How to become a professional Futurist? – The Foresight Competency Model Part 1

Future and such

In many past posts I talked about what may happen in the future, that there exists a field of professional researchers, who are highly capable and intelligent, sitting around all day making predictions about what our life in the future may be.

Nothing new so far, but have you ever wondered about what you need to be a futurist? Alternatively, even more, what does it require to become a professional futurist?

Since there is no classical training (or at least I do not know about any) to become a futurist, it is a valid question to think about what is needed to be taken serious. Making predictions about the pathways of humanity and the development of technology and the universe itself is maybe not the best choice during your favourite football or soccer game (it is a pity but maybe I am right).

Many of us may think about the future, but it takes more to think of it on a professional level.

The Foresight Competences

The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) provides you with some nice guidelines and some models, which state what you need to level up and become a pro. In 2016, the APF released the so-called Foresight Competency Model for the first time. It bases upon three studies over almost a decade of observation period, conducted by 23 members of the APF, who live on four continents. The model aims to elucidate the personal, academic, working and technical skills and competencies futurologists require conducting professional research and work (I mean you prefer your doctor to be a trained professional as well, right…).

I am going to present the model in two stages. The first stage shows six-foresight competencies needed to get the job done. The second stage presents more fields and competencies focusing on specified professions within the field.

Briefly, you will see a complete overview of “what do I need to know to become a pro”.

Six Foresight Competencies

  • Framing – Defining the focal issue and current conditions
  • Scanning – Exploring signals of change and cross-impacts
  • Futuring – Identifying a baseline and alternative futures
  • Visioning – Developing and committing to a preferred future
  • Designing – Developing prototypes and artefacts to achieve goals
  • Adapting – Generating strategies for alternative futures

As you see, much of these steps require the ability to think bigger, on a larger scale and in different scenarios as well as thinking ahead. Guess what, for many the dream fades fast at the moment …

Joke aside, in the second part, I will present you the expansions of the model and link you to a document, which in depth explains what all these prerequisites mean. In addition, I post a video about what you need to become a futurologist.

Continue with Part 2.


Bishop, Peter & Hines, Andy (2012). „Teaching about the future.“ New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230363496

Hines, Andy & Peter Bishop. (2015). „Thinking about the Future: Guidelines for strategic foresight.“ Hinesight, 2nd edition. ISBN 978-0996773409

Fowles, Jib (1978). Handbook of futures research. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 0837198852

Markley, Oliver (1983). Preparing for the professional futures field: Observations from the UHCLC futures program. Futures, 15(1), 47-64.

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