• "Scenarios are powerful tools for addressing what is both fundamentally significant and profoundly unknowable — the future. Unlike forecasts, which extrapolate patterns for the future based on facts from the past, scenarios are plausible, pertinent, and alternative stories that are concerned more with strategic thinking versus strategic planning. The three different scenarios outlined in this report promote a flexible approach to the future, and alter our mental maps."
  • It can be observed that a growing number of German corporations are using futures studies and its methods in various ways. This evidence suggests that there is a strong ongoing interest in the field of management in futures studies. To assess how the future of futures studies might look like a Delphi study was carried out. The experts in this Delphi study were asked not only to state how futures studies are used in corporations but also what futures studies need to accomplish in order to find more acceptance.

    The Delphi study suggests that futures studies will become more important in German corporations. In particular, the improvement of methods like environmental scanning, trend research, trend monitoring, strategic early warning and the scenario technique were suggested. While the results of the Delphi study do not suggest that new methods are needed, implementation remains a major concern.

  • Special issue on "Design out of Complexity."

    (tags: future design)

  • "This paper provides a systematized overview of patterns in the scenario planning literature published in the last decades."

  • In this paper we review and analyse scenario planning as an aid to anticipation of the future under conditions of low predictability. We examine how successful the method is in mitigating issues to do with inappropriate framing, cognitive and motivational bias, and inappropriate attributions of causality. Although we demonstrate that the scenario method contains weaknesses, we identify a potential for improvement. Four general principles that should help to enhance the role of scenario planning when predictability is low are discussed: (i) challenging mental frames, (ii) understanding human motivations, (iii) augmenting scenario planning through adopting the approach of crisis management, and (iv) assessing the flexibility, diversity, and insurability of strategic options in a structured option-against-scenario evaluation.

  • The scenario planning literature reveals a gap regarding its research and theory development. This article addresses these gaps by beginning the development of a theory of scenario planning and by providing suggestions for research.

  • "An analysis presents a simpler approach to scenario planning that retains the ability to handle uncertainty – the traditional reason for using such scenarios. Their greatest virtue, however, is that their use naturally – and painlessly – widens managers' viewpoints and helps extend their planning horizons beyond the short-term. The most important message to emerge is that scenarios can be simple, and the simpler they are – and the simpler the process used to drive them – the more effective they may be; not least because those using them are able to understand how they work."

  • "This paper represents something of a history of the future. It seeks to examine, in the context of the USA and Britain, debates over the future of work that have taken place during the 20th century, and have continued into the 21st. Such debates, often classics of the futurological genre, might be caricatured as fantastic predictions of a leisured utopia, but are often in fact both more sober, and more nuanced, than such a depiction would suggest. The present paper will explore the common themes that structure future of work debates, and discourses of the future of work will be placed in social and historical context. Most importantly, the paper will uncover commonalities in understandings of what it means to be creative and free in modern society, understandings that are central to the future of work, and indeed the future in general. The paper will, in conclusion, addresses the possible reasons for a decline in predictions of a leisured future."

  • "Mainly based on a survey of the occurrence of futures research-related references in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, I have investigated the contribution of futures research to the IPCC assessments of the effects of climate change…. The survey of the futures research contributions showed that, up to now, futures research has been only modestly represented in the IPCC climate change effect assessment studies."

  • "3-D printing is already widely used in industry, and it's been catching on with hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers around the world…. Much like a traditional printer sprays ink onto paper, a typical 3-D printer squeezes out thin lines of plastic or other material, one on top of another, until the accumulated layers form a physical object. Today, most 3-D printing equipment and design programs are aimed at the commercial market — and cost thousands of dollars — but hobbyists are discovering lower-cost, open-source versions like the MakerBot printer and Blender software."

    (tags: 3dprinting)

  • "Narratives of the future can be seen as a form of colonialisation, structuring fields of discourse, in a process… [of] 'chronological imperialism'. However, futures narratives can also be used to disrupt these attempts at colonialisation through surfacing problematic assumptions in order to explore alternative scenarios. In this paper I first consider modal narratives and possible worlds and their relevance to the social sciences. I then discuss Sohail Inayatullah's 'Causal Layered Analysis'… [which[ draws on a 'poststructural toolbox' to examine problematic issues using a process which focuses on four levels of analysis: litany (the official public description of the issue); social science analysis (which attempts to articulate causal variables); discourse analysis or prevailing worldview; and myth/metaphor analysis. The aim is to disrupt current discourses which have become sedimented into practice and so open up space for the construction of alternative scenarios."

  • "The growth in popularity of Soviet forecasting research during the latter part of the 1960s was a positive by-product of the lingering mood of economic and administrative reform prevalent in the USSR until the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Novel forecasting programmes under Soviet academic auspices gave rise to an ill-fated Soviet Association of Scientific Forecasting, whose activities and publications helped popularize futures research to a wider Soviet scientific and technical audience. The Organization's promoters even went so far as to offer its services to State planning authorities as an independent body of expertise regarding the unforeseen consequences of planning and management decisions. The controversial programmes in question were soon dismantled on ideological as well as political grounds. The further elaboration of a critically minded, policy science-oriented futures research in the Soviet Union was henceforth proscribed."

  • "This site is dedicated to pursuing the development of 'foresightful' action in everyday life, linking our emerging understanding of long term sustainability challenges with new practices, initiatives, projects of innovation in the present."

    (tags: future)

  • With Futures Studies, Richard Slaughter aims to develop a coherent approach to the future; not as an empty space to be colonised or a single fate towards which the wheel of fortune inexorably turns, but as a realm to be mapped. Slaughter argues that humanity needs to find a way out of ‘the global problematique’, which comprises ‘a late industrial system, classical economics, international trade, “trickle down” development, the mechanistic world view and a deteriorating environment’. He believes Futures Studies can help by being a ‘seed bed’ for ‘social and methodological innovations’.