We are running out of water, robots will take our jobs, we are eating ourselves to an early death, old age pension and health systems are bankrupting governments, and an immigration crisis is unravelling the European integration project. A growing number of nightmares, perfect storms, and global catastrophes create fear of the future. One response is technocratic optimism — we’ll invent our way out of these impending crises. Or we’ll simply ignore them as politically too hot to handle, too uncomfortable for experts — denied until crisis hits. History is littered with late lessons from early warnings. Cynicism is an excuse for inaction. Populism flourishes in the depths of despair. Despite the gloom, there is another way to look at the future. We don’t have to be pessimistic or optimistic — we can find realistic hope. This book is written by an international and influential collection of future shapers. It is aimed at anyone who is interested in learning to refresh the present, forge new common ground, and redesign the future.
Angela Wilkinson, PhD (Physics), is Associate Fellow, Said Business School, University of Oxford and former Director of Foresight for the OECD. She is a recognised and respected global leading scholar and practitioner in scenario planning and foresight. She spent a decade in Shell's global scenario team.
Betty Sue Flowers, PhD (Literature), is Professor Emeritus at UT-Austin and former Director of the Johnson Presidential Library. She has served as a moderator for executive seminars at the Aspen Institute, consultant for NASA, CIA, and the Secretary of the Navy, and scenario writer for organizations including Shell, the OAS, Eskom, IPIECA, and the WBCSD.