The Future Quotient

50 Stars in Seriously Long-term Innovation



2012, thanks to a number of sustainability milestones, will see the world debating progress to date in terms of sustainable development, a concept whose mainstreaming began a quarter century ago in 1987.

The uncomfortable truth, however, is that much of what currently passes for sustainability strategy in business is little more than corporate citizenship-and more or less completely ignores the pivotal concept in the sustainability agenda: the interests and needs of future generations.

The Future Quotient, co-authored by Volans and JWT, is our take on the emerging agenda. It is a pitch for the introduction of a new concept-the Future Quotient, or FQ-designed to measure the ability to think and act along intergenerational timescales.

In the same way we currently measure the IQ or EQ of individuals, Volans and JWT believe that we need to investigate FQ as a measure of the future-readiness of individuals, teams, agencies, businesses, brands and beyond.

We are profoundly grateful to our sponsors: Atkins, The Dow Chemical Company and Shell Foundation and our partner MindTime. Links to their sites are on the right. These and other debts of gratitude are identified in our Acknowledgements below.

To discuss how to test and develop the Future Quotient of your team or organization, please contact:

Charmian Love
CEO, Volans
Alastair Morton
Head of Ethos, JWT London
John Furey
CEO, MindTime


Founded in 2008, Volans aims 'to help the future take flight'. We are a future-focused think-tank and consultancy business that works at the intersection of the entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, innovation and sustainability movements. We apply our thought leadership and our global networks across these three sectors to help innovators, investors, private sector and government leaders develop solutions to the challenges facing our world. The Future Quotient is our fifth publication (page 52). We are delighted to have JWT as a partner because of their history, their new Ethos offering-and because behavioral and culture change are now crucial.



JWT is the world's best-known marketing communications brand and the world's oldest advertising agency, bringing pioneering spirit to our clients ever since the mid 1860s. With more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals, we are a truly global network. JWT Ethos is our specialist offering designed to help our clients' brands prosper by making better forward thinking decisions over social and environmental issues. With The Future Quotient, we urge business and brands to take up the responsibility and challenge that this presents.



We are grateful to all those who contributed to the project, including: the Core Team of John Elkington and Charmian Love of Volans, and Alastair Morton of JWT—plus our Advisory Group of Kyra Choucroun of SustainAbility, Pamela Hartigan of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Said Business School, Oxford University, Tony Pigott of JWT Canada, and Sophia Tickell of Meteos; our FQ50 Selection Panel which included Patrin Watanatada of SustainAbility, Nigel Topping of the Carbon Disclosure Project and James Greyson of BlindSpot; at Volans, we also thank Amy Birchall, Amanda Feldman, Sam Lakha, Jacqueline Lim, Geoff Lye and Soushiant Zanganehpour; at JWT, we also thank Joseph Petyan, Brooke Curtis, Sarah Bell and Marie Stafford; and at Net Impact, we thank all the staff who have contributed.

We owe a particular debt of gratitude to our sponsors: Elspeth Finch and Nick Roberts at Atkins; Neil Hawkins and Mark Weick of The Dow Chemical Company, and Chris West and Clare Woodcraft of Shell Foundation. Among our interviewees we particularly thank Ian Cheshire of Kingfisher, Diana Coyle of Enlightenment Economics, Andrew Curry of The Futures Company, John Grant of ecoinomy, Alejandro Litovsky of Earth Security Initiative, Geert Hofstede, Oliver Payne of Hunting Dynasty and Janet Ranganathan of World Resources Institute. We are also grateful for those who have helped us with diligent checking of the report, particularly Amy Morton. On the design front, once again, we warmly thank Rupert Bassett.

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