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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2013

James W. Breaux

The purpose of this paper is to look at the communications strategy of the wake up call suggested by Slaughter and to explore alternatives and other perspectives on its

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look at the communications strategy of the wake up call suggested by Slaughter and to explore alternatives and other perspectives on its transmissions and receptions.

Design/methodology/approach

This review uses a topical literature survey and synthesis method to critique conventional vs integral‐type communications strategies and suggests alternatives.

Findings

Communications are tricky. The alignment of the sender and receiver are crucial and can be improved or degraded depending on the contextual framework of each, as well as the perceived agency and interaction of the sender/receiver actors.

Research limitations/implications

This work was accomplished from the single viewpoint of the author, with literature references and a US‐centric, western bias.

Practical implications

The discussion about the variety of communication stratagem from the perspective of the receiver and, the context of the message, as well as the motivation of the sender may provoke changes which in turn could allow greater chance for success in establishing a glide path to sustainability.

Originality/value

This work is referenced to highlight the work of others, including the author of the book reviewed. The synthesis and suggested communications approach is original to the author of the paper.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2004

Andy Hines

The Australian Foresight Institute has brought out a collection of essays that provide a wonderful introduction into the realm of integral thinking as being brought into…

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452

Abstract

The Australian Foresight Institute has brought out a collection of essays that provide a wonderful introduction into the realm of integral thinking as being brought into foresight and futures studies. They suggest a broader, more‐encompassing framework for understanding the future and providing context for what's going on today. Two essays explore foresight in everyday life and conclude that “foresight is something that can be improved with practice.” The second entry looks at how two leading practitioners, Richard Slaughter and Sohail Inayatullah, are applying critical thinking to foresight and challenging the taken‐for‐granted and probing for hidden assumptions. The third brings integral thinking to critique national science and technology foresight exercises. The final entry is a collection of three papers on the topic of “Reframing environmental scanning” that makes the case for a new approach and then lays out early progress in that direction.

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On the Horizon, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Adam Gerber and Michel Godet

The purpose of this paper is to respond to Richard Slaughter's essay on “Is America the ‘land of the future’?”

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185

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to respond to Richard Slaughter's essay on “Is America the ‘land of the future’?”

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a variety of literature and the authors' opinions to present the case in favour of Enlightenment values.

Findings

The paper finds that the USA is perhaps the most faithful political expression of the eighteenth century Enlightenment whose values have since been assimilated throughout the world. Enlightenment values are not beyond criticism, but that does not justify uninformed anti‐American attitudes.

Originality/value

The paper provides a counter‐balance to Slaughter's essay by arguing for a reasoned debate on the issues.

Details

Foresight, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Richard A Slaughter

Abstract

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foresight, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2009

Richard Slaughter and Chris Riedy

This paper draws on research undertaken for the State of Play in the Futures Field (SoPiFF) project and aims to explore the contribution of futures work to understanding

Abstract

Purpose

This paper draws on research undertaken for the State of Play in the Futures Field (SoPiFF) project and aims to explore the contribution of futures work to understanding and resolving aspects of the global problematique and to examine the social interests evident in futures work.

Design/methodology/approach

The project used an integral meta‐scanning framework to review publicly available futures material. The framework categorizes futures work according to organizational type, social interests, methods, domains and geographic location (details of the methodology are outlined in the accompanying introductory paper as well as on the web site created for the project).

Findings

The futures field has made a series of significant contributions to understanding the global problematique and has contributed to the pre‐conditions for its resolution. However, the bulk of mainstream futures work does little to improve the preparedness of humanity for looming future crises. More innovative futures work remains marginalized and largely ignored by the powerful and the wider public. There is a strong case for more effective political engagement than has occurred hitherto.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed on shared definitions for the field, interactions with the media, public and other fields of enquiry and action, measurement of individual foresight capacity, strategies for achieving influence – particularly in the political sphere, the role of subcultures within the futures field and suitable publishing strategies.

