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  • Locations: Washington, DC, United States;
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Description:

Business and Society: Strategic Foresight

Is this program for me? 

“The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed,” – William Gibson
"The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence itself, but to act with yesterday’s logic." – Peter Drucker


Unprecedented technological advancement as well as external shocks (as manifested by the COVID19 pandemic) have accelerated the velocity of change and is complicating the relationship between business and society. There has never been a greater need for strategic foresight and long-term futures thinking. This course, “Business & Society: Strategic Foresight,” will offer a set of novel methods, tools and practices that enable organizations or individuals to renew their competitive advantage, enter new business fields, and build robust scenario-driven strategies. Foresight synthesizes insights from a wide variety of fields including economics, engineering, sociology, politics, data science, systems theory, art, and design.  
This blended virtual course integrates case analysis and trend examination conducted in online lectures, discussions with guest speakers over a 4-day period. The course will focus on five case studies of the futures of food, healthcare, space, transportation and work
. The course will feature guest speakers who are thoughts leaders in various industries that are shaping the future of business and society.   

What Students Have to Say

"Fantastic material. It’s next level strategic management." -Summer 2020 Participant

"This was one of the best classes I have taken. The speakers were interesting, the coursework helped us understand how to think into the future strategically, and the professor was phenomenal with applying critical information into a compact schedule." -Summer 2020 Participant

"This was the best course I’ve taken at GWU. I learned so much and found the topic incredibly interesting. I couldn’t believe the quality of speakers that were brought in." - Summer 2020 Participant

"I will use the skills from this class for the rest of my life."
- Summer 2020 Participant

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Develop a deep understanding of how organizations invent the future.
  • Identify a trend as it emerges from the fringe and to track that trend along its potential trajectories to the mainstream.
  • Determine the timing of a trend and how it relates to other industries and sources of change within modern society.
  • Create a strategy to take action on a trend, and to pressure-test that strategy to ensure that you have mapped the trend correctly.
  • Develop recommendations and action plans for the “shared future of x” for any individual, organization, industry, nation, region, etc.


This course is an open enrollment course for all graduate students via GWSB Registration.

*The STAP application and deadline does not apply to this course.

Academic Credit

SMPP 6218 - 
3 credits


Pre-Program Dates:
June 3 & 4, 202311:00 am - 1:00 pm

Program Dates: 
June 7-10, 2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

GW Professor

Thomas Debass
Professor Thomas Debass currently serves as Managing Director of the Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State. Thomas leads the Department’s private sector engagement efforts and providing thought leadership on partnerships related to economic growth, global finance, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Thomas has played a leading role in promoting and institutionalizing the role of public private partnerships and strategic foresight as a tool for advancing foreign policy and development objectives. He regularly gives lectures and talks about the intersection of foreign policy, business, and society.

Prior to joining the State Department, he was Lead Economist with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and a senior technical advisor with US Agency for International Development (USAID). Thomas is a graduate of Virginia Tech with MA in Applied Economics and BA in Economics. He also has an Executive Certificate in International Business Management from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, as well as a Certificate in Future Thinking and Strategic Foresight from Institute for the Future.

Additional Information
Readings and assignments will be available on Blackboard. Business casual attire requested unless otherwise noted. Attendance in all sessions is required. 

Syllabus: Coming Soon

Cost Estimate
For this program students will be charged GW tuition for 3 credits for the summer 2022 semester.


This program is administered by Global & Experiential Education in The George Washington University School of Business.

Please email us at with questions.