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Our mission is to create leaders and teams who imagine and build with foresight across multiple innovation horizons. Teaching is an investment in the future. As the saying goes, teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.

Our #1 foresight principle is "what you foresee is what you get". People who believe that they can change the world already possess a long-term vision of change. The individuals who make a difference in the world are proactive at heart, linking thinking and doing. In other words, if you can imagine an improved future state, you can likely make it happen. Like an athlete, if you can picture yourself winning the race, you will increase your chances to realize the outcome you want.​

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Class Spotlight

Silicon Valley Innovation Academy

How will you change the world? During Stanford's Summer Session, the Silicon Valley Innovation Academy (SVIA) enrichment program provides high school and college students with the mindset, skill set, and network to invent the future.

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Current Courses

These courses are available only for Stanford students:

ME410 (A/B/C) - Foresight and Technological Innovation

Learn to develop long-range, technology-based innovations (5 years based on industry). This course offers an intensive, hands-on approach using multiple engineering foresight strategies and tools. Model disruptive opportunities and create far-to-near development plans. Three quarter sequence.
Terms: Aut, Win, Spr | Units: 3
Instructors: Cockayne, W. 
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These courses are open to the general public:

DSN 310 W - Building Innovative Teams

In these times of rapid change, innovative teams are at the core of every successful company or organization, from small and local to large and multinational. How do we build these highly innovative teams? What practices sustain them? How do we create a learning culture that continues to drive innovative behavior within teams? In this course, we draw on the time-tested methods and unique insights from ME310, taught at Stanford since 1967 and possibly the world's longest continuously taught course for project-based learning with teams. Through a blend of group discussions, guest speakers, observations, design research interviews, practice, and readings, you will learn core concepts and practical tools to help you build and sustain innovative teams. Topics we will cover include: creating a learning culture, supporting collaboration versus coordination, forming teams with a collective breadth of expertise and skills (a concept called "T-teams"), building to think through prototypes, and how all team design depends on redesign. Throughout the course, you will develop a learning portfolio that will allow you to reflect on, synthesize, and further share your learning. No matter what industry sector or career stage you are in, this course can help you become more innovative as a team member or a team leader.
Terms: Fall | Units: 1
Instructors: Steinbeck, R.; Carleton, T. 
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Neville Sanjana
Alumni Spotlight

Neville Sanjana

Core faculty member
New York Genome Center
Pioneering genomic innovation

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Ophelia Synder
Alumni Spotlight

Ophelia Synder

Co-Founder & President
The world's largest issuer of crypto exchange-traded products

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Will Matthews
Alumni Spotlight

Will Matthews

Founder & CEO
Redefining the future of men's health

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Past Courses

Below is a selection of foresight courses taught at Stanford in prior years:

ME 297X - Innovation with Emerging Technologies

In-depth study of innovation with emerging technologies through reading seminal papers, classroom discussions, developing models of innovation, and participation in experiments in new forms of innovation networks.
Instructors: Cockayne, W.; Feland, J.

HUM 181 - Introduction to Strategic Foresight

How the future can be imagined and communicated. Tools to design, ponder, and share the future including narratives, scenarios, cross-impact maps, video, and artifacts. Strategic foresight methods, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to apply them in research and business.
Instructors: Cockayne, W. 

HUM 182 - Case Studies in Strategic Foresight

Case studies, successes and failures, of individuals and organizations attempting to develop knowledge of the future: how effective was the foresight in helping to envision the future? Models and underlying methodologies. How to embed strategic foresight in organizations.
Instructors: Cockayne, W. 

HUM 183 - Strategic Foresight and Innovation

How strategic foresight methods can be used to predict future ideas, inventions, and innovations; their effects upon society? Guest lectures from field experts, seminal papers, and multiple scenarios. How to understand, explore, and prepare for impending changes in emerging technologies, and how to embed the practice in organizations.
Instructors: Cockayne, W. 