Practical implications

The paper recommends specific actions to promote and publicize good work, provide annual digests of futures‐related information, develop and use focused briefings, provide support for “cutting‐edge” futures work, further develop advanced futures methods, create new alliances, build the social capacity for foresight and strengthen the nexus between foresight and philanthropy.

Originality/value

The paper uses an integral meta‐scanning framework to provide a novel analysis of the futures field. The findings will be of value to all futures and foresight practitioners that are interested in the future success of the field.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Richard A. Slaughter

The purposes of this paper are as follows. Part one examines the role of denialism in the context of proposals advanced through the much-abused Limits to Growth (LtG…

Abstract

Purpose

The purposes of this paper are as follows. Part one examines the role of denialism in the context of proposals advanced through the much-abused Limits to Growth (LtG) project. Part two uses three sets of criteria (domains of reality, worldviews and values) to characterise some of the interior human and social aspects of the “denial machine.” It uses these criteria to address some vital, but currently under-appreciated “interior” aspects of descent. (N.B. A succinct “primer” or overview of the concept and underpinning rationale for notions of “descent pathways” is provided in the introduction to this special issue.)

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a number of authoritative sources that track the dimensions of global change and, specifically, the ways that humanity is tracking towards Dystopian overshoot-and-collapse futures. The significance of the LtG project is assessed in this context. Part two employs the criteria noted above to identify and open out the centrality of the human and cultural interiors.

Findings

Responses to the LtG project are shown to have deprived humanity of the clarity and will to respond effectively to the emerging global emergency. The rise of climate change denialism has followed suit and made effective responses increasingly difficult. A new focus, however, on some of the dynamics of reality domains, worldviews and values, clarifies both the nature of the problem and prefigures a range of solutions, some of which are briefly outlined.

Research limitations/implications

This is primarily a conceptual paper that suggests a range of practical responses. For example, re-purposing parts of the current information technology (IT) infrastructure away from financial and economic indices to those tracking the health of the planet. Also translating the case put forward here for a new generation of Institutions of Foresight (IoFs) into real-world start-ups and examples. Further research is needed into the uses and limitations both of positive and negative views of futures. It is suggested that the latter have more value than is commonly realised.

Practical implications

In addition to those stated above, the practical implications include new uses for IT infrastructure based on worldcentric – rather than financial and economic worldviews; designing and implementing a new generation of IoFs; and finding new ways to inform the public of impending Dystopian outcomes without exacerbating avoidance and depression.

Social implications

The social implications are profound. Currently, humanity has allowed itself to “tune out” and ignore many of the well-founded “signals” (from the global system) and warnings (from those who have observed and tracked real-world changes). As a result, it has outgrown the capacity of the planet to support the current population, let alone the 10 billion currently projected by the United Nations (UN). Something must give. Applied foresight can provide essential lead time to act before human actions are overwhelmed by forces beyond its control.

Originality/value

The paper draws together material from hitherto disparate sources to assess the LtG project. It also deploys key concepts from an integral perspective that shed new light on human and cultural forces that determine how people respond to the prospect of Dystopian futures. In so doing, it provides insight into why we are where we are and also into some of the means by which humanity can respond. Specifically, it suggests a shift from collapse narratives to those of descent.

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Joshua Floyd and Richard A. Slaughter

The purpose of this special issue is first to highlight the need for wider understanding of the “civilisational challenge” facing humanity, as it encounters and then…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this special issue is first to highlight the need for wider understanding of the “civilisational challenge” facing humanity, as it encounters and then exceeds significant limits to growth. The second is to present material that provides grounds for developing effective responses.

Design/methodology/approach

The issue draws on evidence from previous research, economic modelling and a range of other sources to investigate the hypothesis that humanity is heading towards an “overshoot and collapse” future. It further suggests that a useful way of responding is to explore the possibility that the prospect of collapse can be moderated or avoided through a process of “conscious descent.”

