Andrew Curry’s futures blog

If you’ve landed on this page, and you want to get to the blog’s content – then please click here, or on ‘thenextwave’ banner at the top of the page. If not, please read on…

The Next Wave is my personal blog. I use it from time to time to write about drivers of change, trends, emerging issues, and other futures and scenarios topics. I work for the London-based consultancy The Futures Company (formerly Henley Centre HeadlightVision), where I specialise in futures and digital media. (Its blog is here).

A little background: I started as a financial journalist for BBC Radio 4’s Financial World Tonight, before moving to Channel 4 News during the 1980s. From there I spent some time in current affairs production and the independent sector, before being hired in 1993 by the cable company Videotron to launch Britain’s first interactive television television channel.

After Videotron was acquired by Cable and Wireless Communications I was assigned to the digital television development programme, and joined The Henley Centre (as it then was) in 1999, when I realised I’d had enough of CWC’s unique approach to project management. I still maintain an interest in digital media and in the notion of the creative economy. Occasional articles, about futures, about the digital and creative economy, and other topics of interest, can be found here.

I also have a small side blog, Around the Edges, which I started in early 2008, for notes and thoughts which don’t fit into this futures blog.

If you want to go (back) to the content of the blog, then please click here.

2 Responses

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  1. Nick Wray said, on 3 May, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    …surely rather than a result of the ‘optimism’ of the 60s’? the ‘space race’ which – for the US – resulted in Apollo and the moon landings, was a *consequence* of the Cold War? Rather than a Utopian programme, the reach for the stars represented an ideological battle – war waged by other means – between the Soviet Union and the United States?

    And were the 60’s really a time of optimism rather than naive utopianism? It *was* the period of RAND, the Paris riots, Cuba, fingers on the button etc. For every young, wide-eyed hippy, there was probably an older pessimist who saw the optimism of the 60’s representing the death of their own hopes and beliefs – for example in England the loss of Empire for those brought up with an Imperial world view? This was the decade, after all, that ended in the hangover represented so well and wittily in the film Withnail and I !

    I think the US ‘civil’ space programme was in some part a PR-vehicle to justify huge military spending on ICMB technology; therefore the space programme was not ‘separate’ from military needs – it was a consequence of them.

    The US’s goal was clearly in part to demonstrate the superiority of capitalism and the American political system over Soviet ideology. I agree, there was excitement about what space travel could offer mankind, but overarching this was the United States’ anxiety that the ‘Red Planet’ might literally become that, another satellite of the Soviet union.

    So the US rocket programme — rather than being something that would have flourished if only the money hadn’t been blown by those pesky warmongers in the Pentagon — was another version of the same.

    Indeed, much of the technology – and indeed many of the rockets themselves – used by the Americans were essentially Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) delivery vehicles, e.g. the Redstone rocket.

    The Redstone nuke missile delivery system was the vehicle hurriedly adapted to allow Alan Shepherd to try and counter the impact of Gagarin’s first orbital flight.

    True, Eisenhower wanted to use a ‘civil’ rocket (as opposed to the military missile boosters) prior to learning of Gagarin’s flight as he was concerned that military rocket technology might ‘intimidate’ the Soviets (if you can send a man over Russia, you can send a nuke). Even so, much of the ‘civil’ space programmes (even if not in part a ‘front’ for the military program) in both countries was motivated by the need to develop systems to carry spy cameras over ‘enemy’ territory – rather than take men to Mars!

    And the Soviet’s interest in rocketry again was hardly ‘utopian’ or optimist? Indeed it came very much from their experience of being vulnerable – and afraid – of sudden attack and invasion, following their near defeat in WW2.

    Rockets were initially seen as a part of the military arsenal to discourage potential adversaries. Whilst the later ‘civil’ programme was again a politically motivated programme to win the Cold War battle of proving their system was superior to that of the US.

    And let’s not forget, the Cold War itself was a consequence of the Second World War – and ironically both the Soviets and US shared the same Nazi V2 missile technology to build both of their respective missile and ‘civil-programme’ rocket armouries.

    V2 rocket engineer Von Braun – always claimed it was interplanetary flight that was his real goal, but perhaps this is a case in point of how ‘optimism’ – the goal of a man, like Von Braun, who wanted man to travel to the stars, but became a Nazi fellow traveller, a user of slave labour to develop V2’s in WW2 – can rapidly become alloyed to political expediency? Von Braun is quoted as saying on his capture by US forces at the end of WW2:

    ” We knew that we had created a new means of warfare, and the question as to what nation, to what victorious nation we were willing to entrust this brainchild of ours was a moral decision more than anything else. We wanted to see the world spared another conflict such as Germany had just been through, and we felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.”[31]

    Would we have even reached the moon without conflict? Without the argument of military spending to protect the world, would ‘optimism’ alone have got us to the stars? If we were starting off today, would we be more concerned about spending on roads, schools and how often our bins are emptied than spending our taxes on finding other worlds to explore?

  2. Farrah Little said, on 4 June, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    The British Library would like to archive the following website(s):
    for the Blogs Collection

    Dear Andrew Curry

    I am a M.A. student doing a placement at the British Library and I have been creating a collection of business blogs. The British Library would like to invite you to have your blog(s) included in this important collection by allowing us to archive your blog(s).

    As blogs represent an innovative means of communication, the British Library is very interested to create a collection in this exciting new area, which will be a valuable resource for researchers now and in the future. The British Library works in collaboration with leading UK institutions in the UK Web Archiving Consortium, and our archive can be seen at

    There are benefits to you as a website owner in having your publication archived by the British Library such as having a historical record of your website(s). We aim to develop preservation mechanisms to keep your publication permanently accessible as hardware and software change over time.

    It should be noted that the British Library reserves the right to take down any material from the archived site which, in its reasonable opinion either infringes copyright or any other intellectual property right or is likely to be illegal.

    If you are happy for your site(s) to be archived, you should download the copyright licence form at (Alternatively, please request us if you would like to receive the form as an e-mail attachment.) Please complete and return the form to the address given below by e-mail or post. If there are any other of your sites which you would like to be considered for archiving, please feel free to make additional copies of the licence form.

    More information about copyright and how your archived website(s) will be made available can be found in the FAQs on the above web address. Should you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Please note that we feel some urgency to start archiving due to the timescale of my placement, so a speedy response would be much appreciated.

    Yours sincerely,


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