IAF History

The Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) was founded in 1977 by Clement Bezold, James Dator and Alvin Toffler. For more than 30 years, IAF has been aiding organizations to more wisely choose and create their preferred futures. In 1982, Clem Bezold created IAF’s for-profit subsidiary, Alternative Futures Associates (AFA), to help corporations integrate futures thinking into their strategic planning. Listed below are some of IAF’s major accomplishments.

Healthy People in a Healthy World: The Belmont Vision for Health Care in America (1992)

Eighteen prominent leaders inside and outside health care described their visions for health care in 2010.  This important effort moved beyond the important, but tactical questions of financing and access to examine “the best that could be for the U.S. health care system.”  While the vision itself has not yet been realized, this project highlighted many of the aspirations that have recently emerged in the political discussion.

MHSS 2020 Project (1995-97)

This multi-service project for over 200 senior officers created forecasts, scenarios, vision, and audacious goals for the Military Health Services System for the year 2020.  One participant has subsequently reported that the project was significant in motivating changes in recruitment and training of Army medics that has paid off in saved lives during the war in Iraq.

The 2029 Project: Achieving an Ethical Future in Biomedical R&D (2004)

This project showcased the dramatic advances that are likely to occur across the spectrum of biomedical research and development activities over the subsequent 25 years.  After scanning the scientific literature, interviewing dozens of scientists and holding meetings focused on 2029, IAF anticipated that an emerging ethical concern for global health would create the context for medical science to realize its full potential, which would culminate in a Health Advocate Avatar.

Foresight for Smart Globalization: Accelerating & Enhancing Pro-Poor Development Opportunities (2009)

IAF planned and facilitated a 4-day conference funded by that Rockefeller Foundation that brought together futurists from around the world to discuss how foresight and futures methods could be used for the benefit of the poor.  The conference produced a series of innovative ideas that integrate pro-poor foresight and a set of recommended actions.