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Futures and Foresight

The Futures and Foresight research group is part of the York Business School. It explores the concept of future, considering how it can inform strategy and decision making.

Stepping stones counting up in years

The Futures and Foresight Research Group was founded in November 2019.

We use an interdisciplinary approach to study predictable, probable, plausible, preferable and creatable long term futures. The scope of our work includes:

  • Individual and group research: We build on existing research interests and how they extend into the future.
  • Curriculum development: We find opportunities to include futures and foresights learning at all levels of the curriculum as well as considering the future of curriculum development.
  • Grants and projects: We seek external funding for futures work.
  • Consultancy: We develop and sell products and services to organisations.

Research activity

Thematic Action Learning (TAL)

Anticipation of the future can play an important role in the safeguarding and improvement of an organisation.  This project explores how this anticipation assists decision-making processes.

Find out more in the working paper for the project:

Thematic Action Learning - Futures and Foresight (PDF, 0.3 MB)

Virtual Action Learning (VAL)

Organisations in the UK and around the world are facing a significant future of uncertainty which is likely to continue for several months if not years. We seek to offer Futures and Foresight through Virtual Action Learning (VAL). This means we can offer an ongoing learning process using technology such as Skype or Zoom to groups who are located anywhere in the world.

Find out more in the working papers for the project:

Futures and Foresight by Virtual Action Learning (PDF, 0.3 MB)

Futures and Foresight for the Post Covid Era (PDF, 0.3 MB)

Learning to work with Machine Learning

We have been living in the age of Machine Learning for some time however the Covid 19 pandemic is creating the conditions for an accelerated advance. Our research with professionals suggests an awareness of the impact of Machine Learning but an inability to work on its design and development in their organisations. 

Our programme seeks to address the work of professionals in organisations so that they develop the necessary skills and confidence to affect the design and implementation of Machine Learning projects.

Find out more by downloading the project overview:

Learning to work with Machine Learning (PDF, 0.3 MB)

The Strategic Foresight Lab

The Strategic Foresight Lab builds on the work of Futures Research Group at York Business School. Its purpose is to enable leadership teams to build a future-oriented strategy.

The Strategic Foresight Lab provides dedicated space and time for leadership teams to focus on thinking about the future of their organisation.

Further details are available in the overview below:

The Strategic Foresight Lab (PDF, 0.3 MB)

Report for Social Justice in York 2030

A Futures and Foresight Workshop considered social justice in York and its environs in the year 2030. Specific consideration was given to key inhibitors of social justice with respect to inequality in poverty, housing and rough sleeping, health and social care, and employment and training. Workshop participants considered how exploring future scenarios could inform current actions.

Find out more in the report:

Social Justice in York, 2030 Report (PDF, 0.4 MB)

Emergent Strategy and Futures Model

Dr David Atkinson is able to assist organisations in applying a model in strategic thinking that considers the future, ensuring robust decision making. The model developed by Professor Jeff Gold (the group’s founder) has been successfully operating in several companies over the last three years.

Find out more in the overview of the model:

Emergent Strategy and Futures Model (PDF, 0.4 MB)

Group members

Professor Jeff Gold

Professor of Organisation Learning

Dr David Atkinson


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