Over the last few weeks I’ve engaged in several futures activities, including seminars and web-based interactions. Each one was distinctive from one another in the approach taken and in the participants, this posting serves to to reflect and contemplate.
Held soon after the Australian Government’s Australia 2020, the ADC’s Future Summit 2008 was held in Melbourne, May 2008. Motivated by Australia 2020, the Future Summit participants generated ‘big ideas’ to shape the future. In other words, the approach taken was like: the best way to predict the future is to build it. Mainly from commerce/government and academia, the participants listened to a series of presentations and panel sessions, and engaged in workshops to discuss issues and generate ideas. The event was run well – thanks to a large contingent of management consultants. In my view, the 2008 Summit was the best from ADC to date. I will not go into the outcomes – there is a report due out soon.
Ross Watson gave an entertaining and insightful presentation on the next 50 years at a Law Institute of Victoria function. On this occasion Ross spoke about 10 overarching trends and sectoral implications including extinctions, innovations, insights and ideas. This approach essentially described what might happen – the idea being to apply this foresight to your own context, organisation or sector to ‘get to the future first’. The participants were very largely law professionals – they too realise things are changing, and they need to be better prepared.
Last week I attended a ‘conference and unconference’ on Web 2.0 Media hosted by Semantic Media. Held to share knowledge and to create new knowledge on trends and technologies for Web 2.0 and beyound, many enterpreneurs, media company reps and academics were there to learn practical tips and techniques to take away. The approach here was to burrow deeply into what is going on in the present, in effect empowering participants to create the future from their own actions.
Last week I watched a World Future Society three minute video on YouTube outlining the Top 10 Forecasts for 2008; and Vint Cerf being interviewed on Beet.tv about the future of the Internet. Both really useful short audio-visuals that stimulate the senses far more than just reading or writing about something. Both videos of course are so easily distributed and shared over the Internet, demonstrating again how brilliant the Internet is as a creative, learning tool.
I signed up to play the Future of Media Prediction markets today. I have not tried this approach before, but it looks like it should be fun. Potentially highly interactive and experiential, I’m looking forward to it.
Developed as a precusor to this year’s Future of Media Summit run by the Future Exploration Network – and Richard Watson gets another plug here! I’ll be on leave during the Summit – bugger. I do hope it goes well and I shall no doubt learn more following dissemination of the outcomes. Held simultaneously in Sydney adn the Silicon Valley, I know the approach taken here has been very creative, providing participants with a cognitive map to shape the future.
So, lots of things going on. Largely to shape the future through ideas, insights, practical tips and applied learning.