2019 Speakers

2019 Speakers

In a world growing increasingly polarized and siloed, we wanted to bring together speakers to inspire, to  provoke and to help you re imagine what is possible. Throughout our worldwide event, you will get to hear from speakers exploring ideas that are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  We are hoping to create a space where people get to listen to and consider radically different ideas.
 
We believe that informed and motivated individuals who reach across the aisle can and do move the dial. We cannot wait to have you join the conversation and thank you for joining us. See you on November 9th.
Maree Conway

Maree Conway

Foresight Support Person
Contested Ideas and Possible Futures

Exploring the university’s possible futures

This presentation presents preliminary findings of current PhD research on possible futures of, and for, the university. It explores how those possible futures are either enabled or constrained by the ideas we hold about what a university *is* (its purpose) and what it *should do* (its social legitimacy). We will explore four contested ideas of the university today and their four assumed futures for the university. The aim of the research is to expand and deepen the current debate to value all ideas and all possible futures so we can move beyond today’s assumed future: the continuation of the neoliberal university – the one that ensures the university’s legitimacy in society – but also the one that has, as many writers suggest, ‘lost its soul’.

Bio

A university manager for 28 years, I founded Thinking Futures in 2007 to help people expand and deepen thinking about possible futures. I support people to do this by provoking them to let in the new and novel into their thinking. I’m writing my PhD about how possible futures for the university are constrained by contested ideas about what a university is and what it should do. Also tea drinker and traveller.

Project: https://universityfutures.net

Email: maree.conway@thinkingfutures.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mareeconway

LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/mareeconway

Facebook: https://facebook.com/mareeconway

Majid Behboudi

Majid Behboudi

Experience and Product Designer
Practical frameworks for ethical design

It may come as a surprise to some that services designed to improve our quality of life often end up creating unintended suffering for users. While service design is intentional by nature, there can be unintended consequences that have negative impacts on users. Using systems thinking, we can apply an ethical rigour that moves beyond measuring the immediate impact of a system. Systemic design tools such as implication wheels, or Nancy Bocken’s value mapping wheel, can help us not only consider the second or third order impact of an innovation, but also allow us to see how value created for one group can destroy value for another. The talk intends to provide exercises that practitioners can easily integrate into their various workplace processes to enable teams to imagine and be aware of the impact of their unintended design intentions.

Bio

With a background in Architecture and Semiotics, Majid has parlayed his passion for user-centric design into his roles as a User Experience Director over the past ten years. An award-winning designer and creative problem-solver, he has led and collaborated with high-performing teams in companies ranging from startups to multinationals and agencies — most recently at Klick Health, where his team creates digital experiences that improve the lives of patients and healthcare professionals.

Project: https://medium.com/klickux/futures-wheel-practical-frameworks-for-ethical-design-e40e323b838a

Email: majid.behboudi@gmail.com

 

Melvine Obollah

Melvine Obollah

Social Worker
Reproductive Justice

My Body My Policy

This project is about reproductive health justice. Adhering to the right to access to information, this project will give access to adolescent girls and young women the access to SRHR information and services. There has been a lot of cases of Rape, femicide and defilement of young boys and girls. With SRHR information with them, they are able to act accordingly so that the perpetrators get what they deserve. This year alone, 70 women have been killed( Counting Dead Women Kenya) by their intimate partner and all of killers walk freely. Making the men accountable for the deaths will lower the cases of femicide. Following up with policymakers to make death penalties to those who have raped, defiled or killed a woman, Having grassroots feminist convenings/community dialogues to unpack violence, femicide and understand rights as defensive mechanism.

Bio

Melvine Obola is a young feminist in Kenya zealous about adolescent girls and young women’s access to SRHR information, services and rights. She voluntary works with Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI) as Social Media strategist, amplifying feminists’ work on social media spaces. She envisions for a violence free society where there is respect for human rights and dignity regardless of one’s origin, race, sexuality or culture.

Facebook: Melvine Obollah Akinyi

Twitter: @melvineobollah

Email: melvineobollah@gmail.com

Alethia Montero

Alethia Montero

Psychofuturartist

Introduction to tackling wicked personal futures. Shadow works.

Unveil deep insights integrally to build conscious futures.

