Toolkit Navigator

The Thing From The Future

This toolkit has been saved 4 times.

This resource is an imagination game that challenges players to collaboratively and competitively describe objects from a range of alternative futures. The object of the game is to come up with the most entertaining and thought-provoking descriptions of hypothetical objects from different near-, medium-, and long-term futures. The card deck can be downloaded and printed and contains cards, instructions, playsheets, and blank cards that you can customize with your own content. The website also contains suggested ways to play the game as well as examples.

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

Situation Lab

Discipline or practice

Futures and Foresight

About this resource




United States

Date Published



Copyrighted-All rights reserved


Card deck

See cases from others doing this in government

Go to case studies

Find experts and advisers who can assist me with this

Go to advice

Other toolkits related to Futures And Foresight

2 reviews for "The Thing From The Future"

  1. The Thing From the Future is a fun and playful way to engage groups of people in thinking about alternative futures. The rules are straightforward and easy to understand — even if it might take a few warm-up rounds. The tool is very tangible even if ‘the future’ it comes from very much isn’t. While being a (fun) game, The Thing From the Future, is also a valuable tool for building futures literacy, as it engages your creativity and pushes you to think about what the future could be. One of the great strengths of the game is the simple rules, that makes it easy to integrate the game into workshops — be it with your own team, members of the public, or other collaborators. Because of its simplicity, the game could easily work as a light, yet thought-provoking, warm-up activity for a longer session.

  2. The Thing from the Future is a toolkit built by the Situation Lab, a research laboratory at the OCAD university in Canada. Although the hard paper version is currently sold out, a print-and-play version is available for free on their website, which is basically the same except you have to print it and cut it yourself. Taking turns, the players place 4 cards that will define the context (in time and in space), the type of object, and the feelings hypothetical users would experience. Then, each player has to come up with an object that fits the given frame,and the one who had the best idea wins. This can result in hilarious situations and inventive futuristic objects. My first opinion about The Thing from the Future was that it’s really more a game than a toolkit, and that it would be perfect to play at a gathering with friends. Still, after giving it a thought, I figured that it can be highly useful in team building or to boost creativity because of how intuitive and fun it is. Moreover, if we modify the cards, this toolkit can prove handy in pretty much any field. We could for instance imagine it being used in the public sector to plan future policy options or to prepare for an upcoming crisis.

Add your review

Have you used this toolkit? If so, what did you use it for and how did it work? What are its strengths and limitations? Share your experience so others can learn from you.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *