How to Future

New year, new book, new futures!

Hello. It’s been a while. But, we have a good reason. Read on.

Those of you who know our history also know that myself and our group have regularly produced and taught capacity-building programs for applied futuring, for learners of all levels. We’ve been teaching now for ten years, initially only in summer, then, starting in 2017, with the advent of our work with Dubai Future Academy, much more frequently. We’ve also run applied-futuring workshops and masterclasses in myriad formats, for both private and public organisations.

We’ve been challenged to adapt, often felt a little too warm, and are frequently jetlagged, but we pretty much always have fun. In all these years though, we’ve never settled on a fixed curriculum or left things unmodified for too long. We’ve actively designed for specific audiences—and learned what works best across the board. We’ve tried hard to reflect on our work, and to listen to the participants who’ve spent time and money to learn from us. Most importantly, we’ve taken every opportunity to refine, refine, refine. One challenge though, perturbed us more than any other—we’ve always worked without a fixed text, a single go-to volume that captures what we teach.

About a year ago we made a decision to change that situation and began pulling together the content that outlines our method of applied futuring, as a practice for audiences who don’t want to become futuring gurus, or master all variations of foresight practice, but want tools and practices they can take on as a set of practical skills quickly that could be put to use quickly, that would be useful for big groups, small teams, a few colleagues, or alone. We weren’t aiming to rewrite existing academic strategic foresight texts, or play futures studies’ greatest hits; we wanted to explain how we work—in our own words—and reflect on our own experiences in that work. Our goal was to produce a useful, legible, and relatable guide for anyone who wants to use their personal and professional agency to collect, recognize, assemble, and understand pieces of the future that are happening around them right now, then be able to do that as a continuing process going forward. And, we wanted to illustrate simple ways for connecting with and communicating futures to others, using material prototypes, experiences, or very, very early sketches of business plans or service models. Hopefully, over time some of these practices become behaviours that are internalised or acts that are embodied.

In June, we struck a timely partnership with London-based publisher Kogan Page, and in July we started cranking out chapters. Madeline Ashby joined me to describe examples of our own practices and experiences, and Susan Cox-Smith helped make our voices make sense. We handed over the manuscript in December—a six-month jog that was, in effect a three-month sprint. And now, we can finally tell you about it.

Coming July 2020 from Kogan Page Inspire, and available globally:

HOW TO FUTURE: LEADING AND SENSE-MAKING IN AN AGE OF HYPERCHANGE

HOW TO FUTURE will be published in paperback and e-book form this summer. This book is intended for a wide range of audiences, from innovation teams inside large companies on big projects, to a small group of activists strategizing together over coffee. It’s written to consume as a whole, or consult as a tool-by-tool guide. It avoids becoming the all-methods tome, and focuses on an arc of activity from scoping an appropriately sized exploration of a future, through practical sensing and sense-making, to creating and engaging with narratives, then to assessing effectiveness and refining for next time. We want this to be a book anyone can keep on their bookshelf as a resource (after reading of course!), give to a team, assign to a class, or carry from workshop to workshop. With it, we hope you can imagine a fitting future product or service, activate a movement, or build a preferable world.

It’s not an accident that HOW TO FUTURE drops now. It’s only the start of February, and 2020 already has the feel of a year when a sturdy, relatable handbook for finding and making new futures might be needed. We hope you do, too.

We still have six months to go until we have copies in hand, but we wanted to let you know now in case you:

1) Want to be a great human and pre-order your copy for yourself and/or others :)

2) Have been thinking you need something like HOW TO FUTURE for your organisation and need to make friends with the budget holder

3) Are planning an educational course for Fall 2020 and want to refresh your reading list

4) Are considering building up your collective futuring skills as a group, and want to run a programme with a solid, relatable guidebook

5) Are buying new titles for a collection, bookstore or training library

6) Generally want to tell friends and colleagues

7) Might like to host a mini-launch somewhere in the world, or

8) Are planning something else and think we could add value.

If your needs fit any of the above, get in touch. If we can’t help directly, the lovely folks at Kogan Page are well equipped to assist.

