FuturesLab: Anticipatory Experimentation, Social Emergence and Evolutionary Change


I started a project called FuturesLab in late 2015 as an experiment in the way in which I bring forth ideas and projects.1 I was guided by my experience developing the Footscray Maker Lab,2 where I learned about the role of tinkering and play in respect to creativity. My work in Action Foresight had tended to be on the professional end of service delivery, and there was a feeling that it was difficult to experiment in professional settings because of the expectation to deliver mature thinking, frameworks and processes. After letting go of a role on the board of the maker lab, I had new energy to put into something new. There was an opening to play with ideas and with my life. FuturesLab emerged as an experimental process to help me to test, refine and innovate next generation foresight products and social innovations, including games. Over the course of 2015-2017 FuturesLab experimented with approximately 10 projects and ideas. FuturesLab has been a powerful experiment for me, and has shown me the importance of open experimentation for driving learning and co-creation. Overall FuturesLab fits into a larger process where ideation is infused by transformational foresight. From my work using the Futures Action Model, I’ve realized that in fact, if our assumptions / images of the future remain undisturbed, unchallenged, and uninspired, then the ideas and conceptual prototypes that are produced reiterate business as usual and used futures.

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