Personal Futures are as varied as drops are in the ocean. But, how to build “good” and conscious personal futures? “Mental health (a happy and positive state of mind) facilitates ethical consciousness and behavior, and mental misery and disorder provokes unethical behavior” (Lombardo, 2016). At this point, then we should work on mental health to tackle possible/plausible wicked personal futures. Several mental disorders, predominating Anxiety and Depression, are affecting most age groups (OMS, 2018). A key issue to work on an improvement of mental health is the shadow work. What does the shadow mean? “The shadow is a psychological term for everything we cannot see in ourselves. It is the “dark side” of our personality because it consists chiefly of primitive, negative human emotions and impulses like rage, envy, greed, selfishness, desire, and the striving for power” (Jeffrey, 2018). Working with our shadow, among other elements, will lead to radical transformations in the persons’ self. While building futures, every person is, somehow, developing a Futures-self. A most positive development of a Futures-self pursues personal growth and personal development. This is a virtual mini-workshop to do some shadow work exercises. This way of working has been applied to people that had approach to work on their Personal Futures, with significant results.

Bio

Psychofuturartist. Pioneer of Teatro del Devenir as a Futures technique www.teatrodeldevenir.com Generator of the Psychoprospective theory along with Psychofuturartist Martha Jaramillo (Colombia). Teach the future México Director and Teach the Future Executive Board member Personal Futures Adviser. Former Director of the World Future Society Mexican Chapter, A.C. ® WFSF, APF member and of Futurists Board in Advisory Board of The Lifeboat Foundation. Co-founder of the Permanent seminary of Prospective Studies FCPyS, UNAM, Mexico City Counselor of the “Design of the tomorrow” Specialty at Centro de diseño, cine y televisión (CDMX). WFSF President’s Outstanding Young Woman Futurist 2016 winner. National and International Professor, lecturer and workshop cordinator. Has written several articles in English and Spanish. Co-translator of It’s Your Future…Make It a Good One and A Personal Futures Workshop(Verne Wheelwright).

Contact: alethia.montero.baena@gmail.com

 

Jennifer Lentfer

Jennifer Lentfer

Writer and Poet

Reimagining Social Good Communications in a Hyper-Connected World. Or, how to talk about poverty without pity or silver bullets

Charitable portrayals of “helping” often conjure up victimhood and passivity in order to validate the assistance being given. There is a growing awareness that these portrayals uphold, rather than counteract, historical and politicized notions of “the other.” This leads to reinforced narrative frames and deepened ignorance. Thus storytelling in the social good sector can and must be done with careful consideration of the notions of voice, agency, and complexity. Why hasn’t been happening already? When our nonprofit communications take queues from institutions and corporations that are constantly selling, selling, selling, we do a disservice to our collective vision. We know the lasting, equity-bringing changes for which people around the world work is born of something much more vital and much more enduring. When it comes to communicating about “doing good,” what happens when we let go of convincing anyone of anything?

Bio

Jennifer Lentfer is a farm girl turned international aid worker turned writer/poet, writing coach, and communications strategist. She created the blog, how-matters.org in 2010, and was named among Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter” at @intldogooder in 2012. Her first book, Smart Risks: How small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, features the growing community of grantmakers that find and fund visionary leaders around the world. With her students at Georgetown University in 2014, she published the popular guide, “The Development Element: Guidelines for the future of communicating about the end of global poverty.” Lentfer currently teaches “Storytelling and Communicating for Change” in the University of Vermont Masters in Leadership for Sustainability program. Given that her hometown of Bruning, Nebraska, USA has less than 300 people, it’s no wonder Lentfer conceives of small, local groups as powerful forces for social change.

Contact

Santini Basra

Santini Basra

Studio Director, Andthen

Collaboratively building higher education futures – Using design techniques to build collaboration into the visioning and strategy process

This talk will focus on our recent work with the University of Edinburgh in which we explore various ways to involve the University’s community (students, staff, locals) in collaboratively building visions and strategies for various initiatives. In particular, the talk will reflect on our use of design methodologies in this work, reflecting on the impact of blending a design and futures approach in these contexts. The talk will primarily focus on Near Future Teaching (nearfutureteaching.ed.ac.uk), a project exploring the future of digital education, but will also touch on related work with the Edinburgh Futures Institute (efi.ed.ac.uk). Initially, it will give a high level overview of these projects, before focussing on specific moments in the process, in order to demonstrate and discuss the added value of using design within a futures approach as a way to stimulate discussion, increase project engagement, and help to communicate findings.

