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WSP 342 — How to Think Like a Futurist: Improve Your Powers of Imagination, Invention, and Capacity for Change

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Saturday and Sunday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): May 4—May 5
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 27
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $335
Instructor(s): Jane McGonigal
Status: Open
Saturday and Sunday
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
May 4—May 5
2 days
Drop By
Apr 27
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Jane McGonigal
Can you picture the three most important technologies in your life twenty years from today? Could you tell a vivid story about the single biggest challenge you’ll personally face five years from now? What about the biggest challenge the world will face in fifty years? Thinking about the far-off future is more than an exercise in intellectual curiosity. It’s a practical skill that new research reveals has a direct neurological link to greater creativity, empathy, and optimism. In other words, futurist thinking gives you the ability to create change in your own life and the world around you, today. In this course, you’ll learn essential habits for thinking about the future that will increase the power of your practical imagination. These futurist habits include counterfactual thinking (imagining how the past could have turned out differently), signals hunting (looking for leading-edge examples of the kind of change you want to see in the world), and autobiographical forecasting (anticipating how you will adapt your strategies and goals as the world around you changes). We’ll discuss the scientific research that explains how each habit can have a positive impact on your life, from helping you become a more original thinker to making you a more persuasive communicator. By the end of this course, you will have the playful and practical tools you need to imagine how the world (and your life) could be very different—and to use your newfound imagination to create change today.

Jane McGonigal, Director of Games Research and Development, Institute for the Future

Jane McGonigal has created forecasting games for partners like the World Bank, the New York Public Library, and the American Heart Association. Well known for her TED Talks, she is the author of Reality Is Broken and SuperBetter. She received a PhD in performance studies from UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future (ISBN 978-0143110378)