Scott Smith

Founder and Managing Partner

Scott Smith is the founder of Changeist, where he leads strategy, research and design activities. His work is built on over 20 years’ experience tracking social, cultural, technological and economic trends, and combines grounded research with narrative design to explore the unanticipated. 

Before founding Changeist, Scott served as director of research applications at Social Technologies, a futures and innovation consultancy. While there, he developed new practice methods in foresight, and lead visioning around consumer behavior and emerging technologies. Prior to this, he spent a decade leading start-up research and consulting teams for international technology research firms in New York City, Washington, DC, and London. He has mapped possible futures for public- and private-sector strategy, design and innovation teams worldwide, including UNICEF, Nokia, Ford, Barilla and Honda.

Scott leads partnerships with a range of institutions and groups on public projects which explore interesting facets of innovation, foresight, design and culture. This work includes past collaborations with Superflux, Near Future Laboratory, FutureEverything, Demos Helsinki, and Lighthouse Studio.  In addition, he has been an expert consultant to international research companies, including ?WhatIf!, and GfK. He has also supported scenario development for the Museum of the Future 2015 and 2016 developed by the Prime Minister's Office of the UAE.

Scott has been deeply involved in foresight and innovation education, first as co-developer, lead instructor and advisor for the Futures Institute at the Duke University TIP program, as programme coordinator and lead lecturer in futures, innovation and design at IED Barcelona, and as a 2015 visiting lecturer at the School of International Futures (SoIF) in the UK. He also designed and facilitated an innovation lab for FutureEverything in fall 2015 in Singapore. He now leads a new education partnership with the Dubai Future Academy focused on future design. 

On the public side, Scott is also a commentary writer for Quartz and a contributor to The Atlantic, How We Get to Next, WIRED UK and HOLO. He has guest lectured at the RCA in London, and has been a returning speaker at LIFT and FutureEverything, spoken at SxSW, EPIC, and The Next Web. 

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Susan Cox-Smith

Partner, Creative Strategist

Susan Cox-Smith is a partner and Creative Strategist at Changeist. She brings over 25 years’ experience creating and managing delivery of knowledge and information products to guide decision making. She manages Changeist’s design, trend, and strategy engagements, including work for several of the largest global technology, pharma and health brands worldwide. Susan also leads Changeist’s design for immersive experiences about the future, and oversees experience design for new futures tools for workshops, education and group collaboration.

She manages the How to Future project, from material to curriculum design and delivery with global clients. She also co-designs and delivers workshops for Thingclash, Changeist’s project to bring critical thinking to design in the Internet of Things, including co-design and facilitation for senior executives from global financial institutions at the annual Sibos global financial conference in Geneva. 


On the research side, Susan tracks trends around emerging technology and the future of human issues, including international development, health, work, sustainability, shelter, aging, families, education, and culture. Her recent work has focused on health, work and personal data.   

She has written for Medium and How We Get To Next on issues of gender, education, work and technology. She has post-graduate certificates from The Portfolio Center and New York University.

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Natalie D. Kane

Natalie Kane works as a researcher for Changeist, alongside additional responsibility as Curator & Editor for FutureEverything, an innovation and culture lab and festival in Manchester. As a curator, writer and researcher exploring the intersection of culture, futures, design and technology, she has a particular interest in the uses and abuses of personal data, ethics and innovation in wearable technologies and issues surrounding the Quantified Self, as well as an interest in the cultural and social impact of engineering. She co-developed and contributes to Changeist’s Thingclash project, and leads workshops around technology, ethics and the future. 


Natalie has written on engineering, culture and technology, and has worked with artists and technologists on projects surrounding open data, producing the second Data as Culture exhibition in partnership with the Open Data Institute, facilitating participation in the Pink Sheet Method, an experimental project on transparency in personal data and future scenarios in ‘data fracking’ presented at FutureEverything.

Natalie is also co-curator of the Haunted Machines conference, an ongoing research and curatorial project that reflects on narratives of magic and hauntings in our relationship to technology, and is co-curator of the 2017 IMPAKT festival in Utrecht. She has also been a visiting lecturer in Innovation & Futures Thinking at IED Barcelona and at the 2017 RITSC Winterschool in Brussels. She was previously Programme Assistant for Lighthouse in Brighton.

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Madeline Ashby

Photo credit: Kayleigh McCollum

Photo credit: Kayleigh McCollum

Madeline Ashby is a futurist and science fiction writer based in Toronto. Alongside supporting Changeist projects. she has worked with organizations like the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, the Atlantic Council, Strategic Innovation Lab, and others. She also lectures on science fiction and design thinking at OCAD University in Toronto, where she graduated with a Masters of Design from the Strategic Foresight & Innovation programme.

She has conducted workshops with groups like Engineers Without Borders Canada, United Way Canada, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. She is also the author of the Machine Dynasty series, and the novel Company Town from Tor Books, which was longlisted for the Canada Reads prize. Her fiction has been translated into Japanese and German.