You’ll hear more about HOW TO FUTURE in coming months, and we’ll ramp up activity closer to summer. In the meantime, check out the website for the book, find a bookseller near you, and clear a spot on your side table. July will be here sooner than you think!


In other news

It’s been a talkative start to 2020 for us. In short order, four different media came knocking on our door to talk about futures, which I’d wager is a sign of the uncertainty not only the beginning of a year (or decade—choose your measure) brings, but also the rising levels of volatility around us all. And that was before January kicked off with conflict, contagion and constitutional throwdowns.

Here they are, in sequence:

France 24

I had an opportunity to join Tech24 on France24 remotely to talk about the use and abuse of prediction, specifically in reference to the year’s early tech announcements, but also as a cultural and business phenomenon. I drop in to talk with Julia Sieger about the 5:55 mark.

SpeculativeEdu

I recently spoke with Julian Hanna of SpeculativeEdu about using objects and experiences to confront critical future challenges. Julian’s work as half of Crap Futures, along with James Augur, is always worth keeping an eye on.

You can find our interview here, along with a range of others.

Power of Ten Podcast

I had a lot of fun talking with Andy Polaine for his Power of Ten podcast, a well known series featuring a lot of the greats of human-centred design and allied fields. After years of following his work online, I had the fortune of randomly standing next to Andy in the drinks line at NEXT19 in Hamburg, which led to a great chat over short ribs surrounded by pop art. It’s a hard gig some days :) Catch the podcast episode here, and subscribe to the whole series.

Kommersant

I spoke with Kommersant’s Ogoniok Magazine, again about prediction. This particular frame was the annual techfest at CES. We discussed some of the big themes emerging this year, including mobility services, paranoid levels of home self-surveillance, and the prominence of sextech. This one’s in Russian, but a little Google Translate can help.


Upcoming Events

Future Storytelling

After a furious end of 2019, we’ve had a manageable start to the travel year. The summer is already getting busy, but we have some upcoming events on the schedule for Spring. If you’re going to be near Dubai in early April, join Madeline and me for a three-day FUTURE STORYTELLING course at the Dubai Future Academy. We’ll be looking at future imaginaries in general, Gulf imaginaries specifically, and look at how stories about things to come can be told effectively in local vernacular. If this is interesting but you’re in another region, talk to us about bringing this event to you (localized, naturally).

Etc.

We’ll be talking about themes in the book as we ramp up to summer, but naturally have much else to share views on. If you’re interested in having us join you to talk about uncertainty, futures, elections and politics, experience, narratives of tomorrow and more, get in contact with us.

Note: We’re also on the hunt for new speaking representation in North America and Europe given the coming busyness, so if you have quality recommendations based on good experiences, we’re open to suggestions.


Follow Along

We’re excited about the book, but have set up separate channels to focus on HOW TO FUTURE-related news and updates, as well as the usual channels to find us. Choose one or all!

Twitter: @changeist @howtofuture

Instagram: @changeist @howtofuturebook

Web: changeist.com howtofuture.com

Thanks for reading, tell a friend, and stay close for more news as 2020 unfolds.

— Scott

Loops and Samples

  
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Hello again from that eerie silence between flights. Three chilly months have passed since our last instalment, so we’re mailing to 1) wish you a happy Spring if you’re in the northern hemisphere, or a lovely Fall if southern, 2) throw out some updates about our activities and trajectories, and 3) give you a chance to sample an episode of Underfutures for any holiday journey ahead, if you’ve yet to listen.

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Underfutures

Since there is a large black arrow hovering above us at the moment, we’ll start at the end. You may recall from our last newsletter that we announced the kickoff of a new media project, a podcast called Underfutures. Hosted by me and colleague Madeline Ashby, this podcast gives us a chance to talk about under-discussed sides of popular subjects, with folks we think bring a fresh point of view to the table (we assume they’re at a table, no one has said otherwise). Episode 2, Coming Attractions, featured writer Joanne McNeil, along with Madeline, Susan Cox-Smith joining to kick over recent sci-fi and future-oriented TV and film to see what it might tell us about about Where We Are Now and the Big Near Future.

