Summary of The Future of Imagination

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Strange as it may sound, if you can “remember the future, predict the past” and exhibit “hard empathy,” you will boost your creativity and be inspired to shape the future in which you want to live. In this hour-long presentation, futurist and game designer Jane McGonigal gives a crash course in developing these offbeat abilities. She keeps her listeners engaged by having them execute simple exercises to hone these skills. getAbstract recommends McGonigal’s groundbreaking talk to creatives, innovators and anyone who wants a hands-on role in molding the future.

About the Speaker

Game designer Jane McGonigal is the director of games research and development for the Institute for the Future.



A computer game designer’s ultimate goal is to “transport people to worlds that don’t exist.” Games instill players with a “sense of agency,” a feeling that they have the ability and influence to change and control outcomes. As a result, gamers feel more assertive and hopeful when facing an unknown future and more empowered to realize change.

To strengthen your sense of agency in the real world, you can hone a trio of skills. The first is “counterfactual memory,” whereby you “predict the past” by imagining the alternate course your life might have taken had you made a different decision in your past – for example, if you had taken...

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