

Space is limited to 20 students.

For more information and to register, visit:

*If the course does not make by the Sept. 15 deadline, a full refund will be issued .

Lodging: UH Hilton, conference rate code is “TECH” for rate of $189 (must be reserved by Sept. 5)

Contact Dr. Andy Hines ( with questions about course content, or Alexandra Whittington ( for registration assistance.


Jason Swanson Appointed Director of Strategic Foresight at Knowledge Works

Jason Swanson

Jason Swanson

We are so pleased to announce that recent grad Jason Swanson has been appointed the Director of Strategic Foresight at Knowledge Works in Cincinnati. Knowledge works is a “social enterprise focused on creating sustainable improvement in student readiness for college and careers.” The Senior Director of Strategic Foresight, Katherine Prince, attended the May 2013 Certificate in Foresight class in Houston and last spring participated in our Student Needs 2025+ meeting in which we presented our forecasts and worked on implications. Katherine and Knowledge Works are doing great work on the future of education. For instance, check out this terrific thought piece that Katherine put out called “Glimpses of the Future of Education.”

Jason was a terrific student in the Houston Foresight program, often going above and beyond the regular curriculum to gain valuable experience. He interned with Mike Courtney and Aperio Insights and with Stephen Aguilar Milan of EUFO. He has presented at WFS the last two years and was recently named an Emerging Fellow with APF. In addition to bringing his foresight degree to the table, Jason has a work background in the education space, spending the last six years with PALCS (Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School).

It is truly rewarding to see students land great opportunities and we are confident he will be a great addition to Knowledge Works. Congratulations, Jason!                        —  Andy Hines


Live from Orlando….It’s the “Best of Houston”

It’s nice to be able to share some video footage of our students (and profs) in action from the World Future Society Conference earlier this month in Orlando — thanks to student (now Adjunct Faculty) Jim Breaux! It’s a “pad” production but the quality is good enough to get a good feel for how our students presented.

First, I talk a bit about what’s happening with the program and then Peter talks about the history of our “Best of Houston” session at the WFS:

Next, Laura Schlehuber kicks of the student presentations with “The Future of Measuring National Performance”

Kurt Callaway follows Laura with “The Harvesting of Space Resources:”

Finally, Jim Breaux closes us out with the “Future of Emergency Preparedness: Using Futures Wheels:”

Enjoy our students in action! Andy


Recapping Houston Foresight at WFS 2014

The Houston Foresight Community was once again well-represented at the WFS/AFP annual summer meetings. This time it was Orlando on the perimeter of Disney from July 10-13.

There is too much to include in one post, so we’ll start with the overview and fill in some details in upcoming posts.

APF Pro Development

The APF had its Pro Development Day at a very cool space (as usual) called Purple, Rock, Scissors. The event was a sellout, which is certainly rewarding to see, as the Pro Dev days have become must-do’s for professional futurists. And this one did not disappoint, despite having to compete with the high bar of last year’s “Professionalization” meeting in Chicago. There were three sessions and each was truly outstanding:

  • Research engagement with Mike Courtney: Mike is the founder of Aperio Insights, and a great friend of the Houston Foresight Program. He showed us the ins and outs of compelling research and survey design, with some real useful insights on what they can and cannot do. Practical stuff we all we felt we could use.
  • Digital engagement with Michael Parler: Michael is the VP of Purple, Rock, Scissors, our host for the day. He talked us through cutting edge digital strategies that futurists can use to attract and retain clients. His handout on “connecting” the various social media will all participate in is priceless. I am working on the checklist for our Program right now.
  • Immersive engagement with Trevor Haldenby: Trevor founded The Mission Business and has a background in theater. By this point in the day we’d all felt like we had a great day and got more than our money’s worth, and then “blam” we go over the top with an incredible session in which he described his techniques for creating immersive living scenarios, using actors, participants, live events, etc.

Really, an incredible day! Kudos to the Pro Dev team!

WFS Best of Houston

Our 14th “Best of Houston” session was another smashing success. We enjoy featuring our best student work and it’s always a popular session at the conference. Below are the session titles and links to their slides. In an upcoming post, we’ll provide links to videos of the presentation. For now, we have links to the slides:

APF Annual Reception and Awards Presentation 

The APF announced its 2014 Most Significant Futures Works Awards on Saturday evening. Good news for Houston as that text you all know and love: Teaching about the Future, was this year’s first prize winner (more on this later):

Winners: Category 1 Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies

Winner: Category 2 Analyze a significant future issue

WFS Poster Session

On Saturday night, we had a power trio of poster presentations featuring a faculty, alum, and student. Those of us at the APF Reception were able to catch the end of the lively session.

  • Alexandra Whittington (faculty) “The Future of Infant Feeding  2025”
  • Jim Lee (alum)  “Investing in Emerging Technologies”
  • Nicole Trapp (Student) “Challenging Assumptions in Reading Education & Language”

WFS Student Presentation: “Age of Stagnation”

On Sunday, three students, Kate Burgess-Macintosh, Laura Schlehuber, and Jason Swanson (well, he is now an alum) presented the results from research they did as part of an internship with Stephen Aguilar-Milan of EUFO (European Futures Observatory). Stephen was unable to make the meeting, so the students were on their own. And they did an amazing job with what was a pretty deep topic. This was very sophisticated analysis, but presented in a way that the audience got it. It led to a very lively Q&A, which is the mark of a great session. The slides for “Age of Stagnation:”

All Houston Foresight Participants

Check out the PDFs below for a list of UH participants and their sessions:

List of participants by name

It was a great weekend. Start saving your pennies and be sure to join us next year from July 24-26 in San Francisco.  Andy Hines


Alum Pam McConathy Schied Published in QRCA Views

practicing foresight2012 Alum Pam McConathy Schied had an article “Practicing Strategic Foresight in an Era of Hyper Change” published in the Summer 2014 Issue of QRCA Views. Where better to turn for insight on this topic than our own Dr Bishop?

