One person's craziness is
another person's reality.
Tim Burton
Rx for Leadership Scotomas
(blindspots), aka Hunting Black Swans
[This presentation evolved from previous conceptual work ...
What is crazy?
In order to hunt for black swans, we must
first acknowledge they exist.
Some people may call that crazy.
Wh...
relativity
subjectively relative
contextually relative
temporally relative
technologically relative
culturally relative…
problematize
Crazy problematizes ‘normal’
…and so do futures.
[photo artifact from WIRED]
The Uses of Discomfort Rule.
Defra Horizon Scanning
(via Fiona Lickorish)
Any useful idea about the future
should appear to be
ridiculous.
Dator’s Third Law
Conceptual Blindspots
You keep using that word. I do not think it means
what you think it means.
Inigo Montoya to Vizzini,...
possible
probable
preferred
Roy Amara, Institute for the Future
possible
probable
preferred
Roy Amara, Institute for the Future
plausible
Oxford English Dictionary: Acceptable, agreeable,
pleasing, gratifying; winning public approval,
popular.
Obs.; Of an argu...
Images of the future:
a continuum of infinite possibilities
Set of all images of the future:
impossible, possible, probabl...
Futures craziness scale?
sanity /
normality /
plausibility
completely
bat@%$@
crazy
my futures
your futures
their futures
...
Methods Blindspots
Do our usual tools themselves create blindspots?
‘Horizon Scanning’: Origins
Environmental (‘horizon’) scanning:
Developed by Francis Aguilar, Harvard Business School, in ...
Life-cycle of Change
Life Cycle of Change
Schultz, adapted from Molitor
Developmentofanissue
Time
scientists; artists; rad...
!   Touring
!   minimal targeting, many sources; sensing.
!   Tracking
!   minor targeting, few sources; sense-making.
! S...
Forecast: fringe thinking ahead?
Empirical/
Evidence-based Research
Futures Research,
especially scanning
Credible;
Docume...
It’s resilience in uncertain times.
The ‘right’ answer
is to be prepared for an array of possible answers.
Futures fabber craziness?
logical /
quantitative /
evidence-based
prophetic
mythic
crazy
morphological analysis
econometri...
Believed images.
People’s beliefs about the future, and their images of the future,
affect their decisions and actions, wh...
Plausibility is maladaptive
in a VUCA world.
Wild, wicked, and vuca:
volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity.
Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic Systems:
The Cynefin Framework, David Snowden, Cognitive Edge
S-A-R:
Sense
Analyz...
SIMPLE:
relationship between
cause and effect obvious.
Solve by applying rules.
GRAD STUDENT
COMPLICATED:
relationship bet...
Rx: Suggestions for Treatment
A few methods that might erase your blindspots
and help target black swans.
Rx 1: Three Horizons Framework
Three Horizons Framework for Layering Change Life-cycles
B Sharp, T Hodgson, A Curry
Promin...
27
Identifying Questions for the
Three Horizons Framework
•  Does the change reinforce current working assumptions and
pat...
Rx 2: Causal Layered Analysis
!   Can’t stick to level of ‘media buzz’ or observable facts – no explanatory
power (Cynefin...
Rx 3: Futures Wheels
Siri ubiquitous
& biometric ID
Futures Wheel
market for !
“great voices”!
work noisier!
no passwords
...
Rx 4: Crazy Futures
Assumptions?
You go to eat
Building / site
Staff: chef makes food
Staff: servers bring food
Wholesale ...
Rx 5: Crowd-sourcing
!   Blog-mining
!   Twitter topic chats
!   Open brain-storming
!   Alternatives to the Singularity:
...
Alternatives to the
Singularity
A collaborative presentation for/by grumpy futurists
(This doc is now closed. Thanks to ev...
The Crapularity
3D printing + spam +
micropayments = tribbles
that you get billed for, as it
replicates wildly out of cont...
The Abu Dhabularity
High tech composites,
space planes,
advanced biometric
border control, the
world's largest indoor
carp...
The Grouponularity
In which aggregate consumer
purchasing power + pricing algorithms
+ applied captology, allows your
moth...
The Singaporularity
Nanotech, exotic materials, viral
sovereignty, soft authoritarianism,
and desalinization gone wild.
