Institute for the Future

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The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is a Palo Alto, California–based not for profit think tank established in 1968, as a spin-off from the RAND Corporation, to help organizations plan for the long-term future, a subject known as futures studies.


IFTF was founded by Paul Baran, an early Internet pioneer and co-developer of packet switching, George Peter Mandanis cellular-telephony pioneer, futurist Theodore Jay Gordon, and Delphi method co-inventor Olaf Helmer. After a year in Middletown, Connecticut, the Institute relocated to Silicon Valley, where it has been ever since.

During the presidency of Roy Amara (1969–1991), the Institute conducted some of the earliest studies of the impact of the ARPANET on collaborative work and scientific research, and was notable for its research on computer mediated communications, also known as groupware. The Institute attracted several notable researchers in this period, including astrophysicist and computer scientist Jacques Vallee, sociologist Bob Johansen, and its most consistently mediagenic figure, technology forecaster Paul Saffo.


Today, the Institute maintains research programs on the futures of technology, health, and organizations. It publishes a variety of reports and maps, as well as a blog on emerging technologies.[1]

Currently, the Institute offers three programs to its clients: the Ten Year Forecast, Technology Horizons and Health Horizons. The clients of the three programs are primarily Fortune 500 companies. When the Institute was founded in 1968, the founders had envisioned working with governments, but over the years Institute clients have included many large companies, along with nonprofits, foundations, and local, state and national governments. In recent years, its work has become increasingly international, with clients and research underway in Asia, Europe and Latin America.


The Institute's executive director is Marina Gorbis.[2] Other people associated with the institute are David Pescovitz,[3] Anthony M. Townsend, Jane McGonigal,[4] and Jamais Cascio.[5] French artist Raphaële Bidault-Waddington has collaborated with the Institute in 2012.[6]


  1. ^ "The Future Now". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  2. ^ "Marina Gorbis". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  3. ^ "David Pescovitz". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  4. ^ "Jane McGonigal". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  5. ^ "Jamais Cascio". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  6. ^ "Talkoot". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 

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