Scanning Retrospective, No. 26

‘From the pages of prospect’ – No. 1

[Originally published] Issue 2, Dec 2000

From this post onwards, we now dip into the items that were published in the Foresight Bulletin, prospect, starting with issue 2, the first issue that I edited. Most will not be given in their entirety, since they were often full-length articles taken from journals, magazines or other long-form sources. Rather, it will be sufficient to just give the ‘flavour’ of the piece in order to see how well they have ‘aged’. Initially, there were a handful of Snippets-ish type items, but these soon gave way to longer-form articles.

  • Ain’t no network strong enough
  • Home is where the e-classroom is
  • Internet contributes to rise of identity theft, FTC says

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Scanning Retrospective, No. 25

Foresight Snippets – No. 25

[Originally published in] prospect no 10, December 2002

  • The chronic question: “What is Time?”
  • Macrohistory – the really big picture view
  • And finally, “who is it that ‘knows’?”

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Exponential Minds Podcast interview

Nikolas Badminton of the Exponential Minds Podcast and I had a chat a couple of months ago. That interview is now live.

We had a pretty fun conversation. It did meander just a teeny little bit, but it does manage to mention quite a few things as a result: something of the history of my use of the Futures Cone; the levels at which foresight can be implemented; Big History and how I’ve used it to frame the coming civilisational energy transition (i.e., away from fossil fuels); as well as mention of David Christian‘s new book which continues on from Origin Story (which I was reading in manuscript at the time). Of course, there are also some aliens mentioned in there, as is Hoag’s Object. There’s also a little bit on this blog’s current scanning retrospective and the concept of futures intelligence. So, all in all, regular readers won’t find too much that is unfamiliar in the interview, but it might be fun to hear it spoken of. Nikolas did a pretty good job of paring it all back from the very long chat we had! 😉

What I am smiting my forehead over, though, is that I forgot to mention Cal Newport’s 2019 book Digital Minimalism, during the segment where we were talking about using technology with careful intention. My bad! Also, Newport’s podcast, whose name I couldn’t quite remember, is Deep Questions, and it just keeps getting better and better as Cal hits his stride with it. It’s definitely re-ignited my interest in intentional approaches to productivity. Might end up doing a series of posts on that, one of these years…

Anyway, I do hope you enjoy listening to the interview as much I did recording it! Thanks Nikolas!

The Interview:
at Exponential Minds
on YouTube

Scanning ‘the’ environment

As noted in an earlier post, I tend to distinguish between environmental scanning and horizon scanning, the former being relatively more proximal to the organisation/entity (in my usage), the latter being relatively more distal, although the terms are frequently used interchangeably in the literature. Expanding upon this distinction is useful because it allows for the creation of a more tractable ‘segmentation’ of the broader organisational environment into parts for which certain information sources are more clearly relevant and thereby more easily selected for inclusion into the overall scanning frame. In this way, a wide variety of disparate information sources can be combined into a unified framework for systematically reducing the risk that organisations – corporate, civic, governmental and military – could get caught out and ‘blindsided’ by a future they should have been able to detect coming.

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Scanning Retrospective, No. 24

Foresight Snippets – No. 24

[Originally published in] prospect no 9, September 2002

  • Empirical Evidence of Global Consciousness?
  • Save the Earth! Mine the Moon
  • Getting Ready to Tackle Armageddon

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Scanning Retrospective, No. 23

Foresight Snippets – No. 23

[Originally published in] prospect no. 8, June 2002

  • “War driving” and the coming of Wi-Fi
  • Look out, Prime Minister, that napkin could be dangerous!
  • Forget bio-tech, what about neuro-tech?

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FuturePod “re-interview”

My “re-interview” over at FuturePod is now up.

My old foresight co-conspirator Peter ‘Captain Foresight’ Hayward and I catch up on what’s been happening since the first FuturePod interview more than two years ago (ep.18). Of course, I am now a post-academia ex-academic since becoming one of the “COVID redundancies” imposed upon the Australian university sector last year. It should come as no surprise that the current scanning retrospective and the concept of “futures intelligence analysis” feature pretty strongly in that chat.

It was a great deal of fun to do, and hopefully will be interesting both to FuturePod listeners, as well as readers of this blog who head over there. If you are one of the latter, do have a look around on FuturePod. Apart from Peter, they’re all former students of mine (and Peter’s), so it’s wonderful to see the ‘next generation’ of ‘foresight folks’ coming up…

There’s a science-fiction tie-in there, surely: “FuturePod, The Next Generation…”

https://www.futurepod.org/podcast/ep-109

 

Scanning Retrospective, No. 21

Foresight Snippets – No. 21

[Originally published] February 2002

  • The History of Utopian Thought
  • The Image of the Future
  • The Principality of New Utopia
  • This is probably the final email issue of the Foresight Snippets

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Scanning Retrospective, No. 19

Foresight Snippets – No. 19

[Originally published] December 2001

  • The Hydrogen Economy Experiment
  • Digital Continuity and the Rosetta Disc Project
  • Back to the Future 3: 2001 — A Space Odyssey
  • NORAD Watches for Santa Claus

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‘Modes’ of scanning

In the earlier posts in this series I have described various aspects of scanning practice. Here I want to describe the four main ‘modes’ of scanning that are generally recognised by theorists and practitioners, and how they differ from each other. It also then allows me to ‘frame’ the  retrospective to date and to explain the particular modes of scanning that were being used two decades ago to select and report on the hits that are being re-published here. It will also help to frame the change in character of the scanning hits once the initial set of 25 Snippets are done and we move into the more ‘serious’ scanning hits that were reported in the Foresight Bulletin, prospect.

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Scanning Retrospective, No. 17

Foresight Snippets – No. 17

[Originally published] October 2001
Special Issue: Wild Cards

  • Suddenly, the World Changes…
  • Britain Says It Is Taking Asteroid Impact Threat Seriously
  • Searching for ET at Home

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Scanning Retrospective, No. 15

Foresight Snippets – No. 15

[Originally published] August 2001

  • Feeling Poorly? It Could Be Affluenza
  • Tired of Fast Life? Try “Slow Food”
  • The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Children — Truax vs The Lorax
  • The Ghost in the Machine

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Scanning Retrospective, No. 13

Foresight Snippets – No. 13

[Originally published] June 2001
[The Snippets moved to a monthly schedule as from June 2001]

  • Back to the Future 2: 2001 — Memories are Made of Glass
  • You’ve Heard of GMOs; What About GMAs — Genetically Modified Athletes?
  • Thunderbirds are GO!

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‘Futures Intelligence’

In an earlier post I mentioned the term ‘futures intelligence’ in the context of the activity of gathering information about the future and undertaking what I like to call ‘futures intelligence analysis’. (Obviously, this is done with a view to utilising it for decision-making processes, such as setting strategy or developing policy, which is generally the end goal of any sort of intelligence analysis, futures or otherwise.) Here I want to expand briefly upon the multi-faceted concept of ‘futures intelligence’ itself, and two complementary ways that I think the term can be used.

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