Companies rarely do well in science fiction novels - think the Tyrell Corporation in Bladerunner, USR in Asimov's I Robot, and even the dictatorial Galactic Empire in Star Wars.
So it is with some irony that today's companies are turning to the literary visionaries of sci-fi to imagine different futures and how they might change their business.
Sci-fi is a much derided literary art form - one for spotty teenage boys listening to heavy metal music. But it is a literary genre that has delivered some true masterpieces - Frankenstein, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Necromancer, Asimov, Iain M Banks' Culture series... the list continues.
Sci-fi is more than escapism; it challenges readers to imagine alternative futures, new technologies and new thinking.
Not all, perhaps very little, of what we read may ever see the light of day - but when Shelley penned Frankenstein she could not have imagined a day when sheep would have been cloned or a man would walk on the moon.
Perhaps, by being challenged by science fiction writers, businesses may be better able to respond to the challenges we face tomorrow. At the very least, it may lead to some cool new stuff
Ever since Mary Shelley imagined the story of Frankenstein on a rainy holiday in Switzerland, writers of science-fiction have sought to entertain readers by taking them into parallel worlds. While many authors are catering for a desire for escapism, one group has discovered that there is another paying audience with more practical concerns. Ari Popper, founder of SciFutures, sells sci-fi short stories to businesses to help them develop corporate strategies. He has built a stable of more than 100 writers to create stories tailored for the needs of organisations such as Visa, Del Monte foods, Ford, Pepsi, Samsung, Nato and the US navy. British clients include a consumer goods business that prefers to remain anonymous.