Association of Professional Futurists

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The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is a community of professional futurists, founded in 2002.[1][2] The APF is similar to other organizations that promote the development of strategic foresight including the World Future Society, the World Futures Studies Federation, the Millennium Project, and the Club of Rome.


The APF was founded in 2002 by an informal network of professional futurists. Members of the first board include Peter Bishop, Andy Hines, Michele Bowman, Mike de Bettencourt, Sandy Burchsted, Tom Conger, Bob Hahn, Herb Rubenstein, and Jennifer Jarratt.[1] The APF was created to lead discussion internationally about professional futures practice, encourage the use of futures and foresight in strategic decision making, and offer services, resources and training for foresight professionals to advance their skills and knowledge.[3] As is the intention of many association groups, the APF was primarily formed to increase futures studies conversations through professional networking and improve the image and performance of the field.[4]

The APF's members have written for and are cited in various journals and magazines such as The Futurist, Wired, Futures, Foresight, and the Journal for Futures Studies.


The Association of Professional Futurists has over 200 individual and organizational members that include Arup, the Foresight Alliance, the House of Futures, the Institute for the Future, the Institute for Alternative Futures, Kairos Futures, and Leading Futurists LLC.[5]

The Association of Professional Futurists offers membership following a portfolio review to those who can, at the minimum, document performance in two of seven professional standards: consulting, organizational function, postgraduate degree, certificate program, speaking, teaching and writing. Besides this Full Member program, it also offers Provision, Associate, Student and Organizational Membership.

Annual member gatherings have been a key activity in the history of the APF. A preliminary gathering was the "Applied Futures Summit" in Seattle in April 2001 at which several founders agreed to move forward and formally established APF in 2002. The first meeting in Austin, TX was "The Future of Futures." It used a scenario planning approach to explore the next decade of the field.[6] Each subsequent gathering has focused on a particular topic, such as Design Thinking in Pasadena CA or the Future of (Virtual) Reality in Las Vegas NV.[7]

Members host a "future of" Twitterchat monthly where topics can be as diverse as the future of museums[8] to the future of relationships.[9]

Futurist recognition[edit]

APF selects and recognizes significant futures works. The first awards were announced in 2008. The ten 'most important futures works' recognized by the APF in that year included Peter Schwartz's The Art of the Long View, Wendell Bell's Foundations of Futures Studies: Human Science for a New Era, Bertrand de Jouvenel's L'Art de la Conjecture (The Art of Conjecture), and Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines.[10]

The APF also has an annual student recognition program in which universities worldwide offering undergraduate, Masters and/or PhD in foresight and futures studies can submit up to three student works that the university considers to be of exceptional quality in terms of originality, content and contribution to the field.[11]

The Association also aims to enhance the ability of other organisations to understand the work of and to engage with a futurist.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ The Future Needs Futurists, Wired
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ Andy Hines, “The Futures of Futures: A Scenario Salon,” Foresight, Vol. 5, #4, 2003.
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ [5]
  9. ^ [6]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  11. ^ [7]

Further reading[edit]

  • Amara, Roy. (1974). The futures field: Functions, forms and critical issues. Futures, 6(4), 289-301.
  • Bell, Wendell. (1993, Spring). Professional ethics for futurists: Preliminaries and proposals. Futures Research Quarterly, 9(1), 5-18.
  • Coates, Joseph F. (2001, March). Certifying futurists. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 66(2-3), 313-321.
  • Currey, Andrew (2012, editor). The Future of Futures. Association of Professional Futurists. ISBN 978-0-9857619-1-2
  • Henshel, Richard L. (1981, October). Evolution of controversial fields: Lessons from the past for futures. Futures, 13(5), 401-412.
  • Hines, Andy (2004). "The History and Development of the Association of Professional Futurists," The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies: Professional Edition CD-ROM. Foresight International. ISBN 0-9757354-0-3.
  • Wheelwright, Verne. (2000, Nov/Dec). A profession in the future? Futures, 32(9/10), 913-918.

External links[edit]