Preferred Futures was established in 1991 by Peter Ellyard, a
futurist and strategist. It has developed its own theoretical base
and methodology to assist organisations to thrive in this rapidly
changing world. It's clients include national governments, large
transnational corporations , small companies, government
organisations, educational systems, trade unions, and international
and national NGOs such as churches, environment organisations and
those concerned with justice and equity. It has advised the United
Nations system and other International organisations for 25 years,
including the UNDP,UNEP,UNESCO, the Commonwealth Foundation and OECD.
The new thinking and intellectual property which underpins work of
Preferred Futures can be found in Peter Ellyard's best selling book
Ideas for the New Millennium (1998,2001).This can be purchased by pressing the Links button and ordering the book through the Melbourne University Press website.
Peter established Preferred Futures because he was concerned that
traditional futurist methodologies were flawed.
Traditional futurism focuses on such alternative scenarios which are
then evaluated. Some of these will assume a business-as-usual
approach, extrapolating from present trends, while others will be
variations on this, because assumptions will be made about changes to
values or power arrangements. Some might assume high levels of
government intervention and some might be more market-driven. Some
might be 'deep green' in environmental terms while some might be
'brown'. Often the strategic planning process will consider a number
of alternative futures and then attempt to combine them into a single
likely future. The task is to decide which mix of these prospective
future scenarios is most likely or most probable.
There are limitations to this process. Most people will rarely find
different aspects of different scenarios equally appealing and will
want to combine pieces of each of them into one which is closest to
their own views of what the future is likely to bring. It is also
true that because all of them are created through the intellect there
is a sense of remoteness and lack of involvement. By concentrating on
a set of prospective futures, none of which are related to the
personal preferences of the strategic planner, the planner is
asserting that he or she has very little power-is impotent-to shape
the future. The future is part chance and part choice. To downgrade
the issue of choice relative to chance is imprudent and accentuates
the 'responding to change' role of the manager, rather than the
'creating and shaping change' role of the leader.