Strategic Foresight Magazines
The following thirty titles are particularly commendable global and organizational foresight periodicals, across a variety of sectors and specialties. We’ve focused this list on strategic foresight with business and institutional applications. We’ve also mixed in some magazines on functional foresight topics. To improve acceleration awareness, there is also a slight emphasis on technology foresight in the magazines.
The Economist is presently the best general and global foresight weekly on the planet by a good margin, in my opinion. The Economist’s politics are generally socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and they are very evidence-based in their reporting. Consider a trial subscription, and give it just two hours, one evening a week, to skim all the punny headlines, then read and socially share (Twitter, FB, whatever) your favorite article or two, and you’ll become a better skimmer, reader, thinker, speaker, and writer. They also offer an audio version of their print magazine (free with subscription), great for commutes, exercise, and multitasking, roughly 8-9 hours per issue, chaptered so you can skip to your topic of interest.
The Economist’s annual The World in 20XX, produced every November since 1986, is an excellent special issue that forecasts the coming year. They also review their previous year’s forecasts in each new issue, holding themselves accountable to past forecasts. Starting in 2015, every July, they began publishing a companion supplement, The World If, a collection of well-written scenarios, what could happen in the future, given certain assumptions. These scenarios are a nice mix of both protopian (eg, AI-produced laws) and dystopian (eg., Trump getting elected) futures.
In their Leaders section at the front, they offer great one-page summaries of their best articles. For examples, see this great one-page article (registration required to view) on the future of artificial intelligence. Or this one-page article on top strategies to improve our schools. Their Technology Quarterly offers an excellent quarterly update on emerging technology. Their quarterlies and special issues are produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit a consulting branch of The Economist Group that does forecasting, modeling, benchmarking, risk analysis, and scenario analysis. Their online Market Explorer platform does market sizing, scanning, and forecasting in over 140 countries and 1,000 cities.
Today, in the final years of unintelligent machines, politicians have little freedom to bring about many of the most-needed strategies that The Economist’s foresighters propose. But in a coming world where our smart agents advise us in how to vote, and how to legislate to protect our interests, our politics will become increasingly evidence-based. Average voters, via their agents, will gain powerful new abilities to move previously deadlocked sociopolitical systems. Political discourse will become more intelligent than it ever has, and that intelligence will grow exponentially over time. Many positive (and some negative) sociopolitical changes will happen in that world, and I think we can expect a sim-enhanced world beginning in the mid to late 2020s, as smart agents and their abilities continue to exponentially improve.
We are in for interesting times!
Recommended top strategic foresight magazines, in alpha order:
- Bloomberg BusinessWeek (Bloomberg)
- Business Ethics (Business Ethics)
- Chief Learning Officer (CLO Media)
- CIO (Chief Information Officer) (IDG)
- Competitive Intelligence (SCIP)
- Contingencies (AAA)
- Forbes (Forbes)
- Harvard Business Review (Harvard U)
- IEEE Spectrum (IEEE)
- Inc (Mansueto)
- Information Week (UBM Tech)
- KM World (Information Today)
- McKinsey Quarterly (McKinsey)
- New Scientist (Reed)
- OR/MS Today (INFORMS)
- Planning (APA)
- Popular Science (Bonnier). Since 1872.
- Prospect (Prospect)
- Research Technology Management (IRI)
- Risk Management (RIMS)
- Science News (SS&P)
- Scientific American (Nature) Since 1845. Greatly dumbed down in recent years.
- Strategy + Business (BoozAllen)
- Technology Analysis & Strategic Management (Taylor & Francis)
- Technology Review (MIT)
- The Atlantic (Hayley Romer) Since 1857.
- The Economist (Economist). Since 1843. Best single foresight weekly today.
- The Futurist (WFS) [1967 – 2015. Sad to see it go. Partial archive available online.]
- The Globalist (Globalist)
- Wallpaper (IPC Media)
- Wired (Conde Nast)