"Futurizing" Economic Development


What does “futurizing” economic development mean? It means equipping economic developers, economic development organizations, and local economic development processes with improved ways of thinking about the future, a better understanding of future-shaping trends, and new policy, strategy and practice tools to work with transformational change in the future. My "futures" work is focused in three areas:


1. Ways to think about the future.

2. Understanding future-shaping trends.

3. Tools to work with transformational change.


Let’s start with a definition of futures studies. According to the World Futures Society (WFS), futures studies (also called futurology) is the study of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. It is a multidiscplinary field, studying yesterday’s and today’s changes, and aggregating and analyzing both lay and professional strategies and opinions with respect to tomorrow. It includes analyzing the sources, patterns, and causes of change and stability in an attempt to develop foresight and to map possible futures.


In a literal sense, I hope to bring the tools of futurism and futures studies to economic development. Some of these tools are:


1. Anticipatory thinking
2. Causal layered analysis
3. Environmental scanning
4. Scenario planning method
5. Delphi method
6. Future history
7. Monitoring
9. Backcasting
10. Cross-impact analysis
11. Futures workshops
12. Failure mode and effects analysis
13. Futures wheel
14. Technology road-mapping
15. Social network analysis
16. Systems engineering
17. Trend analysis
18. Morphological analysis
19. Technology forecasting
20. Simulation and modeling