The Adjacent Future is the successor to Innovation Watch — a site registered by David Forrest in 1996 to provide news of emerging trends. David began publishing a biweekly newsletter in 2001, reporting on signals of change. The Innovation Watch newsletter attracted readers from more than 40 countries, including futurists, writers, business and government leaders, journalists, educators, entrepreneurs, and the general public. The email newsletter was replaced in 2014 by a Flipboard magazine, which is continuously updated at innovationwatch.com. The collection now exceeds more than 9,000 articles.
The future emerges through the interaction of four fundamental forces:
- Constraints — Limits on what is possible given the laws of nature.
- Contingency — Path dependence. Things are more likely to evolve based on what already exists, rather than starting over.
- Evolution — Emergent systemic change that gives rise to growing diversity and complexity.
- Intention — Human agency, expressed as determined collective action to create a new reality.
Together these give rise to the space of possibilities.
Constraints and contingency limit what can be achieved, while evolution and intention create new emergent options.
While constraints, contingency, and evolution have shaped the trajectory of change through eons, intention is new. Humans now have unprecedented impact in the world through our growing power to dominate nature, manipulate matter and life itself, and trigger changes on a planetary scale. The question is whether we will act mindlessly or assume agency and choose a path that affirms, enhances, and sustains life. Tackling complex systemic problems at every level will require new ways of thinking, working, and leading.
This website provides wide-ranging and extensive resources on:
- our growing understanding of and increasing ability to leverage the laws of nature;
- the historical and ongoing evolution of everything;
- current realities;
- changemaking and human agency, and
- future prospects.
The name of the website, The Adjacent Future, refers to Stuart Kauffman’s adjacent possible — the space from which the future will appear.