Foresight Snippets – No. 7
[Originally published] 28 February 2001
- Would You Like a Mobile Phone With That?
- Cloning: Could Humans Be Next?
- A Framework for Making Sustainability a Practical Reality
[Originally published] 28 February 2001
During our futures scanning – doing what I like to sometimes call ‘futures intelligence analysis’, which therefore makes us ‘futures intelligence analysts’ – we need a way to capture and retain the information about the scanning ‘hits’ we find.
[Originally published] 14 February 2001
[Originally published] 30 January 2001
[Originally published] 15 January 2001
[Originally published] 15 December 2000
[Originally published] 27 November 2000
From the Foresight & Planning Unit
[Originally published] 17 November 2000
by Joseph Voros
In August 2000, I was hired as a strategic foresight analyst in the Foresight and Planning Unit (FPU) of the (then) Office of the Vice Chancellor at Swinburne University of Technology. Part of this role was to conduct futures ‘scanning’ – by looking at the education ‘landscape’ through a ‘foresight’ time-frame much longer than is usual in conventional strategic planning; in our case, it was 10-20 years out. This obviously means that today, in 2021, the ‘future landscape’ being ‘scouted’ back then has since come to pass and become history. Hence the motivation for this experiment – to look back at what were picked up then as impending signals of change, and to compare what was reported in those days as future possibilities with what eventually came to pass as historical actualities. It has taken two decades to reach this point of being able to conduct such a ‘retrospective longitudinal assessment’ – and hopefully it should prove to be both interesting and instructive. It may also allow some real-world-data calibration of the utility of the heuristic principles for scanning described in the previous post. Continue reading “Futures Scanning – A Retrospective View”
As a futures scanner ‘back in the day’ (as they say), working in the corporate area of Swinburne responsible for undertaking organisational foresight and planning, and in the time since, I came to employ several heuristics or principles of scanning that I had found empirically to be useful. There are about ten of these that I can think of right at this moment, which I will enumerate below. But before I proceed, though, let me first explain one of the (many) models we used in our teaching in the old Swinburne Master of Strategic Foresight (MSF). Continue reading “Heuristic principles for scanning”
One of the principal practices involved in doing futures work is known as ‘scanning’. This term has a few variants — sometimes ‘environmental scanning’, sometimes ‘horizon scanning’, sometimes something else again — and these are often used interchangeably. I prefer to use the term ‘environmental scanning’ when the scanning pertains to the more proximal environment(s) of the organisation or entity that is the primary perspective from which the scanning is done, such as the market or industry in which it sits, while reserving the term ‘horizon scanning’ for the more distal aspects of the wider social, national or even international contexts. This is a fairly loose heuristic, but to me it helps connote the relative ‘closeness’ of the organisation’s ‘operating environment’ vs the relative ‘distance’ of the wider contextual ‘horizon’. Continue reading “Evidence of the future in the present”
The title for this post comes from a song lyric by the avant-garde music group DEVO, namely, from the opening song ‘Time Out for Fun’ from their fifth studio album, Oh No! It’s DEVO. By the time that album was released in late 1982, DEVO as a band had spent the better part of a decade promoting the thesis of ‘de-evolution’ – the idea that humanity, rather than progressing, was actually regressing, and was in point of fact not evolving but really de-evolving (which was the origin of their name) to a more primitive state of mindlessly conformist automatons. Continue reading “‘Dark Clouds in the Crystal Ball’”
There have been two more formal publications on Big History recently: one a journal article – hinted at in the previous post – written in part to honour the memory of Erich Jantsch, the other a book chapter, as well as an informal podcast episode in the FuturePod series.Continue reading “More Big History outputs”
… would have been today (Capra 1981, p.151). Instead, the world lost an incomparable polymath and genius on 12 Dec 1980, less than a month before his 52nd birthday, and we are all much, much the poorer for that loss (Capra 1981, Linstone, Maruyama & Kaje 1981, Zeleny 1981). Continue reading “Erich Jantsch’s 90th birthday…”
Today was the last class ever of the Swinburne MSF (2001 — 2018) — something that has been coming for a long time (announcement of closure was back in May 2016).
Q: What now?
A: Trust emergence…
In the previous post in this series, I gave the rationale for undertaking this extended (re-)examination of the geometry of the semi-symmetric metric connection (SSMC): essentially, it represents (to my mind) the most ultra-minimalist extension to General Relativity (GR) at all possible – or so I thought back in the early 1990s – given that it introduces precisely one new object – a vector field – as part of the connection. Continue reading “The Semi-Symmetric Metric Connection – Part II”
Many years ago (getting close to 30 now), while doing my PhD (Voros 1996) in theoretical physics on mathematical extensions to General Relativity – and in particular, on Einstein’s own “unified field theory” – I happened across a book by Jan Schouten (1954) called Ricci-Calculus, which was an introduction (by a mathematician) to tensors and their applications, especially to geometrical thinking and analysis.
The question asked in the title of this post is one I have been pondering for the most part of a decade now, ever since I saw the image, shown in Figure 1, of the galaxy PGC54559 (popularly known as Hoag’s Object) in 2010, following several months of thinking about what Kardashev Type III civilisations might look like.
I’ve had a new paper accepted for a special issue of the SAGE journal World Futures Review, on Foresight Education, edited by Peter Bishop. It is yet to be assigned to a volume/issue (UPDATE: it is most likely to be Vol.10, No. 4, Dec 2018), but has had a formal DOI assigned to it to allow for web linking prior to final publication, and is available through SAGE’s OnlineFirst system. I am also allowed to link a version from my University’s research repository, Swinburne ResearchBank. It is an accepted manuscript form, which SAGE allows to be placed in a university repository, rather than the final officially-published version, which they do not. Always look to the pagination of the final published version if you are going to be quoting things from it… Continue reading “Big History and Futures Studies – what a cosmic perfect match!”