In Business and Society, Strategic Foresight Course Prepares Students to Lead

April 26, 2021

a screenshot of the Strategic Foresight online class

One of the latest offerings in the Global & Experiential Education (G&EE) Business & Society Series, Strategic Foresight was designed to help students develop the long-term future thinking capacities required of today’s leaders. The intensive online course taught by futurist Thomas Debass, managing director for global partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, blended integrated case analysis and trend examination with virtual site visits.

Business & Society Series courses examine the broad societal arena in which businesses operate with particular focus on political, economic and cultural environments. Professor Debass’ class conducted foresighting exercises to examine the future of several industries, including energy, food, learning, space, wellbeing and work.

Throughout the four-day course March 17-20, students explored how organizations invent the future. Students had the opportunity to connect virtually with foresight practitioners and others with relevant expertise. Engagement with a diversity of accomplished guest speakers is a hallmark of the Business & Society Series and was identified by students as a highlight of their experience.

Guest speakers included Gary Bolles, chair of Future of Work at Singularity University and co-founder of; Sharon Chang, founder of Guild of Future Architect; Tom Chi, co-founder and partner at At One Ventures; Laura Anne Edwards, resident at UC Irvine Living Systems Collaboratory at Buckminster Fuller Institute; Madebo Fatunde (GWU BA ‘14), strategic foresight practitioner at Autodesk; Pascal Finette, co-founder of be radical and chair of Entrepreneurship and Open Innovation at Singularity University; Miguel Gamiño Jr., executive vice president of Global Cities/Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard; Greg Galle, founder and partner at Solve/Next; Mark Kaplan, co-founder and partner at Envisible; Guillermo Miranda, vice president and global learning officer at Boeing; Deena Shakir, partner at Lux Capital; and Brad Smith, president of Candid.

Professor Debass will be back in the virtual classroom this summer with a brand-new Business & Society Series offering, Startup Resilience. The course will offer a set of tools and practices that enable companies, organizations, or individuals to turn crisis, risks, and foresights into actionable opportunities. The course will feature a literature review, case studies and trend examination conducted in online lectures. Students will also connect with successful founders, business leaders, and thought leaders who have designed or launched resilient products, services, or initiatives during or in response to crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, natural disaster, and social justice issues. Through their participation, students will be better prepared to build strategic partnerships to withstand market shocks, gain market share, and retain customers. Students will also gain exposure to the tools needed to reorient business models and approaches necessary to react to market dynamics, evolving trends, and uncertainties.

Students interested in learning about future Business & Society Series offerings are encouraged to follow G&EE on social media for new course announcements and updates.

Faculty interested in teaching in the Business & Society Series can email Sarah LaRosa, assistant director of Global & Experiential Education at the GW School of Business, at [email protected] to discuss the course development process.