What is Futures Literacy?
When we decide to take an umbrella in the morning because we think it might rain and we don’t want to get wet, we are using the future to make decisions in the present. Similarly, the 2030 Agenda, which contains the 17 SDGs, is nothing more than a shared plan for a prosperous future for people and the planet. Therefore, it is our anticipation of what a desirable future is that shapes our actions and choices in the present. Or at least it should be.
Futures Literacy is the ability to identify and understand these anticipatory systems and use them in our favor, to innovate in the present.
Since 2013, Futures Literacy has been disseminated internationally through the Futures Literacy Labs (FLL) methodology, developed by Professor Riel Miller, head of Foresight at UNESCO. A FLL seeks to analyze how people use anticipatory assumptions to create different images of the future, highlighting how these affect people’s perceptions and decisions in the present.
Understanding how those ideas and images of the future influence the way people act in the present is key to innovation.
Summing up, contrary to what is commonly assumed, Futures Literacy is not about predicting the future, but about the plurality of ideas and images that people have about it and how it influences the way people act in the present. It makes possible to “liberate the future”, questioning and deconstructing aspects that are kept, repeated or constantly pursued in our society based on normative images of the future.
Only by questioning and deconstructing our assumptions about the future we will be able to imagine and create disruptive future realities!
Innovation experts Alexandre Fernandes and Ramila Zadeh have conducted a workshop with participants of the MAIA program in which they used the Futures Literacy Lab methodology.
Check out this short interview with Ramila:
* About us: MAIA for the SDGs is an intensive program that will provide you with tools, skills and a support network to advance the Sustainable Development Goals!