Statisticians: New Champions For the Future?

by Jan Lee Martin


Statisticians measure the progress of societies. Like the invisible rudder of an ocean liner, statistics help policy-makers to steer their ships of state. Now statisticians are saying that prevailing measures, especially the dominance of economic indicators like the GDP, are steering us the wrong way. Before they can propose better indicators, however, they must know what our progress is towards. Only the citizens can legitimately decide that, they say, so we must ask communities to describe the futures they want. Can the futurists help? This feature explores their exciting challenge and asks, how will we respond? The old way, with competition in the marketplace? Or the new way, with collaboration and cooperation? As well as collaboration between futurists and statisticians, it proposes a prior collaboration between futurists around the world to develop a best practice community visioning toolkit that is endorsed by leading practitioners.

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