The Future of California

Workshops Will Yield Roadmap & Strategies for Building a Resilient California

San Diego and Palo Alto, CA, May 25, 2010  -- The Institute for the Future, in collaboration with the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at UC San Diego and UC Irvine, and Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at UC Berkeley, announced today the launch of a project focused on ensuring a sustainable future of California for the next ten years and beyond. Together with thought leaders from a diverse range of disciplines—including economics, energy, water, health, technology and others—the group will produce a comprehensive roadmap of key issues facing California in the next 10 years and beyond and their likely impacts.

The Institute for the Future workshop took place May 25 in Palo Alto.
This roadmap and forecasts, which will be an open and public research document, will provide a toolkit for a broad range of stakeholders and the general public to build their capacity to respond to economic, social, and environmental issues that are likely to emerge over the coming decade. The toolkit will be designed to work with issues and populations at a range of scales and will help rebuild California and assure a more resilient future for all its citizens. The workshop will be held at IFTF’s Palo Alto offices on May 25, and is the first step in the process of re-discovering California as a leader in social and economic change, a hotspot of global innovation, and a place ripe with opportunities to achieve wellbeing.

Calit2 Director Larry Smarr (center) addresses the Institute for the Future workshop as Calit2 Chief of Staff Jerry Sheehan looks on.
“California is facing enormous systemic challenges," said Calit2 Director Larry Smarr. "Yet by bringing together its public and private sectors, including academia and industry, innovative solutions will emerge which, if acted upon, can once again put California into a leadership position.”

“The societal-scale challenges facing California and the world—such as protecting our environment while enabling energy development, creating affordable healthcare, protecting our water supplies, and maintaining and expanding our infrastructure—can only be solved by a creative mix of scientists, technologists, policy makers and business leaders," said Paul K. Wright, Director of CITRIS. “This exciting event and its roadmapping process will bring together a vibrant group to forge a vision and action plan for the future growth of California.”

Some of the big thematic questions being addressed in the first meeting include:

  • How can California re-invent itself once again in the face of fiscal, environmental, and political challenges? 
  • What if California continues to experience multiple shocks—shock to its economy, to its infrastructure, to its ecology, to its health?
  • What are some alternative scenarios for California and what actions can we take to build a desirable future?

Kevin Patrick, M.D., (at right), the director of Calit2's Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems, was among the delegates to the invitation-only roadmapping workshop.
No single person, organization, community, or institution can answer these questions or solve all the problems facing our state, on their own. IFTF, Calit2 and CITRIS are convening the following participants to kick off this first workshop:

• David Hayes Bautista
Director, Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at
the School of Medicine, UCLA

• Benjamin Bratton
Associate Professor, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), UC San Diego

• Bill Cooper
Director, Urban Water Research Center, UC Irvine

• Poppy Davis
Executive Director, EcoFarm

• Rod Falcon
Director, Health Horizons, Institute for the Future

• Marina Gorbis
Executive Director, Institute for the Future

• Robin Johansen
Founder, Remcho, Johansen & Purcell

• Lisa Krieger
Journalist, San Jose Mercury News

• Steven Levy
Director and Senior Economist, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy

• Mike Liebhold
Research Director, Institute for the Future

• Sunne Wright McPeak
President and CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund

• Kevin Patrick
Director, Center for Wireless Population Health Systems, Calit2, UC San Diego

• Deborah Salon
Staff Economist, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis

• Greg Schmid
City Council, City of Palo Alto

• Jerry Sheehan
Chief of Staff, Calit2, UC San Diego

• Larry Smarr
Director, Calit2, UC San Diego

• Paul Wright
Director, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), and the Banatao Institute@CITRIS Berkeley

 Institute for the Future Executive Director Marina Gorbis and Calit2 Chief of Staff Jerry Sheehan participate in a brainstorming exercise.
“IFTF is a futures organization dedicated to bringing futures thinking and methodologies to the fore to help people make better decisions today,” says Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of IFTF. “Our 40 years are deeply rooted in California, particularly in Silicon Valley’s innovation culture. Today we feel an obligation to apply our skills, knowledge, and methodologies, to help ensure that people living in the State today and in the future live in a vibrant and responsible economy and society. It is an urgent call to action that we and our partners, Calit2 and CITRIS, are initiating.”

About IFTF
The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is an independent, nonprofit research group with over 40 years of forecasting experience. The core of our work is identifying emerging trends and discontinuities that will transform global society and the global marketplace. We provide insights into business strategy, design process, innovation, and social dilemmas. Our research generates the foresight needed to create insights that lead to action. Our research spans a broad territory of deeply transformative trends, from health and health care to technology, the workplace, and human identity. The Institute for the Future is located in Palo Alto, CA.

About Calit2
The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a partnership of UC San Diego and UC Irvine, houses over 1,000 researchers across the two campuses, organized around more than 50 projects on the future of telecommunications and information technology and how these technologies will transform a range of applications important to the California economy and its citizens’ quality of life. Calit2 will celebrate its 10th anniversary in December 2010.

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society — CITRIS — creates information technology solutions for many of our most pressing social, environmental, and health care problems. CITRIS was created to“shorten the pipeline” between world-class laboratory research and the creation of start-ups, larger companies and whole industries.

Media Contacts

 Doug Ramsey, Calit2, 858-822-5825, or Jen Colton, IFTF, 415-420-5516,, or Jean Hagan, IFTF, 650-233-9551, or Yvette Subramanian, CITRIS, 510-643-4866,

Related Links

Institute for the Future