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The Future For Futuring – A Structure And Process

Media Release
For immediate release
New Zealand Futures Trust
8 February 2013

The Future For Futuring – A Structure And Process For Keeping New Zealand Futures-Focused Activities Flourishing

Lack of a properly funded repository or a structure for futures-focused activities means organisations, communities and government agencies are destined to keep reinventing the wheel, according to the chair of the New Zealand Futures Trust. Chairperson of the Trust, Yvonne Curtis, said it’s time for futures thinkers to come together to decide how to ensure there is a greater co-ordination, follow up and recording of the outcomes of all the future oriented events and activities which have been taking place over the last twenty years.

A one day workshop, organised by the New Zealand Futures Trust, is being held at Te Papa in early March to identify a new structure or system that can ensure that the diverse organisations and agencies who are looking to our future can benefit from other people’s thinking.

Since 1982 The New Zealand Futures Trust has been an independent body concerned with futures thinking, following the demise in the same year of the government agency – The Commission for the Future. As a charitable trust the New Zealand Futures Trust has been attempting to record and provide commentary on futures thinking activities through its regular publication Future Times and its website. However the organisation no longer has the funds and the resources to keep track of all the current activities and to promote the appropriate methodologies. “Few people are aware that there are existing resources, and appropriate academic research available to make the process easier and more robust,” said Yvonne Curtis.

The Commission for the Future had been established in the mid 1970’s to carry out research and advise the government on policy issues relevant to long-term (about 20 – 50 years) planning. At the time, long-term planning was well regarded and many governments round the world established long-term “think-tanks”.

Today, the New Zealand Futures Trust believes the time is right for a review of how futures thinking should be structured and whether some other body or agency should take the lead in co-ordinating activities.

Former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Morgan Williams said “developing and maintaining, future capability and capacity for a nation is now more crucial than ever before in human history. Investing in a better understanding of what our future world and societies will look like is, therefore, simply essential to our future wellbeing. Not a nice to know.”

The workshop is being held at Te Papa on 6 March.


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