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A message from the CEO.


In 1966, Edward Cornish had the powerful insight that the world needs an organization to serve as a "neutral clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas about the future." Armed with that insight, and many dedicated volunteers, he founded the World Future Society, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation based in Washington D.C. Today, the accelerating rate of change in areas from technology to the global economy to our social and civic lives make the need for such a global organization to champion intelligent, imaginative approaches to the future even more acute.

That organization is the World Future Society. For fifty years, WFS has served as the world's largest and most impactful organization to advocate for thoughtful, systematic, approaches to understanding the future. Yet, conditions today are different than they were 50 years ago. As a result, we needed a new kind of WFS to serve the emergent needs of a global community.

When I took on the job of WFS CEO one year ago, I pledged to ensure that WFS successfully serves its mission for at least another 50 years, by spearheading a multi-year transformation and modernization program. Here are some of the broad elements of this program for which I have been laying ground in the last year:

Become even more global. WFS has always been remarkably international. Today we have members in over 80 countries, with 80% of them in the United States and 20% in other countries. In order to support a global community and enhance foresight on transnational issues, I will continue the groundwork laid this year to strengthen our international chapter network and, by 2017, to develop new, regionally-focused activities.

Strengthen member benefits. WFS would not exist were it not for our members, and it is critical for WFS going forward to provide individual and institutional members with meaningful returns on their investment, such as global professional networking, educational and work opportunities, as well as access to unique research and analysis, to name a few.

Establish a digital-first and multimedia content strategy. WFS was born in the print era, and its print magazine The Futurist is remembered fondly all over the world as an important part of many childhoods. Now, we will combine our efforts in print with a variety of other communications mechanisms to better reach our global network and support more effective global information and knowledge exchanges.

Increase our gender and age diversity. WFS and the field of foresight will benefit from greater diversity, and I am confident that WFS has a strong community to offer a diverse community of futurists. I will be working in the next few years to reach out to women of all ages, to students, and to young and mid-career professionals globally.

Strengthen ties between futures work and active decision making on future-critical issues. In the first two generations of WFS, the field of futures studies was established. As a result, today there are many techniques for better understanding what might and could unfold. Going forward, WFS will also be an advocate of strong action: by promoting foresight as a leadership skill, enhancing institutional capacity, and improving decision making on future-critical issues.

Modernize and update The Futurist magazine. The Futurist magazine and brand has been an important benefit to many in our community over the years. Recognizing that importance, I am delighted to introduce with this issue our new interim Publisher and Executive Editor, Mark Drapeau, who has taken the reigns for the remainder of 2015 and will be taking steps toward a complete re-envisioning and re-launch in 2016.

My agenda is ambitious, and it won't happen overnight. But the World Future Society has a crucial message to relay: that we have the capacity to understand and act in ways that shape better futures: for ourselves, our communities, our businesses and governments, and our planet. Such an important message deserves all the energetic focus we can bring to it.

Warm Regards, Amy
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Author:Zalman, Amy
Publication:The Futurist
Date:Jun 22, 2015
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