#futureofmeded: developing foresight competencies

Our editorial board member, Felix, is joined today by a co-author: Daniel Pesut, PhD, RN, FAAN – professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and Director of the  Katharine J. Densford Center for Nursing Leadership. Dan is a thought leader and innovative nurse educator, author, coach, consultant and keynote speaker who works with people to help them anticipate and plan for the future with creativity, innovation, and foresight. 

By Dan Pesut and Felix Ankel (@felixankel)

You are a new postgraduate dean hired to guide a recently merged medical school and health system into the future.  You ask yourself; what should a future oriented graduate medical education system look like?  In your first six months, you do the obligatory internal and external environmental scans and conclude that there is an opportunity for a coordinated shared vision with stakeholders.  You look towards an informed foresight discipline to help create strategic and annual plans.  What language do you use?  What models will help you?  What resources are available? Consider how you might engage your peers and colleagues in a conversation about the future.  Commit to developing a future thinking mindset to ensure the success of your school and the health systems where you work.ANKEL_You are a highly recruited post graduate dean hired to guide a newly merged medical school and health system into the future

What language do you use? 

The foresight competency model developed by the Association of Professional Futurists. includes framing, scanning, futuring, visioning, designing and adapting.

Framing: Scoping the project, defining the focal issues and current conditions

Scanning: Exploring signals of change or indicators of the future

Futuring: Identifying a baseline and alternative futures

Visioning: developing and committing to a preferred future

Designing: Developing prototypes, offerings or artifacts to achieve vision and goals

Adapting: Enabling organizations to generate options to alternative futures

What models will help you

What is the best way to anticipate the future?  Create it.   Author Daniel Burrus (2017) writes about the Anticipatory Organization and the value of transforming the way people and organizations plan. Key to the transformation is creation of the anticipatory organization (AO). The Anticipatory Organization model consist of four steps: know what’s next in terms of hard trends, develop opportunities related to the trends, shape the future, and transform results to accelerate success. Burrus notes to see the future more accurately one must think both/and not either/or.  His future view principle states that how you view the future shapes your actions today, and your actions today will shape your future. Change your future view and you will change your future.

What resources are available?

Dan Pesut has helped health care professionals develop foresight skills. He created a web-based resource Foresight Leadership the Future of Nursing and Health and invites people to join a digital learning community about the future of health.  At this site people can learn more about foresight leadership and explore resource to them develop a future thinking mindset.

Tips for mastering foresight thinking:

  1. Develop a future view
  2. Anticipate hard trends
  3. Engage people’s imagination through scenarios
  4. Work backwards from a desired or preferable future


1. Association of Professional Futurists Foresight Competency Model

2. Burrus, D. (2017). The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage. Greenleaf Book Group.

3. Miller, R. (2018). Transforming the future: anticipation in the 21st century. UNESCO Publishing.

4.  Pesut, DJ (2018). Foresight Leadership: The Future of Nursing and Health

Featured image via pxhere