the next wave

Andrew Curry's blog on futures, trends, emerging issues and scenarios

Selected futures articles

This page is a resource for my articles on futures. The most recent articles are at the top.

January 2015: Searching for systems; understanding Three Horizons

An article for the APF newsletter, Compass, trying to explain the systems aspects of the Three Horizons method. An extract: “One of the important characteristics of Three Horizons, therefore, is that the horizons are not just lines; they are each a system. And a little more: they are systems with varying degrees of fitness for the existing landscape.”

The pdf can be downloaded here:


April 2014: Postcards as Doorways

An essay on using postcards in workshops as a facilitation technique, co-written with Victoria Ward, published in  the Journal of Futures Studies. A short blog post can be found here. Or the pdf can be downloaded below.

Curry-Ward-JFS-Postcards as Doorways-2014

January 2014: Anticipating the next wave

Regular readers of the next wave will know that I am a fan of the work of the economic and technology historian Carlota Perez, who developed a model that explains the processes by which new technology platforms first emerge, then become dominant, and then become superseded. There have been five of these “technology surges” since 1771; the present ICT surge is the fifth.

Her model is a historical one. This isn’t a complaint: she is a historian, and she did the analysis of the historical data to propose the pattern she describes in her book. But when I was asked to contribute to an Association of Professional Futurists workshop that used the Three Horizons method to explore candidates for the Sixth surge, I wondered if it was possible to identify future-facing characteristics in her model.

The article was written for the APF’s newsletter Compass. It can be downloaded below.


July 2012: Golf’s 2020 Vision: The HSBC Report

I wrote/edited this report for HSBC on the future of golf; HSBC is a big tournament sponsor in the UK, the Middle East, and Asia, and also invests in the junior game in China and UK. We used a classic futures approach to build the stories, scanning for change both within the sport and also for drivers which would influence the context of the sport, and identifying the themes by looking for patterns and connections. The PDF of the final report is below; my colleague Gus Newsam did a terrific job on the design.


June 2012: The scenarios question

An article for the APF’s Future of Futures collection, which I also edited, on the history of scenarios, and perhaps their future – and on why the 2×2 “double uncertainty” matrix model became so dominant. The Future of Futures is still available as an ebook for $10.


December 2011: Understanding Best Practice in Strategic Futures Work

The Futures Company has re-published a report I co-wrote 10 years ago for the UK Government. From the Preface: “Our client was Geoff Mulgan, then running the Performance and Innovation Unit in the British Government’s Cabinet Office, and charged with improving the ability of the government to address complex strategic issues. Mulgan was concerned that the government did not think well about the longer-term, and wanted to understand if strategic futures methods would help”. There is also a blog post here.


March 2010: What Kind of Crisis Is It? (with Hardin Tibbs)

An article which tries to explore the nature of the financial crisis by looking at it through a number of different long cycles, and by drawing on systemic models such as panarchy. There is also a blog post here.


June 2009: Roads Less Travelled (with Wendy Schultz)

Another article in the Journal of Futures Studies, this time co-written with Wendy Schultz, which reports on a small research project to find out whether different scenarios methods generate significantly different outcomes. The twist was that we used the same base data – from the project we worked on for the Carnegie UK Trust on the future of civil society – and applied four different scenarios methods to it. As far as we can tell – and Wendy Schultz is immersed in this literature – it is the first time anyone’s used a common feedstock to test this hypothesis. The paper is below (opens in pdf); the answer to the question is ‘yes’.


April 2009: Using Scenarios Well

The Journal of Futures Studies published a ‘Scenario Symposium” on why and how scenarios were used, in response to a sceptical article by the veteran futurist Gragam Molitor. My contribution, which is available below, argues that scenarios are a way of managing uncertainty, in a way that makes it comprehensible and possible to act on. The whole Symposium is in the February 2009 edition of the Journal.


December 2008: Learning from longer-term futures

A short article which reviews some learning from a series of longer term (30+ years) scenarios projects, on a common sustainability theme, in terms of methods and questions emerging. A version was first published in Henleymail in December.

Longer Term Futures, Curry

August 2008: Seeing in Multiple Horizons.

A long article written with Tony Hodgson laying out the ‘Three Horizons‘ approach to strategic futures work. Published in the Journal of Futures Studies.

Seeing in Multiple Horizons, Journal of Futures Studies

November 2007: Foresight FAN Club

The UK Foresight Programme’s futures networking programme, the ‘FAN’ club, asked me to talk about the relationship between futures and organisational decision-making processes. A PDF of the presentation can be downloaded here{


‘Britain 2025’, in The House magazine, 2005

I wrote something at the end of 2005 which I thought was brief on the trends which could affect Britain over the next 20 years for the House of Commons magazine The House. They cut it; good for attention span, bad for comprehension. This is the longer version.


2004, Scenarios about the future of obesity

In 2004, I wrote with my colleague Rachel Kelnar a set of scenarios on the future of obesity, and how it would affect the food production and retail companies. It took some time to get them right, and we thought we’d missed the boat, because the public health agenda on obesity was already advancing quite fast. It turned out that the commercial companies were still catching up with this sharp shift in their external environment. The scenarios have stood the test of time over the past three years. PDF, 784KB.

Curry-Kelnar, Obesity Scenarios, Henley Centre 2004


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: