On crises and change (a guide to the terrain)

In early 2021 I worked with a team at the RSA to listen to community stories of the impact of Covid-19. Our aim was to tease out some learning about the preparedness of people, communities, institutions and our wider systems to absorb the shocks precipitated by the global pandemic. Our thesis was not an original […]

On developing my change framework

Over the last 12 months I’ve been exploring what we are learning about crises and change as the pandemic continues. Here’s an abbreviated run through. Early in Lockdown 1 I was trying to figure out what would have helped me, back in my local government days, track what was happening in response to Covid. And […]

On fault-lines and foundations

In the first lockdown the RSA coined the phrase ‘building bridges to the future’ to describe how learning, adaptation and innovation during the crisis might shape and prefigure a better future. Over the last ten months we have tested these ideas with a wide range of partners turning categories and propositions into concrete examples and […]

On public services taking the long view

Slowly rising to obscure my view of Europe’s largest urban wetlands, the two blocks of flats opposite me have taken on an increasingly finished aspect recently. Balconies affixed, the cranes have been dismantled and, I assume, the tasks switch focus to the inside and the exterior landscaping. They are not in isolation. Multiple blocks of […]

On the need for longer-term thinking

The rate of change in the world and the degree of uncertainty has amplified immeasurably over recent times. We find our operating systems suspended, decoupled or in flux. New modes and methods of communication and connection have allowed ideas to travel fast, creating new openings for shifts in societal values as well as behaviour. Disruptive […]

On existing at different speeds

“Civilisations with long nows look after things better. In those places you feel a very strong but flexible structure which is built to absorb shocks and in fact incorporate them.”  Brian Eno The global coronavirus pandemic is nothing if not emergent. It has shortened our time horizons and brought the here-and-now into immediate focus: respond to […]

On a stitch in time

I co-authored a report into the value of foresight and futures and provide here my introduction to that work. We set out on a research journey to write a provocation around the value, practice and opportunity of foresight and futures methodologies in different contexts, with a focus on their potential for improving public policy and […]

On pandemic foresight

These are tumultuous times, as I am now closing out my second month of working form home in a Covid19-driven lockdown. Times during which the pandemic has already upended our individual and collective anticipation for what a good life holds in store and one in which global warming continues to cast a darkening shadow over […]

On tipping points and paradigms

“Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people”.⁠1  Greta Thunburg Such were the words spoken before the World Economic Forum in January by a […]

On Norfolk in 2040

Imagine a world in which autonomous vehicles have breathed new life into rural communities. Citizens will be reconnected and reintegrated into their communities, with all the benefit for health and happiness that entails’. How might we bring this about to meet the needs of a predominantly rural county in 2040? This and other such questions […]