In 2015, ASF pivoted our main work to Foresight Education. Under a new division, Foresight University, we began production of The Foresight Guide, a permanent and free online book (at ForesightGuide.com) and a two-volume print and digital work on foresight methods and futures visions. Volume 1,Introduction to Foresight, on Personal, Team, and Organizational Foresight, was published in 2022. Volume 2, Big Picture Futures, on 21st century visions and perils in an exponential world, will be published in 2024. Central to both works is Evo-Devo Foresight, our belief that all complex adaptive systems are both evolutionary (creative, unpredictable, exploratory), and developmental (conservative, predictable, on a life cycle) in nature. The better we understand these dynamics, in ourselves, our teams, our orgs, our societies, and our environment, the better we can understand our collective purpose, create value, and thrive.
In 2024, ASF is changing its name to the Evo-Devo Institute (EDI), We remain a nonprofit. Over the years, our focus has broadened from acceleration studies (the nature and impacts of accelerating change) to a broader mission: The Foresight and Actions that Grow Collective Adaptiveness ("Thriving") in an Exponential World. For a recent version of John's views on the implications of evo-devo foresight, see The Goodness of the Universe, 2022 (YouTube, 80 mins).
Our Outreach, Education, Research, and Advocacy now span five domains:
Accelerating Change. Understanding the universal drivers of exponential processes, including densification and dematerialization ("D&D"), and their expression in biological, scientific, technological, economic, environmental, political, and social systems. We call this "The (Great) Race to Inner Space". Most of the world's academics and policy thinkers still don't recognize the key drivers of accelerating change. The nature of acceleration is one the greatest blind spots we have with respect to the future.
Evo-Devo Adaptiveness. Understanding complex adaptiveness, in life, in organizations, in societies, in our learning technologies (AI) and in all other autopoetic systems, from the lenses of evolution, development, and their intersection (evo-devo). We believe evo-devo biology and philosophy offer us the most useful way to explore the future of complex systems.
Foresight. Human foresight is a conflict between Probable, Possible, Preferred, and Preventable futures--"The Four Ps". To adapt to accelerating change, we believe all good leaders, managers, and self-leaders must strive to masterall four of these assessments, and ensure a productive and balanced conflict between probability and possibility thinking, and optimistic and pessimistic visions.
Values. There is a social psychology of universal (cross-cultural) values. In our modern world. Our research in moral foundations theory has found eight values, four evolutionary, and four developmental, that seem particularly universal. Being values-aware, values inclusive, and values-balanced is now critical to being personally and organizationally adaptive.
Networks. The most generally adaptive systems in nature are not individuals, and not even groups. They are networks (ecosystems)of diverse individuals and groups. Hormesis (capacity-building under stress) in any complex system comes directly from the strength, diversity, and quality of its supporting networks. In addition to adaptive Values and Foresight, maintaining healthy Networks (personal, org, societal, tech) is one of our top strategies for personal success and societal progress
At our start in 2003, ASF was the only organization in the world focused on both the academic study and societal guidance of accelerating change. In our view, the curious and continous acceleration of universal complexification (see Carl Sagan'sCosmic Calendar), of human history (Gerard Piel'sThe Acceleration of History, the Great Acceleration of the Anthropocene), and modern technology (Ray Kurzweil'sThe Singularity is Near) can be understood, together, as a special set of physical and informational processes likely to be found on all Earthlike planets in our universe. Several of these processes appear to drive and stabilize accelerating change (eg, D&D, STEM compression, evo-devo dynamics, IES goals, network dominance). These processes, which science has yet to validate, nevertheless clearly have major implications for the nature, choices, and future of civilization.
A Brief Summary of Our History
Over our first twenty years, we ran three well-received conferences at Stanford on accelerating change (2003-2005). We published the first big cross-industry study on the future of the metaverse, the Metaverse Roadmap (2007). Then we started EvoDevoUniverse.com (2008-Present), an international community of scholars researching evolutionary and developmental processes of change in autopoetic (self-replicating and self-improving) complex systems under selection. We launched a newsletter, Accelerating Times (2001-2006) and with futurist Mark Finnern, we started the first Future Salons (2001+) a network of independently run, in-person monthly futures discussion and support communities, some of which still meet today, in 2023.
Thank you for visiting! We hope to meet you, thriving, in the future.
The Foresight Guide seeks to be the world’s best overview of the vital and evolving field of professional foresight, and a set of key stories and speculations on the 21st Century, as general futures thinking. It covers models, methods, case studies, stories, ideas, and resources for improving personal, team, organizational, societal, global, and universal futures. It is written from an acceleration-aware, evo-devo, and evidence-based perspective.
A permanent and free online edition of the Guide was posted, in a page-commentable form, at ForesightGuide.com in 2016. The print version of the Guide spans two volumes (Foresight and Futures). Book 1, Introduction to Foresight, Nov 2021, is now available on Amazon. Book 2, Big Picture Futures: 21st Century Visions and Nightmares, will be published in 2024.
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Good Foresight Thriving in an Exponential World. Newsletter of Foresight University, the Evo-Devo Institute, and the Good Foresight Network.
EDU is an
international interdisciplinary community of scholars exploring evolutionary and developmental processes
in the universe and its complex adaptive subsystems. Interested in advancing the science and systems theory of accelerating change? Interested in exploring and differentiating between predictable and unpredictable
processes in autopoetic systems, including the universe as a system? Join us.
- What explains the differential ratesof acceleration in our technology performance curves (computing, storage, bandwidth, energy production, etc.) as measured in Performance Curve Databases? Can we develop better theories for their growth and future? In which domains will they continue to grow the fastest, in which will they saturate, and why? The greatest gains occur in technologies where the rates of miniaturization and virtualization (densification and dematerialization) are the fastest. Why is this curious fact so little-known? What are its business, policy, and social implications?
1. ASF can help your organization
with talks, reports, seminars, and workshops. See our
2. Looking for a good wiki directory of global foresight resources? Visit Global
Foresight, our wiki directory of Networks,
Events, Programs, People, Orgs, and Resources for global
foresight culture. Join our group, Global Foresight @ LinkedIn (5,500+ members).
3. Desire a credential in foresight
work? See Foresight Graduate
Programs - Global List, our list of top Primary
and Secondary graduate programs in professional foresight. Consider
these if you want interdisciplinary training in thinking about
issues of global progress and accelerating change.
4. Are you a foresight student, practitioner,
educator, researcher, speaker, employer, or advocate? Join our friends, the Association of Professional Futurists, a nonprofit global membership
community of students, researchers, educators, and employers working to expand and professionalize foresight practice.
5. Like to meet other foresighted
folks in your local community? Start aFuture
Salon, on your own or with a co-moderator. Invite
interesting local thinkers to give free talks on future-oriented
topics once a month (or less), and go to dinner afterward for
more conversation. Grow your network of change- and innovation-oriented