Futures Wheel And 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Order Changes [VIDEO]

A way to plot the intended and unintended implications of a new product or service that you introduce is the Futures Wheel. In the middle of the circle you place your product. The adjacent wheels then are the direct implications of that technology, the implications that you aimed at with the product. We call this the 1st Order Change. With such a new product or service we realize that we may have some implications further out. They are predictable, but less easy.  These are 2nd Order Changes. And then there are implication we simply could have not predicted, and we call them 3rd Order Changes.


Futures Wheel Template
Futures Wheel – Template

An example of such an initial technology plotted on a Futures Wheel is the Soviet satellite Sputnik. One could easily imagine using such eyes in the sky to track and position submarines, and have a global system of satellites coming up that can help us to position ourselves: the GPS. Well, and as a 3rd order change we have the dating app Tinder or the restaurant app Yelp, that benefit of the positioning services delivered as a result from the first satellite. A change that the creators of the Sputnik in the 1950s certainly could not have predicted.

Futures Wheel Example
Futures Wheel – Example

Listen to my explanation of the Futures Wheel and the different orders of changes from Strasbourg in front of some engineering marvels that are used today in very different ways than the builders back then could imagine.

Futures Wheel, changes of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order, and other methods in Foresight are introduced in more detail, with many more examples, and work templates in my book Foresight Mindset (in German).

This article was also published in German.

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