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

Scenarios on contact with ETI

Scenarios are used for many different purposes and in all types of organisations. One of the most surprising and inspiring scenario studies I ever came across is the NASA & Pennsylvania State University study on whether contact with extra-terrestrials would benefit or harm humanity. The scenarios were published in 2011 … Continue reading

The Mont Fleur Scenarios

One of the most well-known scenario exercises is the one that took place at the Mont Fleur centre in South Africa, in 1991-1992. At the time, South Africa was dealing with economic decline, social disintegration and political unrest (in this period the negotiations to end apartheid took place). This particular scenario … 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

Cognitive biases to be aware of in futurist thinking

hedgehog and fox

“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

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

Energy 2015: economic crash, gas fires, nuclear explosions, massive floods and black-outs

The world has become addicted to energy and for the production of it we use mostly fossil fuels. This could lead to catastrophes and endanger the lives of many people, as can be seen in MSNBC’s documentary Future Earth: 2015 Addicted to power. Like it’s predecessor Future Earth 2025 this documentary … Continue reading

Water in 2025: drought, locusts, fire, wars and floods

What might be the consequences of global water shortages in 2025? To answer this question, MSNBC’s documentary Future Earth: 2025 provides us with five short scenarios. A documentary worth watching, even though it was originally aired in 2009 and some exact data might be outdated. I think it’s greatest worth is in … Continue reading

An energy-efficient human being?

In April 2012, 360 Magazine published an interview with Matthew Liao, Professor in philosophy and bioethics at the New York University. This interview appeared originally in The Atlantic in March 2012. This article caught my eye, because it was the first time I read about someone suggested making alterations on … Continue reading