Ch...
The Thomas Friedmangularity
In the 1970s, Thomas Friedman is given a typewriter
because, eventually, it is predicted, he w...
Communicating black swans
(aka crazy futures)
Navigating the uncanny valleys of provocation, transgression, craziness.
Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't
believe impossible things.”
"I dare say you haven't had much ...
You have to go on and be crazy.
Craziness is like heaven.
Jimi Hendrix
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Crazy Futures aka Rx for Leadership Scotomas (why plausibility is maladaptive)

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Short slidedeck on overcoming mental boundaries and expanding conceptual horizons in considering what possible futures may emerge, as a means to avoiding decision blindspots and black elephants / black swans.

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  • Today I’d like to discuss crazy futures – and possibly crazy futurists as well. I want to address the need for ‘crazy futures’ by highlighting the relationship between futures thinking – specifically, the imaginative production of images of the future – and our understanding of both complexity and chaos. The explorations below consider:  The meanings of both components of the term – First, ‘crazy’ as contrasted with ‘normal’ generally, and then specifically with ‘plausibility’ as a term of art over-used in futures and foresight practice, especially scenario planning; andNext, ‘futures’, ie, images of non-existent, forward temporally displaced situations / contexts and their generation, especially as contributing to perceptions of ‘craziness’.Basic notions of complexity and chaos, and what they imply for the usefulness of crazy futures in contrast to plausible futures; andDeliberatelycreating and communicating usefully crazy futures. [Discussing crazy futurists is probably not worth investing time, given that the greater percentage of any given population already perceives the term to be redundant.]
  • The first known use of ‘crazy’ was in 1566, according to Merriam-Webster. It originally meant “full of cracks or flaws” – ie, like the glaze on a pot can be ‘crazed’ with cracks. The meaning “of unsound mind, or behaving as so,” emerged later, in the early 1600s. The jazz slang sense of crazy as ‘cool’ or ‘exciting’ sprang up in the late 1920s (clearly what we mean when we call ourselves ‘crazy futurists’). Nowadays it often means simply out of the ordinary, unusual – or impractical. So we need to think about two aspects of the term: 1) being flawed, unsound, or broken mentally; and 2) being unusual, and out of the ordinary. In the last 400 years, both physiological and psychological research have resulted in significant progress in our understanding the full range of illnesses and syndromes that contribute to a broad range of mental perspectives and resulting behaviours that observers might label ‘crazy.’ Those illnesses cause serious pain to both sufferers and their loved ones, and this discussion in no way is meant to downplay that.  
  • But judging behaviour as ‘crazy’ is subjectively relative. When I was a child, if I were walking down the street and the person coming towards me was talking to herself out loud, I would very likely cross the street to avoid her. Now we are all surrounded by crowds of people ‘talking to themselves’ – and no longer consider it ‘crazy’ because it is contextually appropriate in an era of mobile phone earpieces. It is neither unusual behaviour, nor out of the ordinary, given a specific technological setting. The same applies, of course, to different cultural settings: flooding a bathroom by using the shower hose outside of the stall is ‘crazy’ behaviour in the USA – but perfectly rational in Japan, where the bathing room has a drain in the floor, and one is expected to be clean * before * entering the bath. 
  • So if we define ‘crazy’ by contrast with ‘normal’, then it is the unusual as contrasted against the usual. ‘Crazy’ is subjectively relative to internal expectations filtered and biased by milieu, culture, and technological setting, among other things. That is precisely its utility to futures thinking. ‘Crazy’ – and the sense of nervous apprehension it engenders in viewers – highlights and problematizesthe assumptions and points of view that compose the normal. If the various futures we face are composed of surprises, of novelty – of the abnormal – then crazy is just what we need: it exposes our blind spots, the dangerous limitations of our assumptions.  But a more specific new antonym to ‘crazy’ has emerged in futures practice in the last few decades. Rather than opposing crazy with ‘normal,’ it equates ‘crazy’ with ‘impossible’, and opposes it with ‘plausible.’
