Foresight & Surprise at LIFT 13

I had the pleasure of giving a talk at LIFT 13 in Geneva on the topic of networks, foresight and strategic surprise. It was an extraordinary event, one of the best I’ve been to in years. I highly recommend going if you haven’t already.

Summary of my talk

In the talk I went over two different approaches to dealing with change, being agile versus being anticipatory, and showed how we often get blinded to change around us.

Then I showed how the creative use of strategic foresight, particularly role playing and simulation games and experiential scenario planning, can help us overcome some of the psychological and social limitations limitations which blind us.

I ended with a call for more creative use of “design foresight”, i.e., design fictions, rapid prototyping, artefacts from the future, and an exploration of networked foresight approaches (including my own Futurescaper platform and a recent project on Post-Car(d) Urbanism I’m doing with colleagues in Stockholm).

You can read a great live write-up of my talk here by Stephanie Booth, who has several summaries of other talks on her blog.


It was an amazing event and all the LIFT 13 speakers and crew were truly inspiring.  I spoke in a session on “Resilience and Resistance” with Venkatesh Rao (whom I’ve been a fan of for a while) and Konstantina Zoehrer, queen of the Greek start-up scene. It was also the first time I tried out my “all video slides” method of presentation, so let me know what you think.  More on that later.

Some of my other favourite talks included:

In conclusion, it was great to meet so many friends, old and new, and to learn from so many interesting people.  Thank you to Nicolas, Sylvie, Aurelia, and all the other wonderful people who helped make this happen.

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