Tag Archives: thoughts

Peter Schwartz by proxy supports the personalised futures methodologies of The FATE Institute

Future Implications: Is the future still the four box model?

Future Implications: Is the future still the four box model?

Peter Schwartz, co-founder of the GBN and a key advocate for scenario planning recently wrote in Wired about how to apply the methods of scenario planning normally applied in a corporate horizon scanning to a personalised futures context much in the same way as FATE develops personalized forecasting with the help of The Delphi Party service and The Microtrends Diary.

As personal genomics continues to become more accessible and affordable, it has opened up another way of understanding ourselves in the future, enabling individuals to quantify and digitise their future health and real time activites. There has been a coming together of how we understand ourselves by the use of other methodologies that are normally used on a large scale. The services that form The FATE Institute experience are about applying corporate horizon scanning to our personalised futures.

Yet The FATE Institute is still not in actual practice but in research and prototype stage. The next steps for The FATE Institute is to evolve beyond its current scope of research …. but where?

Holiday at the Airport

The latest in tourist holidaying is the “Holiday at the Airport”. There is no longer the need to actually leave the country but to enjoy the experience of being at the airport about to leave for a fantasy trip abroad.

Similar to the theme park experience, at the end of the security queue you receive a photo of your xray baggage and footage of you and your friends/family queuing with fear and excitement.

You receive photos of the people you meet, the places you loiter, the food you consume at the many vending and fast food chains.
You relish the moment you find that your flight is delayed and the electricity in the airport has failed. The moments you share with strangers will never be replaced, they are unique and you savor every angry word, stressed and confused face. You audio record the moment the airport representatives fob you off and the budget airlines blame each other…

This is the new ‘Holiday At the Airport”, just as Ballard might have depicted.

via flickr

Haynes Manuals go Galactic

Apollo 11

This Haynes manual looks at the evolution and design of the mighty Saturn V rocket, the Command and Service Modules, and the Lunar Module. It describes the space suits worn by the crew and their special life support and communications systems. We learn about how the Apollo 11 mission was flown – from launch procedures to ‘flying’ the Saturn V and the ‘LEM’, and from moon walking to the earth re-entry procedure.

What other exploded drawings could be put into a manual? Could the products of FATE be a manual to download and distribute via science commons?

My ‘Post RCA Adventures’ Presentation

The Jessica Post RCA Adventure Happiness Diagram

The Jessica Post RCA Adventure Happiness Diagram

A presentation given to the 1st and 2nd years of MA Design Interactions at the RCA about my Post RCA adventures since 2007. A great opportunity for reflecting on my past and deciding on my future. Quite a weird feeling going back to college but was nice to meet with the students especially to also be sharing my presentation time with Anab Jain and Susanna Soares. There was an overall optimistic feeling especially as these students will be graduating  smack bang in the middle of credit crunch. There was a group wave of joy as we all decided that these students wil be changing the face of recession and by their very enthusiasm and forward critical thinking approaches they will be creating the new design economy. Design is kicking ass at last!

Malcolm Gladwell talk


“So what is the Gladwell formula? All he does is pull together diverse bits of research, say the critics, and package them up in ways that do make you think, but mostly think things you sort of thought already. But isn’t that the art of journalism?” …The Daily Telegraph

Went to see Malcolm Gladwell last night to discuss his new book Outliers: The Story of Success at the Lyceum and thought umm, this guys know how to PR. The place was packed and it was in the most amazing theatre setting. Unfortuntaly the lecture was ok but not brilliant. Starting off with some good banter about the best way to name a lecture (by putting three famous names together and relying on the audience to think that the speaker has found an amazing link between them eg. Julius Caesear, Martin Chuzzlewitt and Helmut Lang!) He then continued to discuss that the cultural heritage of an individual affects how they act in certain situations, for example the Appalachia area is known to be a violent area of the States and one theory is that the original settlers came form the Border areas of northern england, known for its violent outbreaks between various clans under the pressure of keeping territory in small land mass. It soon got less interesting as Gladwell continued way too long to discuss how certain countries’ heritage and social interaction and mitigation causes plane crashes! But he did turn hardcore Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstede idea of the Power Distance Index into something really interesting. Hofstede tabulated a list of countries, creating the Power Distance Index and looks at how much a culture does or does not value hierarchical relationships and respect for authority. The index attempts to quantify how deferential subordinates are to their superiors in distinct cultures. Columbianss, Gladwell explains have an especially high power distance index which leads subordinates to speak in a way that seems delicate and circumlocutious to a country with a low power distance index, such as the United States.

