AAI Foresight Inc. 2020 Annual Report
By Timothy C. Mack, Managing Principal
Consulting and Research
With the world and the U.S. economy arguably in a state of disarray, it would seem that the consulting business would be more challenging—and it is. But, where one area fades out (such as our business relations clients in Europe and Asia), others expand (such as the energy field in the U.S.). In my latest article for the Foresight Signals blog, I note the energetic expansion of renewables, especially solar and ground-based geo energy sources, as technological advances drive economic advantage.
It is much the same with AAI Foresight: New clients have appeared in renewable power areas, while clients in more traditional power areas have dropped off. In addition, energy science is booming, especially in the mitigation of the impacts of climate change. While our long-term clients endure, more entrepreneurial enterprises are also doing well.
While it might seem counterintuitive that the U.S. federal government should be energetically pursuing this area, that does seem to be the case. AAI Foresight’s federal energy clients are also hanging in there while coalitions of smaller groups are forming “intra-preneurial” research and policy entities with the hope of breaking new ground. With the highly possible upcoming changes in U.S. federal policy direction, it appears that 2021 may bring more of the same—only better than 2020, one can only hope.
Communications: Foresight Signals
AAI Foresight’s monthly e-newsletter, Foresight Signals, has now marked six years of continuous publication, reporting on activity in the broader futurist and foresight community. It remains the only regularly published e-newsletter covering activity in our field with an open subscription policy and no advertising.
FS, produced by AAI Foresight’s consulting editor, Cindy Wagner, is distributed for free to a loyal subscriber base, which increased 34.7% in 2020, thanks to an outreach campaign we launched in August with the assistance of Verne Wheelwright. The e-newsletter’s average open rate has increased to 42.8%, exceeding that of its consulting industry peers (32.1%), and its “unsubscribe” rate averages 0.2% per issue, also below that of its peers (0.3%).
In March, Foresight Signals began reporting on global futurists’ work to provide foresight guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic, with each issue updating and adding to a knowledge base for what quickly became recognized as one of the biggest wild cards to be realized in our collective experience.
In addition, FS covered the work and activities of a wide range of futures organizations in 2020, including the Association of Professional Futurists, Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, Fast Future Publishing, Femme Futurists Society, Forum for the Future’s Futures Centre, Future Today Institute, Houston Futures, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, Institute For the Future, International Institute of Forecasters, The Millennium Project, Philippines Futures Thinking Society, Public Sector Foresight Network, Security & Sustainability Guide, Teach the Future, TechCast Project, UNESCO’s futures literacy work, and World Futures Studies Federation.
Website and Special Reports
Our website, AAIForesight.com, saw a 27% increase in new visitors from October 2019 to October 2020, according to Google Analytics. Visitors to the site come predominantly from the United States; other countries rounding out the top 10 are United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, India, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, and Brazil.
In 2020, AAI Foresight published two white papers for its Foresight Reports series:
- “Fundamentals of Foresight: Preparing for a Changing World” by AAI Foresight Managing Principal Tim Mack.
- “Financially Advantageous Approaches to Sustain the Ecosystem” by NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell.
In addition, guest articles for the Foresight Signals blog were posted by Bushnell (“Digital Reality versus Air Travel: The Responsibly Imaginable”), David Bengston (“‘One Weird Trick’ for Foresight”), and Young-jin Choi (“How to Make This New Decade Count”).
AAI Foresight and Foresight Signals noted the passing in 2020 of several leading figures in futures studies, including Marvin J. Cetron, strategic forecaster, consultant, and author; Syd Mead, science-fiction artist and designer; Freeman Dyson, visionary physicist; Irving H. Buchen, business futures educator and author; Cheryl A. Jennings, longtime World Future Society volunteer (and our dear friend); and John Kettle, newsletter editor and author.
Call for Annual Reports
Now, it’s your turn! Please send us highlights of your 2020 activities—organizational and/or individual work—to share with the futurist and foresight community. Forward your reports by December 28 to Cindy at CynthiaGWagner@gmail.com.
I note in closing how grateful we are that authors at all stages of their careers continue to gift our newsletter, blog, and white paper series with their insightful pieces to share with the foresight community at large. May 2021 provide such treasure as well. —Tim Mack, firstname.lastname@example.org
Futurist News in Brief, December 2020
- The Association of Professional Futurists has named its 2020 award winners for Most Significant Futures Works. Among those earning honors for their work to advance futures methodology and practice or to analyze a significant future issue are Walter Kehl, Mike Jackson, and Alessandro Fergnani; Riel Miller; Bob Johansen; Bryan Alexander; Leah Zaidi; and Tim Morgan. [Learn more]
- The TechCast Project notes that the U.S. presidential election results confirm its forecast that Joe Biden would win over Donald Trump. The forecast was based on responses from 21 participants, not all of whom were Americans. [Learn more]
- Victor Vahidi Motti’s recent book, A Transformation Journey to Creative and Alternative Planetary Futures, offers an alternative vision of globalization that is based on humanity’s collective consciousness rather than on economics, trade, and politics. [Learn more] [Amazon U.S.]
- Joergen Oerstroem Moeller has published a new book, Asia’s Transformation: From Economic Globalization to Regionalization, which includes an epilogue on COVID-19. Moeller is a former State-Secretary of the Royal Danish Foreign Ministry and visiting senior fellow at ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, among other roles. [Learn more] [Amazon U.S.]
- The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) has prepared a report for the Bundestag offering scenarios for the impacts of a major earthquake in Cologne. The base scenario assumes that a massive earthquake in the Lower Rhine Bay with a magnitude of 6.5, is quite possible. The researchers modeled the ground movements caused by such an earthquake, quantifying possible damage to the city’s buildings. Read “Seismic risk analysis in Germany: an example from the Lower Rhine Embayment” (scientific report). Download GFZ’s report to the Bundestag (in German).