Tagged: futures methodology

The futurist’s metaphorical menagerie - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Mar 16, 2020

  Futures folk like animal metaphors for uncertainties. “Black swans” is a favourite one, and currently doing the rounds with opinions about COVID-19. The term “black swan”, popularised by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2007 book of the similar name, refers to unanticipated events with big impacts. However, COVID-19 and other epi- or pandemics aren’t black swans. They … Read More

The speeds of life - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Mar 08, 2020

  Many people think that the speed of change today is unprecedented. That’s just because we have short memories. Historians focused on Western civilisation, like Vaclav Smil, point back to the late 19th and early 20th Century when electricity, radio, the telegraph, telephone, phonograph, cars, planes, anaesthetics, and (a bit later) antibiotics emerged. Smil … Read More

Transitioning - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Dec 31, 2019

Two things you can guarantee at this time of the year. Predictions about the coming year, and days at the beach (only lightly polluted, hopefully). Futures thinking is often seen as identifying the “next big thing” – technology and consumer trends. But that’s surface level futuring. Wave spotting. As a first step in raising awareness of change … Read More

Game of Futures - Ariadne

Robert Hickson May 27, 2019

No one needs telling that the Future is Coming. But there are different perspectives and attitudes toward it. Some see the future as “dark and full of terrors” – The machines are taking over; Democracy is dying; We are doomed! Others see nothing but light – Technological utopianism; Singularities; Becoming an interplanetary species; Or a delight for … Read More

NZ scenarios for technological change - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Apr 20, 2019

New Zealand’s Productivity Commission has developed draft scenarios to examine the future of work. The  scenarios are intended to describe a range of future impacts of technological change on the future of work, the workforce, labour markets, productivity and wellbeing. They will be used to test the effectiveness of different policies. The Commission is … Read More

Thinking beyond the impossible burger - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Jul 12, 2018

The agricultural sector has long been called a “sunset industry”. If so, it’s more a long drawn out polar twilight than a quick tropical dusk. Rosie Bosworth has written about New Zealand becoming the ‘Detroit of Agriculture’. Scary stuff, for some. A welcome transformation for others, if you read the opinion pieces. But are predictions of the … Read More

The silent “y” in futures - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Sep 23, 2016

Many discussions about the future are about “what?” and “how?” What will … [insert favourite industry or issue here] … look like? How will we … [insert favourite activity] … in the future? The outcomes are usually lists or descriptions. These are fundamentally second order futures questions. They are a consequence of a need for answers in the face of … Read More

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