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Dr Kouadi Gombleu

Futurist Profile


Dr Kouadi Claude Médard Gombleu

Assistant Professor: Félix Houphouët-Boigny University of Abidjan Cocody

PhD in Sociology
MA in Projects Management

Dr Gombleu answered a few questions about his perspective and on being a futures thinker.


You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

I shall describe myself as a person who believe that African people can realize the future of their choice. We can build a better future for our countries but this future can only be fulfilled if we work hard, anticipating threats and seizing opportunities around us.

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Seven years

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Côte d’Ivoire. I participated in a workshop in Morocco on the invitation of the Institut Royal des Etudes Stratégiques.

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?


What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

I contributed on the National Foresight Study, a study on the future of water in Africa. I was very motivated by the multidisciplinary approach. It was very learnfull.

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Contribute to the resilience and development of African countries. I want to see my country in the movement of transformation, taking profit from globalization and moving forward through industrialization and development.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

The political crisis in my country. This crisis shows the importance of future thinking. Indeed, it could have been anticipated if our political leaders listened to trends in the social environment.

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

MA in Rural Sociology, postgraduate diploma (DEA) in Rural Sociology, postgraduate diploma (DESS) in Library Science, MA in Project Management, PhD in Family and Education Sociology.

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as calm.

I describe myself a listener.



What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

If we don't think on the future we cannot get prepared: “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable” – Seneca.

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

Most of the African countries are realizing the importance of future thinking. And I expect African future experts to be listened to by their country leaders, influencing the development of their countries. I see the development of African think tanks, promoted by African future thinking experts.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

A kind of culture of emergency. In Africa we are always acting as if we are always surprised by time. We may see difficulties, catastrophes coming, but we wait and then make bad decisions on the emergency. We should be able to make thought through decisions instead of making a decision under pressure of urgency.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

I shall tell him that it’s very exciting to work as a watcher for your people. Although foresight is not prophecy, what a privilege it is to see dangers coming and give appropriate advice to your boss to anticipate. It’s wonderful to be able to read the environment and contribute to the growth of business or organization you work for. I shall advise him to be patient and courageous. He may not be understood by his boss in the beginning because he needs to battle against a culture of emergency.

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

The book by Michel Godet, Manual of Stratégie Foresight; The Small Email (the Virtual University of Tunis); Basic Concepts of Foresight; the website of Foresight for Development, (www.foresightfordevelopment.org/); the website la prospective.fr for those who can read French; the website, www.shapingtomorrow.com/, which have some interesting materials; and some interesting books and article of OCDE, etc.

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?

Foresight for Development, Association of Future Professional, World Future Society.


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