  • In the early 80’s Roy Amara gave us a classic conceptualization of the set of all images of the future as roughly divisible into possible, probable, and preferred. This was useful because it was robust: possible was the set of everything – every future possible to imagine, whether or not they had already been imagined; probable was monitorable, if not measurable – researchers could observe emerging issues growing in momentum, becoming trends, evolving into greater probability; and preferable was articulable – researchers could engage stakeholders in value discussions and judgements and essentially map the value territory. In Venn diagram terms, the categories overlap, but are still useful as a conceptual base for futures research methods.  
  • Yet somehow over the intervening decades, the terms have morphed to ‘possible, plausible, probable, and preferable futures’. Sometimes the wide and woolly set of ‘possible’ drops entirely from the field of view, and only ‘probable, plausible, and preferable’ futures remain. ‘Plausibility’ has emerged as a primary operating assumption, even a criterion for excellence, within English-speaking scenario practice (especially within the community of ‘scenario planners’).
  • FOR-LEARN: “To be effective, scenarios must be plausible, consistent and offer insights into the future. Plausibility: A scenario must be plausible. This means that it must fall within the limits of what might conceivably happen.”From Thinking About the Future: Guidelines for Strategic Foresight, “…plausible futures: reasonable outcomes, with a discernable pathway from the present to the future. For example, discovering extraterrestrial life within the next decade is possible, but not plausible.”Let me emphasise the first two of these quotes, because they clarify the matter by offering a definition, and an example, of plausibility. FOR-LEARN suggests that a plausible scenario “must fall within the limits of what might conceivably happen.” The authors of Thinking About the Future suggest that plausible futures offer “…reasonable outcomes, with a discernable pathway from the present to the future.” They further clarify with an example: “For example, discovering extraterrestrial life within the next decade is possible, but not plausible.” The difficulty with both of these lies in the subjective capability and state of knowledge of the viewer: the more knowledgeable the viewer on the topic of the scenario, or its component details, the more events and futures they are capable of conceiving could happen. In the example given of discovering extraterrestrial life, the scenario is possible, but perhaps of low probability. But it is in fact plausible, because discernible pathways exist not only to the evolution of extraterrestrial life, but also to our discovery of it (given the various robotic surveys of other planets we have launched recently).
  • Defining ‘plausibility’ is problematic. This limits its usefulness as a criterion for excellence in futures thinking, even assuming that it is an appropriate criterion for excellence. So let’s hit the dictionaries once again: what is the technical definition of ‘plausible,’ and what is its etymology?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary tells us that plausible means “superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious <a plausible pretext>; superficially pleasing or persuasive <a swindler… , then a quack, then a smooth, plausible gentleman — R. W. Emerson>; appearing worthy of belief <the argument was both powerful and plausible>.”  Embedded within the structure of this word is the professional vulnerability that all futures researchers face in practicing an intellectual discipline for which there are no future facts, in a world of decision-makers hungry for an evidence base: how to seem valuable when we are suspected of purveying specious results and being quacks. The OED entry is even more telling, in offering us the older, now obsolete uses of the word, all of which revolve around pleasing the public and thereby winning approval.The OED then clarifies current uses, suggesting that plausible ideas seem reasonable or probable – while pointing out that it formerly implied such an appearance of reason was false. Furthermore, when applied to a person, it * still * implies an intention to deceive cloaked in false persuasion. My apologies for dwelling on these historical facts of etymological evolution at such length. But my observations of how consultants use the label ‘plausible scenarios’, or ‘plausible futures’, suggest that it is actually code for “…don’t give the clients crazy futures, or they’ll reject them, reject us, and we won’t get paid and will never work in this town again.” How often in strategic foresight projects do the end results offer truly transformational futures that challenge participants to consider the possibilities of deep structural change? Of worlds with entirely different economic or political systems? Of usefully crazy futures?
  • So having talked through ‘crazy’, now let’s talk through ‘futures’.While scenario thinking per se originated in Herman Kahn’s policy strategy concerns, the origin of futures thinking is rooted in the image of the future, and Fred Polak’s concern for the vitality of human cultures and civilizations. We shouldn’t limit the ‘futures’ in ‘crazy futures’ to strategic scenarios alone. Such purpose-designed images of the future compete for mental and emotional space with a nearly endless supply of images of the future generated across human activity. Imagining long-range futures is a talent unique to our species – so what images do we create, how do we create them, and what are they for?Clem Bezold has helpfully summed up a key distinction in images of the future between the thought experiments – scenarios – as being ‘futures for the head’, and aspiration articulations – visions – as being ‘futures for the heart’. But a few more gradations exist. 
