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LEADING LOCAL: Planning for the Future
Foresight Training with California 100 and Institute For The Future


About this Training

Is your team, council or board having the right conversations to anticipate risk, maximize opportunity and build a solid foundation for your agency’s future? Are you using good governance strategies to assess your decision-making approach and advance systemic change? 

If you want your city, county or special district to get to the next level in policy development and implementation, this special Leading Local session is designed for you.

In this unique training (limited to local government leaders), attendees will be introduced to the new and evolving field of foresight research and futures thinking.

What is futures thinking?

Policymakers, elected officials, administrators and local leaders alike all need a framework through which to assess and evaluate ethical dilemmas, anticipate and mitigate unintended consequences of their decisions and act to maximize positive outcomes that point towards preferred futures.

Futures thinking is a framework that helps policymakers and local electeds imagine — and act on — a wider range of possible outcomes for their constituents, allowing them “get ahead of the curve” when it comes to anticipating risk and regulating technological, social, environmental and other advancements. 

Envision individuals and groups, thinking about the life they want to lead, the changes they want to make, and the world they want to live in — 10, 25, 50 years from now. What actions can you take today to be ready for anything, and to make lasting positive change?

How can futures thinking be applied to local government?

This special Leading Local training session is designed to bring civil service values into the practice of strategic foresight, focusing on the conversations governments must have, internally and externally, to shape the future.

Envision your agency coming up with new ways to be resilient in the face of climate change. What kinds of new buildings, resources, public spaces, policies or community services will your agency need to help people cope with extreme weather 20 years in the future?

What will this training give local leaders?

At the completion of the training, attendees will understand what futures thinking is (and, importantly what it is not), and be able to use foresight exercises to strengthen their ability to apply futures thinking to present-day policy work.

We’ll bring the tools; you bring topics of urgent priority. We use tools of foresight to take the conversation past strategic planning – and into futures thinking. We do not make predictions about the future, but we do take a closer look at what “signals of change” are, how to find them and questions to ask about them that will help you analyze them. This allows individuals and groups to make plans for different potential futures and build resilience in their planning.

This webinar is hosted by ILG in partnership with California 100 and Institute for the Future.

Who are the panelists?

  • Erica L. Manuel, CEO & Executive Director, Institute for Local Government
  • Karthick Ramakrishnan, PhD, Executive Director, California 100
  • Jane McGonigal, PhD, Director of Game Research + Development, Institute for the Future

What resources will I receive?

After the training, we’ll send you downloadable PDFs so you can keep practicing your new skills, including:

  • Habit Worksheet: How to Collect Signals of Change
  • Habit Worksheet: How to Track Drivers of Change
  • Game and Conversation Facilitation Guide: 100 Ways Anything Could Be Different in the Future

Who should attend?

This session is designed for senior level staff and elected officials at California cities, counties and special districts. The course is designed for individuals with little or no previous experience with “futures thinking” or creative foresight.

How do I register?

The training will be conducted live on Zoom and registration is limited to 50 students.

Register here.

Registration is free, but space is limited. We also encourage attendees to fill out this short survey after registering:

Will there be a recording of this training?

No, a recording of this course will not be made available to registrants so registrants should plan to attend the class live.


About California 100
California 100 is a transformative statewide initiative focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next Century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. The initiative harnesses the talent of a diverse array of leaders through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and stakeholder engagement. It will also draw on a multi-generational California 100 Commission to develop recommendations for the state’s future and test those recommendations across a broad set of policy areas by directly engaging Californians.

In addition to sponsoring original work, the California 100 platform will promote the best of what is happening in California. Through these various projects and activities, we seek to move California towards an aspirational vision—changing policies and practices, attitudes and mindsets, for a more vibrant future. Learn more at

About Institute for the Future
Institute for the Future is the world’s leading foresight education and futures organization. For over 50 years, businesses, governments, and social impact organizations have depended upon IFTF global forecasts, custom research, and foresight training to navigate complex change and develop world-ready strategies. IFTF methodologies and toolsets yield coherent views of transformative possibilities across all sectors that together support a more sustainable future. Institute for the Future is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, California. Learn more at

About the Leading Local Series
2020 was fraught with unprecedented challenges ranging from a global pandemic, to extreme natural disasters, to a divisive and polarizing election cycle. Local government leaders are being asked to step up in entirely new ways. How can they serve as role models for their communities and their peers in these ever-changing times?

LEADING LOCAL is a new thought leadership forum from ILG that is focused on addressing difficult topics and sensitive issues local government leaders face. Sessions will cover a wide range of issues and challenges like leading through conflict, civility and ethics, building personal resilience and more. LEADING LOCAL … because leadership starts at the local level. All LEADING LOCAL sessions will be specially curated with content for elected officials and staff at California cities, counties and special districts.

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