Center of Strategic Thinking and Future Studies

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Center of Strategic Thinking and Future Studies

Tel: (57-1) 241-9900 / 342-0288 
Ext: 1265, 1209

The Center of Strategic Thinking and Future Studies serves as a support for the Faculty of Business Administration in its pursuit to develop an attitude among its students that encourages competitiveness in organizations. Prospective and Strategy have been called the “sciences of hope” because they help us identify the alternatives of our future and to create the most convenient options to move forward.

The Center of Strategic Thinking and Future Studies is conscious of the necessity to encourage the appropriation and practice of planning as a discipline that generates competitiveness, that permanently works to anticipate challenges through analysis, and that develops and uses specialized models through consultation services directed towards diverse clients with multiple needs and interests.



The world is witnessing a profound transformation in its economic, social, cultural, and technological patterns that affect the behavior of organizations and businesses on both national and world stages.
In a changing environment, strategic analysis provides stability and minimizes risks.  At the same time, the design of the future provides a sense of management.  Consequently, the Center offers strategic studies and planning that allow monitoring of different sectors and organizations in order to advance change and not be surprised in the future.


When in 1964, the French philosopher Gastón Berger founded a discipline that he called “Prospective” (a means of planning) that permitted the “illumination of the present with the light of the future.” He never imagined that, five years later, he would cross an ocean and arrive at Colombia.

In effect, towards the year 1969, Colciencias began to become familiar with the analysis of the future, first with the project “Operation Development” and later with “Group Colombia Year 2000.” Despite the early arrival of Foresight in our country, its importance wouldn´t be recognized until years later when the liberal economic model and its open market approach sought to acclimatize in Colombia in the 90´s.  It would raise a lot of doubt with regards to the competitiveness of our productive sectors.  This situation caused a lot of frowns and was able to make many begin to think about what could change the luck of the economy in ten or twenty years.

It´s worth noting that in the 80´s, some exercises reached important landmarks in the field of future studies: “Colombia 2000” and “Valle 2000.” The first was realized by the University of the Andes and the second by the Governance of Valle del Cauca.  Both were formalized with econometrician focuses.  They represent advances in penetrating the future without separating from traditional economic research.

The defining step towards prospective orthodoxy consists of three studies that are considered the pillars of the process:  “Antioquia XXI Century,” under the tutelage “Pro Antioquia”, big business and Antioquia; “The Cali Citizen that we Want Program,” led by the Cali Chamber of Commerce which surveyed 1400 people with whom they designed scenarios for the city in the first decade of this century; and “The Human Resources Icfes – Icetex Study” which cited the country´s principle universities to define careers for the early years of this millennia.  This exercise was a mandatory study for higher education in the 90´s.

The early years of this millennium brought with them a series of criticisms towards the liberal economic model and, for the most part, an exacerbation of the conflict between two approaches:  those who consider that the market alone can fix all differences and those who think that state intervention is required because they don´t plainly trust in the laws of supply and demand.  This situation makes the future even more uncertain and, as a consequence, prospective trades are more often required.

Without a doubt, we are confronting a period of accelerated change not only in economic and societal terms but in technological as well.

In fact, technological change comes about faster than that of economic or social.  Foresight studies have shown that principle scientific - technological innovations will be presented in five fields:  computer – robotic, energy, free time, bio – tech, and new materials.  The present in which we live and the future that awaits us are characterized as being eras in which the only thing that is consistent is change. 
But faced with this reality, human beings react in a different way.  Marshall Mac Luhan, the father of the “Universal Village” said that the majority of people act as drivers going down the highway at fast speeds looking backwards through the rearview mirror.

Those are the ones that live in the past.  But they are many.  The prospective wants us to observe the path in front, ahead, and far away.  Gaston Berger showed the importance of Foresight, as well as the simile of the highway driver.  This is an era of rapid change, he would say, similar to the highway driver.  The faster he goes, the greater distance his headlights have to illuminate. With all of that said, the Universidad Externado de Colombia has constituted the Center of Strategic Thinking and Planning, considered to be a laboratory for future thinking for organizations, businesses, technologies, and territories.

We are preceded by ample experience both in strategic studies and foresight.  Not to mention, we have exercised important leadership in the field as much in Colombia as in Latin America (we are the founders of the Latin American Network of Foresight and offer an important Specialization in Strategic Thinking and Future Studies).  Finally, we have worked with the institutional sponsorship of the UNESCO Office for Higher Education and have contributed to the most important Centers for Future Studies of the world:  the “World Future Society”, with its headquarters in Washington D.C., as well as “Futuribles International” in Paris.


Studies Realized by the Center of Strategic Thinking and Future Studies


GW Forecast de George Washington University

World Future Society (Washington DC) 

Grupo Futuribles – Francia

Organizational Strategy Research Laboratory 

Virtual Strategy Newspaper – 

Scenarios and Strategies – Buenos Aires


Strategy and Future Studies for Beginners

[Strategy and Future Studies for Beginners]


Universidad Externado de Colombia
School of Management
Calle 12 No. 1-17 Este.
Phone: 3420288 y 3419900. Fax 2839421.
Bogotá, Colombia.

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