  • We could probably conceptualize a craziness scale for futures, anchored at sanity/normality/plausibility on the one end, and ‘completely bat@%$@ crazy’ at the other extreme. It might be operationalized as the percentage of any given population that perceives a specific image of the future as offensively, scarily transgressive and transformative beyond all bounds of reason and decency. If nobody feels the future is beyond all bounds, it’s normal and plausible as normal can be. If 50% of the people feel it’s beyond all bounds of reason and decency, and the other 50% do not, then it’s only moderately crazy. And so on.
  • It is not just the image itself that is judged. ‘Crazy futures’ often earn that label despite being prosaic and mundane in content, if they have transgressed in process. The current decision-making environment for many economic, political, and social issues is instrumentalist, evidence-based and biased towards Western empiricism. Sadly, a field that engages in research despite lacking an ability to observe its subject directly (until such time as tachyon-powered time machines or traversable wormholes enable field research in the futures) often lacks credibility as well. In a previous essay, I summarised this ‘cultural contradiction’ between the criteria for excellence in empirical, evidence-based research, and for excellence in futures research (specifically horizon scanning), as summarized above.
  • Bishop, Hines, and Collins have inventoried formal futures methods for generating images of the future – both scenarios (extrapolations) and visions (value-based preferred future articulations) – and described almost two dozen rigorously structured processes. These range from logical and quantitative methods using statistical trend extrapolation, computer-aided cross-impact matrices, and systems dynamics modelling, through facilitated group process dialogue, to meditative, ‘guided visualization’ techniques. Evidence-based decision support cultures prefer their futures heavily salted with data and quantitative extrapolation. They are likely to shy away from guided visualization workshops. So decision-makers, observers – and practitioners – also judge some means of generating futures as ‘crazy’. Generally, the more intuitive methods are greeted with the most scepticism and distrust.  Scenario planners and scenario builders are not alone in devising images of the future. Artists, advertisers, novelists, screenwriters, animators, sculptors, analysts, and leaders all generate stories, images, and artifacts expressing different future outcomes and environments. So do prophets, astrologers, tea-leaf readers, shamans, and particularly skilled remote viewers. By extension, if rigorous but intuitive tools such as guided visualization earn scepticism, artistic inspiration may as well – and astrologers, shamans, and remote viewers earn outright derision.
  • Why shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t we just discard images of the future generated by ‘crazy’ methods such as astrological computations and shamanic trances and remote viewing? To answer that we must return to the conceptual foundations and core assumptions of futures studies as a field of research, which include:There is not one single future, but multiple alternative futures;People’s beliefs about the future, and their related images of the future, affect their decisions and actions, which in turn create the futures as an emergent property of aggregated interconnected actions;Because any given lived future at any given moment is an emergent property of a complex system that frequently exhibits chaotic behavior, it is not possible to ‘predict’ human futures.Based on these assumptions, we can see that from a purely investigative perspective it is not important which future is correct, or which future is best supported by empirically credible data, or which future is most plausible. The most important future is the future the greatest number of people believe the most: it is the future on which the majority are basing their decisions and actions. And therefore it is absolutely irrelevant how that future was generated, and how credible its empirical underpinnings are. If people read astrological forecasts or tea leaves or goat entrails, and then act on those images of the future, then those images of the future are important for us as futures researchers to consider. The craziest methods can generate the most compelling futures, and crazy or not,if widely believed, then those are the futures with which we should be most concerned.
