World Building Foresight

Traditionally worldbuilding has been defined as the process of constructing a world sometimes associated with a fictional universe and writing science fiction. But I define ‘world building’ as a call to action to see ourselves as world builders in how we lead culture and behaviour.

To implement a more creative and regenerative approach to future foresight and innovation, there is an inherent call to action to do things differently. An opportunity gap is waiting to be filled for creative industry players willing to be part of a new wave of futures thinking.

“Thinking about the future is clearly powerful. But thinking about our thinking about the future can be even more so.” - The Invention of Tomorrow by Thomas Suddendorf, Jonathan Redshaw and Adam Bulley

There is a foundation of knowledge of existing theory and methodologies needed which we cover in our mastercourse Forecast Like a Futurist. But just as crucial is an adoption of regenerative approaches to cultural production that index and value new metrics: creativity, community, the interdependence of people and planet.

The World Building Framework I created is Trend Atelier’s response, a regenerative toolkit for creative industry leaders: forecasters, strategists, designers and marketers alike to go against the current, beyond commenting on culture and riding hype, and into authoring preferable futures. Underpinning the framework are 3 pillars with their own subset of methods and principles:

  • Mission: Clarify your Mission. This is your compass and lays the Vision for our collective futures. We are World Builders, shaping culture and the shape of design, commerce, and societies for future generations.
  • Synergy: Learn Trend Atelier's regenerative and creative foresight steeped in Integrative ecological thinking, new foresight values and metrics aligned for the interdependence of people and planet.
  • Action: Author the future. Step into your role as a World Builder turning methods and values into tangible actions through speculative design, futures prototyping and futures leadership.

The principle of Regenerative Futures is not yet part of mainstream discourse. But a growing body of thought leaders and institutions are adopting ‘regenerative’ as a key modality. The RSA has been running a Regenerative Futures program for several years. The Forum for the Future is outlining a Compass for Just and Regenerative Business whilst the World Economic Forum has been campaigning to educate on the importance of Regenerative Capitalism. Recently strategic design and innovation practice The Smithery launched from Where The Light Gets In, a regenerative design field kit.

The goal of World Building Foresight

Trends are important as a time-bound cultural phenomena impacting the direction of fashion and society. However, in their current form they do nothing for culture. Now is a good time to assess, step off the hamster wheel. The field of future foresight is at the center of influencing culture, design, media, marketing, policy, innovation all the way to services. Everyone has ‘the future of’ at the tip of their tongue.

"We need to remind ourselves that the future is never empty, never a blank space to be filled with the output of human activity. It is already colonised by what the past and present have sent to it.’ Defuturing by Tony Fry

In this decade, a ‘culture positive’ trend will be measured against new calibres. To author a ‘culture positive’ future, we can start with:

  • Holding ourselves accountable as cultural producers
  • Reconnecting with our true DNA and the communities we serve
  • Embracing methodical and intentional trend adoption, not hype
  • ‘Futuring’ - the act of working in the future to create change

We have not fully formed vocabularies and methodologies around how we course correct? We need a future-making and world-building mindset. The matrix is being rewritten. And we need new tools to work in and around futures.

  • Equip people working in and around futures, trends and innovation, with a clear framework
  • Help elevate foresight methods to author a regenerative future
  • Create a breeding ground for new approaches and metrics to evaluating future trends that index for planetary and environmental priorities, not hype
  • Support the United Nations SDGs as Trend Atelier is a member of the UN's partnerships Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network

The 3 pillars

Pillar 1: Mission

Without a mission, a futuring creative cannot be clear about how their work shapes the world, not only their personal and professional development.

When you are a purpose led future forecaster or futuring creative, you want to make a difference in the world. That's your nature. You see the scale of the problems we face and you realise that through future foresight you can help drive change to create a preferable future.

