Saturday, March 31, 2018

Quality in futures thinking

Diagram by Lloyd Walker

I recently received an email from my friend Steve Lambert, an artist whose work we've previously touched on here, here and here. (Also the co-founder with Stephen Duncombe of the Center for Artistic Activism.)

Steve was writing with a question – a good one. Characteristically his message got right to the point.

Subject: Futurist question

Hey Stuart,

Who, besides futurists, think long term about the future? And specifically not in the frame of capitalism and how they can make money – but about how to shape the world for the better? Who does a good job?


I felt this could make an interesting topic for wider conversation and put it to the Association of Professional Futurists email list.

A lively discussion followed, but two contributions stood out, and their posters gave permission to share them more widely. (By default, these conversations are private to encourage participants to speak among themselves more freely.)

One fantastic contribution was the diagram above, offered by the brilliant Austin, Texas-based consultant, designer, and futures veteran Lloyd Walker.

The other highlight came in response to someone wondering aloud about the relationship between the academic and professional variants of futures practice. Futures professor Jim Dator replied:

Futures practice without academic underpinning is smoke and mirrors.
Academic pretense of futures without practical experience is mirrors and smoke.

The Tao of Steve
Designing Futures
> Guerrilla futurists combat war on terror
> San Francisco's awesome future
> Dreampolitik