What futurists can learn from superforecasters

Plaatje superforecasters

Superforecasting, the art of prediction by Tetlock and Gardner, is definitely the number one must-read for futurists this winter. Especially because the topic of prediction can generate a lot of discussion. Despite the public belief of the future industry as a crystal ball business, futurists in general are reluctant about … Continue reading

Strategic foresight on the impact of technology on the agriculture and food sector

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Everybody always wants to know the future: Which technology will create breakthroughs in the next years? Which innovative products will we see on the market in ten years? Foresight does not enable better predictions, but foresight can help you to see the things that matter in how the future could … Continue reading

The essence of scenarios, learning from the Shell experience

Three Airmen participate in dog-sled expedition

On March 4th 2014, an exciting new book on working with scenarios was launched by Amsterdam University Press: The essence of scenarios: learning from the shell experience by authors Angela Wilkinson and Roland Kupers. Both authors have an impressive history on working with scenarios inside and outside the Shell company … Continue reading

Three Horizons of the future in the present

Source: http://www.internationalfuturesforum.com

The Three Horizons framework is a model of longer-term change. The framework can be used for theoretical analysis as well as in workshops settings. One of the things that makes the framework so useful and comprehensible is the fact that it consists of three lines, that each represent a ‘horizon’. … Continue reading

18 ‘known’ trends about the future and 4 what if’s – Dutch Horizonscan Prosperity and Environment

Image Thinkstock

Predicting the future is a ‘no go’. However, uncertainty about the economy, emerging markets, climate change, biodiversity loss and many, many more, raises the urgency to know as much about the future as possible. Governments and industries need this in order to anticipate on future situations. Dutch Future Study on … Continue reading

Multiverses in “The Long Earth” (review)

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The Long Earth is the produce of the collaboration between Science Fiction writer Stephen Baxter and my favourite fantasy writer: Discworld-author Terry Pratchett. It was published in June 2012 and, recently, in 2013 it’s sequel The Long War was published. The underlying social dilemma that is addressed in The Long … Continue reading

Resilience, why things bounce back

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From the banking crisis to earthquakes, from the Arab spring to major floods, we have seen many disasters and disruptions, year after year. Given the risks of climate change and the grand challenges of feeding nine billion people, the potential of disruptions is not expected to diminish soon. It is … Continue reading

Pioneers of the new public sector

publieke pioniers - titel

Something is bubbling in society. They do not want to wait for the government to set targets and take action. Sustainability initiatives like Urgenda are born that way. Self organised actions to change the status quo. Grass roots initiatives that reach thousands of people. But don’t think that people working … Continue reading

Watch your genes

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The June edition of magazine Wired features an interesting article about the threats of DNA hacking in the near future. The author argues that the rapid advancements in the sequencing of DNA will have considerable implications for bio-crime. Costs for the mapping of a complete personal genome have dropped very … Continue reading

4 Pitfalls for Foresight Practitioners

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Thinking about the future and practicing foresight is no cakewalk. This is made very clear in the book Foresight in Action. The authors have done ethnographic research on how foresight practitioners proceed in practice, with respect to the policy practice. The study took place at several Dutch ministries and planning … Continue reading

Can you please predict the future?

Photo credits: Thinkstock

There is this great temptation that futurists always have to resist: “can you please say something about the future? Just tell us some of your insights of what the year 2050 might look like?” It could make you feel appreciated professionally, or even powerful as a futurist to give such … Continue reading

The future is the connected company

Drawings by Dave Grey, the connected company

The future is all about connectedness. Dave Gray made that point clearly in his recent book “The connected company“. Online and offline social networks are getting deeper engrained in society. People start to grasp new opportunities of connectedness every time. To keep in pace with connected customers and clients, organizations … Continue reading

Transformative scenario planning – working together to change the future (Adam Kahane)

Transformative scenarios

Adam Kahane, former head of Scenarios at Shell, and pioneer in transformative scenario planning, presents his experience and insight in this wonderful book about his approach of working with the future. The book is about changing the future in a cooperative effort. He gained his experience during the transition from … Continue reading

Cognitive biases to be aware of in futurist thinking

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“No serious futurist deals in predictions”. These are the famous words of Alvin Toffler in his seminal book Future Shock from 1971. Instead, future studies usually describe a number of plausible futures pointing at different directions for the world or society. Never predicting, just analyzing uncertainty and complexity. However, the … Continue reading

Lessons from “The black swan”, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The black swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb from 2007 was still on my reading list. Finally, a vacation to Egypt seemed the perfect time to read it. I will share here what I took out of The black swan, when I was rethinking its content looking over a translucent blue … Continue reading