AFI History and Program

The beginning

The following short paper describes how the AFI was established. Below it is a copy of the first brochure produced to advertise and promote the new program.

Origins of the AFI

During early-to-mid 1998 I’d been meeting regularly with Adolph Hanich, a friend from my time at Melbourne University. We’d known each other for some years and shared a number of common interests. He’d been CEO of a large company and a partner at one of the leading city consulting firms. His interests in strategy resonated strongly with some of mine on foresight. So we started meeting informally. This led to our developing a number of ideas for designing strategy / foresight workshops that we considered running together at a local management college.  Read more…


Reaching maturity

The next paper covers the first five years of the AFI. It describes how the program attempted to learn from other initiatives in order to develop as a ‘second generation’ Institution of Foresight (IOF). A number of distinguishing features are briefly outlined, along with some of the early results. These include publications, research into social foresight and work on ‘methodological renewal.’ Finally the paper summarises some ‘lessons learned’ that can be applied more widely. Road testing a new model at the Australian Foresight Institute was published in Futures 36, 2004, pp 837-852. Read more

While obviously concerned to look forward in new and innovative ways we were also keenly aware of those who came before us and who provided inspiration and encouragement. Among these was H.G. Wells who had called for ‘professors of foresight’ many years ago. The following brochure is based on a radio talk he gave on the BBC in 1932.


For the full printable text of Wanted Professors of Foresight Click here

Further developments

The following paper was written by Peter Hayward (who took over the running of the program in 2005) with Joseph Voros and Rowena Morrow. It revisits the original design parameters of what was a new Masters in Strategic Foresight that commenced at Swinburne University in 2001. It explores which of the original purposes and assumptions have stood the test of time over the course of a decade and analyses how the course has evolved, partly through design and partly through necessity. The paper reflects on the primary contribution of the Masters teaching experience and proposes that encouraging the students to develop philosophical ‘literacy’ operated to develop both the practicality of their use of methods and the capacity of their leadership and critical thinking. A further theme examines the importance of ‘place’ and the necessity of ‘sufficient time’ for adult development to occur. It was published in Futures 43, 2, 2012.

Foresight Education in Australia – Time for a Hybrid Model? (2012) Read more…

The Master of Strategic Foresight at Swinburne University 2001-2017

The Master of Strategic Foresight (MSF) was first taught at Swinburne University in 2001. This paper by Peter Hayward and Joseph Voros attempts to provide an overview of the program in the intervening sixteen years. Read more…

The Polak Game

This article describes the origins, development and uses of a workshop activity initially developed at the AFI, Swinburne University, by Peter Hayward and Joseph Voros in 2004. Drawing primarily on concepts from Polak’s original masterwork: The Image of the Future (1961) it provides a user-friendly structure for facilitating far-reaching conversations among students and / or clients. It runs for up to an hour or so and provides an accessible approach to exploring such images as properties of cultures and individuals. As such it opens up the possibility of more advanced work. This version also includes a section by Stuart Candy on his later use of the method. It’s of particular interest here as one of the enduring products of the AFI and MSF program. Read more…