Unlocking Your Mind
Updated: Jun 14
In her 2022 book IMAGINABLE: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything—Even Things That Seem Impossible Today, author Jane McGonigal "draws on the latest scientific research in psychology and neuroscience to show us how to train our minds to think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable. She invites us to play with the provocative thought experiments and future simulations she’s designed exclusively for this book, with the goal to:
Build our collective imagination so that we can dive into the future and envision, in surprising detail, what our lives will look like ten years from now
Develop the courage and vision to solve problems creatively
Take actions and make decisions that will help shape the future we desire
Access “urgent optimism,” an unstoppable force within each of us that activates our sense of agency"
"Imaginable teaches us to be fearless, resilient, and bold in realizing a world with possibilities we cannot yet imagine — until reading this transformative, inspiring, and necessary book."
The book is divided into three parts, approximately equal in number of pages:
Part I - Unlock Your Mind - mental habits that professional futurists practice and some social games they play. (pages 3-105)
Part 2 - Think the Unthinkable - learn techniques used by IFTF to forecast (pages 109-236)
Part 3 - Imagine the Unimaginable - social simulation games putting to test the skills and habits learned in the first two parts (pages 239-258)
Part I is good start if you are new to futures thinking and not sure if you want to invest the time to learn forecasting or social simulation games because it promises to "make you feel better today... increase hope and motivation for the future and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety" - techniques helpful for "post-traumatic growth for our post-pandemic planet." Part I explains the science behind how futures thinking strengthens key pathways in the brain to build realistic hope, creativity, and more resilient response to stress."
Urgent Optimists is an Institute For The Future (IFTF) individual membership community managed by Jane McGonigal - an online extension of her book Imaginable. Here you can: "collectively search for signals of change; discover new future scenarios; play future forecasting games with people from around the world; increase your own urgent optimism; and learn how to build it in any team, group or community."
Signals of Hope
On June 13, 2022 Urgent Optimists started a week-long scavenger hunt for "Local Signals of Hope." The challenge is to take a photograph of change you can see with your own eyes in your own neighborhood or community that gives you authentic hope for the future. A signal of hope is:
A real thing that is already happening. (No purely hypothetical ideas, wishes, or fiction, please.) If you can take a photo or screenshot of it, that's real enough!
Surprising or different from the normal. Photos of puppies and babies and rainbows will make us all feel good, but that's not what we're looking for... we want to see evidence of change, experimentation, resistance, innovation, disruption, and any other alternatives to the old ways of doing things!
Recent or new. Please share stories and images of signals that are happening RIGHT NOW, not a photo you took last year or last decade. :)
A clue to how the future could be better than today. Show us something that gives you authentic hope or makes you excited to imagine what's possible. The best signals will be ones that could scale up... what if this example became more common or widespread?
Future Simulation Senarios
"We all start with the same future scenario. Then, we each imagine what we personally would do in that strange new reality. How would we feel? What actions would we take? What would we need help with? How might we try to help others? Then as a group we all share stories and ideas drawing on our unique points of view."
"Through collective imagination, we build empathy for other people's futures. We discover otherwise hard-to-predict consequences of potential future events. We feel ready for anything - even things that seem impossible today! And most importantly, we each find our own unique role to play in making a better future today." ~ Jane McGonigal