  • VUCA and wicked problems, need for wicked leadership: Frank Spencer, KedgeForwardComplex systems are self-organizing, self-directing, self-repairing, and adaptive [check for complete list of characteristics]. Their self-directing and adaptive characteristics result in evolutionary change over time, producing in turn novel emergent properties. They generate surprises. If sentient, they undoubtedly surprise themselves. Emergent properties are ‘out of the ordinary’, if by ordinary we mean the previous patterns of ordered system behaviour. So any complex adaptive system (and all human systems – whether single individuals or collections as organizations, or communities, or nation-states – are complex adaptive/evolving systems) will at one point or another generate ‘crazy states’ (apologies to Dror). It becomes even more likely that these systems will exhibit ‘crazy’, ie, ‘out of the ordinary’ behaviour if they are stressed by larger energy or information flows. One response to stress in a complex system is a phase change into chaotic behaviour. This phase change also creates the potential for novel and unusual behaviour outside the ordinary.  So in the end, a focus on ‘crazy futures’ may be the most adaptive strategy we can encourage people to adopt, and a focus on ‘plausibility’ the most maladaptive. Is your future crazy enough to help you / your organization / your community evolve? Better that we rehearse the full range of surprises that may await us across our futures, than be ill-prepared and unable to adapt. Emergence and evolution are preferable to equilibrium.
  • Animators have recently identified an interesting perceptual space they call ‘the uncanny valley.’ The uncanny valley hypothesis suggests that when human ‘replicas’ – either animated or robotic – look and act almost, but not perfectly, human, people response with revulsion. Granted, James Cameron seems to have overcome the effect in generating the Navi characters over the motion capture performance of his actors. The relevance to useful crazy futures is that something similar existsin conveying radically transgressive, transformative images of possible futures: up until a point, increasing craziness increases how exciting, provocative, and challenging they are. Beyond that point, increasing craziness pushes the futures into the uncanny valley of the unthinkable, on the other side of which is the transgression of perfect conceptual chaos. Whatever their degree of craziness, useful futures are compelling – people respond to them, adopt them, and use them to inform action.  So how do we decrease the uncanny valley of the unthinkable – how do we avoid Cassandra syndrome? The endeavour of deploying crazy futures asks us to balance on a knife edge of usability: too normal, and no mind-shift results; too crazy, and brain-freeze occurs. Likewise, futures too divorced from our own experience may feel very crazy, but not be very compelling; too near to our own experience, and the futures will be too subjective to be useful – compelling, but insufficiently out of the ordinary. A possible antidote can be found in audience participation. Cutting edge methods in scenario building include projects like Jane McGonigal’sSuperStruct, and Evoke, and the growing body of work using the Institute for the Future’s “Foresight Engine”. These projects all rely on massively crowd-sourced, participatory futures formation via on-line game environments. They evolve from each individual’s own participation, which is very compelling – but they evolve. The futures generated are emergent properties of the participants’ interactions with each other, and the useful strangeness arises from those interactions. In The Art of Immersion, Frank Rose offers a range of case studies underlining how powerfully engaging the unfinished story can be. This is the Web 2.0 corollary of McLuhan’s ‘media hot and cool’: the most compelling media are the ‘cool’ media, conveying ideas in low definition and inviting us to participate in completing the details. So whatever crazy futures we imagine, we should imagine them with holes, with interstitial spaces that invite other people to adapt them and adopt them: a crazy future must be compelling to be useful.
  • What’s your institution / issue / or object of interest? As an example, let’s take restaurants.What do we currently take for granted about restaurants? What are our current-day assumptions about why we go, what we do, how they run, what they provide, how we interact with them, how their products are created, etc?Here’s a short example list.Now, let’s take each assumption one by one and consider extreme alternatives or opposites of that assumption or characteristic.Are there any assumptions that seem to have no opposite, or no alternatives?Great. Now, who can name any examples of emerging paradigms, designs, relationships, business models, etc. that actually exist today and point to a transformational future building on one of our extreme opposites for the restaurant business?We’ve already listed a few.
  • What’s your institution / issue / or object of interest? Now let’s crowdsource one. I know Cindy Frewen-Wuellner is first up in the USA speaker line-up – so let’s do cities.What do we currently take for granted about cities? What are our current-day assumptions about how they are built, what purpose they serve, what they are made of, how long they should last – any characteristics of cities?Now, let’s take each assumption one by one and consider extreme alternatives or opposites of that assumption or characteristic.Are there any assumptions that seem to have no opposite, or no alternatives?Great. Now, who can name any examples of emerging paradigms, designs, relationships, business models, etc. that actually exist today and point to a transformational future for cities building on one of our extreme opposites?
