"How To Future"

Last week we went public with a project that has been taking shape for a while—How to Future. It's a result of the confluence of several things: a need to create a more formal teaching text to accompany classes and workshops we've been doing for a number of years, and a desire to streamline methodologies and approaches we apply in our everyday consulting work to a straightforward, repeatable toolkit that can be used for a diverse set of needs. 

I'll quote from the inaugural blogpost:

"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 decided to start with workshops first, as writing may take longer than just rolling out what we already have prepared. These will take the form of 1-Day Intro courses meant to give professionals in a wide range of roles an orientation, vocabulary, and key tools to get started—running from front-end "sensing" through to communicative prototypes that share futures with others. We will also be announcing some limited 3-Day courses with partners soon, and even have the capacity to run 10-Day Studio Intensives, hosted by sponsor organizations. 

The assembled team who will be helping to manage and run this project are stellar as well. Susan Cox-Smith, partner and creative strategist at Changeist, takes charge of the project. Natalie Kane and Madeline Ashby will also support European and North American workshops. Everyone will have a hand in creating materials. Finally, there will be a book in here somewhere soon!

Contact Susan or me with any questions, follow along on Twitter, and let us know if you are interested in organizing a workshop—either inside your organization or bringing together an interested group of individuals.






Spring seems to be talk season. As in, we hit the road and do a lot of talking—at conferences and symposia, in workshops, and not infrequently on street corners or trams. After taking the winter off to research and recharge, a string of upcoming events have us back on the road to air some new ideas and hear yours. Here's a quick rundown:

  • People, Data, Power Workshop — 21 March — Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions — Amsterdam (Scott | Roundtable discussion)
  • Internet Age Media Weekend — 7-10 April —CosmoCaixa — Barcelona (Scott | Talk and joint workshop)
  • NRC Moonshot — 13 April — Beurs van Berlage — Amsterdam (Scott | Talk)
  • Theorizing the Web — 15-16 April — Museum of the Moving Image — New York City (Natalie | Talk)
  • Media Future Week — 20 April —  Media Park — Hilversum, NL (Scott | Talk)
  • Innorobo — 25 May — Paris (Scott | Talk + panel)
  • DSummit — 26 May — Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology — Stockholm (Scott | Talk)
  • Futuro — 2-5 June — Ibiza (Scott | Talk) 

We'll also be doing several private workshops during the Spring, which we can say more about in time, and happily attending some events as participants (FutureEverything is one) . If you have any questions about these events, or want to connect in these locations or en route, get in contact and let us know. We're always happy to meet new people. 

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Phase Change

Happy 2016. We've been quiet on the blog recently as we have a number of different external projects running at the same time—no end of year respite at Changeist HQ. 

We will get back to normal blogging service, but one thing we want to draw your attention to is our new publication on Medium, which we've called Phase Change. The purpose of Phase Change is to provide a place where essays and speculations we've published in various places—Medium itself, on Thingclash, here or elsewhere—can have a single home and become more accessible (and more easily transmitted). We've also moved the Backchanneled feature that had been hosted in the lab section of this site to Phase Change as well, and shut down this portion of the Changeist site. 

As a result, you will see some content that has appeared here on Phase Change, but together with great writing from Susan Cox-Smith, Natalie Kane and hopefully other contributors. Much of the content on Phase Change will be new going forward. The idea is to take great conversations had over office tables, on trains, via various backchannels, or just over glasses of wine, and flesh them out on in a single visible location. 

We hope you will follow, enjoy, comment, engage and suggest new topics and ideas. If you would like to collaborate on a piece, let us know.