Peter Durand

What Futurists Actually Do

In Journal on July 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm


  An introduction to GOOD’s new series from the Institute for the Future

Never Google the word “futurist.” Besides the conflation with Futurism, the early 20th century fascist-leaning art movement, the world’s gateways to knowledge are far from instructive on the subject. Clichés and caricatures abound, with media coverage dominated by allusions to crystal balls and prophesy and the messianic predictions of techno-utopians. The general public’s sense of what futurists are is not entirely flattering, and rarely accurate.

This is a shame, because during the second half of the 20th century and continuing through the past decade, professional thinking about the future has grown from a niche field dominated by military strategists and predictioneers into a diverse global practice.

The future is hard to predict, especially since we don’t know what’s gonna happen! However, I end up working with lots of folks and on lots of projects that try to see around corners. This article gives GOOD insight into the skills and thrills of the futurist game.

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