HUM 202. The Future of Cooperation

Instructors: Cockayne, W.; Rheingold, H. 

HUM 203 - Introduction to Critical Foresight

The development of critical foresight for use in society, business, and personal life. Concepts, tools, and experiences for leading the development of viable futures. How to describe and manage coming changes. Topics include: assessing historical visions of the future; the development of foresight methods; modern purveyors of foresight; building viable futures that can be analytically supported; and how to develop more complex futures by mixing methods.
Instructors: Cockayne, W. 

HUM 204 - Redesigning the Future (same as ME 209)

Project-based. Futures and foresight methods; how the future can be envisioned, designed, and communicated. Integration of analysis with experience, foresight with design thinking, and building prototypes for the future. The role of future human needs. In previous years, students have designed the future of the university experience. Student teams of three or four. Design experience or fabrication skills not required.
Instructors: Cockayne, W.; Leifer, L.

HUM 205: Innovation and Critical Foresight

Tools required to analyze and develop far future innovations. Commonly applied critical foresight methods and tools; current predictions of future innovations. Topics include: S-curves, trends, markers, and triggers; examples of currently perceived future innovations and their foundations; leading thinkers; and exercises to develop high probability future innovations that can be analytically supported.
Instructors: Cockayne, W.



DSN 111 W - Design Your Future: Design Thinking and Foresight Strategy for Businesses and Organizations

This online course arises out of the outstanding achievements of Stanford’s design community - human centered and focused on skill sets and toolkits that anyone can adopt. The course will show how to apply design thinking and foresight strategy, and explain how they can generate innovative solutions to challenges we face in our businesses, organizations, and teams. We will answer questions like: How do we foster a lasting culture of innovation in our business or organization? How do we increase idea cross-pollination across our groups? How do we build an innovation-savvy leadership team? How do we model our competitive landscape as it reaches into the future? How do we pick the right idea to develop? How should we understand who is our future customer? The course uses videos, readings, case studies, demonstrations, exercises, open forums with faculty, and personal feedback to explain just what design thinking and foresight strategy are, their context and significance, and how to bring both into your business, team, and organization.
Instructors: Carleton, T.; Shanks, M.

DSN 112 W - Design Your Future: Design Innovation for Global Teams

In these times of rapid change, successful design innovation is distributed, global, and highly collaborative. This course provides students with the mindset, solutions, and tools - along with cases and stories drawn from around the world - to build a team that can work across cultures to solve problems. We will focus on the ways that leading design innovators pull together partners, customers, and their own team members across the entire development process, from vision formation through the test and validation of new business opportunities. The course also notably draws on the time-tested methods and rich case history of ME 310, an undergraduate course that has been offered at Stanford for more than fifty years. For part of the course, students will work in small groups to solve problems that major international organizations have posed to the ME 310 course in previous years. In the development of solutions, students will learn techniques in global teamwork, creativity, and design. Through the combination of short videos, readings, demonstrations, field work, and open forums with faculty, plus personal feedback, students will gain fast practice in understanding design innovation in a globally distributed environment.
Instructors: Carleton, T.; Cockayne, W.; Leifer, L.

DSN 113 W - Design Your Future: Design Innovation for Personal Growth

The concept of design innovation applies as much to our own personal growth and leadership as to anything else in our lives. This course teaches how each of us can become more aware of design innovation in our lives, how design innovation works, and most importantly, how it applies to all of us. It explores such questions as: where is our place in the world, what is my personal vision of change, and how do I safely test incarnations of myself along the way? As the course progresses, we will learn how to take control and (re-)design our own lives through innovative measures. Using a combination of tools from the Foresight Framework and Stanford’s design community, this course will provide a learning laboratory for your own self-reflection and experimentation in a group setting. Through a combination of short videos, readings, demonstrations, field work, and open forums with faculty, plus personal feedback, you will gain fast practice in understanding yourself as a design innovation.
Instructors: Carleton, T.; Shanks, M.