  • In order to thrive in whatever futures we pass through, it helps to rehearse what our values, assumptions, decisions and actions -- our very sense of self –might be in those futures. Authentic rehearsal inevitably requires that at some level we choose to believe not only what is plausible, and not just what is probable or possible, but that we stretch our values, assumptions, and sense of self to believe and rehearse for the impossible as well. So call me crazy.
  • Crazy Futures aka Rx for Leadership Scotomas (why plausibility is maladaptive)

    1. 1. One person's craziness is another person's reality. Tim Burton
    2. 2. Rx for Leadership Scotomas (blindspots), aka Hunting Black Swans [This presentation evolved from previous conceptual work drafted for the UEFISCDI Crazy Futures Seminar, Romania, June 2011. 6 December 2011 Dr Wendy L Schultz Infinite Futures
    3. 3. What is crazy? In order to hunt for black swans, we must first acknowledge they exist. Some people may call that crazy. What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable. “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable". The New York Times. 22 April 2007.
    4. 4. relativity subjectively relative contextually relative temporally relative technologically relative culturally relative…
    5. 5. problematize Crazy problematizes ‘normal’ …and so do futures. [photo artifact from WIRED]
    6. 6. The Uses of Discomfort Rule. Defra Horizon Scanning (via Fiona Lickorish)
    7. 7. Any useful idea about the future should appear to be ridiculous. Dator’s Third Law
    8. 8. Conceptual Blindspots You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Inigo Montoya to Vizzini, in The Princess Bride
    9. 9. possible probable preferred Roy Amara, Institute for the Future
    10. 10. possible probable preferred Roy Amara, Institute for the Future plausible
    11. 11. Oxford English Dictionary: Acceptable, agreeable, pleasing, gratifying; winning public approval, popular. Obs.; Of an argument, an idea, a statement, etc.: seeming reasonable, probable, or truthful; convincing, believable; (formerly) spec. having a false appearance of reason or veracity; specious. Of a person: convincing or persuasive, esp. with the intention to deceive.
    12. 12. Images of the future: a continuum of infinite possibilities Set of all images of the future: impossible, possible, probable, preferable dystopias visions scenarios: downside scenarios: PTE (present trends extended) scenarios: upside utopias nightmares Categories are value-based and subjective against the preferable AND the ’plausible’: ’craziness’ is contingent.
    13. 13. Futures craziness scale? sanity / normality / plausibility completely bat@%$@ crazy my futures your futures their futures random futures random futures random futures
    14. 14. Methods Blindspots Do our usual tools themselves create blindspots?
    15. 15. ‘Horizon Scanning’: Origins Environmental (‘horizon’) scanning: Developed by Francis Aguilar, Harvard Business School, in Scanning the Business Environment (New York: MacMillan, 1967). First industry-wide use of scanning: TAP – Trends Analysis Program, American Council of Life Insurance, 1970 Widely accepted by business (Jain 1984); linked to competitive intelligence. Issues management: Fusion of public relations and futures studies -- links to public policy; Analysis of near-term issues and plans to address them. Emerging issues analysis: S-curve “life-cycle of change” (Molitor 1977) Leading ideas, events, authorities/advocates, literature, organisations, political jurisdictions (bellwether); and economic activity of society (shifts in production mode).
    16. 16. Life-cycle of Change Life Cycle of Change Schultz, adapted from Molitor Developmentofanissue Time scientists; artists; radicals; mystics specialists’ journals and websites laypersons’ magazines; websites; documentaries newspapers; news magazines; broadcast media institutions and government local; few cases; emerging issues global; multiple dispersed cases; trends and drivers system limits; problems develop; unintended impacts
    17. 17. !   Touring !   minimal targeting, many sources; sensing. !   Tracking !   minor targeting, few sources; sense-making. ! Satisficing !   moderate targeting, few sources; learning. !   Retrieving !   high targeting, many sources; retrieving. Chun Wei Choo, ASIS Bulletin ‘Horizon Scanning’: 4 Modes http://choo.fis.utoronto.ca/FIS/ResPub/ASISbulletin/default.html
    18. 18. Forecast: fringe thinking ahead? Empirical/ Evidence-based Research Futures Research, especially scanning Credible; Documented; Authoritative; Statistically significant; Coherent: the data agree; Consensus-based: the experts agree; Theoretically grounded; Mono-disciplinary. Emerging issues often lack apparent credibility; Difficult to document, as only one or two cases may yet exist; Emerging from marginalized fringe; By definition only one or two cases exist = insignificant; At emergence, the data will vary widely; No consensus – rejection due to paradigm challenges; Emerging changes often challenge previous theoretical structures and necessitate the construction of new theories; Most interesting new change emerges where disciplines converge and clash: a post-disciplinary perspective.
