The Association of Professional Futurists has just published a list of trends to watch in 2009, nominated by members. Eight in all – two on governance, two on geopolitics, two on sustainability, and two others broadly in the area of leisure/entertainment . Not sure about the last one (on the future of the American women’s soccer league: I’d have thought the bursting of the professional sports financial bubble was a more interesting prospect). The list is below the fold,
Two important shifts in perceptions of banks and bankers seem to have happened in the last two weeks. The first is that the idea of nationalising the banks – rather than just taking increasingly large stakes – has crossed into the mainstream. The second is that there seems to be visible anger about the greed of the bankers. But it is still not clear how these attitudinal shifts will translate into political change.
I’ve written here before about longer-term futures and how we think about them. Over the past year or so I have beem fortunate to work on a series of scenarios projects, for different clients, but on the theme of sustainability, looking out between 30 and 90 years. There are some patterns – and looking across them they throw up a set of questions about the future. I’ve written a short article (dowloadable from the Selected Articles page) and I’ve summarised the main points below the fold.
I blogged earlier this week about the lack of a futures perspective in the 20-30 year decision about whether or not to build the third runway at Heathrow – and looked at energy, economics and climate change trends which all suggested that demand for air travel was more likely to fall than rise. In this second part I’m looking at some of the social trends which also seem to point in the same direction, and also trying to understand why the idea of aviation has so captured policy makers.
The Institute of Public Policy Research has attracted quite a lot of coverage for its argument that the proposed third runway at Heathrow will become a white elephant unless aviation can be made greener – and the industry agrees to tough conditions on emissions. While this is alright as far as it goes, if you look at the planned expansion of Heathrow through a futures lens – which obviously goes beyond climate change – it’s likely to become a white elephant no matter what the aviation industry does. The lack so far of a futures perspective on a twenty-to-thirty-year decision has been striking.
My friend Peter Reading wrote a paper about the British National Health Service a few years ago in which he argued that organisations got captured in the moment of birth – and never completely escaped. When faced with a crisis, they would respond with a pattern which was familiar from their early history. The same thing seems to be true of Israel’s attack on Gaza.