Friday, October 30, 2009


Futures planning - also known as futuristics - is the philosophy, science art and practice of postulating possible, probable and preferable futures and the worldwide views and myths that underlie them. Futures planning focuses not on one single projected future, but on alternative futures. Futures planning attempts to understand what about our environment is likely to remain the same, what is likely to change, what are the underlying forces that might bring about change, and what are the likely impacts of change. Futures planning began with such think tanks as the Rand Corporation which were employed by the U.S. government after World War II to help anticipate technological change, especially as it related to military planning. Futures planning was also embraced by international technology companies such as IBM and General Motors to assist them in their business planning. In 1970, Hawaii became the first State to engage in futures planning with its implementation of the Hawaii Commission on the Year 2000. Under the leadership of Hawaii's Governor John Burns and George Chaplin, who was the editor of the Honolulu Advertiser, the Hawaii Commission on the Year 2000 was intended to be an experiment in "anticipatory democracy." After the Commission's work was completed, Hawaii created a permanent futures studies institute at the University of Hawaii under the direction of Dr. James Dator, a noted futurist who had been a consultant to the Hawaii Commission on the Year 2000. Hawaii also developed and implemented a Quality Growth Policy under the direction of Richard Hopper, Hawaii's State Environmental Planning Coordinator who had also served as the staff person for the Hawaii Commission on the Year 2000. Subsequently, numerous other state and local governments have since undertaken similar futures planning efforts.

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