Bio

Santini believes that long-term thinking in innovation can lead us to better and more sustainable decisions now. In 2016, he founded Andthen, a small design strategy consultancy based in Scotland which is investigating this belief, and exploring ways to think about the future that can positively affect the present. Through marrying design research with futures thinking, Andthen help its clients better understand the communities they are serving, and anticipate how the context they operate in, or the people they serve may change over time. Santini has worked with a broad range of clients, across sectors such as mental health, retail, finance, education, and construction, investigating the role of a blended design and futures approach in these contexts. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art, teaching futures methods to students at the Innovation School.

Related video: https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/1_uzq4yael

Contact

Lourdes Serrano

Lourdes Serrano

Personal Financial Coach, Futurist and Strategist

Foresight Personal Financial Wellbeing

The different signals of the future that have an impact on the household economy are several: from the evolution of the work that has been redefining, who, how or where people works; to social security systems, to the dynamics of population ageing, are some examples of variables that can create risks for societies. People may find themselves in need to continue working at advanced ages, or they will be at risk of living in conditions of marginalization greater than the current ones. I have worked on a prospective model that integrates three levels of household economy analysis. In the first one, the macro scenarios provide us with the context of socio-economic systems which create public social welfare policies. The second one, micro-scenarios use variables of working status and social security services that influence the quality of life of families. In the third level, a model is introduced to create personal scenarios applied to the household economy, and which also integrates coaching elements to facilitate users to explore the possibilities of the future in different personal topics. Finally, economic resources are only a vehicle to materialize those images of their future.

Bio

Lourdes Serrano is a personal financial coach, strategist and futurist. Being from Mexico City has given her a street wise sense of bottom of the pyramid reality, needs and resilient spirit. Her purpose is to serve the self-transformation and support the personal journey of each person, from hope to fullness in order to unleash the best of themselves. Lourdes designed a Foresight Personal Financial Wellbeing Model and has been working as workshop facilitator in public and private organizations in Mexico. She loves participatory and experiential sessions where participants can open their minds, hearts and will to new possibilities and create their future scenarios. With a Master’s in leadership and Innovation in Complex Systems by the Aarhus University and Copenhagen Business School, and a Business Management bachelor’s degree. Lourdes has other endeavors as business mentor, conscious investor and finance’s professor at Centro de diseño, cine y televisión.

Contact

 

Li Koo

Li Koo

Professor

The Future is Resiliency: Intercultural Communications

Education, Unconscious Bias, Action and Allyship

As resiliency is the ability to adapt successfully in the face of stress and adversity, learning how to be resilient is a survival skill of the future. The purpose of this presentation is to help people understand that success is based on one’s mindset, skillset and action. Understanding unconscious bias and how it impacts our lens and decisions is critical to understanding what is required of ourselves and others in an ever changing world where cultural dynamics influence how we communicate or miscommunicate with one another. Participants will be engaged in a minds-on, three part lesson that begins with conceptualizing what success looks like and connecting how unconscious bias impacts the way people engage with one another, followed by a strategic tool to improve intercultural communications and finally how action is the key factor to move visualization into actualization. Participants open to the presentation’s concept will leave with greater insight, inspiration and a critical thinking tool that can be applied to every communication activity and increase successful engagement. As a teacher and former museum educator over the past 20 years, I have seen the positive impact on students as they build their confidence and find their voice to advocate for themselves and others. Many of these students are now influencers in their peer group and agents of change.

Bio

Li Koo is an educator, city builder, and advocate for a better tomorrow. Her diversity of experience includes educating the next generation of leaders, building a vibrant arts and culture centre and advocating for increased access to justice for vulnerable and newcomer communities. Li is a global citizen, having worked across many sectors around the world. These include the not for profit, government (political offices and agency), corporate and educational sectors. Grounded in community she has always worked hard to make a difference on a personal, local and global level. She is currently a professor at George Brown College and working in Real Estate in Toronto.

Contact: hello@likoo.ca

Jessica Escobedo

Jessica Escobedo

Designer and Researcher

PLANNAR: Co-Visioning with AR

In this 30 minute talk, I talk about an ongoing participatory AR project, PLANNAR, which uses mobile AR as a co-visioning approach to empower residents in various gentrifying neighborhoods in Los Angeles (Chinatown, Glendale). Through the various iterations of engagement methods (outdoor AR app, indoor tablet, art pop-up) I address my learnings for the different design approaches based on target users(i.e. low income Chinese adults vs. digitally savvy Chinese-American high schoolers), stakeholder partnerships, and geographical context. I conclude the talk by outlining further research opportunities and engagement approaches that are more inclusive and actionable for local governments.

