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Ten Principles of Futures Studies

An Introduction to Futures Studies

by  Dr. Anisah Abdullah

Futures Studies for High School in Taiwan began with a call for Bilingual Education Initiatives in Taiwan. In September 2021, the Department of Education and Design Futures in the College of Education at Tamkang University was invited to develop a Futures Studies program to be integrated into the Senior High School curriculum. “Futures Studies for High School” was designed by Dr. Anisah Abdullah [陳思思] to be delivered in four modules/semesters over two years.

This is Chapter 2 : An Introduction to Futures Studies: The Ten Principles of Futures Studies

This first module of Futures Studies for High School aims to deliver four main objectives:

  1. Provide an introduction to Futures Studies
  2. Create spaces for students to explore the past, present and the future and learn that these are interconnected
  3. Create spaces for students to explore alternative futures
  4. Create an awareness that the future is a zone of possibilities rather than a list of preordained events

Introduction: Futures Studies for High Schools in Taiwan

Session 1: Metaphors for the Future

Session 2: Ten Principles of Futures Studies

Session 3: The Futures Triangle: An Exploration into the Past, Present, and the Preferred Future

Session 4: Second session emphasizes the Ten Principles of Futures Studies, based on the article Principles for Thinking about the Future and Foresight Education (Bengston, 2018). This session is a lecture dedicated to creating a basic foundational understanding of Futures Studies.

Lecture: The 10 Principles of Futures Studies

“We can choose and act to bring about a desired future” – Wendell Bell, 1997

Principle 1: This field is called “Futures Studies” because the future is always plural; there are many possible alternative futures.

Principle 2: The Possible, Plausible, Probable and Preferable Futures

Principle 3: The Future is open, and not fixed. When we see the future as open to forces of change,  we have opportunities and freedom to influence the future in a positive direction.

Principle 4: The future is fuzzy. Knowledge about the future is always imperfect and severely limited. Even with fuzzy knowledge, imperfect understanding can still provide useful and valuable guidance, helping us make better decisions.

Principle 5: The future is surprising; and NOT surprising (Principle 6) at the same time.

Principle 7: The Future is fast and slow (Principle 8)

Principle 9: The future is generic and archetypal.

Principle 10: The future is inbound and outbound. Our futures are shaped by (i) change that happens to us, and (ii) change that we create ourselves.

Lecture PDF slide deck – Principles of Futures Studies


Bell, W. 1997. Foundations of Futures Studies, Vol. 1: History, Purposes, and Knowledge. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Bengston, D (2018). Principles for Thinking about the Future and Foresight Education. World Futures Review  Vol 10(3); p193 – 202.

The post Ten Principles of Futures Studies appeared first on Journal of Futures Studies.

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