State of the Future Index


State of the Future Index

SOFI is a measure of the 10-year outlook for the future based on historical data for the last 20 years. It is constructed with key variables and forecasts that, in the aggregate, depict whether the future promises to be better or worse. The SOFI is intended to show the directions and intensity of change and to identify the factors responsible.

It provides a mechanism for studying the relationships among the items in a system—how making a single change ripples throughout a system, in other words, creating some positive and intended consequences as well as unintended results. SOFI includes a unique combination of features : the subject (SOFI is a quantitative forecast of general future outlook); the elements/variables (determined by groups of experts); probabilistic nature (the forecasts of the constituent variables and the SOFI are displayed as a fan of possibilities rather than single values); a set of “standards”: allowing nation-to-nation and regional comparisons. SOFIs have been constructed in several countries including Kuwait, South Africa, Azerbaijan, China, Turkey, South Korea, East Timor and others.

SOFI is an interesting proposition at times when GDP is no longer considered the magic-bullet indicator ( and different development indexes contribute to a better picture of development in the World, like the UNDP Human Development Index and Australian Bureau of Statistics Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA). Today and in the future, GDP is a beacon, but it is not the only one. Therefore, thanks to the generous methodological support from The Millennium Project, Foundation Poland the Future is now capable of leading a regional V4 research project to compute SOFI for V4 countries.

The State of the Future Index was first described in the Millennium Project’s 2001 State of the Future. Since then, the SOFI chapter in State of the Future reports has focused on improvements in the data sources and the method itself.

Polish Society for Futures Studies has been established in 2010 by a group of economists, engineers and other professionals from all walks of expertise. Polish Society for Futures Studies is a platform for cooperation for interdisciplinary projects, supporting highest level of coordination and project management in addition to funding.

Partners: Slovak Academy of Science, University of Miskolc, Palacky University and 4CF all have experienced teams of development and foresight experts that will execute the project. The Millennium Project will supply valuable methodological support coming from the institution that computes and upgrades global and national SOFIs for the last 10 years with University of Denver’s International Futures (IFs) modeling system.

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