With the benefit of hindsight, foresight and insight


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 29 May 2009



Blackman, C. (2009), "With the benefit of hindsight, foresight and insight", Foresight, Vol. 11 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/fs.2009.27311caa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

With the benefit of hindsight, foresight and insight

Article Type: Editorial From: foresight, Volume 11, Issue 3

Sadly, this issue of foresight will be my last as editor. It is over ten years since I launched this journal and the anniversary presented an opportunity for reflection. In doing so I came to the conclusion that I had taken the journal as far as I could and that it was time to hand over the reins to someone else to take it forward.

As I write this editorial, I am reminded of the Irish blessing, “May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far”. When I launched foresight, I certainly benefited from hindsight as a result of my time as editor of Futures. It was my firm belief that what was needed was a forward-looking, readable publication on important issues, one that was relevant to the academic, policy making and business communities. I also wanted to put into practice the editorial and publishing principles I believed in but that seemed to be disappearing, such as high quality standards, attention to detail, a responsive and flexible approach to authors and readers, a more open approach to copyright, and good value for money. I would like to think that in editing foresight over the past decade, I have been guided by those principles.

As to knowing where you are going, my inaugural editorial in the first issue of foresight set out the journal’s intentions, by declaring the importance of foresight for better decision making in business and government (Blackman, 1999). That first issue included articles on using scenarios in planning health services, the role of the military in non-war activities, radically changing patterns of time use, the impact of the internet on global business operations, and an examination of human experiences “damned” by mainstream science.

Over the next ten years the journal published significant articles from a futures perspective on a wide range of topics including sustainable development, lifelong learning, management strategy, energy policy and nuclear power, the future of work, food security and genetically modified organisms, the transition to the information society and the impact of the internet on the economy. Special issues have also been a feature, for instance on national foresight exercises, genomics and social science research, the ageing society, and European sector futures. I feel privileged to have contributed to these achievements. It goes without saying that this could not have been achieved without the efforts of the authors and the support of referees and editorial board members, to whom I owe thanks and gratitude.

I am conscious of not wanting to go too far – but if I look ahead I see significant editorial and publishing challenges ahead. Many of these challenges are the consequence of the impact of the internet, particularly on the academic world and on academic publishing. The internet is transforming the traditional system of recognizing quality in academic research through peer reviewed journals. The internet brings with it the expectation that information should be freely available online and it is inevitable that eventually we will see radical reform in both the academy and in publishing. I believe that foresight can be relevant in the future and it needs the energy and creativity of a new editor to rise to this challenge. I wish them every success.

Colin Blackman


Blackman, C. (1999), “Foresight: shape the future – act today”, foresight, Vol. 1 No. 1

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