Findings

The main findings are that a very wide spectrum of policies, actions, strategies and options is available that can and should be used to help us avoid the most disastrous manifestations of “overshoot and collapse.” Yet there are also many barriers and impediments that continue to inhibit effective responses. This means that the process of coming to grips with the “civilisational challenge” will take longer and become increasingly costly. Denialism and short term thinking remain embedded in dominant institutions and mainstream practice. Currently, vastly more is miss-spent on various perverse incentives (e.g. advertising, the funding of denial, fossil fuel subsidies) than on securing the future of civilisation. This can be seen as a consequence of outdated values and inadequate worldviews.

Research limitations/implications

The contributions here represent a sample from within a rapidly expanding field of enquiry and action. They should therefore be seen as indicating the need for further high quality investigation, work and action. The main implication is that this process needs to be taken seriously, properly resourced and eventually transformed into a mainstream social project.

Originality/value

The papers are contributions to an in-depth understanding of a complex and evolving situation. Their value lies in the fact that greater understanding and a commitment to early action are among the most productive investments available to societies vulnerable to the systemic threats outlined here. As such, the special issue evokes a fundamental tenet of foresight work in general. Or to put this in the words of Bertrand de Jouvenel, “the proof of improvidence lies in falling under the empire of necessity.”

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foresight, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2001

Richard A. Slaughter

For futures studies to progress toward a fully‐fledged discipline its knowledge creation processes must be clear and comprehensible. They must be capable of being taught…

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Abstract

For futures studies to progress toward a fully‐fledged discipline its knowledge creation processes must be clear and comprehensible. They must be capable of being taught, learned, critiqued and modified. This paper provides a rationale for using a version of Wilber’s four‐quadrant model as one way of understanding the knowledge creation process in futures studies. It applies this structurally to knowledge creation through four contrasting futures methodologies. The latter are then recontextualized within the four‐quadrant framework. It is suggested that a rapprochement between futures studies and an emerging “integral agenda” provides a sound approach to the civilizational challenge facing humankind.

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Foresight, vol. 3 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2009

Richard Slaughter

The paper aims to introduce the first iteration of an international research project into the “state of play” in the futures field (SoPiFF) using methodology developed at

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to introduce the first iteration of an international research project into the “state of play” in the futures field (SoPiFF) using methodology developed at the Australian Foresight Institute (AFI).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper outlines the overall approach and the methods it employed, along with some implications and emerging themes from this first iteration.

Findings

The paper casts new light on patterns of activity in the futures/foresight arena that, in turn, lead to policy questions, including those of purpose and effectiveness.

Originality/value

The SoPiFF project is of interest not only for its early results, but also for the use of the metascanning methodology outlined here. At one level it draws attention to the nature of the foresight practitioner's toolkit. At another it may also help to guide decisions about future resourcing options and the nature of training that is offered within the domain.

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Foresight, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Stephen Burman

The purpose of this paper is to consider the most likely future for the American empire. It is a speculative essay that takes as its starting‐point Slaughter's argument

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1001

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the most likely future for the American empire. It is a speculative essay that takes as its starting‐point Slaughter's argument that the American Empire is unsustainable.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper shows that at this moment of flux in international affairs America enjoys unprecedented power but is meeting growing opposition. After a review of how America came to be in its current position the argument develops along different lines, exploring the capacities of states that might challenge the USA and exploring the new networks between states and other agencies that exclude America.

Findings

The paper finds that, while these networks have become increasingly dense, they are as yet insufficiently coherent to challenge US hegemony. If the USA adopts a less aggressive approach to the management of globalization it can build a new international architecture that will adorn its hegemony and avoid the new networks becoming a noose that will strangle its power. The US reaction to the new web of interstate and non‐governmental relationships that exclude it, and are motivated to some extent by a desire to challenge its authority, has the potential to determine the longevity of American power and the future path of international affairs.

Originality/value

The paper provides a measured perspective to distinguish between the idea of America and the reality of its foreign policy.

Details

Foresight, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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