Futures thinking in a nutshell – how to explain it?

The need to strip things back to their basics for an upcoming series of workshops (for folk with no foresight experience) has prompted some reflection on what the core aspects of futures work might be. Other frameworks – like the process phases of ‘framing’, ‘scanning’, ‘forecasting’, ‘visioning’, ‘planning’ and ‘acting’ described in Thinking About the Future …

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Lessons on change and leadership from Australian rules football?

I’ve just published a new article titled “What big business can learn from football”, prompted by the sacking of former Melbourne coach Mark Neeld and other issues in the Australian football league. Five key change and leaderships lessons are identified and briefly discussed: We need new models of change (that are less ‘command-and-control’ and leader …

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The “doughnut” view of futures: lots of tools and practices, but no theoretical core in the middle

I’m increasingly of the view that the futures field has an insufficient theoretical underpinning; it’s superficial at best. Many tools have been developed as practitioners experimented and learned, but few people seem to notice the gaping hole in the middle: underpinning theory. I have mixed feelings when I write this. In some respects it makes …

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Two very different uses of techniques of prospection

Lately I’ve been reading the work of anthropologist Andrew Lakoff. Lakoff’s research on the fields of national security and public health has documented and analysed what he calls ‘techniques of prospection’, e.g. the use of scenario-based exercises to amplify and assess biothreats. His work also draws on research conducted on the sociology of knowledge and …

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Learnings and reflections five months into my PhD

Broadly speaking, my doctoral project is examining the increasing use of foresight methods for tackling sustainability problems, and their effects. A key focus that’s emerged is inquiring into related practices for enhancing the handling of more “wicked” sustainability problems – for example, as part of participatory governance approaches – and for preventing worse challenges emerging …

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