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In a world characterized by increasing complexity and accelerating change, we need tools that help us understand future possibilities in order to make more informed decisions today. The field of Futures Studies, or Strategic Foresight, has already developed many such tools, but they are still not commonly utilized by the general public.

So, I’ve partnered up with a colleague, Alvis Brigis, to help elevate the ‘futures thinking’ meme. We’re developing a process called Open Foresight, which aims to serve as an updated model for harvesting collective insight, generating scenarios, and creating strategic roadmaps into the future.

By combining available data, opinions from the experts, and the conventional wisdom of the crowds, we’ll be able to analyze a topic from a wide range of perspectives and viewpoints. We’ll then distill that down into a series of animation-rich videos that summarize these insights. The methodologies used will help us all gain a better understanding of the risks, opportunities, and implications surrounding the issues important to us. All of the content we collect will be made available via Creative Commons SA by-cc so that it can be reused, remixed, and built upon by others.

The first project to employ this framework was launched on Kickstarter today – The Future of Facebook video series.  (video above) Using the STEEP forecasting methodology, we’ll be viewing the challenges and opportunities for this company through the lenses of Society, Technology, Environment, Economics, and Politics. Each of these five categories will become a short focus video that fleshes out that topic area. The final video will be a big picture overview of the potential pathways for the evolution of Facebook.

by @EricaGlasier

Interviews are still underway, but here’s a look at who we’ve talked to so far:

by @gavinkeech

To launch the public arm of the project, we’ve posted the same 15 questions we asked all interviewees onto Quora. We’ll be monitoring the topic for the most insightful and provocative answers you’ve got. The people with our favorite answers will be invited to participate in an interview with us for inclusion in one of the final videos. You can add your visions to “The Future of Facebook Project” topic here.

We’ve also created a Facebook page, aptly named “Future of This Social Network.” ;) Please follow our developments, video releases, and conversations there as well as on Twitter with the hashtag #fofb.

We hope this will be the first of many upcoming foresight projects that teach us to better harness our collective intelligence to understand complex issues in a way that’s open, collaborative, and fun.

Please help us develop this initiative by supporting the Future of Facebook project on Kickstarter and contributing your thoughts and insights through the various channels listed above.

We’re looking forward to developing Open Foresight with you!