Resilience, why things bounce back

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

17 trends to inspire Dutch Government

When researching trends, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by publications. Every now and then, however, we are pleased to find a clear, well-written overview of relevant trends. The Dutch Interdepartmental trend-scan for 2025 is such an example. The first edition was published in 2011, the update in June 2013. Read more … Continue reading

“Studying the future is similar to studying history”

Interview with Boudewijn Steur Boudewijn Steur works as strategic specialist for the Dutch Minististry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (“BZK”). Futurista interviewed Boudewijn on his work as a strategist and his thoughts on foresight. It might be surprising to realise that while Boudewijn focuses on the future on a … Continue reading

Watch your genes

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

Three maxims for essential futures thinking

Futures thinking seems essential in our times. With so many uncertainties about water, food and energy for 9 billion people in the next forty years, and so many exciting new technologies on the way, futurists can help to see new possible futures and support decision makers. However, futurists are not … Continue reading

Searching for unknown unknowns

In future studies one of the ultimate results is becoming aware of things that were previously unknown to most people. Especially in horizon scans, like the current STT project in the Netherlands, we want to know what is beyond the horizon. What are the unknowns that are unknown to most … Continue reading

4 Pitfalls for Foresight Practitioners

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

A socio-cultural framework for scenarios

Recently, I have become very enthusiastic about using socio-cultural perspectives as a framework for scenarios. This framework is well suited for complex societal issues and is often used for scenarios in the field of environment, sustainability issues and water management.  It’s point of departure is the idea that individuals, communities, … Continue reading

Scanning the Dutch Horizon to 2050

Jacintha Scheerder is exploring what challenges await the Netherlands in the next four decades. She is the projectleader for the project ‘2050 Horizonscan’. The project is initiated by The Netherlands Study Centre for Technology Trends (STT). This is the second time that STT is involved in horizon scanning. In 2007, STT … Continue reading

Can you please predict the future?

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

Scenarios as a warning: Limits to growth

Probably the most controversial and most famous scenario study published is the Limits to Growth report. It was published as a book in 1972 and presents scenarios, based on computer modelling, on the consequences of economic and population growth. The book was funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and produced by … Continue reading

The “I told you so – effect” in future studies and horizon scanning

Futurists are talking about trend and developments all day long. They almost live the future  (or multiple futures). Their job is to help stimulate strategic thinking about the future in organizations and people. The everyday reality is, that most people are busy with important business here and now. Things that … Continue reading

How to bring more creativity in scenario thinking?

One of the main criteria for scenarios about the future is that they are challenging. They also need to be relevant and plausible, but they should also trigger people’s thinking. That means, scenarios need to contain creative elements, creative storylines that initiate the conversation about what the future may look … Continue reading

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

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

Can we measure foresight impact?

How can we meausure foresight impact? When it comes to policy-oriented foresight, like many other creative processes, proving or measuring it’s impact on policy does not come easily. Foresight professionals might recognize some of these experiences I’ve had in the past:  the impact of the foresight endeavour is limited to … Continue reading

40 Years of Shell scenarios

Shell is celebrating the 40th anniversary of their scenario thinking. From the start on, this forward thinking, as they claim, helps them to make crucial decisions. Indeed, Shell is a lighting example of how a company can incorporate scenario thinking in their organisation. At the celebration symposium they explained about … 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

Dutch visionairs about the Netherlands in 2030 (video clip)

Now with the Dutch parlement elections, and all the politicians making promises about the future, this very nice television program, called ‘There is always something’ asked a couple of experts to explain their vision of the Netherlands in 2030. Bekijk de video in andere formaten. Barbara Baarsma, economics professor at … Continue reading