Fast Future looking for research help

It’s always good to know that there are some jobs out there! Fast Future is looking for one or two full-time research associates. The roles could be conducted from anywhere in the world. The tasks will be very varied and include: researching content in support of our client presentations; developing draft presentations; research in support of our client studies; working on our irregular newsletter; participating in or special projects; contributing to our social media activity; undertaking a variety of marketing tasks; other stuff that comes up as required; generally being a bright sort and imaginative egg. The relevant individuals will be working from their own premises with regular skype contact and the occasional face to face meeting if possible. I am also open to the idea of people working with us on a part time basis. Contact Rohit Talwar <> –Andy Hines

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Congrats to Fall and Summer 2014 Graduates

Before we get too deep into the Spring 2015, I’d like to acknowledge our graduates from the Fall and Summer of 2014. One of the challenges of now being full-time with the program is getting closer to the students – only to have them leave. That is the goal, of course, but it is a little sad nonetheless. The espirit d ’corps of our community is a strong and attractive feature of the program.

The photos are [roughly] in the order of when these new alums joined the program (L to R): Heather Schlegel, April Koury, D’Shaun Guillory, Karl Irish, Mackenzie Dickson, Laura Schlehuber, Alex Clouse.

class of 14 fall summer

The veteran of the group is Heather Schlegel, who joined us in the Spring of 2010. As happens to many of our part-time students, we almost lost her when she took a job with Swift for a year. But she came came back and finished, despite a huge tug from the media for her views on the future. Among her many accomplishments in the program, she won the 2012/13 APF Student Recognition Award for “Success: The Human Problem.”

April Koury joined us in the Fall of 2012. She was a Graduate Assistant with us for a year, which means she played a prominent role if the lives of fellow students. She helped me a great deal on getting the Houston Futures website and blog in good order. She completed an internship with Christian Crews of Andspace before graduating.

And now we have a cohort, the class of the Spring of 2013: D’Shaun GuilloryKarl Irish, Mackenzie Dickson, and Laura Schlehuber. Not only did the come in together, but they stuck together throughout their time in the program. I still have an image of this group, and a few others, huddled together at a table at an APF conference. I’m proud of them for that. We preach the value of getting involved with the professional futurist community, and this group took the challenge. It showed up in the internships they got, Mackenzie going to Paris to intern with Riel Miller and UNESCO, Karl and D’Shaun with Alternative Futures Associates (aka Institute for Alternative Futures), D’Shaun also doing one with the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, and Laura with Andspace as well as with Stephen Aguilar-Milan and EUFO.

Alex Clouse is the first grad from the Fall of 2013. Quite amazing, that she finished in two years! Very few have been able to manage that. It takes an incredible amount of discipline to manage a full-time load for that period of time and not have your head explode!

I should also note that April, Mackenzie, and Laura were part of the Student Needs 2025+ research team. I am hoping we can do more of these kinds of projects and I appreciate their involvement.

I am going to miss ‘em, but I am also confident that they will stay involved as part of our extended community. Congratulations alums, and keep in touch! Andy Hines

Faculty/Alum Whittington Publishes “Family vacation 2050″

Adjunct Faculty and alum Alexandra Whittington just had an article — “Family Vacation 2050” – published in a special issue of Tourism Recreation Research journal on “The Journey to 2050.” Incidentally, this special issue was co-guest-edited by Albert whittingtonPostma, who attend our week-long certificate course in Brussels last year. (We are everywhere!).

The article identifies major technological and social uncertainties relevant to the future of family travel and explores them using the deductive 2×2 matrix scenario process. The four scenarios offer possibilities that contain specific opportunities, threats and challenges to the family travel industry in 2050. Key change drivers include the demographic growth of unmarried, unattached, non-cohabiting individuals (“singletons”) and the availability of technologically advanced virtual reality consumer experiences.

It is great to see Alex in print. In addition to teaching two undergraduate classes for us, she is the program manager for the week-long certificate program in her spare time. Andy Hines

Reflecting on the Fall 2014 Semester

Some thoughts on the Fall semester that went by all too fast! We may have witnessed Dr. Bishop’s last class, but I don’t think we’d be surprised if he comes back. He’s still part of the Certificate program, but his primary attention now is with Teach the Future.

We also had several students graduate (we’ll cover this in a separate post).

We had several guests join us physically and virtually over the fall.

  • On August 25th, alum Christian Crews of Andspace Consulting ran an Implications session on campus ably assisted by interns April Koury and Laura Schlehuber.
  • On October 6th, alum Morgan Kauffman gave an “Intro to Systems Thinking” lecture to the Intro class. Morgan is going to be teaching the Systems Thinking class this spring.
  • October 16th, alum Jim Lee talked about “Cycles, Values, and Expression,” as a guest lecture for Dr. Frewen’s Social Change class.
  • On October 27th, former faculty Wendy Schultz of Infinite Futures discussed “Images of the Future” for Alternative Perspectives class.
  • On November 4th, student Mackenzie Dickson shared his experience as an intern with UNESCO’s foresight group under the tutelage of futurist Riel Miller with Alternative Perspectives class. He discussed the action learning approach as part of developing Futures Literacy Knowledge Laboratories.
  • On November 10, Advisory Board member Clem Bezold of the Institute for Alternative Futures, presented his “Aspirational Futures” method for the Alternative Perspectives Class.

The program also went on the road a few times.

  • On September 10th, a group of students attend the debate at the UH University Center Theater on 0 US Energy Independence: Good for the Nation? (see:
  • On September 26th, Dr. Hines, Jim Breaux, Katie King, Laura Schlehuber, and Omar Sahi traveled to the Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis to brief the Student Needs 2025+ project to the client.
  • On November 14th, Dr. Hines, assisted by Omar Sahi and Jason Crabtree, led an “Introduction to Foresight” workshop for the Texas chapter of the QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association) at Connexxion Research in Houston.


Be sure to “Save the Dates” of April 17-18, 2015   for our annual “family” Gathering. This year the topic is  “Technology Acceleration” and it is being led by alum John Smart.

Also, thanks to Omar for being a great grad assistant this spring! — Andy Hines

Alumni Emily Empel joins Idea Couture as Co-Head of Strategic Foresight

emilyWe just heard some exciting news from  recent alumnus Emily Empel. Emily is now the  Co-Head of Strategic Foresight for Idea Couture, a strategic innovation and design firm in Toronto, Canada.

Emily leaves her Workforce Futurist position at the Walt Disney Company, where she had been actively involved in expanding the company’s foresight and trends practice.  Emily is particularly excited to make the transition from the corporate world into the wider world of futures consulting with Idea Couture.

We would like to congratulate Emily on her new position and wish her the best of luck in Toronto!

Professional Contact Information for Emily is as follows

Twitter – @localrat

E- mail –

LinkedIN – Emily Empel

APF Most Significant Futures Works Program 2015

One of my favorite things I do as a futurist is to help coordinate the APF’s Most Significant Futures Works program. It is an opportunity to recognize the outstanding work of futurists and others exploring the future. It is also vitally important that we spread the word about good foresight work, so the public and potential clients know what it looks like….and want more of it.

The program kicked off in 2008 with a retrospective recognition of outstanding futures works from the past. Since then, it’s been an annual event (with a “pause” in 2010 and 2011) in which judges recognize outstanding works in three categories:

  • Category 1 Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies
  • Category 2 Analyze a significant future issue
  • Category 3 Illuminate the future through literary or artistic works.

