If I didn't need to spend some time working out this evening, I would take the rest of the night off and read every issue of Futureorientation, which I discovered earlier today. The latest finding is Verne Wheelwright's essay on personal futures:
The personal futures process is a scaled-down version of the futuring process and methods commonly used by business and other organizations…. [It involves conducting research on life stages and events, then] constructing four personal scenarios, including positive, negative, normative and wild card scenarios. The scenarios in turn become the basis for creating a personal strategic plan.
For the individual, the initial benefit from the research is a better understanding of how life works by exploring life stages, the forces present in one's life, and the events that occur. From that research, the individual learns to apply futures methods, starting with developing scenarios of plausible futures. Creating these scenarios also creates an awareness of concepts of the future, suggesting what may happen and what is likely to happen, resulting in a longer-term view of life. Actually writing scenarios also lets individual understand how forces and events work together.
With this awareness, individuals can intelligently plan and prepare for the future, and take steps to help them achieve a future they prefer. The final product is a personal strategic plan that includes a vision of the future, strategies and an action plan for achieving that vision, and a contingency plan for wild card events.
This dovetails with the stuff I've written in Futures 2.0 on nudges, choice architectures, and thinking about the future. Personally, I think that Wheelwright's approach of scaling down a fairly traditional scenarios process isn't likely to be very effective– in particular, I think it assumes that people are capable of balancing immediate choices and long-term goals puts too much faith in the rationality of people and their ability to take a long-range view– but the idea that it would be worthwhile for individuals to think about their future in a more systematic way is right on.