futures

What’s Next versus What’s Valuable: Perspectives on the Value of Ethnography in a Future-Focused World

by LOUISE VANG JENSEN & LEA MøLLER SVENDSEN, IS IT A BIRD A framework for ethnography and futures work that expands our understanding of the nature of change Ethnographers operating in the future-focused context of business consultancy face a core challenge. Our approach is holistic and human-centric, “based on the researcher sharing time and space with the people he or she wants to understand, establishing relationships with them and thereby experiencing life from their perspective” (Kirsten Hastrup et.al: Ind i verden, 2010). Our clients want to stay relevant in the future. They want us to predict future behaviours, aspirations and dreams; to demonstrate what will change, what will disrupt and how people will be different. We’re often confronted with the perception that ethnography is a toolkit limited to exploring present worlds, and therefore holding limited value to futures work and business strategies. This notion relies on a somewhat sci-fi view of the future as something disconnected from the now. As something...

Anticipating Shared Futures: Emotion, Connection & Relationships

SARAH HEFFERNAN NCAD / Deloitte Digital PechaKucha Presentation—Unprecedented. Unprecedented. Unprecedented. How often did we hear that word at the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic? But was it really unprecedented? We’ve been warned for years that a pandemic was imminent. We know the world has been devastated by them in the past. So why did we declare Covid-19 unprecedented? And why wasn’t there a shared anticipation of it? Reflecting on an idea that was first sparked while working as a bungy jump operator, this PechaKucha explores how facts, figures and predictions are not enough when it comes to helping people anticipate and embrace the unthinkable. This discovery is layered with the grief I experience for a way of life I’ve never lived and the feeling of hope that comes from a futures project that is not about creating something new. Keywords: Futures, Food, Storytelling, Emotion, Connection, Relationships Sarah Heffernan is an award-winning designer and researcher based in Ireland. A curious and thoughtful...