Countdown to Technology Acceleration

It’s hard to believe that we’re just a shade under four weeks away from the Spring Gathering, featuring “Technology Acceleration” on Saturday April 18.

So, out-of-towners, time to make your reservations if you haven’t already. For hotel, we’re suggesting the UH Hilton, which provides convenient access to our social meeting spots and is a short walk from the conference in the Cameron Building on the UH campus.

For those who like to read ahead, the conference leader, alum John Smart, recommends Leadership of Tech Change, which includes a technology brief exploring possible, probable, and preferable futures – what “could”, “will” and “should” happen, in ten key technology foresight areas.

The conference will provide us an opportunity to really dive into the technological advances that will be shaping our future and discuss their implications with futurist colleagues – a mix of students, alums, faculty, and prospects (and do feel free to bring a guest).

Of course, we’ll do dinner and margaritas at Goode’s Tacqueria, followed by a visit to a local Hookah place on Friday — and close the weekend with a pool party/BBQ at Andy’s on Saturday night after the conference. See all the details and agenda here: Houston Foresight 2015 Gathering Flyer.

Please RSVP (or ask questions) to Hines

Next Foresight Certificate Course: May 11-15, 2015 in Houston

Our next certificate course will be held at the UH Hilton in Houston, Texas from May 11-15th 2015.


The UH certificate in Foresight is in its seventh year of twice-annual seminars held at the University of Houston in January and May each year. We are also offering the certificate course at the Destree Institute from May 25-29 in Brussels, Belgium, which we have been doing since 2012. The number of professional certificate graduates has reached nearly400 individuals and continues to grow.

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 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 venue) – 1-832-531-6300
Conference rate code is “FORE” for rate starting at $159  (must be reserved by April 20, 2015)
Hotel Information and Reservations

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

Alumi April Koury at Fast Future

We’re very proud of announcing that April Koury, alumnus and former GA of the program, has just started to work at Fast Future. And she’s sharing a little bit about her work and advices for current students with us.

Quote1I’m thrilled to be working with a futurist and speaker as prominent as Rohit. My job currently involves a lot of social media management – I’ll be designing a new website for Fast Future, I’m running/fixing up the company’s Facebook & Google+ pages, I’m pulling together all of Rohit’s interviews & speaking engagements on a YouTube channel, uploading all of the company’s presentations & reports on SlideShare, and best of all, I’m constantly scanning for interesting hits to tweet about (follow us @fastfuture).

As the research assistant, when client jobs come in I’m responsible for a lot of scanning, researching, dreaming up implications, and writing for presentations and publication. Additionally, Rohit and I are co-authoring the introduction to ‘FutureShape – The Best ofQuote2 Futures Thinking’, a collaborative book comprising of 60 futurists that have written short articles on a broad range of futures topics, due for publication in June 2015.

Her advice to current students:

  • Be willing to constantly learn and adapt – I’m not just a futurist. In all of my futures positions, I’ve been an assistant, a researcher, a media maven, I’ve learned basic HTML & java to fix websites, I’ve blogged, I’ve worked on presentations for big clients, I’ve set up meetings, I’ve run AdobeConnect and hated its guts.
  • Be patient – Foresight is a small field, so be patient when trying to find a job. I graduated aprilsummer 2014 and I was hired just last week.
  • Use your professors – Not only are they all incredible mentors who teach you how to be a futurist, they’re also great for jobs because they probably know of futurists looking to hire. Keep up the good work in their classes and they’ll be excellent references. Thanks Andy for helping me land this job!
  • And maybe… Learn a little bit about building up a social media presence – getting my current position & my past awesome internship was partly because I had experience with social media management.

You can get to know more about Fast Future’s work using the links below:

Twitter: @FastFuture

YouTube Channel in the ‘Playlists':




Welcome our new Foresight students

On January 2015, eight new students started at the Foresight Program, we would like to give them a warm welcoming and wish them a lot of success on this new stage of their professional lives.

New students Spring 2015

Brenda Chacon is a native San Antonian,  she attended  the University of the Incarnate Word, a private catholic university.  She received her BBA in History. Her favorite historical era is the Civil War. And she currently works for USAA as a Consumer Loan Rep. She is also a very proud mother of  have 5 kids, all adopted oldest one is 34 youngest one is 18.

George Paap -top left- lives in Austin but works in San Antonio. He graduated from the University of California with a degree in Physics. Now he is a Manager on Decision Science Analytics at USAA. He is looking forward to his studies in Foresight as it looks at much longer horizons than are typical in company strategy and will help me identify disruptive opportunities and threats. He plan to move towards a strategy/innovation role within USAA.

Greg Turner -top center- is the President of TurnerDuran Architects, LP, a Houston-based company he founded in 1984. The firm specializes in projects for institutional and corporate clients, and consistently ranks among the top firms in Texas. He has a Bachelor degree in Architecture and Design, and also a Master of Architecture, both from MIT. Greg is a returning UH alumni, he got an MBA degree from Bauer Business School.

Joe Murphy -top right- is a librarian and library futures consultant in the Bay Area with his small Italian Greyhound. Joe was formerly a Science Librarian at Yale University and a Director of Library Futures with a leading library software company (Innovative). This is Joe’s second masters degree, he earned an MLISc from the University of Hawaii and studied Physics as an Undergrad. Joe grew up in NY and has lived in LA, NY, Hawaii, NV, Connecticut. Joe has presented on future directions for libraries around the globe and the US.

Katie King -center- is a proud USC alumna with a degree in journalism. Nowadays she is a middle school English teacher, who is interested in the future of education. Her current interest in that sphere is the future of learning spaces and schedules. She is a native Houstonian who now lives in Humboldt County, CA. This is her first official semester on the program.

Khaliah Johnson -bottom left- is a first year student in the Foresight program. In December of 2014, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from the University of Houston. Her concentrations were beverage mgmt. & mktg., global business, PR & advertising, and global & international studies. She is interested in improving the future of the global alcohol market by creating innovative strategies through product and service implementation. She currently works in beverage marketing doing consumer behavior research, and conducts an occasional wine tasting as a blossoming sommelier.

Maria Romero -bottom center- was born on Valencia, Venezuela and move to Caracas to get her bachelor’s degrees in Sociology at Universidad Central de Venezuela, biggest public university of the country and another in Communications at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, a top private catholic university. She has worked on several fields from multinational consumer goods company to technology and digital advertising startups,  always being related to marketing, strategy and research positions. Currently she is a full time student and the GA for the program.

Will Williamsom -bottom right- currently works as a manual lathe machinist and millwright which is, in essence, an extremely precise metal worker.  He enjoys everything creative about what he do, but he do not want to make a career of it, as it is extremely dangerous work.  His background is in psychology with neuroscience and behavioral analysis focuses.  He would like to move into a career space which might use behavioral analysis and foresight in concert.  He assign a tremendous amount of value to strategic decision making, and I am excited to make the most of this opportunity to culture an understanding of foresight.

Arup Futurist Chris Luebkeman Visits with Foresight Program

Chris_Luebkeman_285x189Futurist Chris Luebkeman, Arup Fellow and Global Director, who established the foresight group with the firm, visited with the combined “Intro” and “Seminar” classes of the Houston Foresight program on Monday. In 1999, Chris joined Arup as the Co-Director for Research and Development. A couple of years later, he formed the Foresight, Innovation and Incubation team, which has evolved to its present form as Foresight + Research + Innovation.

He talked about his career, his experience in starting the foresight unit, and what he’s learned along the way of doing foresight work at Arup for the last dozen years.  His background included bridge design, which led him to a “Home of the Future” project at MIT, and later launched him over to Arup. It’s interesting to note the incredible variety of backgrounds that futurists come from. A common denominator, Chris suggested, is the characteristic of “infinite curiosity.”

He offered lots of useful advice to student based on his experience. For instance, he suggest it is important to “figure out the context in which you thrive; is it alone, in teams, consulting, managing people?” He found his niche with Arup with the initial small team of five people devoted to foresight, and operating under the radar. They started which has continued to thrive today. It’s a great workshop tool. He found that in using it in workshops across the world, the same themes kept emerging, and they also factored in in a STEEP lens and used it to identify issues for the group. They did very detailed research on the drivers. They would dig to the original research rather than rely on secondary reports on it, to make sure the data was right. Every idea has a pedigree and it’s good to acknowledge that.

They address all learning styles, as a key to success is to “find the entry point.” It’s about changing people’s minds. A way to think of internal customers is some love you, some don’t like you, and most are indifferent. [Might remind some of you my frogs, lemmings, vultures, and rats]. At the same time, you need to be able to speak the language of the hard-line business person.

Eventually, as they got successful, the foresight unit came out from under the radar. Internal groups started raising questions about what the unit did. This brought home the point about how important it is to “know your stock value.” How are you being value in the organization? He collects anecdotes, as he goes, to help demonstrate value, e.g., “that project was instrumental to us for launching…”

The key job in foresight work is to help others understand the context of tomorrow. Chris’s visit was an excellent infusion of “real-life” foresight that I’m sure the students will carry with them on their future journeys. Andy Hines

Faculty/Alum Breaux to APF board

JimBreaux Alum and Adjunct Professor of undergrad class TECH 4310: Future of Energy and  the Environment, Jim Breaux has been selected to be part of the Association of  Professional Futurists Board. Jim has been leading APF’sVirtual Gatherings for the  past three years and is now planning events for 2015.  Jim is a professional engineer  and Senior Project Manager in the petrochemical industry and is trained in  facilitation, public speaking, quality process and maintenance, and an author and  contributing editor for project management procedures and guidelines.

