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Doris Viljoen

Futurist Profile


Doris Viljoen

Foresight practitioner

Senior Futurist: Institute for Futures Research, Stellenbosch University

B Com, B Com (Hons), B Ed (Hons), Higher Education Diploma, Certificate in Project Management, Post-graduate Diploma in Futures Studies, M Phil Futures Studies

Doris answered a few questions about her perspective and on being a futures thinker.


You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

I think with decision makers of organisations to imagine the different ways in which the future could play out (and their role in shaping it)

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Since 2002

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

South Africa, Namibia, DRC, Botswana, Mauritius

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?


What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

Thinking about the times yet to come (and what we should do / stop doing next Wednesday) is SO exciting

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Getting as many people as possible to be comfortable with imagining plausible futures

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

The prescribed content of the qualifications in Futures Studies that I completed

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

Business models / strategy / feasibility

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as... Inspiring

I describe myself as... Curious



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

Jim Dator’s one: Any useful thoughts about the future should be at least a little bit ridiculous

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?


What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

They think we suck the stuff from our thumbs

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

Do a formal qualification – get introduced to the discipline and methods

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

Thinking Futures by Bishop and Hines; Maree Conway’s reader; o goodness I probably have a list of 100 things so I will stop here

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?

FFD resources, World Economic Forum, IFR Facebook and LInkedIN posts


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