To get the ball rolling this year, I have nominated two works (in Category 1 and 3):

Nominations are restricted to APF members, but if anyone has come across a great piece of foresight work, let me know ( and I’ll explore getting it nominated. Check out the previous winners. Note how many program faculty and alums (in red) are represented among the winners — keep up the good work. —Andy Hines

Past MSFW Award Winners

2014 Awards
Category 1 Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies
1. Teaching about the Future , Peter Bishop & Andy Hines

  1. The Five Futures Glasses: How to See and Understand More of the Future with the Eltville Model, Pero Micic
    3. (tie):

Category 2 Analyze a significant future issue
1. Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, Emma Marris

2013 Awards
Category 1 Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies

  1. Foresight Maturity Model,Terry Grim
  2. A New Methodology for Anticipating STEEP Surprises, Oliver Markley
  3. Seeing in Multiple Horizons: Connecting Futures to Strategy, Andrew Curry and Anthony Hodgson

Category 2 Works that Contribute to the Understanding of the Future of a Significant Area

  1. Anticipatory Governance: Practical Upgrades, Leon Fuerth with Evan Faber
  2. 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next 40 Years, Jorgen Randers

Category 3 Presents New Images of the Future

  1. Food for the City , Stroom den Haag
2012 Awards
Category 1 Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies

  1. It’s Your Future… Make It a Good One! Verne Wheelwright
  2. The Black Swan , Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Category 2 Analyze a significant future issue
1. Prosperity Without Growth: Transition to a Sustainable Economy, Professor Tim Jackson
2. The Biggest Wake Up Call in History, Richard Slaughter

Category 3: Illuminate the future through literary or artistic works
1. “Evoke!” Jane McGonigal

2009 Awards
  1. SuperStruct,” IFTF/Jane McGonigal, Jamais Cascio & Kathi Vian
  2. Integral Futures,” edited by Richard Slaughter, Peter Hayward (APF), Joseph Voros
  3. Six Pillars: Futures Thinking for Transforming,” Sohail Inayatullah

Honorable mentions were awarded to three others.

2008 “Retrospective” Awards





Foresight Certificate Course will be offered January 12-16, 2015 in Houston, Texas

foresight2The UH certificate in Foresight is now in its seventh year of twice-annual seminars held at the University of Houston in January and May each year. We have also offered the certificate at the Destree Institute in Brussels, Belgium every June since 2012. The number of professional certificate graduates has reached nearly 400 individuals and continues to grow.

The next iteration of the course will be held in Houston, Texas between January 12-16th 2015.

The program is a 5-day, project-based, face-to-face workshop. Participants will 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 professional certificate 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 if they complete a foresight project after program delivery.

Our certificate seminars are limited to 30 students, which allows for optimal class time, small group work, and networking opportunities.

A detailed agenda, and an curriculum outline for the course can be found here.

Cost: $3000

Early registration is strongly recommended. All previous sessions have sold out weeks before the session.
Click here to register 

Hotel Reservations
​Hilton University (conveniently located on the University of Houston Campus, 5 min walk to venu) – 1-832-531-6300
Conference rate code is “FORE” for rate starting at $159  (must be reserved by Dec. 24)
Hotel Information and Reservations

For information about registration, transportation, accommodations or other questions, please email Alexandra Whittington or contact Dr. Andy Hines, ( Phone Number 832-367-5575 )

What Previous Participants have said

Certificate students come from a wide range of backgrounds, not just professionally, but culturally and geographically as well. Here is what some of the students who have completed the program had to say about their experience:

“One wonders if Dr. Peter Bishop realizes how much change he truly influences when he conducts the Certificate in Strategic Foresight course at the University of Houston …. I left with more than I anticipated. We expected this: a foundation in framing, research, and forecasting techniques, visioning and planning approaches, and tactics for action within our organizations …. But there’s more. The instructors are superb, and fellow students are dynamic and hail from a range of backgrounds and locales, both international and US. In courses designed this well, there’s often a synergy, even a gestalt of sorts that lasts until the course ends. The effects of Dr. Bishop’s class, however, are ongoing. Many of those involved in the course have significantly changed their careers, their positions, their influence over planning, thanks to the powerful tools gained in the course. We made permanent connections (always good for support in the world of foresight) and important connections for future opportunities. All of this goodness, CEU credits, and a certificate for the wall to lend credibility to your methods. The only negative of the course? You’ll want more. It’s addictive – so I’d consider the 2-year online course if you’re up for it.”

