Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking Course Reviews

Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking is an online course available on Coursera, created by Jane McGonigal.

Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking Course Reviews
Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking Course Reviews

The course introduces learners to the concept of futures thinking, which involves examining possible future scenarios and designing strategies to navigate them. The course is designed to help learners develop skills in strategic planning and decision-making.

The course is divided into 4 modules, each of which covers a different aspect of futures thinking. The first module introduces the concept of futures thinking and provides an overview of the course. The second module explores the process of identifying and analyzing potential future scenarios. The third module covers the process of designing and implementing strategies to navigate future scenarios. The final module focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of these strategies and making adjustments as necessary.

Throughout the course, learners engage in a variety of activities and exercises designed to reinforce the concepts and skills covered in the modules. These include case studies, group discussions, and individual assignments. Learners also have the opportunity to connect with other learners through online forums and discussion groups.

By the end of the course, learners should have a solid understanding of futures thinking and be able to apply this approach to strategic planning and decision-making in a variety of contexts. The course is designed for anyone interested in developing skills in strategic planning, innovation, and foresight, including business leaders, policymakers, and entrepreneurs.

Course Content:

Do you want to think about the future with more creativity and optimism? Do you want to see what’s coming faster, so you can be better prepared for disruptions and more in control of your future? Do you want to get better at changing what’s possible today – in your company, your industry, your community, and in your own life?

This course will introduce you to the practice of futures thinking, as developed and applied for the past 50 years by the Institute for the Future, a Silicon-Valley-based research and learning group founded in 1968. In this course, you’ll build your understanding of what futures thinking is and what you can do with it. You’ll master essential foresight techniques. You’ll meet some professional futurists. And you’ll choose one or more future topics you want to investigate with your new foresight skills.

This course is for anyone who wants to spot opportunities for innovation and invention faster. You can gain the skills and confidence to help YOU become someone who makes the future, instead of letting the future happen to you.  

Many thanks to the Enlight Foundation and the Enlight Collaborative, which provided a grant to support the creation of this course.

The online course Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking by Jane McGonigal on Coursera consists of 4 modules, with a total of 26 lectures. Specifically, the number of lectures for each section is as follows:

Module 1: Welcome to the Future (9 videos + 7 readings)

The adventure begins! This week, you'll meet some professional futurists and learn: What is futures thinking? What are the benefits of futures thinking? Who hires futurists, and where can you put your new skills to use? By the end of this week, you'll be ready to choose your own future topics to explore throughout the rest of this course.

9 videosTotal 41 minutes
  • Are you ready to learn how to think like a futurist?4 minutesPreview module
  • Welcome to the course! Meet your professor Jane McGonigal3 minutes
  • Give me some examples of futures thinking!3 minutes
  • Meet some professional futurists1 minute
  • What is futures thinking?4 minutes
  • Mini-Masterclass: The Future Belongs to Everyone8 minutes
  • When does the future start?6 minutes
  • What are the benefits of futures thinking?7 minutes
  • Choose your own future!2 minutes
7 readingsTotal 82 minutes
  • Take our 2-minute survey about the future2 minutes
  • What is Futures Thinking?10 minutes
  • Who Hires Futurists?5 minutes
  • How to think like a futurist: The 5 key principles15 minutes
  • Why Companies Work With Futurists15 minutes
  • Who Owns Your Future?15 minutes
  • Six Possible Futures of Food20 minutes


Module 2: Signals of Change (7 videos + 2 readings)

This week, you'll learn how to collect and work with signals of change. Signals are the most important "raw material" of futures thinking. First, we'll show you some of our favorite signals and how we found them. Then, it's your turn: Collect and analyze signals related to your own future topic.

7 videosTotal 42 minutes
  • Introduction to Signals6 minutesPreview module
  • Examples of Signals10 minutes
  • Five Minutes in the Future of Food4 minutes
  • Five Minutes in the Future of Economic Justice5 minutes
  • How to Interpret Signals6 minutes
  • Your Turn! Analyze a Signal2 minutes
  • Where do you look for signals? And other FAQ6 minutes
2 readingsTotal 40 minutes
  • Future of Work in 2030 - Signals Report30 minutes
  • More Examples of Signals of Change10 minutes


Module 3: Look Back to Look Forward (3 videos + 4 readings)

It's time to strengthen your futures thinking skills by thinking about the past. It sounds strange, but to be a good futurist, you have to be a good historian as well! This week, you'll learn how to use our most powerful tool for "looking back to look forward."

3 videosTotal 17 minutes
  • Get Better at Noticing Change5 minutesPreview module
  • How to Look Back to Look Forward (Part I)3 minutes
  • How to Look Back to Look Forward (Part II)9 minutes
4 readingsTotal 50 minutes
  • Excerpt: Hope in the Dark10 minutes
  • TOOL: Look Back to Look Forward15 minutes
  • The Future of Work is Task-Based, not Time-Based10 minutes
  • Who Invented Futures Thinking and Why?15 minutes


Module 4: Four Types of Futures Thinking (7 videos + 4 readings)

This week, you'll learn: What are the four different types of futures thinking, and when should you use each type? You'll also try out a fun futures thinking tool: the "Future Four-Square" game. This tool will help you dig deeper on your own future topic.... whatever you're interested in exploring the future of! Finally, get ready to help a friend or colleague think about the future. After all, the best way to learn something new is to teach someone else!

