Fresh off the flight, I have just arrived in Johannesburg in time for the All Africa Futures Forum where Edgeryders is presenting the work we are doing with Spot The Future (futurespotters). The aim of the three-day forum is to bring together African futures thinkers, and practitioners to explore how the “discipline of anticipation” has been shaped and applied in Africa and how it can be deliberately leveraged towards transforming Africa’s future onto more positive trajectories.
My personal aim is to reach out to our peers on the continent, compare notes and see what we could build together. I"ll be tweeting and posting summaries of the discussions here throughout the three days.
I don’t know if anyone will be documenting the contents of my presentation so very briefly my main points about the Edgeryders/ Spot The Future version of futurism are:
1. immediate future-oriented. We don’t forecast, we nowcast: people on the edge of change find each other traversing the social graph and compare notes on how they go about solving the problems they care about. This conversation carries information about the near future, because change starts at the edge – at the center the established dynamics of society and the economy are dominant, and so it is harder to perceive the coming changes. We are part of this conversation because we are them.
action-oriented. We are first and foremost a community of changemakers. We don’t do futurism to pursue academic interests: we do it as intelligence that helps shape our own projects, the companies we start or dissolve, the collective action we do or don’t.
crowdsourced and ad-hoc. We may occasionally employ professional analysts, but at the heart of our method are networks of self-selected citizen experts, who form ourselves around any interesting problem we throw at the community. This means our futurism is “underground” and generally not politically correct.
4. proven to work. During STF we dug out cutting-edge grassroots- and civic innovators in countries where we had never been, whose language we did not speak and in the space of a few weeks.
- Technology-oriented. This is not a bias but a result. We have found open source tech to be a key enabler for these communities, as it gives them a lot of extra reach. So we pay a lot of attention to it.
If you are at the #AllAfricaFutures Forum and want to find me Im tweeting as @Ladyniasan.
Wish me luck!