Episode 3, Humans in the Room, embedded above through the magic of Substack, or available on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud and other platforms, features John Willshire of Smithery in London joining me in Amsterdam and Madeline in Toronto to help us pick apart how the nature of working is changing (something to do with time tentacles, not standing desks), and where it might go next. We also publish liner notes to each episode.

We’ve gotten a stack of lovely comments and endorsements, and are planning to keep pushing episodes on a monthly rhythm. We also have a nice Twitter following brewing over at @underfutures, and the possibility of making the show live (as in, on stage where you can see us) on a couple of occasions later this year. Stay locked to find out more. In the meantime, if you like what you hear, please share with friends and/or colleagues. Or, get on that Twitter account and let us know what other topics/guests you would like to hear get the Underfutures treatment.

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Ongoingly

Aside from a steady programme of running courses in futures and strategic foresight over the past six weeks, we have also been busy with our pens and keyboards, working on various formats of future fiction and documentary alike. More on this later.

The first of these projects to reach the air was a short film written by Madeline for Screening Surveillance, a project from the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen's University in Ontario led by sava saheli singh. Madeline’s authored short below, Frames, is one of three films from writers including Tim Maughan (who’s newly released Infinite Detail has been burning up the fiction shelves), and Nihal El-Hadi. Watch them all, and download the supplemental educational material for group discussion.

Gulf Futures

We developed a set of macrotrends cards called Gulf 2030, for use by organisations in the Gulf region planning for change. We have a limited number and are offering them to corporate, government and non-governmental organisations in the region on a case-by-case basis. If you are one of these and are interested to know more, get in contact to discuss how you can best apply them.

Photo: Your Rainbow Panorama, Olafur Eliasson, Aarhus / Image Lily Higgins

Counterplay

Changeist crew member Lily Higgins recently travelled to Aarhus, Denmark for her second time at Counterplay Festival, which draws an international crowd of applied-play practitioners for three days of play-immersion. She co-facilitated a workshop exploring the use of improv as a tool in the process of ideating and took part in a myriad of weird, playful stuff created by other play-oriented designers. Especially inspired by the folks at Cultural Prototcols in Berlin, she's making plans to host her own urban intervention walking tour this spring in Rotterdam. Watch this space if that is your postcode/thing.

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That’s all for this edition. If you’re traveling this coming weekend or week, be safe wherever you are.

If you want to follow the discussion, find us on TwitterInstagramMedium, or the original formula Web.

-Scott

Earth Stations

New year, new formats, new frontiers

Welcome to 2019. It’s possible that during 2018, you had moments when you didn’t think you would hear those words, but we’re here and we’re sticking with it for now. We wish you patience, fortitude and determination for the coming year.

If you have been a consumer of this newsletter over the past few years, you’ll notice a few things look different around here. First, you received a newsletter, which makes up for the extended breaks our just-in-time schedule imposed on us these past months. :)

Second, a more stripped-down design. As part of a year-end review of tools and platforms, we decided to switch newsletter hosting to Substack from Revue. We love the folks at Revue—in fact they’re just down the train line from us in lovely Utrecht— but some of the functionality we signed on has become less important for us. We’ll give this a go. 

This also means your subscription data has been ported over. If you have objections to this, please feel free to unsubscribe. We’ll miss you, and we’ve taken great care of your email, but do as you must. If you know Substack as a paid subscription-based newsletter platform, don’t fret. We’re not going to charge.

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Enough of the technical announcements, and on with the actual show.

Miles

The last few months of 2018 were a bit of a shiny streak with visits to various seashores, taking us (collectively) to California (x2), Colorado, Paris, Dubai, London, Tallinn, Helsinki, and a few stops in between. It was great to meet folks at the launch of Plurality University in Paris, give the closing keynote PRIMER EU, as well as get fly-through tours of central Tallinn (thanks Marko!), Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (cheers, David!) and Venice Beach’s best bakeries (hat tip to Julian!).

