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Scenario Construction for Complex Systems: A Climate-Health Case Study

 A couple of years ago I was challenged to think about methods for understanding the long-term implications of climate-health interactions. I was asked by a colleague to sort out some methods that would help public health planners understand the complexity of climate-health relationships and transform them into priorities for action. Data from current health outcomes (e.g.

Kenya Youth Scenarios, a personal perspective

Last June I had the pleasure of facilitating the Eastern province Kenya Youth Scenarios workshop on behalf of Institute of Economic Affair’s (IEA) Futures Programme after observing their Western province workshop.

On the intersection of design and futures

For some time I've been thinking about how trends in computing and design might affect the way that futurists work: how they could be used to sharpen our research methods, create new ways of interacting with audiences, and help people see and act on the future more effectively.

I've pulled these thoughts together in an essay on my blog. As I explain in the introduction,

I approach this from two directions. First, I describe how design can improve futures. In particular, I argue, research techniques developed by designers-- particularly their close attention to human-device interaction-- could sharpen thinking about, and forecasting of, the future of technology. Second, I describe the contribution futures can make to design. A combination of new technologies and challenges, I contend, are creating an opportunity to design products that can guide people to make better-informed choices about how they can be used, to reinforce behaviors that help users reach long-term goals, and to create a heightened awareness of the future.

This could have profound implications for futures. It would shift the profession from one that communicates through texts, mainly influences leaders and elites, and influences strategic processes, to one that communicates through things, influences large number of people, and informs everyday decision-making. But this is an essential transformation, as it would give us the ability to help solve the critical problems of the 21st century-- problems that, I contend, futures as it currently is practiced is ill-equipped to confront.

The complete essay is available here.

McKinsey's Pitch for a More Compact Urban China

The McKinsey Global Institute has just published a major report outlining four potential scenarios for urbanization in China.

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