Six Archetypes of the Future

Exploring the future is an exercise of stretching one’s imagination. But depending on our background, it’s easy to fall into narrow, but common, visions of the future. A technocrat sees progress and a technical solution for every problem. An environmentalist may see a green revolution.

A useful tool is to identity these common images of the future, helping creating boundaries to explore and boundaries to cross. Wendy Shultz has identified six common futures archetypes: Business as Usual; Green Politics; Technological Transformation; Ideological Exclusion; and Collapse.

I’ve taken these archetypes and interpreted them in a contemporary context. In 2050, how might the future look like if we assume business as usual? How might ideological exclusion look like in 2040? What are way to make these futures tangible through evocative visuals?

As part of the Design Futures class at the University of Houston, I attempted to address those questions. This is what I came up with. See the whole presentation below.

Business As Usual










Environmental Sustainability






Ideological Exclusion













The complete Images of the Future presentation:

Download the PDF of “Six Different Visions of the Future” here, or see below

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Daniel writes on foresight and explores new economic systems. He has over 15 years of experience in technology & digital marketing and has worked with clients in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Daniel is currently part of the University of Houston's Foresight Program.


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