History of FERN

To see some of our favorite moments from our FERN events click on the photos! 

In July 2007, the idea for FERN emerged with John Smart and Garry Golden. Both had recently completed their MS in Futures Studies at the University of Houston under Dr. Peter Bishop. Garry was developing an Energy Futures course for Dr. Bishop in the University of Houston Futures Studies MS program. John was developing an undergraduate foresight course, Foresight Development, for the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) in Phoenix, AZ. We started our social network with a FERN group on the Shaping Tomorrow Foresight Network.


In September 2007, we created Global Foresight, as a place for all of us to grow a set of useful resources for advancing global foresight, including a Global Foresight LinkedIn group for foresight discussions. In 2010, we collected a list of projects on an earlier version of this FERN website, on the Wetpaint platform. We also recruited a team of nine faculty advisors from several of the graduate foresight programs. We kept slowly growing our two websites, collecting a list of cool projects and links, and our Global Foresight LinkedIn group.


In 2012, a new Executive Director, Susan Chesley Fant joined the team and actively grew our FERN student and volunteer community. We continued on into 2013, with Conference Director Emily Medley hosting our first ever Foresight Careers Conference in Washington D.C. In 2013, we were also represented at the Foresight and Trends Conference in L.A. as a media partner, a relationship we will continue in the coming years.


Now in 2014, FERN's attention has been on The Foresight Guide. This ebook written by John Smart and contributed to by Josh Davis and Susan Fant will be available for download on our website and will be featured in talks at WFS and APF events this summer. We are actively looking to publish The Foresight Guide and will be spearheading The Foresight Awareness Campaign. This effort will highlight the practice of foresight to universities, businesses, and organizations worldwide through training and educational opportunities. 


FERN seeks to support graduate students, faculty, and alums of the existing primary foresight MS and doctoral programs globally along with foresight professionals. We want to expand the availability of masters and doctoral degrees in foresight, help foresight graduates get great foresight careers, and aid foresight’s expansion into the corporate and political worlds. Our volunteers work together to support our foresight development, careers, and understanding of great foresight tools.  


Thank you for your interest in FERN.  We hope you'll join us in leading the future!