Futures Frequency – a new workshop method for building alternative futures
How about a different kind of future? Sitra’s new workshop method provides tools for imagining and building preferred futures.
2020 brought surprises, uncertainty and unclear prospects for the future. While everyone hoped that 2021 would be very different, the start of the new year made it clear that we’d be in for more surprises and uncertainties.
This being so , there is an ever-growing need for us to envisage and create better futures. Influencing the future is everyone’s right, which is why on 12 January Sitra launched the Futures Frequency workshop method for open use by all interested parties. Futures Frequency combines future-oriented thinking with change-making: it stimulates the workshop participants to think about futures that are worth imagining and striving for.
“For the transition to a more sustainable society to be successful, we need more people and organisations to get involved in talking about the future, get inspired about it and take action towards it,” says Jenna Lähdemäki-Pekkinen, Project Lead of the Future Makers project.
What is Futures Frequency?
Futures Frequency is a three-hour workshop method that combines future-oriented thinking with change-making. The core of the three-step method involves challenging assumptions about the future, imagining preferred futures and making them a reality. More detailed information on the thinking behind the method is provided in the report Vaikuta tulevaisuuteen (in Finnish).
“The aim of Futures Frequency is to make future-oriented thinking skills more approachable and strengthen people’s agency and faith in the future. The workshop method suits a wide range of target audiences and does not require prior experience of foresight thinking,” explains Lähdemäki-Pekkinen.
The Futures Frequency method was developed in 2020 as part of Sitra’s Future Makers project. The process was supported by valuable feedback from an external developer team and the participants of a number of pilot workshops run in the autumn 2020. The design of the workshop makes the method suitable for both online and face-to-face use.
Futures Frequency is intended to be used and applied by anyone. It can be used as a training activity or as the first step to familiarising a group with future-oriented thinking, foresight and change-making. The aim is that Futures Frequency will help a growing number of people and organisations understand that they can be a change-maker that builds a sustainable future.
“The future belongs to everyone. We hope that Futures Frequency will inspire a large group of people and organisations across Finland to challenge , imagine and build futures,” said Lähdemäki-Pekkinen.
All the materials needed to facilitate a workshop are openly available online at futuresfrequency.fi. The materials include a detailed description of the entire workshop, including scripts and assignments, plus lecture videos, short audio drama pieces and presentation slides. Sitra has also published a Facilitator’s Handbook for Futures Frequency workshops.
There are also a number of new tools being included in the Futuremaker’s Toolbox to support future-oriented thinking and change-making.