Creatives who go on for years without a clear mission easily run into problems down the line in many ways. This pillar will bring you empowering clarity. Before we go any further in the World Building Framework, it is key for you to define your mission and vision statements.

In Mission we teach:

  • Transcendence Foresight: we are cultural producers and myth makers working towards goals bigger than ourselves
  • Agents of change. Connecting with your Power of Influence and going beyond hype

Pillar 2: Synergy

Regenerative foresight can be applied with clear methods that guide you step by step and allow you to measure your work and evaluate the validity of trends in a whole new light that is aligned with the greater good of the planet and people. What this pillar really also aims to tackle is: How are you committing to sustainability for yourself, not just for the planet?

This is often overlooked. We want sustainability for the world, yet we fail to treat ourselves sustainably and mindfully. This is the pillar where you will learn about ethics, community, creativity, nature as tools to breed sustainable and regenerative practices both for yourself and the world. 

British economist and circular economy leader Kate Raworth is not alone in arguing that:

An economy can only fulfil its function once we recognise that it is ‘nested’ within society and that human society is nested within the wider natural world. Disease in your heart affects the overall health of the individual. In a social setting, poor ‘health’ of a neighbourhood through poverty has bad effects for the socio-economic and environmental flourishing of the broader region.

In Synergy we teach:

  • Rewilding foresight with Integrative ecological thinking. Generate new value in terms of trend evaluations and management at a very confusing time. Echoes quantum computing seeing nature as the ultimate model and ultimate quantum computer
  • Syntropic foresight with the Syntropic Flower Model. Steeped in deep ecology philosophies like Rewilding and permaculture, biodiversity practices such as syntropic land management and farming invented by Ernst Götsch
  • Symbiosis with the Biodiverse foresight approach. Focusing on regenerative principles and methods of evaluating and tracking trends that have biomimetic qualities. Towards ecological recovery
  • Inside Out sustainability as a regenerative principle

Pillar 3: Action

This pillar is about embracing the scope of you influence and focuses on answering this: How will you inspire action through your future foresight?

In our work we are expected to formulate and present future concepts. We have the eyes and ears of decision makers therefore we can harness the tools to present ideas effectively in order to gain adoption. We often have to educate our clients to think long term. We have to engage with key stakeholders and convince them, inspire them, unlock ideas for services and products for them.

The deeper purpose of this pillar is to make an impact.

Ultimately we are cultural brokers and we have to express our ideas about the future in a way that creates an impact, unlocks ideas for other people or organisations. So that we can help steer industries towards design, products and services that serve our planet and our people.

In Action we teach:

  • Prototyping the future with Creative foresight and speculative futures
  • Futures Leadership: Bucking the trend, Cultural strategy combined with imagination activism

The mission of World Building Foresight

  • To empower the role of foresight professionals and futuring creatives through safe spaces, dialog, education, community, mindful approaches and actionable tools.
  • To help them prepare for what we believe is the next era of future foresight: embedding regeneration at its core and shedding extractive practices and methods that are not indexing for important planetary and environmental metrics.

In a newsletter I published I shared candidly how I felt. It's titled ‘The fire inside me’. We talk about systems change and most of us mean well. But we are still using the same foresight principles and methods that have gotten us into the polycrisis. We believe traditional foresight approaches must be reassessed to align with living within our planetary boundaries and drive bold systems change. As we face a global climate , wellbeing and geo political crisis, our mission is to unite and urgently author preferred futures.


World Building Foresight is Trend Atelier's response to the need for a more proactive and transformative approach to foresight. Our regenerative toolkit empowers forecasters, creatives, strategists, designers, and marketers in various creative fields to move beyond merely commenting on culture or following trends. Instead, we encourage these creative professionals to see themselves as world builders who shape culture and behaviour through their work. By redefining 'world building' as a call to action, we challenge the traditional notion of constructing fictional universes and bring it into the realm of real-world impact, empowering creative industry players to author preferable futures.

Geraldine Wharry

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