Impressions from Summ( )n Summer Sessions

Our summer sessions on Future Probing are all done! Or at least this inaugural batch is done, we already know that we will do many more of these sessions in the near future. It was a great experience for us at Summ()n, to prepare and to promote these workshops, and then eventually to conduct them.  Despite the method itself is very familiar to us, we still have learned a lot of useful lessons that will help us to improve these exercises.

One of the key conclusions (and main feedback from the participants) is that we have to be much more instructive. In our normal, project-based work we tend to be very open and flexible (we must be like that, in fact). But these demo versions require a bit more didactic form, more clear instructions and more articulated feedback. Points taken, and we will make these qualities more vivid in the following sessions.

In addition to these training session we have been requested to think about more topical, or thematic sessions, the ones that would also help to explore certain domains. ‘Energy’ was mentioned most often as a possible candidates for such a session, both in terms of ‘energy for devices’, but also personal energy.

Special thanks to our new partners that we found during the preparations of these events – Dutch Future Society and Brainport Development. Both agencies have endorsed us so far, and are keen to further explore the opportunities in the future.

FutureGlimpse telco-way

Ok, that was a bit of a challenge! But at the end it happened to be the challenge-with-benefit!

We wanted to demonstrate our new tool, so called FutureGlimpse, to our new partner, an American agency i-Imagine (with the aim to develop a joint offer to the US market). The cross-continentality is still an issue here, as I can’t just hop to the other side of the ocean and present our ideas in Boston.

Yes, we can play telco… but our tools tend to require quite an intense group work that are still badly transferable via usual telecom technologies 🙁   And yet we managed – it wasn’t as good as the real workshop wold do, but ti was good enough to convey the message, and demonstrate the potential of our technique. Or rather techniques, as I also tried to push the envelope and present two complex tools at once – the future probing coupled with the FuturoGlimpse. Looks like it worked at the end, since we discuss a whole range of news steps!

Future Breakfasts in Kazakhstan

I came from my trip to Kazakhstan already two weeks ago, but still didn’t write much about the event. Or events, in fact, there were many of them, in addition to the participation in the PR forum in Almaty. Most of them had been organised by Alexander Ruzanov, the director of the research agency BRIF, and a good friend of mine already for ages.

I will write a bout some of them separately, but to start with I’d like to mention two lovely ‘business-breakfasts’ that Alexander has organised for his clients and partners, one on Future Probing, and one on Co-research & Co-creation methods.

They’ve been held in a nice cafe with small but cozy conference room (resembling a catacomb a bit, from the first look). I thought that I will come to the first one already well-rested after the long-flight, but no, my arrival got delayed, and eventually I arrived to Almaty on June 2nd 4am (!), to start my presentation at 9 am (!!).  Obviously, my first presentation wasn’t very sane (but perhaps the presentation about future probing shouldn’t be anyway).  The second, on co-research, was already better (or I think so).

But in both cases, these gatherings were nice, very informal, and very active, with questions, discussions, and sharing own ideas. It was quite a relief, since I was in doubt until the last minute whether my materials would be of any relevance to the participants. They were.


Probing the Future, in Three Simple Steps

I wrote, already in March, that we’ve been invited again by our regular client, Moscow-based CRM company called Connexions (they had been bought by large Finish Itella few years ago, so it is now Itella-Connexions. It is already the third time in a raw that we conduct our workshops with their own clients, “to expand their minds’, as Alexei Kruzhkov, director of the company, says.

The picture above is not so much about these workshops, but it does show the new office center where Itella-Connexions  has recently moved (and where both our workshop took place this time).

As often happens in our workshops, the topic was dead serious (investigations of the possible future is very serious business indeed), yet we always try to do it by playing with these futures, so our atmosphere is  usually very creative and joyful (well, at least *after* the initial amusement):

A lot of things went very well this time (despite quite a complex program), but few could be “done better”; I partly fell a victim of my own success, to to speak, as the workshop had been attended by a lot of people. This, coupled with a very tiny room, created a bit messy and cumbersome flow. Indeed, next time better, they plan to rent a special place for my workshops next year 🙂