5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About Strategic Foresight with Bart Édes — DT101 E95

This episode of the Design Thinking 101 podcast is 5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About: Strategic Foresight. Our guest today is Bart Édes. Bart is a professor at McGill University in International Development.

Portrait of Bart Édes

Listen to Learn About

  • Future thinking and strategic foresight
  • The benefits of using foresight
  • How to start using foresight in your organization
  • Teaming up with a futurist
  • Three skills decision makers need to preapre for the future
  • The Futures Wheel

Our Guest

Bart Édes is a policy analyst, commentator, and author of Learning From Tomorrow: Using Strategic Foresight to Prepare for the Next Big Disruption. He focuses on Asian economic cooperation and integration, sustainable development, international trade, trends reshaping the world, and futures thinking. Édes contributes to the work of the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s Friends of Foresight Community and Task Force on Foresight for Sustainable Development Finance. Based in Montréal, Édes is a Professor of Practice at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development.

Show Highlights

[01:09] Bart gives a quick introduction to himself.
[02:59] The short definition of strategic foresight.
[03:50] What does it mean to have ideas about the future?
[04:00] Foresight is multidisciplinary.
[04:35] There’s been a surge of interest in foresight since the beginning of the pandemic.
[05:12] What’s involved in strategic foresight?
[06:34] Foresight is not prediction.
[06:58] An exercise in foresight yields scenarios.
[07:10] Foresight scenarios are not the same as forecasting.
[07:57] Looking at emerging drivers of change.
[08:56] The 5.5 things you need to know about strategic foresight.
[09:23] Why organizations should use foresight.
[10:09] Bart talks about foresight work done by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2010.
[10:42] Why foresight is becoming more popular now.
[12:54] The tendency to focus on the immediate as opposed to the future.
[14:29] How to start using foresight in your organization.
[14:42] Scanning for weak signals.
[15:40] Some trends and new innovations on the rise because of the pandemic.
[19:17] How to use weak signals.
[21:42] Bart talks about best practices for partnering with a futurist, and where to find free resources on using foresight.
[24:11] Bart talks a little about his book, Learning from Tomorrow.
[26:08] The Global Trends Report put out by the US National Intelligence Council.
[28:04] Three skills Bart wishes today’s decision-makers had.
[28:38] Learning from past experience.
[29:14] Creating a learning culture.
[30:26] Becoming future-oriented.
[32:48] How to use the Futures Wheel.


Bart on LinkedIn
Bart on CSIS
Bart on Medium
Learning from Tomorrow with Bart W. Édes On Strategic Foresight & Reshaping Asia & the World
Global Trends Report
The Futures Wheel

Book Recommendations

Learning from Tomorrow: Using Strategic Foresight to Prepare for the Next Big Disruption, by Bart Édes

Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like

Adding System Awareness to System Design to Your Innovation Stack with Julie Guinn — DT101 E43
A Short Introduction to Design Thinking with Dawan Stanford — DT101 E32
Teaching Yourself Design Thinking + Innovating in Government with Amy J. Wilson — DT101 E19

Tell me how the show helps you.

Photo of Dawan Stanford

Your ideas support and develop the show. Tell the world how the Design Thinking 101 Podcast has helped you think and solve like a designer. Then, tell me how I might make it even more helpful.

Cheers ~ Dawan

Fluid Hive's Designing Faciltiation Course

Are you ready to design outstanding events that will engage participants and get the outcomes you need? Fluid Hive's Designing Facilitation Course is a step-by-step design thinking-fueled system for creating and leading events, workshops and meetings that solve problems, save money, and protect your reputation.

Designing Facilitation gives you 32 lessons that walk you through answering our Event Design questions, and 28 Event Design Practice Tools that help you immediately apply your learning. Dawan also offers examples and insight from his decades of experience leading events for thousands of people everywhere from the White House to packed ballrooms, cozy workshop rooms, and online spaces with remote participants.

Design Thinking 101 Courses — Framing

In this self-paced, online course, Framing: Creating Better Solutions by Finding More Valuable Problems to Solve, you will learn to create more effective solutions by understanding the problem you are trying to solve. This is the first course in Fluid Hive's Design Thinking 101 Courses Series.

Creating effective solutions begins with understanding the problem we are trying to solve. Is this problem worth solving? Where should we look to understand our problem? What’s happening inside this problem? How do we define the problem? How do we adjust problem framing as we go? During the course, you will learn to answer these questions and apply them to your work.

Resources — Thinking and Solving Like a Designer


Ask Like a Designer — Monthly articles with design ideas, methods, frameworks, templates, and a question-fueled approach to design-driven innovation. Discover new ways to think and solve like a designer.

Sample pages from inside Fluid Hive's Innovation Shield


Download Fluid Hive's Innovation Shield: a guide to avoiding innovation traps by asking 9 of Fluid Hive's Design Thinking Questions.

Your Ask Like a Designer Studio

Your Ask Like a Designer Studio connects you with people interesed in thinking and solving like a designer.

Enjoy invitations to free, live Studio events. Receive articles, Design Thinking 101 podcast updates, tips, tools, templates, workshop information, and more to help you create and perform!

Innovation Smart Start Webinar

Your next project could be easier, faster and more effective if you play smart at the start. In this webinar Dr. Dawan Stanford will teach you ways to ask like a designer so your projects succeed more often and your revenue grows.