The goal of this paper is to show how the methodology and approach of futures studies could be useful in the research of social futuring. First of all, I define futures studies and social futuring and analyse the evolution of futures studies to show how methods have changed and how they could prove useful in the field of social futuring. Furthermore, I examine individual and organizational future orientation and the related “foresight maturity model” that is linked to the idea of social futuring. I compare future orientation indices (e.g. SOFI, JKB) and point out the pros and cons of each. In addition, I also show what kinds of measurement and indices of future orientation could be used in the analysis of individual, organizational and national social futuring. The findings provide support for the argument that foresight methodology provides an appropriate toolkit for social futuring research.
The development of futures studies and the future-oriented attitude of Finnish institutions and the government can serve as great example for other countries. This attitude appears in education and economy, issues in which Finland is highly competitive in Europe. We introduce the futures studies-related organizations and the foresight system of Finland. An overview of the development of futures studies and the activities, purposes of foresight institutions, with a major emphasis on the Finland Futures Research Centre will be presented. The main question is how could other countries utilize the Finnish example? Societal changes depend on the environment and its historical background, making it quite a challenge to come up with an all-adaptable answer for this question. Thus we will only present guidelines and proposals regarding the development of strategy at the end of this paper.