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

Future and so on

In many articles I talk about what might happen in the future, that there is a whole field of professional researchers who are capable and highly intelligent, sitting around all day making predictions about what our lives might be like in the future.

So far nothing new, but have you ever wondered what you need to become a futurologist? Alternatively, even more what it takes to become a professional futurist (I will use futurologist and futurist in the further synonym) ?

Since there is no classical education or training (at least to my knowledge) to become a futurologist, the question "What do I have to do to be taken seriously? Making predictions about the paths of mankind and the development of technology as well as the universe as a whole is certainly not the best topic during your favorite soccer game (I think it's a pity, but probably better that way).

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

The Foresight Competences

The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) provides you with some fancy instructions and models that tell you how to level up and become a professional. In 2016, the APF published for the first time a so-called Foresight Competency Model. It is based on three studies, which have a observation period of almost a decade and were conducted by 23 members of the APF, living on four continents. The model aims to show what personal, academic, working and technical skills a futurologist must have in order to be able to carry out professional work and research (I mean you probably also like your doctor to be professionally trained, or ...) ?

I present the model in two stages. The first stage shows six predictive skills that are essential for the job. The second level contains more areas and competencies, which are related to the profession of the respective area.

Roughly speaking, you will get a complete overview of "what I need to become a professional".

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 can see, many of these steps contain the ability to think "bigger", at a higher level and in different scenarios, as well as to think ahead. Guess for many, the dream is just about to come a long way off...

Joke aside, in the second part I present you the extensions of the model and link you to a document, which describes in detail, which requirements are expected and what they mean. In addition, I will post a video in which you will learn what it takes 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.