One of the distinctive features of the Australian Foresight Institute was the decision to include the integral perspective within the approach, teaching and the methodologies we employed. It was by no means the only focus but, over time, it has proved to be highly productive. The central theme of most feedback from students highlights the many ways in which they’ve benefited personally and professionally. The value of an integral futures perspective is clearly neither limited to those who’ve experienced it as part of their professional studies nor to the subsequent stream of publications. It’s now been recognised by a different source – the US-based Association of Professional Futurists (APF).
During 2007 I worked with a group of colleagues and graduate students on this special issue (Futures Vol 40, No 2) on Integral Futures. It was published during March 2008. The issue has now received exceptional recognition by being selected by a committee of members of the APF as one of three “most important futures works of 2008.” It is, I believe, the first time that an issue of Futures has received recognition of this kind. In a message announcing the award Andy Hines wrote that:
“This special issue highlights the spread of ideas around Integral Philosophy popularised by Ken Wilber and introduced into foresight by Richard Slaughter during his tenure with the Australian Foresight Institute, which has carried on with this work. The special issue reflects how academics and practitioners are making increasing use of Integral ideas in a practical and applied manner.”
Part of my written response follows.
It’s a rare honour indeed for the special issue of Futures on Integral Futures to be awarded one of the APF’s Most Important Futures Works awards for 2008. As senior editor of that issue I want to thank the selection committee as well as each of the contributing authors: Peter Hayward, Josh Floyd, Chris Riedy, Chris Stewart, Mark Edwards and Joseph Voros.
Since I first discovered it more than a decade ago, the integral perspective has developed into a multi-disciplinary enterprise involving many practitioners worldwide who are active in a range of fields. The conversation that is developing is one to which FS and Foresight work should and will contribute. While some continue to misconstrue the depth and range of the perspective as some sort of misguided ideology others know it is, as I’ve always maintained, merely one line of enquiry, one set of ‘filters’ among many. It is, however, one that offers rare gifts that include clarity, inclusion and communicative power.
APF website: http://www.profuturists.org/