Futures and metaphors

Posted in books, future by thenextwavefutures on 31 October, 2015

CLA2I reviewed CLA 2.0, the second causal layered analysis reader, for the APF’s newsletter, Compass, and the full review is attached as a PDF below. To declare an interest: I have a co-written chapter (with Wendy Schultz) in the reader, based on our article [opens pdf] on comparative scenarios methods in the Journal of Futures Studies.

The layers of Causal Layered Analysis are litanies, systems, worldviews and metaphors. One of the things reading CLA 2.0 for the review made me realise was the importance of metaphors in influencing the impact of futures work. So I’m sharing that part of the review here, below the fold.


The human face of High Value Work

Posted in innovation, trends, work by thenextwavefutures on 16 October, 2015

This is a version of a talk I gave in Helsinki at Teknologia ‘15, based on the work on High Value Work that I have have done at The Futures Company with the Association of Finnish Work.

The Futures Company has been collaborating with the Association of Finnish Work for more than eighteen months on the idea of “High Value Work”. We define this as work that is productive (it creates new value); that is durable (it creates value over time); and work that is inclusive (it spreads value beyond the business — or the C-suite. This combination, based on the emerging post-crisis literature, also creates work that is meaningful, for employees and customers.

AFW_high value work agenda

Slide 1: high value work

In the first of our four reports on High Value Work, we identified four routes to it. These are service innovation, based on a full understanding of the customer and their needs; value in authenticity, based on on a full understanding of cultural context; resource innovation, based on a full understanding of material flows; and rich knowledge, based on a full understanding of the technical knowledge held inside the organisation and a method to capture and codify it.

High value businesses combine these; for example, mastery of resource innovation often creates new technical capabilities that lead to new forms of rich knowledge.

Human capabilities

Slide 2: Theory X and Y revisited

What striking about these routes is that they have human capabilities at their heart. Service innovation and value in authenticity are based on relationships, whether human or cultural, while resource innovation and rich knowledge are based on technical processes and technical understanding. People, in short, are at the heart of value.


Futures methods

Posted in future, methods by thenextwavefutures on 15 October, 2015

3650558_origIn my role as editor of Compass, the newsletter of the Association of Professional Futurists, I’ve just put together an anthology on methods, based on the contributions to Compass from APF members and collaborators over the past few years. The result is now available to download on the APF’s website. Compass is normally a membership-only newsletter, but we’ve decided to make this edition available more widely. I think it’s a pretty good collection of some of the newer and emerging methods in the field. Each article (or interview) is by (or with) someone involved in the development of each method.

This is the introduction I wrote for the Anthology:

Where practice and theory meet, innovation often follows. Practitioners resolve difficulties in practice by re-imagining what they do, and developing new approaches. But invention on its own is not enough. To stick, it needs to be reconnected to theory. The why is as important as the what.

This is the story of many of the new and emerging methods collected in this special anthology of articles published first in the APF’s members’ newsletter, Compass. It brings together in one place material on methods published in Compass by APF members and their colleagues and collaborators.

It is a strong collection. Some of these articles are the first published accounts of methods that have real value to futures practice, such as the reframing of wildcards, VERGE, or the Mānoa scenarios method.

Some are accounts of methods that have been documented elsewhere, but in a more academic context.

But all—including the interviews—are intended to be used. These accounts are designed to inspire people to try these approaches for themselves.

Here’s the list of contents:

  • Oliver Markley’s new taxonomy of wild card, revised and updated for this edition
  • Richard Lum on VERGE
  • Bill Sharpe on Three Horizons
  • Tony Hodgson on the World Game
  • Terry Grim interviewed on the Foresight Maturity Model
  • Stuart Candy on The Thing From The Future – article expanded for this edition
  • Wendy Schultz on the Manoa Scenarios method
  • Dylan Hendricks interviewed on the Systems Methodology Toolkit.

It can be downloaded here.

The image at the top of the post is courtesy of Triarchy Press, and is used with thanks.

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