Anticipation 101

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about thinking ahead lately. In an attempt to put a little structure around it for my own continued learning I’ve created this site, and by documenting it here I hope others may benefit too.

I love a lot of what futurism, futuring, futures thinking, design thinking, speculative design, and design fiction have to offer, from the little I know of them right now, but I just don’t quite grok some of the language used in these fields. For some reason any word derived from ‘future’ feels slightly awkward to me, and the word ‘design’ is so overused today that anything can be considered design. And thinking is thinking.

In an effort to articulate concisely the train I’m thinking on, I’ve settled on anticipation as my word. It has several useful nuances. A person can look forward to something with joyful anticipation. They can prepare for a series of possible events by anticipating them. And they can hold their breath in nervous anticipation as things unfold.

Anticipation is increasingly at the heart of urgent contemporary debates, from climate change to economic crisis. As societies are less confident that tradition will provide an effective guide to the future, anticipatory practices are coming to the foreground of political, organizational and personal life. — Roberto Poli

If we can develop our capacity for identifying preferable scenarios, and articulating a journey from here to there, we’re more likely to end up somewhere we’d like to be.

We each have our own perspective on how the world works and where it’s all going. For some reason we’re messing up this planet, fighting with each other, inventing superior beings to replace us, and experimenting with nature in ways we cannot yet understand. The best Plan B anyone seems to have come up with so far is to start a new colony on an uninhabitable planet quite some distance away.

This course will look into how to explore a range of probable futures, to project trends and extrapolate impact. To imagine the preferable and fill in the steps from there back to the present.

Currently on my reading list:


by @andrewfantastic

Please get in touch if you have anything to contribute.