Welcome to Rutherford Business Futures

Rutherford Business Futures enables organisations and their leaders to better prepare for the future by making informed strategic decisions in an increasingly complex world. We provide bespoke futures consulting solutions, long-term business strategy development, and futures workshops. The team at Rutherford Business Futures utilise practical tools and frameworks to uncover industry trends that will shape the future, to enable successful long-term decision making and resilience to cope with uncertainty.

We have worked extensively in the field of strategic foresight, as independent consultants and within organisations. Clients have included government organisations, councils, United Nations agencies, NGOs, medium-to-large companies, and even startups looking to disrupt their industries. The goal is to work with organisations to clearly define their ‘preferred future’ – including future products and services – and to identify the steps needed to realise it from their perspective. The skills required for the future are different to those of the past, and we will help your organisation to prepare for these changes and more.

Why futures?

Sir Peter Blake famously said: “Will it make the boat go faster?”. In today’s complex world, business leaders in every sector face disruption, where new technologies and global issues create unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Understanding current business strategy is one thing, but the pace of innovation is set to increase exponentially. What does this mean for your organisation?

Engaging in futures research helps “the boat to go faster” by enabling organisations to make better, long-term business decisions today. What capabilities do you need? Where do you want to be in 2025? Or 2035? What is your organisation’s core vision?

There is significant competitive advantage in researching your organisation’s future. Rutherford Business Futures identifies upcoming market trends and challenges, changing consumer lifestyles and values, future growth opportunities, and emerging, disruptive technologies.


Who we are

Ron McDowall, co-founder of Rutherford Business Futures, first established futures and foresight teams for Swedish multinationals in the 1970s. These teams looked over the horizon to the year 2000 and beyond, using scenarios to consider future products and then backcast to the present. Such an approach was groundbreaking at the time, as most businesses simply relied on forecasting, resulting in inaccurate predictions and poor outcomes.

The team at Rutherford Business Futures have also contributed to research at major universities around the world. Ron McDowall has supervised doctoral and masters students undertaking futures projects, and has taught futures methods to advanced MBA students. Co-founder James McDowall has a doctorate in futures studies, artificial intelligence, and marketing, and was the first to undertake a study of this nature in New Zealand. Co-founder Nicole Oliver is currently undertaking a doctorate that looks at the future of the New Zealand wool industry. Dr Sohail Inayatullah, an associate, is a world-renowned futurist and UNESCO Chair in Future Studies.