7 videosTotal 28 minutes
  • What's Your Future State of Mind?6 minutesPreview module
  • The Four Types of Futures Thinking9 minutes
  • Why I Future with Youth3 minutes
  • Why I Future with Musicians2 minutes
  • Why I Future with Incarcerated People2 minutes
  • Why I Future with My City3 minutes
  • Congratulations! You've finished this course0 minutes
4 readingsTotal 52 minutes
  • The Future as a Way of Life10 minutes
  • A Guide to The Four Types of Futures Thinking10 minutes
  • How Professional Futurists Imagine the Future30 minutes
  • An invitation to join our free Alumni Network2 minutes




As a learner who completed the Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking course by Jane McGonigal on Coursera, I would like to provide a more detailed evaluation of the course.

Firstly, the course did an excellent job of introducing the basic concepts of futures thinking and provided a solid foundation for further exploration of the subject. The course was divided into 4 modules: Welcome to the Future, Signals of Change, Look Back to Look Forward , and Four Types of Futures Thinking, and each part built upon the previous one. The instructional videos were well-produced and informative, and the course materials were easy to follow.

Secondly, the course was highly engaging and thought-provoking. The course content was presented in a way that encouraged critical thinking and encouraged learners to challenge their assumptions about the future. The real-world examples and case studies provided throughout the course helped to reinforce the concepts and provided practical applications for learners.

Thirdly, the course had a strong emphasis on practical application. The course provided learners with many opportunities to apply the concepts they were learning to real-world scenarios. This helped to build their confidence in using the skills they learned in their own work.

One area where the course could be improved is the level of interactivity. While the course had discussion forums and opportunities for learners to collaborate with each other, it could benefit from more interactive activities and exercises that would allow learners to apply the concepts in a more hands-on way.

Overall, the Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking course is an excellent introduction to the subject of futures thinking. The course was well-designed, the instruction was engaging, and the practical applications of the concepts make it a valuable learning experience. Anyone interested in developing their foresight skills and exploring the possibilities of the future would benefit from taking this course.

At the time, the course has an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars based on over 1,010 ratings.

What you'll learn:

After completing the Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking course by Jane McGonigal on Coursera, learners will have gained several key skills, including:

  1. Futures thinking: Learners will have a deep understanding of what futures thinking is, its importance in today's rapidly changing world, and how it can be applied to a range of contexts.

  2. Analyzing future scenarios: Learners will have the ability to identify and analyze potential future scenarios, including the factors and drivers of change that can influence them. They will be able to develop a comprehensive understanding of how different factors may impact the future and how to use that information to make informed decisions.

  3. Designing effective strategies: Learners will be able to design effective strategies for navigating future scenarios, including selecting the most appropriate strategy and implementing it. They will have the skills to develop a range of strategic options and evaluate the potential effectiveness of each option in different scenarios.

  4. Evaluating and adjusting strategies: Learners will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies, develop metrics and indicators for measuring success, and identify early warning signals for when strategies may need to be adjusted. They will be able to make adjustments based on real-world feedback and incorporate futures thinking into an adaptive management approach.

  5. Critical thinking and problem-solving: Throughout the course, learners will develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They will learn to approach complex issues from a long-term perspective, and to consider the potential implications of different decisions and scenarios.

Overall, the Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking course equips learners with the skills and mindset needed to navigate an increasingly complex and uncertain world. By developing an ability to think strategically and anticipate future trends, learners can become more effective leaders, decision-makers, and problem-solvers.


Jane McGonigal is a world-renowned game designer, author, and futurist. She is best known for her work in the field of gamification, where she uses game design principles to solve real-world problems and promote positive social change.

McGonigal has authored several books, including "Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World," which became a New York Times bestseller. She is also a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and events around the world, and has given talks at TED, South by Southwest, and the World Economic Forum.

In terms of her expertise in futures thinking, McGonigal has extensive experience in designing and facilitating games and simulations that help individuals and organizations think more creatively and strategically about the future. She has worked with a variety of companies and organizations, including the American Heart Association, the International Olympic Committee, and the World Bank.

Overall, McGonigal is highly regarded in her field and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her work. Her innovative approach to problem-solving and deep understanding of game design and futurism make her an exceptional instructor for the "Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking" course on Coursera.


The requirements for the Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking course by Jane McGonigal on Coursera are as follows:

  1. Basic computer skills: Learners must have basic computer skills and access to a reliable internet connection to participate in the course.

  2. English language proficiency: The course is taught in English, so learners must have a good understanding of the English language to be able to follow the instruction and participate in the course.

  3. Open-mindedness: Futures thinking requires a willingness to challenge assumptions, consider alternative perspectives, and think creatively about the future. Learners should be open-minded and willing to engage in these types of activities.

  4. Curiosity: The course is designed for learners who are curious about the future and interested in exploring new ideas and possibilities. Learners should be motivated to learn and willing to engage with the course materials.

  5. Time commitment: The course is self-paced and can be completed at the learner's own pace, but learners should expect to spend approximately 2-4 hours per week on the course materials.

  6. Willingness to participate: The course includes discussion forums and opportunities for learners to collaborate with each other. Learners should be willing to participate in these activities and engage with their peers to enhance their learning experience.

Overall, the Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking course is designed for learners who are curious, open-minded, and willing to engage with the course materials and their peers. It is a great opportunity for anyone interested in developing their foresight skills and exploring the possibilities of the future.

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