• "At the recent European Futurists Conference in Lucerne, Switzerland, E&T asked some leading futurologists for their prognosis for year 2020. Here’s what they had to say." Clive van Heerden argued that "our interaction with machines will inevitably need to become more ‘natural’ through the dramatic increase in the use of indirect channels of communication;" Ian Pearson, "lightweight sunglasses will use tiny lasers to write computer-generated imagery straight onto our retinas superimposing them on what we see in the real world;" Rohit Talwar sees the growth of "personal ecosystems;" Elina Hiltunen, "the emergence and connectivity of data everywhere and for every purpose;" Jose Luis Cordeiro, something close to AI.
  • "This is a blog about weak signals by which I mean strange things that exist today and that can tell about big trends in the future. By using weak signals we can try to anticipate and create the future. The writer of this blog, Elina Hiltunen, is a futurist and doing her doctoral thesis about weak signals."
  • "We consider ways in which radically uncertain and disruptive events may be introduced into corporate decisionmaking structures. As a foresight concept, “wild cards” refer to trend-breaking/trend-creating events that are very hard or even impossible to anticipate, but that should nonetheless be expected in complex and fast-evolving environments. The discussion is grounded in the experience obtained in two strategic foresight projects carried out in two industries — civil aviation and investment banking. The unique strength of these cases is that they constitute concrete and rare examples of disclosed business foresight studies that, from the start, included an explicit wild card element. Most interestingly, both of these cases are analytically linked to the September 11 event, a severe instance of a wild card."
  • To determine the sustainability of the policy, an Early Warning System (EWS) has been developed for the Dutch Ministry of Justice. An EWS is used to monitor various developments and to place them within the perspective of future scenarios. Without actually predicting the future, this makes it possible to determine which scenario is the most relevant at any given moment, allowing the department to adapt its policies. Regular modifications to the EWS make it possible to monitor in the direction of which scenario society appears to be moving. This creates a path to the future with which the sustainability of (new) policies can be tested periodically.
  • "Already two decades ago strategy literature started a discussion on weak signals (H.I. Ansoff, Implanting Strategic Management, Prentice-Hall International, Englewood-Cliffs, NJ, 1984). Currently the weak signals approach is experiencing a renaissance in strategic planning but now either in the context of strategic flexibility or peripheral vision. In this paper we aim, firstly, to present theories describing filters that a weak signal has to pass in the strategy-creation process. Secondly, we present a construction for information filters in the strategy process and prove that the nature of objectives and the method used in environment scanning have a major impact on the outcome. Thirdly, we introduce an application that opens filters for weak signals in the strategy process and thus provides the organization with an opportunity for pro-active decision-making."
  • "This paper addresses the need for reliable action guidelines which can be used by organisations in turbulent environments. Building on current conceptual and empirical research, we suggest an analytical approach to the management of surprising and potentially damaging events. In order to do so we propose the wild card management system. Wild cards refer to sudden and unique incidents that can constitute turning points in the evolution of a certain trend. As the first of the two components of such a wild card system, we advocate a weak signal methodology to take into account those wild cards that can be anticipated by scanning the decision environment. The second component, the nurture of improvisation capabilities, is designed to deal with unanticipated ongoing crises. This paper can be seen as part of a broader agenda on how to manage in conditions of continuous but unpredictable change."
  • "Weak signals are current oddities, strange issues that are thought to be in key position in anticipating future changes in organizational environments. Scanning for them and using them in scenario work is thought to be successful for looking to the future. However, defining weak signals is problematic, and various authors term the concept differently. The debate about the characteristics of weak signals has been active especially in Finland. The article aims to develop a deeper theoretical understanding of weak signals. For this purpose, a semiotic approach, Peirce's triadic model of sign in particular, is used. The article introduces a new starting point for defining weak signals (signs) by using the novel concept future sign, which consists of three dimensions: the signal, the issue and the interpretation."
  • "This article introduces future signals sense-making framework (FSSF), an alternative philosophy towards weak signals, emerging issues, drivers, and trends, that is in contrast to the traditional single signal or path extrapolation approach. The philosophy of FSSF is based on the principles of environmental scanning and pattern management, which state that if there is a grand transformation process on the way or if there is a new emerging pattern or phenomenon, such a process will certainly be reflected in many different ways. Therefore, in this philosophy, futures knowledge is believed to be fragmented between various simultaneous and overlapping sources. Here, a researcher's task is to carry out a sufficient environmental scanning process and to cluster and sense how to create the emerging future through a pattern management process where FSSF plays a role as the first start-up tool."
  • "Just thinking about the past or future could literally move you. This mental time travel was revealed in a new study in which participants swayed backward when thinking of the past and forward with future thoughts…. [These] results suggest our perceptions of time are tightly coupled with space. "This is the first demonstration that when we think about time we physically move though space, whether that's engaged though areas of the brain or manifested throughout the whole body is an open question," said Lynden Miles of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Miles and Aberdeen colleagues Louise Nind and Neil Macrae fitted 20 participants with a motion sensor while they imagined future or past events. After just 15 seconds, participants who were recalling the past had swayed backward an average of about 0.7 inches (1.5 to 2 mm), while the future thinkers leaned forward about 0.1 inches (3 mm)."
  • "Weak Signals, Wild Cards is a commissioning project and exhibition by the participants of de Appel Curatorial Programme 08/09. Set in Amsterdam Noord, it invites ten artists and a number of speakers from other fields to react to the given plans for the area and conjure a set of alternative futures. The artists have created works for and from their envisioned future contexts, while the speakers will foretell their imagined futures of Amsterdam Noord, from the perspectives of their expertise. The title of this project uses two terms from futurology…."
  • What do new types of plastic, a recession-proof solar boom in California and resurgent UK regional accents have in common? Or high-street butchers, energy rationing and the emergence of a ‘recession generation’? They could all be ‘weak signals’ from the future – signs of what may be to come. If you’re into sustainable development and planning for the future, then weak signals are important.
  • "Welcome to the study of ‘weak signals’ where both the bizarre and the seemingly mundane are tracked to give a glimpse as to what changes might lie unseen around the corner. The author William Gibson famously said: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed”. In its simplest form, the study of weak signals is the search for those elements of the future that are indeed already with us – but have yet to be recognised as such, let alone adopted by mainstream society. Weak signals can range from small changes in behaviour and technology, to signs that a significant shift in a system might be imminent. Often it can just involve a hunch that something different is underway, rather than a clear indication of predictable change. An individual signal might make little sense at the time; it might require a number of other similar signals, or a creative leap to realise just what it could be pointing to."
  • "…are ideas, trends, technologies or behaviour changes that are as yet unrecognised by mainstream society. They might have a big impact or they might disappear. We monitor them to help our partners challenge their assumptions about the future, navigate risk and seize new opportunities."