First, I keep wanting to post another of my research papers, but I just haven’t had time to get one in good enough condition. I could have been a copy editor at one point in time, but that time seems to have passed. So, this post is simply a diary entry of my research into the history of Futures/ Foresight.
After delving into the histories of Organization Development and Planned Change, I finally decided to check out what would happen if I looked up corporate foresight, regional foresight, etc. I thought simply strategic foresight or foresight would be enough. However, it seems all the cool kids are specifying the application of their foresight. Of course, this did not surprise me as much as the number of people who traced the history of foresight only as far back as the 1990s or in a few cases the work of Japan in the 1970s. I was quite relieved when I ran across Ben Martin as well as a Daimler-Chrysler study which trace foresight at least back to the US in the 1950-60s. There are still plenty of holes in my history. For instance, the gap between H.G. Wells’ writing on the topic up to the 30s and the RAND corporation in the 50s. I should think there must have been people in England taking Wells’ writing seriously, but I have yet to find anything substantial which goes beyond the study or specialties therein of Social Change. And really, even if I am to keep things just within the States, there still seems to be holes. I have not found anything resembling foresight studies after the one Wilber Ogburn performed in the early 30s. Clearly, I need to continue my research in a bigger library. Likewise, I need to take a look at Wendell Bell’s history again to make sure I am not forgetting too much. My memory could certainly stand to be improved.
One way or another, I am very happy to have a better recent history. Also as a result of my recent research, Nick and I have a better idea of what the book should look like. It is likely to be bigger now.
On a personal note, I am headed down to Christchurch for the weekend. We’re going to see some friends, and I am going to get ahold of an old NZ futuristic utopian novel which was reprinted once in 2000. http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-AnnVoge.html