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Threatcasting: An Interdisciplinary Method of Long-Term Forecasting

Threatcasting is a very intriguing word describing a methodology used to bring together many perspectives to examine a range of issues and threats that could impact 10 years into the future.

Threatcasting typically includes leaders from a wide range of disciplines such as military, business, academia, policymakers, industry trade associations, nonprofit, and law enforcement. The facilitated process allows participants to thoroughly discuss and frame the world’s most critical long-term threats.

Threatcasting also considers “backcasting” — looking backward to examine how today’s actions impact the future10 years from now. To backcast, the group asks this question: “What do we, and leaders in the various areas of our organization, need to do to disrupt, mitigate and recover from the threat… and what are the threat indicators along the way?”

On Strategic Impact Friday, I interviewed Brian David Johnson, who serves as Arizona State University’s Threatcasting Lab Director, Professor of Practice, and Futurist in Residence, along with Melissa Smallwood, a graduate researcher who recently completed an applied project titled “The Future of Long-Haul COVID: A Threatcasting Approach.”

Smallwood’s research examines the impact of long COVID from economic and public policy perspectives. Long COVID is the experience of lingering COVID symptoms six or more months after a person’s initial infection.

Watch the video and learn more here!

Located within ASU’s Global Securities Initiative in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the Threatcasting Lab conducts interdisciplinary, collaborative sessions to envision threats ten years into the future.

Johnson is a Professor of Practice at ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. He serves as Futurist and Fellow at Frost & Sullivan, a visionary innovation company focused on growth. He works with governments, militaries, trade organizations, and startups to help them envision their future.

Johnson has more than 30 patents and is has authored fiction and nonfiction books. His writing has appeared in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Slate. He appears regularly on Bloomberg TV, PBS, Fox News, and the Discovery Channel. He has directed two feature films, and is an illustrator and commissioned painter.

ASU’s Threatcasting Lab:

Threatcasting, by Brian David Johnson,  Natalie Vanatta and Cyndi Coon 

Melissa Smallwood’s work:

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