What's New - 26 September 2018

We are delighted to release our latest version of Shaping Tomorrow. This is probably the biggest development since the introduction of big data analysis and visualization of our forecasts’ database 2 years ago. This version includes a first-of-its-kind scientific analysis of global futures, the introduction of 5 auto-generated, best practice mental representations of possible futures now in digital form and a new expert panel facility. Athena has also gained a voice and significantly increased her extraction capability.

Front page

We have redesigned the front page to simplify and make clearer our purpose and capabilities.

Database page

This version includes a first-of-its-kind, beta version of a scientific analysis of global futures showing which opportunities and threats are likely to have the highest impact by topic, country and sector in 2025.

We expect to widen, deepen and make these analyses dynamic and clickable in the coming months.

Metrics and Comparisons

The existing Metrics and Comparison links have been combined in one grid column to improve navigation and make room for our new Prospections and Intelligence services below. We have added a new 2D and 3D Sentiment Analysis under the retitled Opinions link and a highly experimental draft version of Cross-Impact analysis within Comparisons / Heatmap. We expect to improve this in the coming year.

Prospections (see Grid above)

Our service now offers the following 5 auto-generated, best practice mental representations of possible futures now working with digitally created content.

  • Options analysis: an existing method on our platform that can quickly generate robust collaborative responses to possible futures.
  • Gapfinder: a new method to compare the aggregated views of the management team on their readiness for the future versus our robot, Athena’s auto identification of their opportunity and risk gaps.
  • CLA: an existing strategic thinking method to identify transformative spaces for the creation of alternative futures on any topic but now with auto content provision from our robot, Athena.
  • Scenarios: an existing strategic thinking method classifying Four Global Futures on any topic but now with auto content provision from our robot, Athena.
  • Three horizons: another existing strategic thinking method classifying future possibilities by three mindsets about the future that helps people to see new possibilities for the future. Again, Athena, now produces auto content thus extending the future knowledge of participants when using this method.

Clicking on CLA, Scenarios or Three horizons automatically sorts the associated forecasts according to the method’s classification system.

In each case these methods are designed to reduce the time taken and cost to reach agreed collaborative responses in hours rather than the months taken by traditional consultancy projects.

These facilitated methods will now be led by:

*Method creator

We are grateful to all the above for helping digitize these methods and to Professor Jim Dator, University of Hawaii (retired), the creator of 4 Global Futures, for working with Alessandro to perfect this digital version of his method. We are also grateful to Dr Wendy Schultz, Infinite Futures and Andrew Curry, Kantar for their advice on developing the digitized version of the Three horizons method here.

Intelligence (see Grid Above)
We have promoted the ability for you to search for more Intelligence on Organizations, Meetings, Research and Funding from its original position in Refine. These competitive intelligence functions shed more light on what is happening today rather than the future and extend the overall ability to provide knowledge on what may emerge tomorrow.

Expert Panels

We now offer the possibility for our members and clients to join expert panels and for interested parties to find experts through our service (See Front Page above)


The robot’s ability to extract city names has been extended from 150 to 1,000 representing those cities that will likely have more than one million inhabitants by 2050. This will improve the spreadsheet analysis and our hotspot mapping capabilities within the Comparisons / Geographies link.


Athena’s ability to capture more metadata at source has been considerably
improved and further reduced editing time, both by more than 20%.

She also now has gained a voice and will speak as well as answer ‘Ask Athena’ requests in text form. This is a further step towards Athena becoming an online companion, digital consultant, educator and personal assistant. We will be also be aiming to give her the ability to understand your requests in a future version.

Cosmetic improvements

  • ‘Influencers’ renamed to ‘Leaderboard’
  • New set of buttons (tag, report, share) underneath challenges, summaries, narrative and chronology means easy selection of interesting items
  • Changes to the spreadsheet column order to improve navigation
  • ‘Answers’ now just looks for PDFs and Athena immediately reads these for more forecasts
  • ‘Member’ help now appears if there are less than 20 search results
  • The ‘Refine’ link has been updated to include the above improvements

Next developments

Now the new service is up we will need to implement a very complicated and intensive run-back of all previous forecasts to update the metadata with the improvements made to Athena’s extraction capabilities. This will happen shortly and will hugely expand her metadata collection hence improving ‘Metrics’ and the platform’s analytic capabilities.

Happy Futuring,
The Shaping Tomorrow team