Institute For The Future


The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is an independent nonprofit research group. We work with organizations of all kinds to help them make better, more informed decisions about the future. We provide the foresight to create insights that lead to action.

from Tools For Thought: Another group that was developing CMC in the 1970s was a think tank in California called The Institute for the Future (IFTF), a few blocks away from SRI, that saw itself as a kind of tool shop for think tanks. The application of computer technology to bureaucratic planning was a possible strategic resource and potential growth industry in those days. DARPA and NSF funded a group at IFTF to develop a planning and forecasting tool. Jacques Vallee had worked with the original NLS project at SRI, but he, Roy Amara, Robert Johansen, and their colleagues were concerned about building something a policymaker, rather than a techie, would be able to use. The EIES and NLS systems were designed to explore the capabilities of computer systems as communication tools. But PLANET, the P L Anning N E Twork designed by IFTF, was designed for easy use by planners in government and industry--most of whom had no previous computer experience. The command set was ultrasimplified to be operated by a few specially designated keys on a specially built portable telecommunications terminal. PLANET later evolved into Note Pad, a private global conferencing (Group Discussion) system still used by a number of large clients such as Shell Oil. Johansen remains at the Institute for the Future, working on the field now known widely as GroupWare.

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