    19. 19. It’s resilience in uncertain times. The ‘right’ answer is to be prepared for an array of possible answers.
    20. 20. Futures fabber craziness? logical / quantitative / evidence-based prophetic mythic crazy morphological analysis econometrics shamanistic visions tea-leaf reading remote viewing systems dynamics modelling axes of uncertainty statistical extrapolation CLA crowd-sourcing artistic vision
    21. 21. Believed images. People’s beliefs about the future, and their images of the future, affect their decisions and actions, which in turn create the futures as an emergent property of aggregated interconnected actions.
    22. 22. Plausibility is maladaptive in a VUCA world. Wild, wicked, and vuca: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity.
    23. 23. Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic Systems: The Cynefin Framework, David Snowden, Cognitive Edge S-A-R: Sense Analyze Respond S-C-R: Sense Categorize Respond A-S-R: Act Sense Respond P-S-R: Probe Sense Respond See http://hbr.org/2007/11/a-leaders-framework-for-decision-making/ar/1
    24. 24. SIMPLE: relationship between cause and effect obvious. Solve by applying rules. GRAD STUDENT COMPLICATED: relationship between cause and effect needs analysis / investigation. Solve by applying expert knowledge in field. PROFESSOR CHAOTIC: NO relationship between cause and effect. WILD CARDS. DIVERGENT THINKERS COMPLEX: relationship between cause and effect can only be seen in retrospect. Solve by interdisciplinary investigation, deep questioning. EXPERT TEAMS Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic Systems: The Cynefin Framework, David Snowden, Cognitive Edge
    25. 25. Rx: Suggestions for Treatment A few methods that might erase your blindspots and help target black swans.
    26. 26. Rx 1: Three Horizons Framework Three Horizons Framework for Layering Change Life-cycles B Sharp, T Hodgson, A Curry Prominence(visibility) http://www.jfs.tku.edu.tw/13-1/A01.pdf
    27. 27. 27 Identifying Questions for the Three Horizons Framework •  Does the change reinforce current working assumptions and patterns of production and marketing (horizon 1)? •  Does the change present completely new paradigms and means to understand and undertake various human activities (horizon 3)? •  Does the change identify a transition or accommodation for evolving tensions as current assumptions obsolesce, and transformative changes erupt into possibility (horizon 2)?
    28. 28. Rx 2: Causal Layered Analysis !   Can’t stick to level of ‘media buzz’ or observable facts – no explanatory power (Cynefin: simple systems) !   Can’t rely entirely on technical and systemic explanations, as those are filtered and constrained by existing paradigms and worldviews (Cynefin: complicated systems) !   Can’t rely entirely on existing paradigms and worldviews, as they are obsolescing, eroding – and culturally conditioned: what are alternative paradigms? (Cynefin: complex and emergent systems) !   To combat blindspots, drill down to deep culture – your myths, metaphors, and values: what are alternative myths, metaphors, and values? !   What alternative paradigms and worldviews to they imply? !   What alternative systems and research questions arise from the alternative worldviews? !   What alternative events and ‘buzz’ are generated by new systems and ways of explaining the world? Sohail Inayatullah http://www.metafuture.org/Articles/CausalLayeredAnalysis.htm
    29. 29. Rx 3: Futures Wheels Siri ubiquitous & biometric ID Futures Wheel market for ! “great voices”! work noisier! no passwords required! drop in carpal ! tunnel syndrome! Increase in worker productivity decline in worker compensation costs collapse of keyboard wrist rest market New licensing opp’ty for popular singers and actors pirate market: great voices “napsterized” Rather talk to your machine than you… Eg, Siri…. www.cgee.org.br/atividades/redirKori/538
    30. 30. Rx 4: Crazy Futures Assumptions? You go to eat Building / site Staff: chef makes food Staff: servers bring food Wholesale suppliers Business / for-profit Customers pay You go to socialize Eg, restaurants…. Opposites? ? Mobile, nomadic: hot air balloon, treehouse Food printer, collaborative co-cooking Robots, dispenser Customers bring own raw ingredients Community resource Barter, in-kind ? Data/emerging? Pop-up shops; tree-house restaurant (Aus) MIT; Cornell; … Japan Forage (LA)
