Future Wheel

Future wheel is an activity that allows a group to explore the full impact of a proposed change by visualising the direct and indirect consequence of a decision, event, or trend.  Is a method that is specifically useful for strategic foresight projects.

When to use it?
Look/Frame:  Future Wheel is useful in assessing the future environment and offers process for assessing what the environment may look like after a particular decision, event, or trend occurs.

How to do it?

  1. Identify the change and outline it at the center of a design space

  2. Position events or consequences that follow directly from the change just outside of its influence.

  3. Position indirect events or consequences of the direct consequences around the first level consequences.

  4. Mark these concentric levels with concentric circles

  5. Connect the consequences in a tree or a spider’s web.

2-20 participants

30 mins-1 hour

Pros and Cons

  • Process for structuring potential impacts;
  • Allows for the visualization of inter-relationships
  • Allows for brainstorming and generative dialogue


  • Is not solution focused and allows groups to only surface potential areas of positive and negative impact.  Needs to be complemented by additional methods.


  • You may find it useful to color-code each "level" of the wheel, as we have in Figure 1, above. This makes it easier to prioritize and analyze consequences once you've completed your brainstorming.
  • Remember that consequences are not necessarily negative.



Image Source: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/FuturesWheelDiagram.htm

​Additional Resources

Futures Wheel Methodology