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Beware of proud ambition offered as foresight

Jacques Richardson (Member of foresight's editorial board.)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 11 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how admonitions to apply forethought in planning and execution may trap, deceive or discourage even the most circumspect of experienced managers and leaders.


A series of real‐life experiences are cited, in most of which foresight, evoked and encouraged by personalities of recognized authority, largely failed to hold its promise.


With determined intentions behind their conception, design and materialization, some processes and creations do not fulfil their promise because of human or other failing.

Research limitations/ implications

Space available is the limiting factor here for the presentation of case examples.

Practical implications

The instances cited are expressly concrete failures in applied foresight. Avoiding such pitfalls should be the best way of profiting from the instances used as illustrations.


Planners, strategists and designers should be able to take advantage of the illustrations used – especially in those cases when foresight goes completely wrong



Richardson, J. (2008), "Beware of proud ambition offered as foresight", Foresight, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 51-66.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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