As a distinguished fellow at IFTF, Kathi looks at the global future through three intersecting lenses: the evolution of smart networking and social media, the innovations in open economies, and the extreme environments in which human communities will evolve over the coming century. Kathi has a long history of applying new methodologies and frameworks to thinking about cutting-edge issues in technology and society and their impacts on individuals, communities, organizations, and the world at large, and for more than a decade Kathi led IFTF’s Ten-Year Forecast Program. She is a visual thinker and author of IFTF’s annual Map of the Decade for more than ten years.
Kathi’s current research focus is the urgent futures that will challenge us in the coming decade as we transition from a world organized at the scale of large institutions to a world organized by distributed networks of social, political, and economic value. She is particularly interested in the tools and social innovations that will reshape the way people organize to get things done in the face of extreme global inequities, an uncertain climate, a transformation of the nature of work, and a basic redefinition of our human biology. Kathi began working with IFTF in 1974 and holds a BA in languages and linguistics from Ohio State University and a PhD in communications from Union Graduate School.
Making the Future
“The future is a romance of the mind. Like all romances, it is made of shadow and light. Heroes take great leaps of ingenuity. Audiences experience the specter of cataclysm. This romance is fueled by human sentiments of every ilk—fear, anger, hate, jealousy, awe, and great tenderness. The futures we conceive hold all the great stories of the past and many more we have yet to imagine. But in the present, there are just three honest choices: yes, no, and don’t know. Out of these, we make the future, moment by moment.”