This book is more like a collection of essays. The essays are connected, but also distinct and could quite easily stand alone. I have to say that I came to 3 Horizons from a practical perspective. I learned about it in action, I saw it in action, and that led me to want to read about some of the genesis of the technique.
I am a bit of a fan of 3H. It can work well if you keep in mind what it can do, and what it can't. It is not a model - there is no causality path. It is a tool - something that can help in the process of reaching the objects of a futures exercise. It is good in the examination of the flow of change, in the identification of why it is that some people embrace change whilst others resist it, and helping people map a transition from an old paradigm to a new one.
What I particularly like is the idea that there is an emergent future (H3 in the jargon) in the present, that elements of the present (H1 in the jargon) will still be seen in the future once it has emerged, and that the transition to the new future (H2 in the jargon) will be seen in both the old and the new. That came as a bit of a revelation to me because it underpins why it is that people embrace the future and why others are also resistant to change. This is a concept to which I will return quite frequently in the future.
I think that the book could do with a good edit. It is a bit bitty in places and the pace can be a bit uneven at times. The first two essays - why we do it and how we do it - are the real payload of the book. The third essay - on how others have used the technique - is interesting, but could easily be missed. And the fourth essay - on some of the philosophical underpinnings - could be seen by some as being a bit abstract.
On the whole I enjoyed the book. I would recommend it to others. It is a technique with increasing popularity, and one that futurists could do well to study.
© The European Futures Observatory 2014
Further information about the book can be found on the International Futures Forum web site at: