Learning Futures: Ōtautahi in Action

My passion for futures thinking began when I was 19. I was a student, working on weekends and holidays to fund my teacher training. One Saturday an American visitor started a conversation with me, a conversation about aspirations for the future. During my lunch hour he presented me with a book that has continued to impact me throughout the decades. That book was of course, Future Shock. Well worn, as you will see below!

First of all thanks to John R “Lucky” Larsen for gifting this book to me. If any of you know John I would love to hear from you. I have never seen him since and don’t know anything about him. Who knows what and who influences us on our journeys?

In more recent years I really enjoyed learning from futurist Richard Slaughter when completing my doctoral studies through Griffith University. Those conversations led me to become a member of the Association for Professional Futurists and to meet some amazing futurists from across the globe. People like Jason Swanson and Maree Conway are two, in particular, who have influenced my thinking in an ongoing way. Check out Jason’s Seeds Podcast with Steven Moe on Becoming a Futurist, recorded when Jason was in Christchurch supporting our Future of Learning Conference in 2019.

Enter a global pandemic. During lockdown I came across a new online programme, Become a Futurist: Futures 101, launched by one of the world’s most credible futurists, Sohail Inayatullah and decided it would be a great refresher! Many people ask me about programmes to grow understanding in the futures space, but many of these are f2f, which can be a bit tricky when you live in New Zealand. As I was working through the Futures 101 programme I became extra excited about how this programme might be used to grow a community of futures thinkers here in Ōtautahi, Christchurch, New Zealand. This aligned all my work – futures thinking, foresight, leadership and growing a learning city. Never one to miss an opportunity, I decided to sponsor a small group to take part in the programme, while also linking together as a community of practice.

So in 2020 I have chosen to support a group of 12 local people to grow their understanding of futures thinking and strategic foresight using the excellent Futures 101 resource developed by leading futurist Sohail Anayatullah.

I advertised through my social media channels with an expectation that those selected would be committed to the Treaty of Waitangi, were willing to collaborate, were equity focused and would use their new knowledge to benefit Ōtautahi Christchurch as a learning city. I am excited to share the news! Think Beyond has sponsored a team of 12 people to take part and last week has several online catch ups to meet each other.

Over the next three months the following diverse and amazing peeps will share ideas and learn together. Thanks so much to Sohail for encouraging us to make this happen.

In screen order (excluding me!) congratulations to the following:

Above: Chris Habinshuti,  Josh HoughGretchen McFadden, Sheralee McDonald, Eduard Leibenberger, Anna Stevenson

Below: Tamara Yuill ProctorHelen LeahyErica Austin; Grace de Leon; Garry Williams, Eruera Tarena.

Each person will use the Futures 101 resource at their own pace, but we will meeting fortnightly online to share ideas, ask questions and explore opportunities. Who knows what will emerge?

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