2012 Futures Institute in the Incubator

It’s that time again. Or, six months before that time again. Registration for the Futures Institute at Duke University’s TIP program is open (and for all other Institute programs), syllabi are being hatched (?), and new plans laid for this summer’s course. Now in it’s third year equipping exceptional high schoolers with tools to create their own futures, I’m revamping the program to take us deeper into exploration of science and technology foresight and innovation—which should be both exciting and provide a great platform for creativity and a little healthy geekery along the way. (Download a PDF description here)

As a once-a-year exercise, it’s an amazing point of leverage on the future, putting tools and ideas in the hands of over two-dozen promising students before they’ve gotten locked down on their professional paths as college students. For some, it lights the fuse on change maybe a decade or more down the road. Each time, I come away having learned as much as they have, and seeing my own role differently. Many of the students remark that it radically changes their perspective as well, giving them a different view of their possible paths ahead. 

I’ll have more news soon about the fantastic instructional team that will be joining me—reaching further afield into new disciplines, but with a common futures thread. We will also be joined by a great new group of experts via Skype lectures and in person doing some exciting work in their fields of DIY science and bottom-up innovation. We’ll weave learning about important futuring tools and emerging thinking on innovation with deep dives into fields such as synthetic biology, citizen space exploration, alternative mobility, open robotics, and more.

Most importantly, the students won’t just be thinking and learning, but doing—along the way, through writing, building, mapping, gamestorming and prototyping, but also as the ultimate point of the course. Building off last year’s final challenge, teams will fuse everything they’ve acquired throughout the two week intensive in an even bigger Innovation Challenge to cap it all off. More will be said soon about this, too. 

So, if you have a high-school aged student (not just in the US, but worldwide) who wants to shape the future of science and technology, have a look at what we’re doing and consider joining us in our happy R&D lab at Duke. What better place to spend two weeks this summer?