It’s been great to hear growing interest in developing the field and profession of _______, um, what do you call it?
I looked at this question in my dissertation and found it has received intermittent attention over the years (Cornish, 1977; Horton, 1999; Becker, 2002; Schwarz, 2005; Amsteus, 2008; Sardar, 2010; Masini, 2010; Marien, 2010; Tonn, 2010; Rohrbeck, 2011). The pattern seems to be one of (a) flurry of activity (b) inability to achieve consensus (c) long quiet period, (d) repeat.
One phenomenon I’ve noticed in that last 10 years at APF, which has an active listserv for conversations, is that when this or related questions about the field/profession get raised, two things happen: (1) someone inevitably points out that it’s all been talked about before (2) others suggest it’s not really relevant anyway — and the conversation quickly dies out. Thus, in my experience we’ve actually talked about it very little – and this is a professional association!
I think these are critical questions for those of us interested in building the field and the profession (and fair enough, not all of us are). I suspect that if we simply try to have the conversations again spontaneously, we’ll repeat the cycle above. What I’m thinking is that we first need to figure out a strategy for how to work through these issues before we dive in again. Does that make sense? I think we can do it, but it won’t be easy.
Full disclosure: “Foresight” is my preference. Andy Hines
Amsteus, M. (2008) Managerial foresight: concept and measurement. foresight, 10 (1), pp.53-66.
Becker, P. (2002, October) Corporate foresight in Europe: a first overview. Working Paper. Institute for Science and Technology Studies, University of Bielefeld, Germany.
Cornish, E. (1977) The study of the future: an introduction to the art and science of understanding and shaping tomorrow’s world. Bethesda, MD, World Future Society.
Horton, A. (1999) A simple guide to successful foresight. foresight, 1 (1), pp. 5-9.
Masini, E.B. (2010) The past and the possible futures of futures studies: Some thoughts on Ziauddin Sardar’s ‘the namesake.’ Futures, 42 (3), pp.185-189.
Marien, M. (2010) Futures-thinking and identity: why ‘‘Futures Studies’’ is not a field, discipline, or discourse: a response to Ziauddin Sardar’s ‘the namesake. Futures, 42 (3) pp. 190–194.
Rohrbeck, R. & Gemünden, H. (2011) Corporate foresight: Its three roles in enhancing the innovation capacity of a firm. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 78 (2), pp. 231-243.
Sardar, Z. (2010) The Namesake: Futures; futures studies; futurology; futuristic; Foresight — What’s in a name? Futures, 42 (3), pp. 177–184.
Schwarz, J. (2005, Fall) Linking strategic issue management to futures studies. Futures Research Quarterly, pp. 39-55.
Tonn, B. (2010) What’s in a name: reflections on Ziauddin Sardar’s ‘the namesake.’ Futures, 42 (3), pp.195-198.