Come Shape the Future

The world is changing faster than ever, making the art of looking ahead essential for leaders.

CCA’s two-year MBA in Strategic Foresight program challenges assumptions about alternative futures and enables students to adapt in practical, yet idealistic ways.

You will learn to view uncertainty through multiple lenses and develop effective strategic techniques applicable to companies, governments, and NGOs.

Through real-world challenges you will design your way into the unknown. You will also deploy experiences across a range of established foresight tools to help organizations explore, define, strategize, and prepare for a myriad of responsible and exciting possible futures.

Earn a Business Degree that Opens Doors

As a business degree, graduates not only understand the tools of futurism but also the fundamentals of business and organizational culture.

Our faculty prepares you to step into a position at a variety of institutions where you will see more clearly, innovate more effectively, and strategize for multiple futures more easily.

Engage in the Bay Area—Where the Future Is Built

No where else is as focused on building new futures as the San Francisco Bay Area with its concentration of companies, organizations, and government agencies dedicated to innovation.

More than just a center of funding and expertise, the Bay Area offers a unique culture for optimistic initiative, smart experimentation, learning from challenges, and unparalleled rewards for success.

CCA’s community is at the heart of these values and these institutions. We are leading a vision of the future as humanistic, exciting, responsible, sustainable, and meaningful.

Start your future at CCA

Curriculum

Our full-time, two-year MBA program has a flexible structure (five once-a-month, four-day weekends of instruction and interaction each semester) that allows students to commute from all over North America.

The program encompasses 60 units of instruction, combining 20 full-time residencies of in-person instruction with 6 units of online interaction over a two-year period. While the program’s schedule is flexible, it is a full-time program (not an executive program).

 

 

First Semester

Each semester, students develop individual and team solutions to a variety of economic and social challenges using design techniques (such as user-centered research, prototyping, critique, and iteration) as well as business metrics.

Solutions are evaluated according to how well they meet user and market needs as well as their clear business or organizational value. Sponsored projects allow students to work with leading businesses.

Seminars address traditional business and organizational issues, such as finance, economics, operations, and marketing, always incorporating design approaches and processes. Students work individually and in teams to research and present findings in discussions, group projects, and presentations.

In addition, students may take advantage of graduatewide electives—seminars available to those in any program.

Innovation Studio
This studio course gives students the opportunity to put theory into practice by designing product or service solutions that incorporate innovation theory and design and user research. Students learn to use professional design tools and techniques that will enable them to successfully communicate solutions verbally, visually, and experientially. Each semester, the theme for the course changes, allowing students to investigate new domains that are current and challenging and that build on their knowledge of customers, materials, solutions, and organizations.

Live Exchange
More that just learning the right vocabulary, effective communication relies on an understanding of how words structure thought, action, and outcomes. Live Exchange is an inquiry into learning how teams constitute and sustain themselves through their communicative repertoires. This course constructs a specific new asset-based language for business that serves as a foundation for building and repairing trust, strengthening leadership and developing listening, and assessing and speaking skills to move constructive action forward.

Managerial Economics
This course is designed to help business leaders increase their effectiveness by learning the fundamental principles that underlie market economics. The course begins with an overview of neoclassical microeconomic theory, such as supply-and-demand theory, market capital, profit and production maximization, types and structures of organizations and markets, market failures and inefficiencies, and the economic understanding of “the public good.” It also explores new approaches to integrating and measuring economic impacts for human and natural capital—not only financial capital—and examines how design and innovation can drive strategic value for an organization, as well as for the market as a whole.

Financial & Managerial Accounting
An overview of the principles and procedures of managerial accounting, this course prepares students to interact with the accounting professionals they will rely on to operate a organizations effectively. Students learn how to evaluate the performance of an organization, and whether for-profit or nonprofit, assess an organization’s financial and resource opportunities, evaluate the effectiveness of market and operational decisions, and use these understandings to shape more sustainable organizational decisions. Topics including understanding financial statements, bookkeeping, budget techniques, and measures of corporate performance are discussed alongside issues such as accounting for and measuring social and environmental values, creating integrated bottom lines, and brand value.


Second Semester

Market Insight Studio
A critical element of any good marketing strategy is the insight gained from the market, especially citizens. The most successful organizations use market insight to shape strategies of what to produce, not merely how best to produce or promote it. This hands-on studio addresses both quantitative and qualitative, traditional and cutting-edge approaches to marketing, promotion, and advertising, focusing on market research that drives valuable, actionable, and accurate insight of citizens, competitors, and markets. Students learn how to conduct effective research that illuminates unseen opportunity and enables a deep understanding of citizens.

The curriculum for this course has been open-sourced under a Creative Commons license.