-Civilian Manager, U.S. Department of Defense

“As a private consultant, I am often asked by my clients to assist in developing a variety of strategic and operational plans. The Strategic Foresight Certificate gave me a wide variety of additional tools and techniques that I can utilize to develop scenarios of possible futures for my clients. Clients have found this helpful in mapping out the possibilities that the future can bring and more importantly it allows them to position themselves to influence the type of future they wish to create.”

-Alain Rabeau, Senior Consultant, The Intersol Group

“Strategic Foresight has helped me structure futures thinking and futures strategies into a curriculum that can be used for middle school students that will prepare these future world leaders to anticipate and cope with change, and to empower them with the ability to create solutions for a preferable future.”

-Public Education, Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator

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Libraries and the Rebirth of Civic Culture, an interview with UH Foresight Alum Garry Golden

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 4.33.34 PMEric Garland, a managing director at Competitive Futures Inc hosts a blog, and a web-only interview program called the Garland Report. The show is a means to deliver research and analysis on how the world is changing, from macroeconomics down to individual companies.

Garry Golden is a futurist and consultant that graduated from the University of Houston program. His work largely focuses on the futures of; learning, demographics, energy, transportation and libraries.

Garry and Eric sat down recently to discuss the future of libraries, and their possible role in building communities and re-engaging citizens in civic culture. Garry and Eric both agree that libraries are more than just a place to store and share books, they are a platform perfectly suited to connect people, incubate ideas, foster life-long learning and create change.

Using libraries as an anchor to center their conversation, the discussion touches on topics as broad as; shifting social values, generational gaps, technological advancements, and a theoretical debate about republican vs imperial ideologies. A full recording of their conversation can be found here.

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Alumni Thomas Hoffman published in The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society

Icarus-DARPA-093011-mdThomas Hoffman graduated from the UH Foresight program in 2004 and has been active in the futures space since. While a student in the program, Thomas began exploring ideas that became a paper recently published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. The paper, titled “Sacred Space: A Beginning Framework for Off-Planet Church” imagines the role of the Christian Church in exploring, colonizing, and commercializing inter-planetary travel:

“Historically the Church has always been part of the first waves of explorers and colonizers, with its ideological interests being easily supported by generous resources and strong infrastructures. The exploring Church has not always been a friendly guest, however, and at times has initiated or condoned great harm. This paper offers a beginning framework as one way of insuring an appropriate presence in space for the Church.”  (JBIS)

Thomas Hoffman originally presented his framework at DARPA’s 100-Year Space Ship symposium. The symposium is a public forum held by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that invites scientists, academics, and private institutions to discuss far-out ideas for building a spaceship to visit another star.



Wendy Schultz visits Intro to Foresight class to discuss images of the future

Wendy Schultz is futurist at Infinite Futures and former professor of Foresight at UH. She was a guest lecturer in the Intro to Foresight class this week where she presented on images of the future. Wendy cited the foundational text, The Image of the Future by Fred Polak as key influence for understanding the role images play in understanding and creating the future.

An image, as Wendy explained, is not necessarily just a visual representation. Images can be narratives, songs, poems, artifacts, dances, gestures or other methods of storytelling as well. These images are a part of our interior landscape and often actively inform our world-views and expectations.

Images of the future, or images that sell their audience a certain vision for future are everywhere. We find them in advertising, science fiction, fashion editorials, design renderings, mythologies, religion, political agendas and even our own dreams.

Wendys presentation included various images across multiple mediums which depicted 5-7 generic archetypes of how the future might play out. These archetypes, or reoccurring stories about the future that Wendy sees all the time are outlined in the following table.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.54.52 PM

Wendy went on to talk about differing images of the future across cultures, specifically about differences between European and American guiding images. She concluded with touching on her concern with the lack of a uniting universal image and rise of fundamentalist images across the world.

Professor Andy Hines also shared some thoughts on Wendy’s lecture on his blog, where he adds references to methodologies and frameworks suggested by Wendy for analyzing images of the future.

Attached below are a few of the lush images of the future Wendy curated in her presentation. Can you match these images to the archetypes/scenarios outlined in table above?