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Transition FAQ

As we celebrate 50 years of the World Future Society, our focus moves forward to the opportunities ahead. The World Future Society has embarked on a multi-year effort to transform itself, to increase the impact and relevance of our work for the 21st century. We are excited to include you in the development of our programs and community.

Below we address some immediate questions you may have, and we welcome an ongoing dialogue as we prepare to meet the future.

What is the state of the organization?

The World Future Society has embarked on a multi-year effort to transform itself for the new world we have long envisioned. Transformation is a nonlinear phenomenon: it means disruption to the status quo and experimentation with new approaches. For many years, the World Future Society’s revenue model resembled a magazine subscription service, with support from an annual conference and a handful of committed benefactors. In today’s economy, that model is no longer viable to provide the kind of outstanding service that we expect from ourselves. The organization is currently revamping, retooling and rebuilding for its exciting next phase. This will not all happen immediately: we are taking a careful and deliberate approach to planning for the future. You can expect to hear about a number of exciting new initiatives which will be announced at the conference to members in July..

Will the July 2016 Conference go as planned?

Absolutely! The World Future Society’s 50th Annual Futurist Summit is scheduled for July 22nd - 24th at the Washington Hilton in Washington DC. You can find all of the information about registration and accommodation at www.worldfuture2016.org. Planning for the event is full-speed ahead, and we have an experienced team of top-level conference organizers. Over the next six months, the entire World Future Society team will be all-hands-on-deck to deliver a breakout event for a revitalized organization.

Who is leading the World Future Society?

The World Future Society has always been led by future-minded professionals who are committed to excellence. Today’s leadership is no different. In December 2015, they unanimously elected Julie Friedman Steele to the board to serve as Board Chair. You can read about the officers of the World Future Society board here.

Ms. Steele is also functioning as Interim Executive Director. Before becoming Board Chair and Interim Executive Director of the World Future Society, Julie Friedman Steele was preparing to launch a brand new organization dedicated to the future. It was by the magic of serendipitous timing that the World Future Society and Julie found each other at the right moment.

 What is happening to The Futurist Magazine?

Content distribution channels have fundamentally evolved over the last two decades. As futurists, we have long been talking about the disruptions to traditional industries as a result of digital technology. The publishing industry is no different. Today, print publications are high-cost, low-return efforts compared to digital publication. And today, there is no shortage of exceptional future-focused content circulating online from dozens of reputable sources. We want our readership to have access to the best content, whether that content is created in-house or by the future-minded thinkers outside of our built-in network. As a result, we will no longer be publishing and distributing a physical magazine. The Futurist will be transforming into a new kind of digital publication: an aggregator of curated and future-focused online content, combined with news and analysis from members who have blog articles and op-eds to contribute. The Futurist has been the World Future Society's trademark content offering for 50 years, and we expect it will be for another 50 years.

How will member benefits change?

The World Future Society is committed to providing exceptional value for our membership. We have a detailed new membership plan that provides increased benefits for members and enhances opportunities for members to contribute through participation. We are also releasing a new mobile app that will serve as a platform where members can collaborate on envisioning alternative futures and transform reality through collective action. The objective of the new benefits is to better equip our members to influence the direction of the organization and strengthen their relationships with change-makers and innovators around the world. You can read about our new membership benefits here.

How can I make my voice heard?

We want to hear from you! Please email your suggestions and questions to info@wfs.org.


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