What is Futures Literacy?
Capability that enables people to better understand the role that the future plays in what they see and do.
It's about knowing why and how to use the future to disrupt the habitual anticipatory assumptions embedded in our individual and collective minds. This capability helps individuals and groups to put the future to use for different reasons under different circumstances. The objectives of developing futures literacy skills can be summarized as:
- Using the Future to Rethink the Present;
- Fostering Diverse Futures;
- Agency and Empowerment.
For me, the most important aspect of futures literacy is the concept of anticipatory assumptions - or the certainties we all hold about the future. Some of these are individual, others are collective but we all have them. The certainty of your name, or that the sun will rise tomorrow. The certainty that every street has a name. Everything you take for granted in order to navigate the world, can be considered an anticipatory assumption. Being aware of these is fundamental when it comes to your ability to "change" the future.
Envisioning at the Summit
Envisioning was invited to participate at the UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit in 2020. Originally planned as an in-person event in Paris, due to the pandemic the event happened online. The event had two components: an official agenda and an "open floor" for futures-related organizations to showcase presentations and workshops. Envisioning made the most of the opportunity and organized 36 different sessions in English, Portuguese and Spanish and offered an agenda of back-to-back sessions during the 72 hours of the Summit. We received thousands of participants from around the world and learned an immense amount about what resonates and public interest in the field.