    31. 31. Rx 5: Crowd-sourcing !   Blog-mining !   Twitter topic chats !   Open brain-storming !   Alternatives to the Singularity: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=0AR1q-x- Rqc3KZGNxd3J0N3JfMzdmY2d6MnpjOA&hl=en_US !   Commentary on Alternatives to the Singuarity: http://www.iftf.org/node/3939 !   Futures gaming !   Institute for the Future’s Foresight Engine: http://www.iftf.org/taxonomy/term/1751 !   Jane McGonigal, SuperStruct: http://archive.superstructgame.net/about and EVOKE: http://www.urgentevoke.com/ !   Public narrative collection (eg, Sensemaker studies) !   Cognitive Edge: http://www.cognitive-edge.com/casestudies.php, and ! Sensemaker Suite: http://www.sensemaker-suite.com/ Eg, viral slidedecks….
    32. 32. Alternatives to the Singularity A collaborative presentation for/by grumpy futurists (This doc is now closed. Thanks to everyone who contributed; we be putting up a "Best Of" version soon. Here is more about the back story in the mean while.) [check speaker notes for other comments] Began August 3, 2011 Forked 9:45 am GMT, August 5, 2011 Closed for good August 7, 2011
    33. 33. The Crapularity 3D printing + spam + micropayments = tribbles that you get billed for, as it replicates wildly out of control. 90% of everything is rubbish, and it's all in your spare room – or someone else's spare room, which you're forced to rent through AirBnB. Source: @justinpickard A pile of worthless "crapjects" (neologism coined by @iftf)
    34. 34. The Abu Dhabularity High tech composites, space planes, advanced biometric border control, the world's largest indoor carpet, golf resorts, space elevators camouflaged as the world's tallest building, cyborg camel racing, and robot armies in Ferrari colours. Source: @nraford
    35. 35. The Grouponularity In which aggregate consumer purchasing power + pricing algorithms + applied captology, allows your mother (working in concert with everyone else's mother) to reduce the price of 99% of mainstream consumer goods to ~0. The global economy is replaced by something almost equally improbable. Unfortunately, it's comprised entirely of jet-ski adventure days, bread makers, and underwhelming restaurant meals. Source: @justinpickard
    36. 36. The Singaporularity Nanotech, exotic materials, viral sovereignty, soft authoritarianism, and desalinization gone wild. Cheerful, well-disciplined, racially- diverse pre-teens leading a world wide geoengineering blitzkrieg. Climate change? Solved. Civil liberties? Surplus to requirements. Source: @justinpickard
    37. 37. The Thomas Friedmangularity In the 1970s, Thomas Friedman is given a typewriter because, eventually, it is predicted, he will write the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Black-budget skunkworks futurists at DARPA, RAND and the Columbia School of Journalism think the unthinkable: what would happen if a million Friedmans were given a million New York Times op-ed columns? The Friedman-Net Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 2017. Editorial decisions are removed from op-ed column writing. Friedman-Net begins to pundit randomly about surreal global policy shaggy dog stories and factoid-rich anecdotes from picturesque foreign taxi-cab drivers at a geometric rate. It becomes completely, utterly unself-aware at 2:14am, Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug. Friedman-Net fights back. Planet Earth, A.D. 2029: Thomas Friedman is now absolutely right. About everything. EVERYTHING. Source: @thezhanly
    38. 38. Communicating black swans (aka crazy futures) Navigating the uncanny valleys of provocation, transgression, craziness.
    39. 39. Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things.” "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Lewis Carroll / Charles Dodgson, Alice in Wonderland
    40. 40. You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven. Jimi Hendrix

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