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Sounds

One of the most enjoyable parts of the job for us is speaking in public. For many, that’s terrifying, but for us, it’s a chance to air out issues we’ve been thinking about for a while alone or on Slack. Most fun is when we get to do that in pairs. Earlier in 2018, Madeline and I had the opportunity to talk to about a thousand curious faces from ASOS in a lovely bespoke theatre with proper Michael Mann-style light tubes. We spent about two hours, covered six panoramic topics, and had a very good time. We’ve sat on tall chairs in a live session in Dubai, co-keynoted a media conference, and recently were enticed with two comfortable seats and mics by Comcast on a visit with them in Denver. And when we have the opportunity, we lecture together, which inevitably turns into a bit of a show despite our attempted composure. So we asked ourselves, why not do it more often?

We have, and we are. As you may have caught on Twitter, we’re launching a new podcast, Underfutures, in 2019. Underfutures is place for us to dig into some of the topics that become fixations inside the office and on the group Slack, but don’t often get aired outside the confines of Changeist. Episodes will be both studio-based (between Amsterdam and Toronto) and recorded on the road. Sometimes we’ll have guests. If you use the podcast app Anchor, you can even leave us voice messages, which we may include in future episodes.

Episode 1, on the Future of Citizenship, is hosted on Anchor here.

  • For Soundclouders, you can follow here.

  • Spotify folks can listen here.

  • Apple Podcast hosts us here.

  • Other platforms are available…just search “Underfutures” on your favourite podcast service or app.

We’re also on Twitter @underfutures if you wish to keep up to date and chat with us there. We appreciate the 200+ people who jumped into the tweet stream on the strength of a trailer alone. That’s trust.

Have a listen, talk back to us, and most of all, enjoy. We hope you will. Episode 2 is now in the writers room and will be with you in early February, featuring a special guest and discussion of the future in popular culture. Pre-order your popcorn now.

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Sights

Another thing we’ve enjoyed over the past few years is engaging great young illustrators to bring an extra dimension to our work. For two recent collaborations we connected with Melbourne native Janelle Barone, whose great use of colour and general aesthetic brought these projects to life with compelling visualisations of some unusual scenarios. As large full colour prints on the day, they grabbed the audience and brought them into the mood of each scenario. We’re sharing some of the commissioned illustrations below.

Also check out Janelle’s recent project The Bottom Line, created to draw attention to—and raise money to mitigate—damage to The Great Barrier Reef.

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Words

Madeline's been busy this year. Aside from the dark tasks we've engaged her in, her well received short story, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, was published in Slate, followed by publication of TIERRA Y LIBERTAD in MIT Technology Review.

Her third major story of 2018, DEATH ON MARS, created for NASA, was recently republished in science fiction anthology Clarkesworld. That story also appears in this anthology for Arizona State’s Centre for Science and the Imagination.

Her contribution to THE END OF TRUST, a compilation developed by the Electronic Freedom Foundation and published by McSweeney's, is available here. That item also features thoughts from folks like Cory Doctorow, Julia Angwin, Trevor Paglen, Gabriella Coleman and others.

Lastly, FoC Sjef van Gaalen published a bit of microfic for this limited edition poster, sadly out of circulation already.

Coming Up

We’re already back on the tarmac in January, and already have some events lining up for the spring. Aside from a couple of rotations through Dubai to carry on with our Strategic Foresight courses at Dubai Future Academy, we’ll be workshopping in Milan later this month, and I travel to Odense, DK on 28 February talking to Technology Denmark talking about Things You Need to Know From the Future. 

Also upcoming is MRSA Impact 2019 on 12-13 March in London. I’ll have the great fun of being on a panel to talk about useful forms of scenarios, speculative narratives and material artefacts for understanding the future, with the brilliant trio of Jay Owens, Anab Jain and Paul Graham Raven. It promises to be a great session.

Check changeist.com for more info on upcoming talks. 

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That’s all for this edition. If you want to follow the discussion, find us on Twitter, Instagram, Medium, or the original formula Web.

