Scott gave a talk at Internet Age Media's 2016 event in Barcelona earlier in the year, with a call to spend less time focusing on future "cool" made by others, and more time engaging and building futures we want. The full video is below. Enjoy!
We had the great opportunity to run a special workshop for the exhibition design team at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB). While we were there, members of the CCCB Lab interviewed us on futures, innovation, culture, climate change and more. Here's a look at Scott Smith talking to the Lab team.
Hello. We've had this project in mind for a long time. As we've taught futures and innovation courses and workshops in an array of settings and cultures over the past decade, two things have become clear:
- Having the skills to create new futures shouldn't simply be something that lives in the strategy or innovation team, hidden away in a special office or building, and
- Easily accessible tools and education are missing from the landscape. When people ask "is there a simple book or how-to guide I can read to understand this better?" the answer is, "Well, not really." There are plenty about trends and future mindsets, but these talk more about "what" and little about "how".
This doesn't mean there aren't detailed texts and courses available for academic or professional use, but ways to get groups or individuals in the futures frame—and able to apply the skills and approaches we use in real-world projects—are hard to access.
This project is intended to make it easier. This isn't a graduate course in Strategic Foresight (there are some great ones out there if you want to go deep), or a heavy tome of methodologies, but reflects the best way we've found to get the necessary basics—vocabulary, concepts, exercises and approaches—into the hands of non-experts as quickly and clearly as possible. Most importantly, we've modified and created hybrid approaches over the years that work with design, innovation, strategy, policy, creating stories and narratives for media, and many other applications.
We've taught groups from senior government and corporate leaders looking for new markets to activists in fragile places around the world to high school students wanting to better anticipate the futures they will encounter. We've learned a lot in the process about making concepts and tools accessible, usable, and "just enough" to walk out the door of the workshop or classroom and apply. We've learned about visual simplicity, and tangible (and intangibly interesting) examples. We also know how to mix time spent listening at tables with time in the real world looking for signals.
Our plan is to create a short book and accompanying toolset to make this happen. However, while we work on this, we can still be teaching and engaging—through workshops, studio courses and masterclasses. So we're doing both, and probably more.
Contact us to find out more about what we're up to, and how we can help. Courses are designed with organizations and teams in mind, but we're happy to discuss setting up sessions for a group of individuals. Give us a space, power, wi-fi, and some clear walls and we can do it.
Questions? Feedback? Contact us via email or Twitter and we'll be happy to chat.