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Forecasting Session at TAM


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A presentation and forecasting session given by Elizabeth Merritt, founding director of the Center for the Future of Museums, and Peter Bishop, associate professor of strategic foresight at the University of Houston, at the 2010 Texas Association of Museums conference.

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Forecasting Session at TAM

  1. 1. Peter Bishop Futures Studies University of Houston Elizabeth Merritt Center for the Future of Museums American Association of Museums Texas Associations of Museums Texas A&M University March 18, 2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>Describing the Future of Museums </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forecasting change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The expected future </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternative futures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “so what” for museums? </li></ul></ul>
  3. 4. Change “ Events can move from the impossible to the inevitable without ever stopping at the probable.” -- Alexis de Tocqueville
  4. 5. Nothing changes everything
  5. 6. Times Levels Rates Sources
  6. 7. <ul><li>Anticipate… </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Influence… </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul>… but within limits Inbound Change that happens to us Predict… Outbound We create ourselves Control…
  7. 8. Transactional Environment Enterprise Political Environmental Technological Economic Social Demographic Cultural
  8. 9. <ul><li>Continuous change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>gradual improvement over long periods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>usually preserves the framework/context </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discontinuous change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sudden change to new levels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>usually destroys the framework/context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>always involves short-term loss </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. S-Curve S-Curve 1 No problem. 2 What is going on here? 3 Whew!
  10. 11. <ul><li>Airlines </li></ul><ul><li>Automobiles </li></ul><ul><li>Telephones </li></ul><ul><li>Television </li></ul><ul><li>Health care </li></ul><ul><li>Retail </li></ul><ul><li>Utilities </li></ul><ul><li>Newspapers </li></ul><ul><li>Military </li></ul><ul><li>Election </li></ul><ul><li>Schools </li></ul>The Common Element Destruction of Monopolies Appearance of Competition
  11. 12. Speed Riding Motoring Flying Law of diminishing returns Running Inherent capacity for performance
  12. 13. x Old era New era Transitions inevitability create problems... … but problems are investments toward a better future.
  13. 14. <ul><li>“ Times will come in which our descendants will be amazed that we did not see the obvious.” -- Seneca . </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>Predictability, according to natural law, was one of the most powerful cornerstones of the scientific revolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Newton, Leibniz, Enlightenment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So much so that it became the default assumption about the future for physical science, social science and the professions </li></ul><ul><li>Based on the belief of order, causality, connectedness, and flow </li></ul><ul><li>The future as a river, following one path and leading to a specific point </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>We learn history as a series of events and actions, some with clear causal connections, but often as the result of surprising contingencies. </li></ul><ul><li>In last century, the contingencies and uncertainties inherent even in natural phenomena have become even more apparent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stochastic processes -- Galton </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quantum mechanics -- Bohr, Heisenberg </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biological evolution -- Gould </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chaos theory -- Lorenz </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complexity science -- von Neuman, Wolfram, Kauffman </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Based on the dominance of chance and uncertainty over determinism and predictability </li></ul><ul><li>The future as a dice game </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>The religious, economic and political traditions of Western society place primary responsibility for the future on individuals—on their intentions and their actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Religion claims that we will be rewarded and punished according to our actions; the law also holds individuals responsible for their actions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals in a market economy must provide for themselves and their families. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When something goes wrong, we look for someone to blame; when something goes well, we hand out awards. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Based on the dominance of human agency and free will over the forces of determinism and chance </li></ul><ul><li>The future as a blueprint </li></ul>
