Interest in the future and the attempt to predict what will happen can be traced back a long way through history. The first attempts at more systematic studies about the future were made in the US defense during World War II. However, it was the political, social and technological transformations of the 1960s and 1970s that significantly increased interest in future studies worldwide. At this time, special institutes for future studies were established in many countries, including in Sweden where the Secretariat for Future Studies (predecessor of the Institute for Future Studies) was established in the early 1970s. During the 20th century a number of different methods were developed that were specific for future studies, you can read about some of them on Wikipedia
Futures studies on Wikipedia
On the history of the Institute for Futures Studies
There are different definitions of what future studies are different ways to relate to them. The current research program deals with future studies such as the study of important future issues, issues that are important for the way our society will look in the future. The scientific methods used are retrieved from the various social science disciplines that are represented at the institute. Future studies, in this sense, have nothing to do with the choice of methods but on the choice of the issues studied.