This is an old revision of the document!

To describe the creative process of exploring futures, we use the term 'futuring'. We could have chosen other phrases such as 'future studies', 'speculative design' or 'strategic foresight', but 'to future' as a verb encapsulates the engaged, active attitude that we believe is essential when sending probes into these realms. Futuring can be a complex activity involving many facets, or it can be as simple as telling a story that begins with 'What if…'. The process can be individual but is often a collective, participatory exercise. It tends to work best when different modes of knowing and learning are involved – from analytical to generative and synthesising, rational to somatic, intuitive and interpersonal.

The general purpose of futures studies could be regarded as the provision of tools for the invention and pursuit of preferred futures; that is, the reconciliation of hopes and expectations. But it begins and ends, finally, with what any individual does in relation to those things. (…) [It is] the most potent political tool, to enable people to systematically redistribute the sensible at will and on their own behalf. (…) development and spread of futures tools rather than the outcomes of their application [is our concern]. —Stuart Candy, The Futures of Everyday Life

The conundrum of the Unthinkable and the Unimaginable is everyone’s issue – certainly not just ‘futurists’, nor designers, nor those who happen to have dedicated themselves to political theory or activism; nor just the displaced former residents of New Orleans, nor yet the casualties of Detroit’s seemingly inexorable decline. It is everyone’s problem. Futures studies is a community of thinkers that has defined and directly addressed it as such. But the Great Conversation needs to belong to us all, as do all the discursive technologies, principles of experiential futures design, and other paraphernalia of wiser, ongoing conversation and political self-reinvention. —Stuart Candy, The Futures of Everyday Life

Imagine a future where the most revolutionary changes in our world have not come from nanotech, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence or even space development–but from cognitive science and a deepening understanding of how humans function (or not) in groups. What would such a future look like? –Karl Schroeder in Rewilding Etiquette

Some have assumed that key to successfully dealing with uncertainty is to take a deep dive into the long-term future. Even when the difficulty of prediction is acknowledged, effort is still devoted to imagining alternative possible futures. This is the case of scenario planning, one of the most popular of such approaches. […] There is, in fact, a fundamental flaw in such approaches: it assumes that we can somehow successfully imagine the central aspects of the future. There is ample evidence, however, that this is not true. We do a terrible job imagining the future, sometimes with dreadful consequences, and scenario planning (developed commercially beginning forty years ago at Shell) hasn’t helped us much. –Silberzahn & Jones

How can you craft strategy in nonlinear environment? […] instead of putting effort into better prediction (no matter how modest), in many cases strategists must take the opposite approach and learn to focus their effort purely on a better understanding of the present. [By] mitigating the impact of surprises [and] anticipating the consequences of their own actions. –Silberzahn & Jones

  • the_art_of_futuring.1550915226.txt.gz
  • Last modified: 2019-02-23 09:47
  • by nik