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.
- Forecasting the future, using quantitative and qualitative means,
- Imagining the future, using primarily intuition and writing skills, and
- Creating the future, using techniques of planning and consulting.