Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | February 12, 2009

Futures Tutorial 2


There are two basic ways to think about the future – and many variations of combinations.

1. Extrapolate today’s trends out.  That is what passes for most ‘futures’ gee whiz stuff in journalism.  A trend has already begunn.  Now, where does it go from here?  It can be called ‘present-forward’ or trends, projections, etc.

2. Imagine a future and then figure out how it could happen.  This is harder to do.  Like imagine the U.S. as a hereditary monarchy and what would it take to get there.  It can be called ‘future-back’ or alternative futures, etc.

This slide shows the idea of looking at what internal drivers could change the Army as an institution, what trends could make a difference, and what plausible alternative worlds need to be considered.

Half of my day job last year was working on a futures team for Integrated Air Space and Missile Defense for a corporate sector (about 18,000 employee organization).  We used the same methodology with the two basic approaches to what technologies could be developed in what capabilities 15 years from now.


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