Leadership by Design
Leadership is much more than exercising authority. It is the ability to communicate a compelling vision that others want to follow. A strong organizational leader respects individuals, delegates work, and enables others to perform to the best of their abilities. This course illuminates the traits of effective leadership and demonstrates a variety of approaches to enable students to become leaders themselves as well as to help other leaders in an organization to emerge. Students discuss leading in both entrepreneur and intrapreneur contexts and explore some of the key tasks of a leader, including creative brainstorming, evaluating business opportunities, and communicating these opportunities to a variety of stakeholders.

Strategic Foresight Techniques
In this course, students will become highly proficient at the direction and use of specific strategic foresight techniques including horizon scanning, alternative futures, incasting, scenario planning, visioning, causal layered analysis, and others. Students teams will design, build, and present artistic activism displays to provoke and record spontaneous responses from the public to consider future scenarios. This course should be a pre-requisite for Strategic Foresight Studio 1. This would also be a helpful pre-requisite for Analytics for Strategic Foresight.

Social Entrepreneurship
This course introduces students to business models and stakeholder research in the context of social and cultural interventions. Students explore possible strategies for organizational structures, processes, and systems—chiefly how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value. This course discusses effective for-profit, non-profit, and other types of organizations while exploring a series of issues to gain an understanding of the field of social ventures, the stakeholders and business models, and the realities of starting a social venture. The goal of this class is to give students exposure to the social venture landscape and begin to understand and influence the factors that contribute to systemic social impact through the use of marketing and design thinking.


Third Semester

Strategic Foresight Studio
This studio course introduces the development processes for effective experiences, including using tools such as the waveline to create interventions for the purposes of foresight. Students learn about service ecologies, and other experiences, and develop rich professional solutions to identified opportunities. Students gain experience working collaboratively in teams as they research, develop, and share their solutions. Student teams may be paired with government, private sector, and non-profit organizations to perform strategic foresight consulting.

Operations & Systems
Operations involve the effective management of human, financial, and natural capital, as well as processes such as supply chain management, quality assurance, process design and improvement, service ecology management, facilities, and human resources. This course explores strategies for optimizing both production and process, in addition to solution sustainability, innovative operational design, and systems design. Students’ work in the course culminates in the development of a professional operations plan for a real or imagined company.

Foresight Analytics
CCA’s Analytics course provides students with a professional understanding of the value of data analysis for the practice of strategic foresight. In the course, students will apply analytics to real world problems through the strategic foresight techniques of causal layered analysis, scenario planning, horizon scanning, incasting, and more. Also, students will learn how to merge quantitative and qualitative data to produce rich, actionable information with multiple perspectives. Throughout the course, students will be presented with information challenges to provide context, present comparisons, and examine causality.


Fourth Semester

Foresight Venture Studio
In this course, the entire class will develop and deploy a major strategic foresight venture to be held during the semester.  Students will also produce a professional-level report summarizing the summit and findings. This course builds on the relationships and work delivered during Strategic Foresight Studio. Each student team is responsible for a different aspect of the summit, from developing the agenda to arranging speakers and workshops to event production, promotion, and follow-up. The teams collaboratively create the report and documentation of the venture.

Strategic Management
This course integrates themes and techniques from all previous courses in order to build students’ knowledge and experience in crafting and managing corporate strategy. Students explore the differences between strategy and tactics; market and societal trends that affect market performance and organizational responses; various management approaches; communicating organizational goals, measures, and structures; and the resounding impact of strategy at personal, corporate, and societal levels.

Students learn practical techniques for short- and medium-term management, as well as long-term insight and innovation tools such as scenario planning. Throughout the course, students develop a professional strategic plan for an existing organization.

Sustainability Studio
While sustainability is a theme throughout every course in the program, this studio focuses exclusively on developing solutions that directly affect financial, natural, and human capital as well as the systems that govern them. The course takes an in-depth look at various frameworks and approaches to sustainable development, using both historical and contemporary examples. Throughout the semester, students use practical tools and techniques for identifying issues, developing solutions, troubleshooting problems, and measuring progress. A semester-long project challenges students to apply sustainability skills to a solution; including a sustainability analysis and implementation plan.

The curriculum for this course has been open-sourced under a Creative Commons license.


Electives

In addition, students may take any course within CCA they qualify for as an elective.

Media Strategy

(description to come)

Social Ventures (summer)
Building on market insight and business models, this course offers  students an immersive introduction into social issues and ventures in the United States and, potentially, abroad. Students explore a series of issues to gain an understanding of the field of social ventures, the stakeholders and business models, and the realities of starting a social venture. Through a combination of in-person and virtual courses, students explore key concepts in social entrepreneurship: cultural sensitivities, economic structures, business models, and social issues. The goal of this class is to give students exposure to the social venture landscape and begin to understand and influence the factors that contribute to systemic social impact through the use of marketing and design thinking.

Media Strategy

(description to come)

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