There is a small but growing community of futurists around the world. A recent article by Dr. Liz Alexander in Leading Thought highlights 20 of the leading women futurists. These women are making strides in a field built on the idea that everything is constantly changing, using foresight to help stakeholders understand what change might mean for them. I’m humbled that I get to call many of these women my friends and colleagues and happy to see them getting recognition.
While I think you should head over to “Women of Foresight: Changes in Education for Future Student Success” and learn more about each one of these amazing futurists, I’d like to especially call out Anne Boyson, Elizabeth Merrit, Emily Empel, Joyce Goya, Maree Conway, Parminder Jassal, Alexandra Whittington, and Katherine Prince. These particular futurists are ones I have had the pleasure of knowing personally, and who I have learned from, who have inspired me, and who I have worked side by side with.
Of all the futurists on the list, I want to call special attention to Katherine Prince. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Katherine at KnowledgeWorks for the past two years and we’ve spent a lot of that time discussing what possibilities lie ahead for education. In the article, she says:
Young people need the opportunity to identify and explore their passions, understand themselves as whole people, and examine ways of making an impact in a world where we will increasingly need to demonstrate unique human value alongside machines, and navigate a complex landscape of paid work and other forms of value exchange.
That gets to one thing I especially respect about Katherine. In addition to applying an academic, investigative lens to the work we do, she continues to keep the student at the center of our work. It makes what we’re doing more tangible, more empathetic and more actionable.
The work that the futurists in this list do is tremendously important. Foresight is an industry that is dominated by older, white men. In broadening the commentary about the future to include more voices, we can derive deeper insights about change and have a richer discussion about what the future might look like and what we want out of it. Thank you Dr. Alexander for putting this list together, and thank you to all who are included on that list for your contributions to making the future a better place.