Pam and Dr. Bishop provide the QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association) with some evidence for the need for foresight and some tips on how to introduce it in their practice.

In the piece, Bishop observed that: “the future is more than anticipating what the world will do,” says Bishop. “We are players in our own stories; we shape our own future to some extent… the forces thundering toward us are not definitive. We have power, too. If the last few decades have taught us anything, it is that we cannot simply wait for the future to happen before we respond to it.”

Great to see this tag team spreading the word about the future — keep up the good work.  Andy Hines

Student Needs 2025+: Future Skills

A key theme we identified in exploring emerging student needs out to 2025 is that while we might have interesting debates at what skills would be most important, a “constant” would be the need for re-skilling. We won’t some day identify the “correct” or ultimate set of skills — it’s a moving target that evolves with the rest of student life. Re-skilling is a given and getting good at re-skilling is, well, a skill :-). Students will continually build their portfolio of skills, capabilities, and experience over their lifetime.

In a world where re-skilling is continuous, developing foresight about emerging skills makes good practical sense. In our research we came across lists of futures skills and job titles (really developing this is a whole project in itself). We were forwarded a terrific infographic on ten future skills in 2020 ( Not only is the visual really cool, but the content was solid as well (not always the case!).

We can’t help but keep scanning in this space — we’ll keep sharing! Andy Hines

Important Work Skills for 2020

UH Foresight Community at WorldFuture 2014

This year, around 22 current students, faculty, and alumni from the University of Houston’s Foresight community will be speaking at the World Future Society’s annual forum WorldFuture 2014: What If, which is just a few weeks away!

Our speakers’ topics range from economics, leisure, learning, public health, to design and innovation. It’s great to see our community so well represented at this biggest annual gathering of futurists.

Check out the PDFs below for a list of UH participants and their sessions:

List of participants by name

List of participants by time

Andy Hines

Student Needs 2025+ in APF Compass

Those of you who’ve been following our work on Student Needs 2025+ might be interested to know that our work was featured as part of the APF’s latest Special Issue on Education. Kudos to editor Andrew Curry for assembling this great material.

Contents list, in page order:

* Hardin Tibbs, on the changing university learning system: beyond the “industrial” university

* Sara Robinson, on the trends shaping the context of (US) higher education

* Bryan Alexander, who started this particular hare running, on the trends in US higher education

* David Birch, on degrees, badges, and the rise of “social hacking”

* Katie King on the Student Needs 2025 project

* Andrew Curry on using the Long Now’s pace layer as a tool to imagine the future of the university

* Cindy Frewen on visions of the future campus

* Wendy Schultz and Richard Lum on a unique schools’ scenarios project that built scenarios from theories of social change

* Anne Boysen reviews a book on parenting and learning in the digital age.

Here’s our piece, amazingly crafted by Katie King.

Cultivate personal brands. Ask questions that artificial intelligence can understand. Hack your way into effective activism. In the year 2025, students will need to be skillful in these areas, according to an assembly of researchers in the University of Houston Foresight program who, on behalf of the Lumina Foundation, are working to answer a simple question: could changes in student needs alter what higher education will provide by 2025 and beyond?

Student Needs 2025+ is a six-month project in which twenty University of Houston faculty, alumni, and students are using Houston’s Framework Foresight[1] process to produce forecasts of future student needs and identify the implications and issues they suggest for higher education. The teams are exploring how students will be living, learning, working, playing, connecting, and participating in the future.

Andy Hines, coordinator of the Masters in Foresight program and project lead, says most studies about the future of higher education have a limited focus just on learning. He believes that looking at all aspects of student life and using the team’s expertise in foresight and futures tools will uncover connections and trends that higher education doesn’t normally see.

“We know that Lumina has a handle on the future of higher education, especially from the point of view of the institutions,” he says. “But what about the students and their needs? Could they be much different a dozen years from now? That’s the question we’re exploring, and, unlike most studies looking at higher education, we’re 100% focused on the student rather than the institution.”

Lumina is a leading higher education foundation with a goal of raising higher educational attainment levels from 40% today to 60% in 2025. They commissioned the Houston Foresight program to conduct this research because “Strategic foresight is what leaders should spend most of their time doing,” says Kiko Suarez, the foundation’s Vice President of Communications and Innovation.

“Lumina is determined to help the United States reach Goal 2025, and firmly believes in providing thought leadership in the field of post-secondary education attainment through strategic foresight.”

The research teams recently presented at the Foresight program’s Spring Gathering, and shared preliminary findings to about 30 alumni and students.

After seeing the scenarios, Hines was struck by how lines between the six categories will blur in the future. For instance, “Play is a recurring theme in all six domains. It’s changing from a stand-alone, structured activity to being a part of everything.” He says the trends show that “we don’t go play a game, because it’s all a game.”

He also noted the emergence of a strong recurring theme: “Technology is moving from an accessory to being an essential component woven in the fabric of student life,” he says. “It will be so integrated that students will have a hard time imagining life without it.”

Scan hits, analysis, and interviews with the researchers can be found on the Houston Foresight blog (, Twitter feed (@houstonforesight), and at #studentneeds2025.


[1] A. Hines & P. Bishop, “Framework foresight: Exploring futures the Houston way,” Futures, Volume 51, July 2013, Pages 31–49.