As a student of futures studies and foresight, I’ve always been interested in Australia’s relatively hedonistic outlook which seems to decrease its ability to set a longer-term vision as compared with enjoying life now. Over at the Institute for the Future, they recently had an interesting post looking at a Harvard Business Review article by Mansour Javidan.
Javidan mapped the results of an international survey of middle manager’s future orientation against the level of competitiveness within a country. It shows that the leading countries with a high future orientation are Singapore, Switzerland and the Netherlands. There is a correlation between future orientation and competitiveness but it is not really all that strong. Australia is positioned behind the UK, Japan and Sweden for future orientation.
The IFTF post makes the point that the chart might not be a bad proxy for the amount of interest in foresight work in these societies. While this seems to make sense, I found the position of New Zealand somewhat of an anomaly which was quite low in its future orientation whereas my understanding is that their interest in foresight is quite high compared with that of Australia. But perhaps this has more to do with current politics rather than societal attitudes.