Bio

Jessica Escobedo is an interdisciplinary designer and researcher based in Los Angeles interested in designing participatory experiences and services at the intersection of AR and urban planning.

Contact: jessy.esco@gmail.com

Project: https://elusive.design/plannar

Maya Van Leemput

Maya Van Leemput

Senior Researcher, lecturer, multi-media maker

MAD* for futures (*Media, Art and Design)

Based on a recent article in the special issue of the Journal of Futures Studies on Futures and Design, this talk examines how the collaboration between futures and media, art and design (MAD) can activate multiple perspectives in actual conversations about local and global futures. Ultimately, the aim is to make these conversations matter, in other words, to boost the social capacity for foresight and bring it to bear on the present. This would represent a radical transformation to nurture many other. The talk presents lessons learned from a sample of three projects (A Temporary Futures Institute at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, the three year development education project MAONO in the DR Congo and Reel Molenbeek Futures a project with the inhabitants of one of Brussels’s most disadvantaged communities). It suggests do’s and don’ts that futurists can keep in mind for making the most of collaborations at the intersection between futures and design so as to produce occasions for diverse groups to create, work and play with images of the futures. This way we may infect our cultures and societies with the freedom, intentionality, imagination and procedural scaffoldings of the theory and practice of our fields;

About the Speaker

Maya Van Leemput is Senior Researcher of ‘Open Time | Applied Futures Research’ at the Management, Media and Society department of the Erasmus University College Brussel where she also teaches Strategic Futures Orientation. Her background is in media studies with a Ph.D. from the University of Westminster for her research on “Visions of the Future on Television.” Her critical forward-looking work on media, culture, arts, (cross-cultural) communication, development, science and technology in society and urban environments, uses experimental, creative and participatory approaches. She partners with photographer Bram Goots on Agence Future (AF), a long-term independent project for exploring images of the future. The interdisciplinary experimental collaboration combines conversation based approaches and visual ethnography with multi-media co-creation. Maya is is a fellow of the World Futures Studies Federation and the Centre of Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, a member the Association of Professional Futurists and the interdisciplinary visual arts collective OST.

Contact: maya@reelfutures.net

Project: http://www.agencefuture.org

Patrick Robinson

Patrick Robinson

Proprietor, Yes And, Insights Curation & Instructional Design

Roundtable: Futures of Food – We are – and will become – what we eat

Food is one of our most fundamental experiences, touching almost every aspect of human endeavor. How we approach feeding ourselves — as individuals, as a culture and as a planet — will be one of the defining challenges of our shared future. Here in Toronto there is a remarkable array of individuals exploring novel approaches to food, and their stories and successes are setting the stage for the Futures of Food. For Futures Festival ’19 we are inviting 5 local food innovators to share what they have learned from the past, what they are doing in the present and how they envision the future. Across topics from food policy, justice and sovereignty, to the future of bars, restaurants and home-cooked meals, we will explore a diverse range of perspectives on what and how we will be eating in years to come. This session will include 5 short presentations + Q&A and be followed by a family-style dinner party hosted at The Depanneur where speakers and guests will share a meal inspired by their vision of the future. How can what and how we eat shape and transform the future we share?

Bio

Patrick Robinson is a social-minded design thinker. Working to elevate and activate a betterment agenda alongside educational leaders and professional associations; Patrick is an active member of APF the Association of Professional Futurists and the SDN the Service Design Network.
Patrick has instructed at OCAD U, Humber College, George Brown College and is a past board member of the MIT Enterprise Forum.
Len Senater

Len Senater

Owner of the Depaneur and Co founder of Newcomer Kitchen

Roundtable: Futures of Food – We are – and will become – what we eat

Food is one of our most fundamental experiences, touching almost every aspect of human endeavor. How we approach feeding ourselves — as individuals, as a culture and as a planet — will be one of the defining challenges of our shared future. Here in Toronto there is a remarkable array of individuals exploring novel approaches to food, and their stories and successes are setting the stage for the Futures of Food. For Futures Festival ’19 we are inviting 5 local food innovators to share what they have learned from the past, what they are doing in the present and how they envision the future. Across topics from food policy, justice and sovereignty, to the future of bars, restaurants and home-cooked meals, we will explore a diverse range of perspectives on what and how we will be eating in years to come. This session will include 5 short presentations + Q&A and be followed by a family-style dinner party hosted at The Depanneur where speakers and guests will share a meal inspired by their vision of the future. How can what and how we eat shape and transform the future we share?

