Video #2: Script Content with transcripts

The PDF is downloadable below.

This is the transcript:

The term “using the future” is somewhat unfamiliar for a lot of people because people don’t think of using the future like you use a tool, like you would use an hammer, or like you would use an idea of the solar system to understand the planets and the Sun, but when you start to think about the future as something that enters into our decision making that enters into our way of seeing the World around us you begin to see that we use the future, the imaginary future, to understand the world around us. And so what we are trying do we try to understand how the future enters into our thinking and that’s the idea of using the future.  00:04-00:54

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 than you can do if you are talking about in the present. 00:04- 00:16

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 both this opportunity and some people would call it a challenge of massive explosive growth in a very short period of time and particularly growth that’s gonna be urbanized. 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 to address this we wanna give these people room, we wanna encourage people. So that’s something we’re doing right now on the ground. We are literally banding together, we’ve been doing this literally for years and so there’s a collective of thinkers coming together to divine what’s possible given these opportunities/challenges that we’re going to be facing. It’s very exciting!  00:37- 02:05

We have seen the future [used in many differen ways]… 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. Now when we say tools to think about the future it’s really enhancing the way we think about the future so we talk about future’s literacy, future’s thinking. 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. 00: 51-01:52

We worked with an open engagement group called social life but also with technology and engineering companies like Arup our, and also with some scientific fiction authors to imagine different kinds of londoners in decade’s time, so in ten years time. We thought not just about londoners who are hi flying businessmen and women, but also about londoners who really care about the city, that want to create new kinds of communities, and finally we talked about londoners who could really be suffering in the future, so people who work in vary unstable jobs, who is having to hack the public transport, access cards in order to travel around.  in order to afford to travel around the city you need to have a much better job that the one they have. So we talked about very different kind of londoners, people who embodied very different kinds of trends and we didn’t just create this in presence to  policy makers. We actually had a double page ad in one of the national newspapers in the UK and a four page ad in the London newspaper so 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. And I think that really helps the people in difficult situation to think about the future that they want and not about the future that London’s assembly or politicians want. 01:00 - 02:32

I was really very privileged and lucky to work on two cases: Nairobi and Chennai, 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. So people in the informal sector are very often at the mercy of the large economic forces or even well meaning forces. One to regulate things to trying shift the economy in a certain way and if you are in the informal sector that’s your livelihood and it’s your survival. 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 then and on the basis of that generating ideas and actually prototyping and showing ideas, building ideas, materially, of how to improve lives given this incredible constrain of being poor being in the informal sector, being outside of the regular system. 02:06-03:32

Using the future in crisis situations help actually to deal with crisis, deals with difficult situation. So imagine that what I’m talking about that in fact even in this crisis situation there are opportunities they open up, when this crisis situation come a lot of time because they will sometime in the future, they will sometime in the future. What is reality today what is actual point in the future. So therefore what we do today actually shapes the future. How do you think of using the future in the present is to say: What I think today what I do today. As allowed to do with how the future is going to be. That may be on a very small scale of individuals and that we’re talking about or we can talk about groups, we can talk about countries, we can talk about humanities. But how you deal with this situation is a story that you tell, yes. How do you place the crisis that you are now facing in history, in your story. How does your story it does? If you’re in your story,  of the past into the present and going to the future and catastrophy is what you see, this current situation, in my estimation, is going to lead only to catastrophy. It can hardly see something good coming out of it. It’s an honour for you to be able to see the opportunity of change. 04:53-

So what happens when you are stressed or in difficulty… in a way you can strengthen 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 thoughts. 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. 01:44- 03:34

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 and it’s interesting there is actually a strong relation to using the future and future methodologies because one of the elements to think about resilience that strengthens the resilience of individuals and communities is the ability to anticipate. So anticipate broadly and then to think about how can we prepare for those events. There are other elements of resilience as well around modularity so are there/is there a way to see …we see approaches for example so it’s normally a decentralized approach Is better than a centralized approach in many cases because then you have elements that could step in if another one fails . but the ability to anticipate is actually also a critical element of strengthening resilience. 01:30-03:02

Consider sometime beyond today, beyond this moment and that’s the future. But all of us has implicit assumption about the future, about what is gonna happen today, what is gonna happen tomorrow, i don’t know in an year or so, we have those assumptions. A lot of times if those assumptions create in our heads possible scenarios what we’ve made or not. But sometimes this scenarios are almost like given, we think this is it! But on the line assumption to every scenario, every way that we think of the future they are on the line assumption. So using the future, being conscious of how you see the next day, how you envision the next day and what you anticipate, what your actions are based on some or fundamental assumptions that you have, that you may or may not be aware of. Ok using the future to me is, first of all, begin to grapple with those assumptions and those assumptions are usually hidden so the process of using the future is really making the invisible visible. 00:21- 01:51

So…So an example is: 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? 01:03-01:37

Alternative ending 1:

Becoming future literate is something that from my experience occurs when you confront, engage, quietly (like) most learning that there is something that you don’t know and you say: how can I know something about something that I don’t know? First you must know that you don’t know! Then you can say: ah! how do I begin to understand what is it that I don’t know! And so the processes that I use when I construct a future leaderacy knowledge laboratory is: I bring people together, to work together, to confront the way they use the future and what’s terrific is that is very easy really, everybody thinks about the future all the time.

Alternative ending 2:

“Emerging voices. People who are doing things in new and unique ways.We want you to know that there is a group of people looking at using the future, re-imagining it. Creating something to help us address our emerging opportunities and challenges. We are here in solidarity with you to…So get ready, we’re coming to you. soon!” 00:25-end

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Hey folks

Transcript comes across a bit choppy.  I was wondering if we could add a bit more structure and reinforcement by introducing some text between the speakers?  I also wonder if we could find a way to integrate the point that the future doesn’t always have to instrumentalized as a means to colonize tomorrow - the “I need to know the future” so I can make a difference.  I’m really keen, as you know, to point out that there is one paradigmatically different way of using the future - to simply improve our capacity to make sense of the present without knowing if because we perceive and act on stuff we wouldn’t otherwise have seen (stuff we wouldn’t have seen if we’d stuck to the view that the future is only for planning or avoiding things) it will or won’t make a difference for better or worse… In other words not instrumentalizing the future allows greater diversification of perception in the present…

More later… when can we see the video run?