What are "Futurists" responsibilities

(Via the dr fish mailing list), a "futurist" position is available at the NYT:

The New York Times Company is looking for a Futurist for its new Research & Development group.

The ideal candidate will be highly imaginative and well-informed about the social and technology trends affecting the creation, distribution and consumption of all forms of media now and in the future. We are looking for someone who has an innate curiosity and a passion for new ideas; someone with a facility for market research data and who can use that data to vividly paint a picture of how the world around us is evolving.


  • Spot trends in consumer behavior, in government regulation, and in marketplace conditions by continually mining available data sources and keeping abreast of influential thinkers and publications.

  • Project these trends into the future and suggest new directions for the Company's products and business development. Present these "crow's nest"/future trends briefings to senior management and other stakeholders.
  • Monitor the competitive landscape for The New York Times Company's portfolio of brands; help identify disruptive forces, threats and opportunities.
  • Participate in the brainstorming process with Creative Technologists on R&D team to help define new product prototypes for the company to test.
  • Provide context for the technology prototypes developed by R&D as these technologies are exposed to the business units.
  • Partner with the Business Catalyst on R&D team to identify early stage companies who are executing on new trends for potential partnerships and collaboration.
  • Help develop and execute an ongoing communications plan for R&D unit to share ideas within and throughout the Company.


  • Bachelor's degree preferred.
  • Experience with statistical and market research a must.
  • Media research experience recommended but not required.
  • Strong communication skills; ability to present to senior management and all levels of company.
  • Ability to write with clarity precision and imagination in order to vividly portray possible futures.

Why do I blog this? the description of the responsibilities/requirements are very pertinent and insightful; they show which kind of activities and skills might be valuable regarding forecasting and trend watching.