Free mini-course: Pragmatic futurism for today's designers

SDN Academy Online (23 April 2020)


23 April 2020

14:30 - 15:30 BST
(Edinburgh, UK) 

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SDN Academy Online

Platform details will be shared with course registrants prior to course



In response to the coronavirus crisis and as a service to our community, the SDN Academy and this trainer are offering this event for free

Course is fully booked​

Other courses may be found on the Courses page

Course language:



Global pandemic, lockdowns, social distancing, economic shock.

Setting aside time to think critically about the future has suddenly changed from a luxury afforded to professional futurists, to something we all need to do if we’re going to be prepared for the aftershocks. 


Yet the practice of strategic foresight is often seen as a near-futile attempt to 'get the future right', at the expense of dealing with the operational reality of the present. In other words: why bother dreaming about possible future fires, when my house is on fire right now?


But, having practiced foresight at Nile in recent years, we’ve learnt that the process of thinking through the future together is as valuable as the forecast itself – and that anyone with the right toolkit and mindset can reap the rewards of innovation, originality and resilience.


In this online mini-course session, we’re going to clear up the murky waters of foresight for design teams by sharing four simple habits we use at Nile:


  1. Sense change: Be on the lookout for signals of change in the present that create vivid examples of how the future might be different.

  2. Challenge the status quo: Explore ways in which these signals can come together in unexpected ways to create uncomfortable, plausible, futures.

  3. Tell a human story: Tell a convincing story about the future that turns an abstract idea into something that has impact on real people.

  4. Translate the impact: What’s the 'so what'? Understand the effect on your team and/or organisation. Identify whether to 'act or track'.


Registration deadline: 22 April 2020

After this session you will:

  • Know the fundamentals concepts of futures thinking

  • Understand how to think through change in a structured way

  • Have some simple foresight tools at your fingertips

  • Know where to start when exploring the implications of COVID-19 for your customers, products and services

The session will include presentation material and practical examples. We’ll also encourage attendees to interact with each other to discuss their own observations and insights.

Who is this course for?

Service designers at any level.



Neil Collman

Invited Trainer


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