The Rebuild

Well.  It's been a rough few weeks. More long read think pieces have been written that perhaps at any


July 3 · Issue #23 · View online
A periodic look into research threads on critical futures, strategy, post-normal innovation, providing a look over the shoulder of the team at Changeist. Each issue includes brief analysis, links, updates, and occasional auditory hallucinations.

It’s been a rough few weeks. More long read think pieces have been written that perhaps at any moment in recent history. As Niti Bhan pointed out this morning, the comments have been better than the articles in a surprising number of cases—surely a sign of the End Times. 
I had written a longish reflection here as well, but a stack of Web-side technology and an apparently disagreeable browser conspired to save a blank page. So, Saturday wasted, but consider yourself spared.
To summarize: 
It seems clear in the aftermath (or at least an acceptable hypothesis) that the turmoil generated by the majority Leave vote for Brexit has its popular roots in the failure of corporate globalization (private as well as large public institution) to deliver many long-term benefits to a large part of society. Even many on the Remain side are only just teetering on the edge of precarity, but have been able to take advantage of mobility, technology and a measure of privilege just to run in place.
The offered options of “rewind to an imagined past” or “restore to June 23 version” are both extremely limited by their lack of vision. The same lack of vision among elites of both sides has become evident to even the least “informed” (to use the popular meme). They can see it in their own lives—a lack of agency, materials and channels to create new futures that are both locally relevant and broadly amenable lead to a corrosive cocktail of frustration and anger. 
New futures are desperately needed—in the UK, Europe, the West and the world at large. Collectively and individually, we’re up against the existential threat of climate change, surrounded by viral conflict, and face having critical transitions to new models of education, energy, mobility, economics, manufacturing and much more either strangled in the crib, or shaped by a barely accountable coterie of megaplatforms. 
Tools, access and the agency are needed in order to imagine, model, describe, communicate and ultimately create the elements of these transitions—to make them happen. Tools that combine structured ways to imagine different realities. Access available to anyone, regardless of power, position or point of view. Agency enabled by creating space for people to speak, be heard, and act. 
To me, this is the best use of futures tools—identifying, imagining and shaping alternatives that improve our quality of life. Writer Nick Harkaway outlines some ambitious visions for a future Britain linked below—sketching just a handful of the many possible ways forward that involve progress, not the feeble regression so often voiced this past week. These could be relevant almost anywhere, not just in Britain. They represent a down payment, a starting point of necessary visions. These kinds of ideas represent the best option we have to get to sustainable, stable, and flourishing societies.  
We’re raising our hands. We’re ready to get stuck in, to work with willing partners to help make this happen, to go forward rather than go back or stand still. Anyone who’s ready, consider us in

On The Agenda
We’ve just finished the initial round of visioning to shape the 2017 Museum of the Future in Dubai. Once again, the great folks at Tellart Amsterdam hosted, and new friends and connections were made. Keep an eye out for updates on progress. 
I was in Brussels both pre- and post-referendum, first to talk to the European Commission’s Connect University Summer School program about the future of citizenship (called “provocative” on June 22 when it was given, status quo on June 24), then to kick off a day-long discussion of future technology standards with CENELEC. Thanks to both groups for the invitations. 
Summer camp: Just a reminder that our annual 2-week summer course in Innovation and Futures Thinking is coming up at IED Barcelona in two short weeks. There is still room to register and join us. We’ll be applying experiential futures as an approach to create responses to climate change. John Willshire of Smithery, Andres Colmenares of Internet Age Media, and Changeist’s Natalie Kane will be on the decks as well.
Thingclash: Our Thingclash workshop is coming up this Friday at VPRO Medialab in Eindhoven, held as part of the next Thingscon Salon. The workshop is currently full and has a waiting list, but if you’re near, you might try to sign up just in case. If you want us to bring the workshop to you, give us a shout. 
How to Future: A reminder that we’re also offering How to Future workshops in 1-day and 3-day and 2-week formats worldwide. These workshops are designed to introduce participants to a range of concepts and practices used in strategic foresight as it connects to strategy and design. Each masterclass teaches participants how to apply these tools for trends research, simple scenario development and prototyping. We can customize these workshops with partner organizations to fit a range of formats, from internal executive education to standalone workshops. 
FutureFest: I’m very pleased to announce I’ll be speaking at FutureFest in London, organized by Nesta, in September. I’ll be talking about how to thrive in the mid-21st century. Pat Kane, Ruth Amos, Ghislaine Boddington, Morgaine Gaye and the curatorial team are putting together a compelling, thought provoking event, with folks like Brian Eno, Will Self, Cindy Gallop, Melody Hossaini, and Soh Yeong Roh on stage. Grab your ticket. 
New writing from the squad as well! 
The Many Futures of Babytech
When Perfect Is the Enemy — Medium
The Rebuild
Time To Build — An Extremely Short Manifesto — Essays and non-fiction — Medium
Dreaming Britain — Essays and non-fiction — Medium
Using our knowledge of the workings of human memory to create alternative futures — Medium
The Network
Situated Systems: Synthesis
Systems fiction: a novel way to think about the present
Roti Capy, No Sambal. — Medium
Tell the 'Bots' Your Secrets
Begin Again
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