Now on an EPIC journey

I’m at this moment attending and exhibiting at the EPIC conference in Copenhagen. It’s set in amazing surroundings at the Uni of Copenhagen and im surrounded by ethnographers, social anthropologists, designers of all strands. The conference theme is (in)visibility. I’m showing The Delphi Party service of the fictitious FATE institute in context of unveiling possible futures of a loved one within a facilitated workshop of friends and family.

Photoshopped Propaganda

The Library of Congress photostream

Dr. Doyen separating Hindoo twins (LOC)

Dr. Doyen separating Hindoo twins (LOC)

I have recently found The Library of Congress’s photostream on flickr and have become obsessed with their archive of the past 100 years of all sorts of amazing imagery. This one in particular totally grabbed my attentions not just for the operation procedure but the almost painterly composition of the surgeons and the patients posture very classical just like this Rembrandt painting:

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tuip (1632)

The Taxonomy of Futurists

Instructor explaining the operation of a parachute to student pilots, Meacham field, Fort Worth, Tex. (LOC)

Instructor explaining the operation of a parachute to student pilots, Meacham field, Fort Worth, Tex. (LOC)

Who are the future futurists and how were the past futurists defined?

From a paper written by Darlene E. Weingand entitled: Futures Research Methodologies:Linking Today’s Decisions With Tomorrow’s Possibilities

Here she defines 3groups of futurists in to Mainstream, Marginal and Non-Futurist

The Mainstream Futurist typically tends to be a generalist and is identified as a futures researcher or professional futurist, attends futures conferences, and/or contributes to futures journals. Six types can be listed:

The Synoptic Generalist…An Ideal, encompassing the ability to have a sense of the key elements of society, a grasp of trends and discontinuities, a willingness to forecast, a sense of pl ausible alternatives, comfort in dealing with complexity, a sense of values held by self and others, imagination, a theory of social change, direct or indirect optimism, and a sense of history.

The General Forecaster…One who forecasts [not predicts] changes in operating conditions; broad in space and long in time.

The Normative Generalist…One who makes no attempt to forecast the probably future, but rather focuses on “alternative futures”.

The Pop Futurist…the “popularizer” who writes for a broad audience, introduces people to futures thinking, and attracts people to utilizing futures research or becoming futures research ers.

The Multi-Identify Futurist…similar to the Pop Futurist; is well-known and influential, but is also known by other labels and the futurist role may be secondary.

The Specialized Futurist…a specialist in a single problem area, perhaps borrowing a few general ideas.

The Marginal Futurist has four sub-sets:

The Futurized Specialist…only secondarily a futurist; someone who is interested in futures- relevant questions, attends futures conferences and contributes to the literature, but identifies primarily with another field such as medicine, law, physics, etc.

The Closet Futurist…one who seriously thinks and writes about the future, but is in no way associated with futures research or the “futures movement”.

The Future Futurist… one who will become a futurist at a later time; possibly students.

The Forgotten Futurist…a writer or thinker from the past who dealt with futures themes but was not regarded as a futurist.

Two categories of Non-Futurist Futurists can be listed:

The Pseudo-Futurist…one who employs the language of the future, but offers no useful insight as to what might happen or what desirable futures to pursue.

The Straw-Man Futurist…a non-entity that is never defined; a conceptual and rhetorical target.

The End is Nigh

A poster made by Andrew Clement

A poster made by Andrew Clement

The Designing Safe Living research programme at Lancaster University has now been concluded and has been documented on the SafeLiving blog for all to see. It was an intense 3 days and i want to thank all those that have been involved in the years programme. I met some lovely people and was very well looked after and I look forward to some great collaborations to be created in the future.