Program Coordinator Dr. Hines observed that: “It is a great honor to be selected to  the APF Board. Jim has been doing a great job for APF in coordinating Virtual  Gatherings, and I am so pleased to see that his efforts have been recognized. It is  good for us in the Houston Foresight program to have another faculty member on  the Board – joining Chair Cindy Frewen.”

The APF Board consists of nine members who are recommended by the general  membership and nominated by the Nominations Committee for final voting by      board. The board is a working board and oversees or is engaged in the operations  and leadership of the APF, which remains an all-volunteer organization.

Here is a link that list past APF Board Members.

Alum Merritt publishes TrendsWatch 2015

Founding Director of the Center for the Future of Museums and alum from our January 2010 certificate course, Elizabeth Merritt, just released the 4th annual report called TrendsWatch 2015.

In this year’s edition she delves into:2015trendswatchcover

  • Open data
  • The rise of ethical consumerism, powered by the web & by social media
  • Personalization of products, services, communications and experiences
  • Rising sea levels
  • Wearable technology in all its permutations
  • Slow culture

Each section introduces the trend, what it means for society in general and museums in particular, gives examples of organizations adapting to the trend, and suggests how museums might want to respond.

TrendsWatch 2015 will also be available as a print edition in the AAM Bookstore sometime in March. Check their webpage for updates.

Introducing Maria Romero as the New Foresight GA

romeroThe baton has passed to a new GA this Spring – introducing Maria Romero!

Maria is a full-time student living on campus in her first year in the Foresight program. She was able to step in on short notice, when Omar, the previous GA, had to pack up for Paris to do an internship with Riel Miller at UNESCO.

Maria is originally from Valencia, Venezuela and after high school moved to Caracas, where she got two bachelor’s degrees, one in Sociology and the second in Mass Communication. She has worked in a lot of different places from Procter and Gamble in Planning and Strategy to a recent experience as a consultant for a research about Youth and Democracy in Venezuela. In her spare time she loves travel – and she’s been been in 20 countries and several cities of the US

Please join me in welcoming Maria to this important role for the Foresight Program. Andy Hines

Student Scanning: “If it moves, it’s alive!”

[NOTE: We will occasionally be featuring some blog posts from student scanning hits in World futures class.].

Up until now there were two predominant ways to effectively search for extraterrestrial life. For very far away worlds, planet hunters execute a spectrographic analysis of a planet’s atmosphere. Different chemical compositions would emit different light in specific wavelengths and in this way we could know if there is water, or even metabolical byproducts of life or industry present. In a more tactile situation (such as a rover on Mars), a standard chemical analysis could be made. Both of these methods rely heavily on chemistry.

However, along with other collaborators, scientist at the University of Lausanne devised a new approach: Scanning for vibrations which would indicate metabolic movement and processes! A nano-sample of whatever is suspected to be life harboring, is deposited onto a nano-sized cantilever which scans it with a laser more than once. In a sense it makes a sequence of images which are then used to detect nanomotion. For those into scientific jargon the whole thing would sound something like this: “We have devised a nanomotion detector to study these fluctuations and to associate them to the metabolic activity of the specimens,” says the scientists[1].

Just as exciting is its application for the pharmaceutical industry: Antibiotic and cancer drugs are both supposed to kill malevolent cells in the body. New drugs can now be tested in this way to see if they are really up to the challenge.

So, in space or lab – if it moves it is (still) alive!  – Johann Shutte


Announcing the April 17-18 Spring Gathering Agenda for Technology Acceleration

We’re getting excited about the Spring Gathering this year as alum John Smart, President of Acceleration Studies Foundation ( is leading us through a day on “Technology Acceleration” on Saturday April 18. Of course, we’ll do dinner and margaritas at Goode’s Tacqueria, followed by a visit to a local Hookah place on Friday — and close the weekend with a pool party/BBQ at Andy’s on Saturday night after the conference. See all the details and agenda here: Houston Foresight 2015 Gathering Flyer.

It’s an opportunity for us to really dive into the technological advances that will be shaping our future and discuss their implications with futurist colleagues. We’ll have a mix of students, alums, faculty, prospects, and do feel free to bring a guest.  It’s also a tradition that we do this weekend face-to-face, so that we can get to know one another better and also to provide our online colleagues a best time of year to visit.

So, please do make your reservations if you’re coming from out of town, and mark your calendar if you’re local, and we’ll  have our best Spring Gathering yet. Please RSVP (or ask questions) to Andy Hines