John L. Petersen's professional involvements include long-range
strategic and product planning, and helping leadership design new
approaches for dealing with the future. He has led national nonprofit
organizations and worked in sales, manufacturing, real estate
development, marketing, and advertising, mostly for companies he founded.
A graduate electrical engineer, he has also promoted rock concerts,
produced conventions, and even worked as a disc jockey—among other
Mr. Petersen's government and political experience include stints at the National War College, the Institute for National
Security Studies, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council staff at the White House. He was
a naval flight officer in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve and is a decorated veteran of both the Vietnam and Persian Gulf
wars. He has served in senior positions for a number of presidential political campaigns and was an elected delegate to the
Democratic National Convention in 1984.
John Petersen is considered by numerous influential leaders to be one of the most informed futurists in the world. He is
the leading futurist who writes and thinks about high impact surprises—wild cards—that are global in scope, potentially
disruptive, and intrinsically out of control.
In 1989, Petersen founded The Arlington Institute (TAI), a
nonprofit, future-oriented research institute. Arlington operates on the premise that effective thinking about the future is
impossible without casting a very wide net. The “think tank” serves as a global agent for change by developing new concepts,
processes, and tools for anticipating the future and translating that knowledge into better present-day decisions. Using advanced information technology, a core group of bright thinkers and
an international network of exceptionally curious people—along with gaming
events and simulations, modeling, scenario building, polling, and analysis—Arlington helps equip leaders from many disciplines with tools and
perspectives on probable futures.
He has written papers on the future of national security and the military, the future of energy, and the future of the media.
Petersen writes regularly on the future of aviation for Professional Pilot magazine and is a contributor to KurzweilAI.net. Mr. Petersen is a network member of the Global Business Network and vice chairman of the board of the U.S. Navy
Memorial Foundation. He also serves on the Mobile Computing Science Advisory Board for IBM and the advisory board for the public
polling firm, Americans Talk Issues. His 1993 book-length report, The Road to 2012: Looking Toward the Next Two Decades,
was used at the highest levels of American government as a basis for strategic planning.
A provocative public speaker, he addresses a wide array of audiences around the world on a variety of future subjects. When
he is not writing or public speaking, consulting to the Pentagon, strategizing for Wild Cards, or constructing his own
airplane, John leads workshops that help corporate clients build new images of possible futures and visions for reaching
their goals. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife, Diane.
Notable works from this award-winning writer include:
The Year 2000: Social Chaos or Social
This coauthored article is one of the most highly acclaimed writings on Y2K.
The Road to
2015: Profiles of the Future
Was awarded Outstanding Academic Book of 1995 by CHOICE Academic Review, and remained on The World Future Society's
best-seller list for more than a year.
Out of the
Blue: How to Anticipate Wild Cards and Big Future Surprises
Also a WFS best-seller.