This paper reflects on the author’s experience of an education foundation’s developing a robust and nationally recognized futures studies practice over a period of 14 years. In so doing, this paper aims to inform other futures studies practitioners about the kinds of considerations that can be encountered, and which must be managed, in starting, developing and maintaining a futures studies practice.
Organized around KnowledgeWorks’ triennial forecasts on the future of learning, the paper takes a narrative approach to describe the organization’s and the author’s future studies journeys, examining ways in which organizational learning and dynamics, as well as audience reception, affected the relative success of the study.
The paper begins by describing KnowledgeWorks’ excitement when publishing its first forecast on the future of education as a client of the institute for the future put KnowledgeWorks on the national map. It goes on to examine the organization’s capacity development in learning how to engage education audiences in exploring the future of learning, situating the study in the field of futures studies and developing internal capacity and thought leadership in the field. The paper concludes by reflecting on key aspects of KnowledgeWorks’ organizational learning; the organization’s leadership, moment and culture; and the author’s professional development journey.
The paper will help other future studies practitioners, along with organizations interested in considering investing in futures studies, anticipate considerations that could help them strengthen their practice or set up their organizational investment for success.
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