Here is the script as we are editing so far, we’ll try to upload a rough video version by tomorrow monday evening, so you could get a better idea of how does it really sound.
2nd video draft script
The event where we are here the Knowledge Laboratory is in fact conceptualized as a change in the way we conduct research, I bring people togheter, to work togheter, to confront the way they use the future
Welcome to this knowledge laboratory aimed in developing people’s future literacy in addressing society’s challenges.
The term “using the future” is somehow unfamiliar for a lot of people because people don’t think of using the future like you use a tool
To use the future is to use a time in a place that doesn’t exist yet. And that allows you freedom to talk about things in a different way that you can do if you are talking about in the present
when we talk about using the future we should say: using the knowledge that we have about the determinents of the future.
So in a Knowledge Laboratory, that is aimed in developing people future litteracy as a learning process, learning by doing, we engage people to think about their future, something they care about.
Let me give you an example: In Ghana we are getting a group of people together every month- creatives, thinkers, lawyers, architects, artists, musicians…anybody who’s creative by nature. And we’re getting them together to think about, to explore what’s happening on the ground , how are people imagining or reimagining our culture, our art, our buildings with a particular purpose in mind: we know that Africa is going to almost double in the next 20 years. It will be the youngest continent in the world, and no one has thought through, at least no one that we can see, how to address this huge opportunity and some people call it a challenge. So this means that anybody who can think creatively out of the box, who can imagine something that’s never been seen before and come up with creative solutions is addressed. We wanna give these people room, we wanna incourage people.
So I was on a team that went to Myanmmar, or Burma, and we put together the Myanmmar futures exchange which was at the time the largest and actually the first foresight event to get people together and to give them tools to think about the future. And what we found in those contexts was that it really allowed to have new conversations, it allowed them to challenge the existing norms. In a place like Myanmmar Burma you have all sorts of norms related to elders so initially if you have a conversation the older would speak and everybody else would listen. But the tools and exercises that we used and created allowed for more collaborative , more participatory means that examining things that are happening today and also the future context
As they talk about and they think about, they realize that they have assumptions, they realize that they are using the future for planning or for preparation
We worked with an open engagement group on social life but also with technology and engineering companies like our, and also with some scientific fiction authors to imagine different kinds of londonists in decades time, so in ten years time. We thought not just about londonist who are hi flying businessmen and women, but also about londonists who really care about the city, that want to create new kinds of communities, and finally we talked about londonists who could really be suffering in the future. So we talked about very different kind of londonists, people who embody very different kinds of trends and we didn’t just create this in precence to policy makers. we directed a campaign about this future London a policy makers which required to respond. So we use the future as part of the campaign, we didn’t just use it to do an exercise, we publish in a journal, or in a paper , in a corner, somewhere, and we were very noisy about the future.
So I was really very privileged and lucky to work on two cases: Nairobi and Chennay, where the job was deliver scenarios for how these cities could look very different or could have different futures and in given to those futures one of the decision that people in the informal sector could take to empower themselves. And the project was not just about generating scenarios about how things could be different, it was very much structured around: what if you got these scenarios and you experience what the life could be like, what do you do in and on the basis of that generating ideas and actually prototyping and showing ideas, building ideas, materially, on how to iprove lifes given this incredible constrain of being poor being in the informal sector, being outside of the regular system.
And they begin to question their assumptions, they begin to realize that if they change their assumptions they change their idea of the future and they begin to see that there are different ways of thinking about the future. And this builds up people’s future litteracy.
we were working with Greece, just before the beginning of the significant crisis and we were working on kind of thinking about the future democracy frankly that was used out but the reality was the real future, the crisis was actually only dated out so in fact the question of what is democracy didn’t like matter when you basically saying: does the country even exist.
Using the future in crisis situations help actually to deal with crisis, deals with difficult situation.
Peter de Smedt
So in a way you can strenghten people, you can build up resilience in your society by providing people tools to acknowledge that the first reaction is fear, that there are other possibilities and that they can, by taking a step back, and using future thinking, allow them to have hope, to think about possibilities, and also to share these tools. Resilience is also about being connected with people so doing the future thinking , sharing the future images with other people will also help you to accept what is happening now and to have kind of shared dreams of better futures.
Why is that concept critical for us? Because I mean, people particularly poor, vulnerable people face constant challenges, crisis and chronic stresses and resilience is a concept to think about how can we strengthen the ability to deal with those challenges in a better way and to emerge from them more strongly. One of the elements to think about resilience that strengthens the resilience of individuals and communities is the ability to anticipate.
So the point about different ways of using the future and different anticipatory systems is that we are beginning to understand that all around us there are many kind of anticipation including a form of anticipation that’s not preparatory, that’s not about preparing, that’s not about planning. Which is saying: I will allow my idea of the future to change continuously so that I can see the present in different ways.
And we can begin to shift the contradiction that is really central to the current context we live in between diversity and freedom and planning and determinism, and we can become more confortable with the idea that the unknown and the unknowable are central to our values of liberty but are also fundamental to our reality. The Continuously creates the unknown and so instead of the unknown being an enemy, because it’s detrimental to planning we can find a way to be more balanced between planning and preparation and emergence and novelty.