These are the three strategic foresight books I most often recommend.
Thinking about the Future: Guidelines for Strategic Foresight
edited by Andy Hines and Dr. Peter Bishop
Hines and Bishop layout a generic though the accurate process for delivering an effective Strategic Foresight project. The book has 30 contributors, including professional futurists from around the world, sharing best practices and case studies. Hines and Bishop edited these contributions into six chapters which follow the six steps of the process. These chapters then have subchapters which explain how to conduct these six steps. They then break these subchapters down even more to provide advice and best practices for each step and substep. Each piece of advice and best practice is provided with a description, the key steps, the benefits, a case study or example, and suggestions for further reading on the topic. Clearly, the book is thorough, organized, and practical. It is not an encyclopedia nor is it meant to be. It is a great starting point for Futures Studies and will likely remain an immediate reference regardless of the extent one goes in Futures Studies. My own copy is so well loved, my friends think it will make me go blind.
Strategic Foresight: The Power of Standing in the Future
by Nick Marsh, Mike McCallum, Dominique Purcell
Dr. Nick Marsh was a key figure in starting the master’s program at Swinburne University in Australia along with Richard Slaughter. Here he and two colleagues set forth the argument for using Strategic Foresight with an explanation of how to go about delivering a product. The book is full of case studies and practical applications for Futures Studies. He argues that Futures Studies is the theory where Strategic Foresight is the application. Furthermore, he asserts backcasting is the crux of building the strategy based on the foresight process. Full of images and mental models, the book is surprisingly easy to read but extremely helpful for gaining greater insight into this practical application.
Future Savvy by Adam Gordon
This book is primarily targeted at decision makers in business and public policy. However, it is recommended for anyone thinking about how to deal with sifting through the predictions and forecasts which bombard them both internally and externally. That the world is constantly changing is obvious, and decision makers still search out people to explore what is on the horizon. This book is a how-to for deciding whether events are forming trends, whether these trends are relevant, and whether the predictions about these trends are accurate and worth investing towards. It is a helpful book to frame the predictive aspect of futures/ foresight and to understand the strategic mindset foresight clients should be steering toward.
Futures Studies is a large and diverse field which is represented here by a very small sampling of links.
University of Houston Futures Studies official site: http://www.tech.uh.edu/programs/graduate/futures-studies-in-commerce
University of Houston class of 2005 podcast project: http://www.natasha.cc/futurists.htm
The University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Futures Studies: http://www.futures.hawaii.edu/academics.php
Regent University: http://www.regent.edu/acad/global/academics/msf/home.shtml
Swinburne University in Australia: http://courses.swinburne.edu.au/Courses/ViewCourse.aspx?mi=100&id=19792
The Institute for Futures Research in South Africa: http://www.ifr.sun.ac.za/MPhil/default.htm
LIPSOR: Laboratory for Investigation in Prospective Strategy and Organisation: http://www.cnam.fr/lipsor/eng/phdprogram.php
TamKang University – Graduate Institute of Futures Studies: http://future.tku.edu.tw/en/1-4-3.htm
Tecnologico de Monterrey Consulta Plan de Estudio: https://serviciosva.itesm.mx/PlanesEstudio/Consultas/Planes/ConsultaPlanEstudio.aspx?form=PLANESTUDIO&contenido=caratula&modovista=area&Idioma=ESP&UnaCol=SI&claveprograma=MPE04
Futures Organizations & Foundations
The Association of Professional Futurists: http://www.profuturists.org/
World Futures Society: http://www.wfs.org/
World Futures Studies Federation: http://www.wfsf.org/
Millennium Project: http://www.millennium-project.org/
Accelerating Studies Foundation: http://accelerating.org/
World Watch Institute: http://www.worldwatch.org/
The Long Now Foundation: http://www.longnow.org/
Shaping Tomorrow (a social networking site for any kind of futurist) http://shapingtomorrowmain.ning.com/
Other Interesting Links
Futures Books from the World Futures Society: http://www.wfs.org/bkshelf.htm
Top Ten Strategic Planning Books from the Association of Professional Futurists (APF):http://profuturists.org/content/blogcategory/37/78/
A Futurist at the Movies: http://www.futuristmovies.com/
The 27+ habits of highly effective futurists by John Mahaffie: http://foresightculture.com/the-27-habits-of-highly-effective-futurists
The official site dedicated to the memory of Marshall McLuhan: http://www.marshallmcluhan.com/
Most Important Futures Work from the APF: http://profuturists.org/content/blogcategory/54/160/
“Change is hard, but stagnation is fatal.” – Dr. Peter Bishop
“Any useful statement about the future should appear to be ridiculous.” – Jim Dator
“Future shock is the dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future.” & “If you don’t develop a strategy of your own, you become a part of someone else’s strategy.” – Alvin Toffler
“Have you purchased a used future? Is your image of the future, your desired future, yours or is it unconsciously borrowed from someone else?” – Sohail Inayatullah
“It is one of the strange facts of experience that when we try to think about the future, our thoughts jump backward. It may well be that nature has some fundamental metaphysical law by which opening up what we call the future also opens up the past in equal degree.” –Buckminster Fuller
“The future isn’t what it used to be.” – Paul Valéry
“Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness. ‘Time’ has ceased, ‘space’ has vanished. We now live in a global village…a simultaneous happening.” – Marshall McLuhan
“You can analyse the past, but you need to design the future. That is the difference between suffering the future and enjoying it.” – Edward de Bono
“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde
“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” – John Cage
“One should use forecasts … not believe them.” – Hogarth and Makridakis
“The rise and fall of images of the future precede or accompanies the rise and fall of cultures. As long as a society’s image is positive and flourishing, the flower of culture is in full bloom. Once the image begins to decay and lose its vitality, however, the culture does not long survive.” – Fred Polak
“At first, people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, and then they begin to hope it can be done. Then they see it can be done. Then it is done, and the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” – Francis Hodgson Burnett
“A new idea is condemned as ridiculous, and then is dismissed as trivial, until it finally becomes what everybody knows.” – William James
2 thoughts on “Foresight Resources”
Thank you for the suggestion on Future Savvy. I bought the book on Amazon and found it very insightful. It was exactly was my team needed.
That’s good to hear Gayle. Could you tell us more about how it helped?