Dear Mr. Giovannini:
Youngsook Park, President of the UN Forum in South Korea and Chair of the Millennium Project Node in South Korea.
tells me of your interest in our work on the State of the Future Index (SOFI) at the Millennium Project. Our work started over six years ago and we have published yearly progress reports in our annual reports. The statistical challenge is to develop an index comprised of variables for which adequate historical data are available that in the aggregate describe whether or not the future seems to be improving. Our work has concentrated on a global measure, but as you probably know, representatives of several countries that work with us have constructed national SOFI's depicting the history and outlook for their countries. These countries include several in Latin America, South Korea, and Turkey, and we understand that work on national SOFI's is contemplated or is already underway in Mexico and China. Kuwait has indicated that they may fund the development of enterprise level SOFI software.
The Millennium Project is currently conducting a world wide, on-line, Real Time Delphi inquiry to update the selection of variables and to obtain expert judgments about the best and worst expectations for the these variables and their relative importance (weights). I would like to invite you and your colleagues to participate in this study. It is on line at www.realtimedelphi.com. When asked for an access code please use xsofix.
This year our work will consist of analyzing the results of this study and reaching a deeper understanding of how one might structure a system of comparison of national SOFI's. This is complicated because even if countries use the same variables, they may weight them quite differently; in the extreme, one country might find national growth in a variable desirable while another views growth in the same variable as detrimental (e.g. S Korea would like population growth, but other countries find further growth threatening.)
We would be delighted to talk with OECD about this work and the possibility of contributing to an OECD SOFI. If you would like to see our published papers on SOFI please let me know and I'll collect some and send them.
Senior Research Fellow
The Millennium Project