|Perhaps the hardest part of any futures work is getting the licence and budget to begin. One large project began when Barbara Heinzen started talking with the chairman of a major oil company in South Africa about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He was confused by the public debate and the statistics flying in all directions. “What can I believe?” he asked. “What are we really facing and what will be the impact on our markets?” That question led to a project which mixed academic work on the spread of the disease with internal interviews to discover what people in the company had already experienced with HIV/AIDS. From these two major pieces of work, came scenarios of the future impact of AIDS as well as a number of critical corporate policies.
Before any project begins, Barbara Heinzen works with the commissioning team to clarify the purpose of the project. Who is this for? What is a good result? What are the critical deadlines, what is the available budget and who will do the work? Is this the right time to do it? What is the right method to use? By whom - and how - will the results of this work be used?