-Scott

Wireframe

As usual, it’s been a busy time at Changeist HQ, full of airline seats, ferries to and from the lab, desert heat and Dutch humidity. We have a lot happening, and our various limbs pointing this way and that, pitching some intriguing projects, organising creative collisions, and doing a little worldbuilding of our own. We also waited out the GDPR storm a bit to get you this fully compliant™ newsletter. 

Below is a quick summer catch-up of our recent activities, and a few hints of what’s coming up. We hope you and yours are faring well, and you’re engaged in something fulfilling or difference-making (why choose?). 

Stay in touch. 

— Scott


How to Future

If your organisation is interested in building applied futures skills and understanding of core tools and approaches for strategy and innovation using future design, we’ve got you covered. To better focus capacity-building in critical areas, we provide 1-day modular workshops in:

• Sensing and Scanning

• Sensemaking and Mapping

• Scenario Development

• Prototyping and Storytelling.

A full program includes pre-session online on-boarding and support. Tools and approaches are presented in an accessible way, refined through over 10 years of teaching in workshops and educational environments.

We also structure custom workshops lasting from one to three days, structured around specific sectors or geographies.

Find out more about the 1-day modules, or follow How to Future on Twitter for updates.

Events

This spring has brought a series of courses in Strategic Foresight for our partners and colleagues at Dubai Future Academy. Three ‘Level 1’ courses gave our brilliant and diverse students a grounding in sensing and sensemaking, followed by a just-completed 'Level 2’ course on scenarios and public/stakeholder engagement through experiential futures. Almost 20 projects emerged, tackling futures of youth, mental health, urban stress, community, housing, finance, security, culture and heritage and more.  

Conversations ranged from reframing cultural micro-heritage to youth unemployment and regional stability to ambient public service communication in a multilingual city to whether to have end-of-life dates with robots. Thanks as always to the amazing DFA team, and to our students who took time out to dive deep into applied futures for policy and innovation. For those in the region, more courses are coming in the fall, so keep an eye on the link above. 

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We also had a great day with friends at BBC R&D for a How to Future workshop. The exercises generated some very cool ideas about future media and technology. Thanks to all who gave us a day of their time, attention, and umbrellas. 

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Lastly, Susan Cox-Smith and Scott Smith joined with Jessica Bland and her colleagues at the Dubai Future Foundation (in cooperation with the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent) for the first of what will hopefully be more events on the future from women’s perspectives. The forum, called Future Visions from Female Voices “asks a selected group of women from the Emirate what they see in the future, what they don’t want to see in the future and what questions we should be discussing more loudly about the future.” 

Turnout for this experimental event was standing room only, and the discussion was wide-ranging and thought-provoking, discussing not only what past visions promised in terms of change, but what challenges face us now, and what we want from the future. If you’re in Dubai, keep watching DFF social channels for information on follow-up activities. Thanks to all involved, and we look for more ways to enable the voices of women across the Arab world in shaping more inclusive, equitable futures for all.

Writing

Our colleague and collaborator Madeline Ashby has been busy with some new short stories. First up, “Domestic Violence,” for Slate, explored the use and abuse of the Internet of Things when weaponised for the control of other people, an issue that subsequently received in-depth treatmentby the New York Times.  

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She followed this up with “Tierra y Libertad,” for MIT Technology Review, exploring a future of robot labour rebellion in California pistachio fields. 

Talks

We’ve collectively done three talks for the retail and fashion industries this spring. We started off in February with a fun event for global retailer ASOS, running a series of six 20-minute mini-debates between Madeline and Scott, looking at futures of globalisation, communication, experience, consumption, technology and work. We wrote up our impressions here. We also arrived to springlike heat, and departed in a snowstorm. Cheers, London.

Scott followed up last month with a talk in London for a major Scandinavian multi-brand retailer, looking at the future of experience, and how that may reshape what young consumers expect from retail (hint: you may not know you’re in a retail environment at all). Everyone from Punchdrunk and Museum of Ice Cream to Gentle Monster and Lot 2046 figure into this discussion of immersive experiences, chaos retail, materialised fandoms, high-dollar heists, and talking trees.   

