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, by Paul Baran , George Peter Mandanis , Theodore Jay Gordon, Olaf Helmer to help organizations plan for the long-term future, a subject known as futures studies.

Originally operating in Middletown, Connecticut, the Institute relocated to Silicon Valley.[1]

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. [2] Astrophysicist and computer scientist Jacques Vallee, sociologist Bob Johansen, and technology forecaster Paul Saffo worked for IFTF. [3]

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.[4] It offers three programs to its clients: the Ten Year Forecast, Technology Horizons and Health Horizons.[5] 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, and included proprietary tools for collaborative forecasting. [6]

The Institute's executive director is Marina Gorbis.[7] Other people associated with the institute are David Pescovitz,[8] Anthony M. Townsend, Jane McGonigal,[9] and Jamais Cascio.[10] French artist Raphaële Bidault-Waddington has collaborated with the Institute in 2012.[11]


  1. ^ Olaf Helmer; Olaf Helmer-Hirschberg (June 1983). Looking forward: a guide to futures research. Sage Publications. ISBN 978-0-8039-2017-0. 
  2. ^ Electronic enterprises : looking to the future. DIANE Publishing. pp. 44–. ISBN 978-1-4289-2051-4. 
  3. ^ Jacques Vallee (2003). The Heart of the Internet: An Insider's View of the Origin and Promise of the On-Line Revolution. Jacques Vallee. ISBN 978-1-57174-369-5. 
  4. ^ Schwartz, Ariel (20 January 2015). "Predictions About The Last Decade, From Futurists In 2005". Fast Company. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Jane McGonigal (20 January 2011). Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-101-47549-2. 
  6. ^ Coren, Michael (14 November 2011). "Foresight Engine Asks The Crowd To Change The Future". Fast Company. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Marina Gorbis". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  8. ^ "David Pescovitz". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Jane McGonigal". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  10. ^ "Jamais Cascio". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  11. ^ "Talkoot". Institute for the Future. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 

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