Advisory Board

Robert Olson, MA, PhC

Robert Olson, MA, PhC is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Alternative Futures.
Bob was a member of the Institute for Alternative Future’s founding Board of Directors and served as Director of Research from 1990 to 2003, leading the Institute’s work in technology forecasting, technology assessment, and energy and environmental futures. He develops and applies methods for identifying trends and emerging developments, using scenarios in strategic planning, and helping organizations clarify aspirations to motivate and align group efforts. His work centers on exploring possibilities ahead for creating organizations, technologies, and social arrangements far superior to today’s.
He formally served as a consultant to the Director and a project director at the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress. He was for several years a Fellow of the Center for Cooperative Global Development at the American University and has been a Resident Fellow at the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study. Much of his recent work has focused on environmental and energy futures, including projects with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to bring greater foresight into the Agency’s planning. He is a member of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Technology and Policy (NACEPT) and the primary author of the NACEPT report The Environmental Future: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for EPA.
Bob is author of Exploring the Future: Seven Strategic Conversations That Could Transform Your Association, editor of Mending the Earth: A World for Our Grandchildren, and co-editor of Environmentalism and the Technologies of Tomorrow: Shaping The Next Industrial Revolution,
Bob earned his MA and PhC in Political Science and Future Studies at the University of Michigan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government at Earlham College.
Watch Considering “Soft Geoengineering” and High-Tech Tools for Water Resources. Read his LinkedIn profile.