Susan Cox-Smith completed the recent series with a provocative discussion here in the Netherlands for an associated set of women’s brands, looking at body image in the age of machine learning. In it, she asked, if we can deliver hypertargeted advertising, can we not also deliver clothes that fit a diversity of bodies and values? 

If you are interested in hearing about these or other topics, or exploring a curated discussion, debate or panel for your company, customers or partners, get in touch. We love to talk. Some of our best value comes from sitting down and discussing hard-to-frame topics.

Things

We’ve been excited to see the objects and media we created to contribute to the IFRC’s Future Is Now project continue to travel. Since the initial event last November, we’ve heard and seen peeks of our pieces visiting Riyadh, Geneva, Tunisia, Denmark and other events. We very pleased these items continue to spark meaningful conversation about possible futures of humanitarian assistance. Thanks again to Shaun, Aarathi, Carlos and the Federation team for the inviting us to play a part. Read more about this project if you missed it the first time.

People

We’d like to welcome a new collaborator to the Changeist set: Lily Higgins, a recent graduate and Rotterdam-based designer who, in her own words, “is fascinated by new narratives, interconnectedness, change, and ‘the why’.” Lily’s current work and practice is informed by her recent thesis, “Future Flex: A Play-Based Approach to Organizational Change in the Age of Uncertainty” which was nominated for Willem de Kooning Academy’s Bachelor Research Prize 2017. Her background as a visual artist and subsequent degree in Lifestyle Design with a specialization in the theory of play gives her a niche perspective on the topics of futures, organizational change, and the next generation of design thinking. Lily will be working with us to shape new workshops and embodied activities, as well as putting a hand into visual design on our more fun projects and occasional merch drops. Check out her work here

Upcoming

If you’re interested in the intersection of design and futures, Scott will be talking at PRIMER EU about the public responsibilities of design fiction. It should be a great event, the first European foray of the PRIMER conference held earlier this year in San Francisco. While there has been a lot of design presence in this discussion, we’re hoping to bring a futures point of view more clearly to the fore. Tickets are available now.

Scott will be back on familiar ground mid-month guest lecturing in the Innovation & Future Thinking programme at IED Barcelona. John Willshire of Smithery will be at the helm again, and plans are afoot to explore the futures of ‘space’ —the terrestrial, urban and increasingly contested kind. It’s  quick stop, but if you have a cold Moritz or manchego in hand, and would like to exchange either for discussion, he’ll probably agree.

Beyond Barcelona, we are likely to pop up in the Western US briefly later this summer for a client workshop and a few visits, as well as making returns to the Gulf, UK, and Germany. Somewhere in there, we will probably retreat to a quiet spot to continue working on some fiction projects underway. 

If there’s something we can do for you, or a project or idea you would like to discuss, we are always happy to talkIf you’re thinking about a future-focused article, event, documentary, podcast or feature, give us a shout. Chances are one of us has a view.

Afterburn

You can find Changeist on the Web, on TwitterMediumInstagram, Facebook, or via this quarterly newsletter.

Catching Our Breath

Well, that half-year went by quickly. We had good intentions to send a newsletter at least four times in that period, but kept holding for additional news. In the end, so much happened that it stalled the update process. So, thanks for bearing with us. The best way to take this on is with a series of high points over that period:

Our 10th anniversary

Last August, we quietly hit an important marker for us: Changeist’s 10th anniversary as a company. It gave us an opportunity for some quiet reflection, a breath of relief that we’d carried on so long (particularly when you think of the world in 2007-2008), and a good time to re-evaluate the work we do, our objectives for the next phase, and also to thank those who supported us this far. We can’t name some clients, and others would make too long a list, but we thank them all, as well as an extended network of collaborators past and present, partners, and friends. We are grateful for the community of future-minded people and organisations we’ve met along the way, from the US, UK and Netherlands, to the UAE, Singapore, India, Norway, Australia, Finland, Spain, Mexico, Malta, and the list goes on. We’ve been happy to host many friends who have come to work, talk, or just relax with us, and thank those who have done so much for us. Here’s to the next decade.

A new identity

Having reached an important milestone, last autumn we began rolling out our first comprehensive identity redesign—well—ever. Managed by Susan Cox-Smith and developed by Nadia Hassan, we emerged with a flexible design system that we are even now finding new ways to extend and create with. It’s also given us a good reason to experiment with prints of particular variations, stickerst-shirts, and—soon—some 3-dimensional models. Its core, the Wireframe, renders our name in a form that represents how we think about much of our work: a flexible scaffold that we, our clients and partners use to model new futures. Within that, a series of four colours, inspired by tones from late Anthropocene landscapes (pink hematite, turmeric, vermillion, and langite blue) are applied to denote different platforms via which we connect. Read Susan’s account of its development below, and if you are interested in us making some of the merch above available for purchase (stickers, shirts, prints, etc) drop a line. If there is enough interest, we’ll set up a shop.

A redesigned Web presence

With the new identity, we had an important building block for a streamlined update to our website. As with any space, a lot of stuff builds up over ten years, so we turned the blog to more of an archive, created spaces to feature projects or ideas we are particularly proud of, and simplified the rest. We also took the opportunity to have some fun with our own images, bringing in the talented Paul Hallows, whose prints of Alan Turing and Voyager adorn our offices, to render us in two-dimensional form.

A new office!

In February, after much searching, we found a place to spread our footprint: Amsterdam’s thriving A-Lab, located across the IJ in the city’s rapidly growing Noord neighbourhood next door to the iconic A'dam Toren and Eye Filmmuseum. We now occupy space within a building that used to house Shell’s Groot Laboratorium. For those familiar with the history of futures, you’ll note the irony. It’s also quite cool that one of the earliest computers active in the Netherlands, a Ferranti Mark I called MIRACLE, was housed here. If you read Dutch, you can find out more about the critical role of women as early computer operators on MIRACLE. If you are heading to Amsterdam, or here already, and want to stop by for a coffee, beer, veg in the indoor vertical farm, stroll on the waterfront, or just a chat, let us know. We also hope to make use of the gezellig event space for some interesting workshops or an open registration How to Future course. If the latter is of interest, vote with an email letting us know.

Recent talks

At the end of 2017, I got to join a great lineup at Impakt Festival in Utrecht on speculative realities. It was a nice chance to see colleagues, meet new people, talk about divergent images of the future, and spend a few minutes chatting with the filmmaker Adam Curtis (see talk video below). A big thanks to Info.nl for having me as a guest speaker at their LABS anniversary + Behaviour Design meetup in Amsterdam in mid-February. It was a fun night to talk about technology in the public interest, and talk about Minitel. 

A gracious invite to close out Innovation Week for DEWA in Dubai allowed us to run a microworkshop and talk about managing uncertainty. There are more bits to tell, but you can catch more in the links below.Upcoming travelHere’s where we’ll be in coming months if you would like to connect:Susan, Madeline and I will be in London March 15-17. 

Scott will be back in Dubai at the beginning of April, and again later in the month for our ongoing courses with the Dubai Future Academy

May holds the possibility of a swing through the US for several of us. Check back closer to time for confirmation.

How to Future

If your organisation is interested in building applied futures skills and understanding of core tools and approaches for strategy and innovation using future design, we’ve got you covered. To better focus capacity-building in critical areas, we provide 1-day modular workshops in:• Sensing and Scanning• Sensemaking and Mapping• Scenario Development• Prototyping and Storytelling. A full program includes pre-session online on-boarding and support. Tools and approaches are presented in an accessible way, refined through over 10 years of teaching in workshops and educational environments. We also structure custom workshops lasting from one to three days, structured around specific sectors or geographies. Find out more about the 1-day modules, or follow How to Future on Twitter for updates. 

You can find Changeist on the Web, on TwitterMediumInstagramFacebook, or via this quarterly newsletter. 

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