Insights · April 20th, 2001

From time to time we respond to questions about the future sent in via email by readers. We don’t have a lot of time for this, but when a question seems especially interesting we offer our thoughts.

J. Carter [[email protected]] sent this question:

How do you Define a Futurist?

I am an Eastern College graduate student, and I had to critique a book entitled The Mustard Seed Conspiracy, by Tom Sine. In his book he is addressed as a futurist? I wasn’t sure how to define futurist, so I searched the Internet, and your web site was the first one that gave me a definition. So, correct me if I am incorrect. A futurist is some who studies and researches, probabilities for the future empirically or scientifically.

Response by Glen Hiemstra, 2001


That is as good a definition as any. I think of Futurists (there are 1200 professional members of the World Future Society) as focusing in any of three areas.

  1. Forecasting the future, using quantitative and qualitative means,
  2. Imagining the future, using primarily intuition and writing skills, and
  3. Creating the future, using techniques of planning and consulting.
Foresight Methods
Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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