  17. 18. <ul><li>Trend </li></ul><ul><li>Plans </li></ul>
  18. 19. <ul><li>Overview of 2034 Report </li></ul><ul><li>Trends specific to Texas </li></ul><ul><li>Big differences in the expected future— The museum of 2034 </li></ul><ul><li>Implications of the expected future—so what for museums? </li></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><li>Factors that limit our understanding of the future </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of information “what we don’t know” </li></ul><ul><li>Incorrect theories “what we think we know” </li></ul><ul><li>Unexamined assumptions “what we believe we know” </li></ul>
  20. 21. The Future is many, not one. Source: Charles Taylor, Army War College Present Limit of Plausibility Alternative Futures Limit of Plausibility Past Implications Baseline
  21. 22. <ul><li>Trend </li></ul><ul><li>Plans </li></ul>Discontinuities Trend reversals Counter-trends Unfulfilled intentions Failed strategies Potential events Wildcards Unresolved issues Novel ideas Proposals Scenarios Implications
  22. 23. Indicative Will Must Should Subjunctive May Might Could Past Present Future
  23. 24. <ul><li>Scenario kernel: What might happen instead? </li></ul><ul><li>Support: Crowdsourcing the Future </li></ul><ul><li>Framing the story: Characters and events </li></ul><ul><li>Implications of the alternative future – </li></ul><ul><li>So what for museums? </li></ul>
  24. 25. Shaping the Future Scenario planning based on “Museums & Society 2034: Trends and Potential Futures
  25. 26. <ul><li>Credit = your name, institution </li></ul><ul><li>Confidential = “Private” </li></ul>
  26. 27. <ul><li>Crowdsource the Future! </li></ul>Mini-forecast! Predict one thing about museums and/or society suggested by this trend. Post your mini-forecast sticky at the top of your game sheet
  27. 28. <ul><ul><li>In 2034, non-profit cultural organizations must serve audiences that reflect the cultural/racial composition of their co mmunities ’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in order to receive state funding. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 29. Challenge! Support! Adapt! Investigate
  29. 30. Mini-forecast : “…must reflect the cultural/racial composition of their communities’ in order to receive state funding. Adapt : My museum would appoint community leaders to our exhibit selection team
  30. 31. <ul><li>Post mini-forecast </li></ul><ul><li>Pass to your right </li></ul><ul><li>Build on the forecast passed to you </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adapt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Investigate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pass to your right, repeat. </li></ul>
  31. 32. <ul><li>Which of the forecasts generated by your group do you think are the most likely to come true? </li></ul><ul><li>Which are the least likely? </li></ul><ul><li>Which forecast, in your group, is the most startling and revolutionary? </li></ul>
  32. 33. Storyboard <ul><li>Two different characters </li></ul><ul><li>Three events </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inciting incident </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SO WHAT HAPPENED? </li></ul>
  33. 34. <ul><li>Leisure/Recreation </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Family </li></ul><ul><li>Government support </li></ul><ul><li>Health and accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Work </li></ul>
  34. 35. Influencing Change
  35. 36. <ul><li>Trend </li></ul><ul><li>Plans </li></ul>Discontinuities Choice
  36. 37. The Future is many, not one. Source: Charles Taylor, Army War College Present Limit of Plausibility Alternative Futures Limit of Plausibility Past Implications Baseline
  37. 38. Futures Forces Thinking Techniques Expected (baseline) Constant Definite Historical Analogy Trends Scientific Extrapolation Plausible (alternative) Discontinuities Speculative Scenarios Surprises Imaginative Simulation Preferable (visionary) Choices Visionary Visioning Images Empowered Planning
  38. 39. Surprises
  39. 40. ...rather than in a big way all at once! Being surprised in little ways over a long time...
  40. 41. Learning faster than your competitors is the only sustainable competitive advantage in an environment of rapid innovation and change. — Arie de Geus, former Director Corporate Planning Royal Dutch Shell Group
  41. 42. <ul><li>Research: Demographic Transformation </li></ul><ul><li>and the Future of Museums—May 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Forecasting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Museum Forecasting Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forecasting the future of California museums </li></ul></ul>
  42. 43. <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Follow the CFM Blog </li></ul><ul><li>Peruse the Research Roundups </li></ul><ul><li>Watch Voices of the Future Videos </li></ul>
  43. 44. <ul><li>Center for the Future of Museums </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Peter C. Bishop </li></ul><ul><li>Educator, Facilitator, Futurist </li></ul><ul><li>Phone: 281-433-4160 </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>