Bio

Len Senater is the owner of The Depanneur, a culinary venue in Toronto that hosts thousands of pop-up food events. As an extension of this unique business model, he co-founded Newcomer Kitchen, a non-profit pilot that created social and economic opportunities for Syrian refugee women through food-based projects. Previously Len was a partner in Hypenotic, a strategic design & branding agency.

Contact: info@thedepanneur.ca

Press article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2016/dec/12/newcomer-kitchen-syrian-refugees-toronto-restaurant-video

Asma Ahmad

Asma Ahmad

Empath at ZahaExperience

Presentation: Exploring Cultures with Empathy – A Journey across Cultures

The WHY: Envisage a future where human interaction is left for a complete coincidence, no structured outlet where people from all walks of life come together (more ignorance, loneliness, isolation, lost intelligence). Migration and travelling enhanced the diversity of places however the busyness of life often absorbs people causing more social and cultural issues. The PURPOSE: Zaha explores “Individual Culture” which is the norms that reside within each one of us that influence the way we manage our experiences, relate to ourselves and others. Zaha is built on 3 core values, Empathy, Inclusion and Curiosity to create more Cultural Intelligence (suspension of judgement, acceptance of cultural confusion, and eagerness to learn about others) THE HOW: Zaha XP leverages the physical cultural expressions (food, art, music, herbs etc) to reveal the emotional and human aspects behind them. People either self-express through the physical elements(Individual Culture) or co-create (allowing people to experience a meaningful application of a knowledge seemed strange).The documented content from the experiences is shared online to enhance sustainability. Stakeholders. Zaha builds relationship with art and creativity hubs to identify experience leaders. It executes on the agenda of culture-sharing (UNESCO, Ministry of Culture) and community integration guardians

Bio

I like to believe that I have the courage needed to explore all the ways to figure out the ‘be’ in what I was ‘born to be’. I have been going back and forth between understanding my pain and leveraging my passion to create something meaningful beyond myself, for the world. And I have finally woman-ed up to start building Zaha in January 2018. Zaha is a journey of a cultural movement that enables humans to re-examine the usefulness of their assumptions about themselves and others, through exploring the human and emotional aspects of cultures. Being judged at the age of 7 when my parents moved between countries because of war, I have been always intrigued by the otherness of others, tapping into their knowledge reservoir, and evolve. And Zaha has emerged from all of that. Leaving behind a 10-year of management consultancy experience and glamorous career with the Big 4 across MENA; a decision that has never been regretted. Living in a complete alignment with the essence of who I am feels just right.

Contact: asma@zahaExperience.com

Nicole Anand

Nicole Anand

The Residency Co-Founder

Tapping into endless curiosity – the making of an infinite learner

We’re stuck in an archaic mode of learning. Our learning institutions & mindsets are outdated. Programs complementary to formal education (opportunities often reaped in liminal periods and career transitions) are ad-hoc & timebound, failing to support learning that sticks & spreads through our systems. Our unique capability as humans is to be endlessly curious – how might we become infinite learners? To tackle the complex socio-political problems of today & the future, we need to be multidisciplinary & work across sectors. While many groups encourage this mode of collaboration (eg. Open Government Partnership, Nesta’s States of Change) the cognitive glue to foster agile, ongoing, intergenerational learning continues to be missing at scale. At The Residency, we are building a global learning collective for Change Designers through a participatory design process. We’re testing 4 hypotheses based on learning theories & empirical evidence of learning models: 1)learning sticks when it is layered (peer-to-peer, explicit, participatory, & self-directed) 2)learning spreads when it is regenerative through intentional collective practice 3)seamless multidisciplinarity requires close attention to intersections of generalist/specialist (e.g process/subject-matter knowledge) 4) mindsets (dispositions, reasoning, emotions,& implicit rules) are barriers to impactful learning.

Bio

Nicole is the co-founder of The Residency, an emergent practical learning collective for Change Designers – civil servants, civil society and social designers -and part-time faculty in the Transdisciplinary Design MFA program at the Parsons School of Design, The New School in New York. She is a political economist with a specialized practice in participatory design and mixed-methods research and runs a consultancy, Collectivist, focused on governance and systems change. Nicole has extensive experience in research, program implementation, and community facilitation in South Asia, Latin America and West Africa. Previously, Nicole directed the strategy and learning of international civil society organizations while contributing as a leader in the open government movement.

Project: https://medium.com/@theresidency.design

Email: nicole.anand@gmail.com