strategic foresight|design thinking – online course

Today we launched our new online class with Stanford Continuing Studies – [Link].

Strategic Foresight and Design Thinking

Here’s how Tamara (Carleton) and I describe what we have to offer:

“We live in an interconnected world where the old answers don’t seem to apply, where even successful businesses need to embrace radical change, where global challenges demand collaboration and innovation on a new scale, where choices seem overwhelming. Now more than ever, we need to be flexible, nonlinear, and ready for change. And that’s where design thinking and strategic foresight can make the difference.

This online course arises out of the outstanding achievements of Stanford’s design community—human-centered and focused on skill sets and toolkits that anyone can adopt. The course will show how to apply design thinking and strategic foresight, and explain how they can generate innovative solutions to challenges we face in our businesses, organizations, and teams. We will answer questions like: How do we foster a lasting culture of innovation in our business or organization? How do we increase idea cross-pollination across our groups? How do we build an innovation-savvy leadership team? How do we model our competitive landscape as it reaches into the future? How do we pick the right idea to develop? How should we understand who is our future customer?

The course uses videos, readings, case studies, demonstrations, exercises, open forums with faculty, and personal feedback to explain just what design thinking and strategic foresight are, their context and significance, and how to bring both into your business, team, and organization. A unique feature of the course is the range of case studies we explore to illustrate the features of design thinking and foresight strategy. They are drawn from history, the arts, everyday life, and other cultures, as well as, of course, from current experience in businesses, private, and public organizations. The aim is to generate inspiring insight from outside-the-box viewpoints.”

Here’s a taste – a “context map” for the course – summarizing key components of the mindset –


update – summer 2016

The book on Greece and Rome with Gary (Devore) [Link] is close to being done. We’ve chosen to offer a quite different kind of account of antiquity and we’re delighted with the scope of its underlying model and perspective (archaeological and focused on the topic of membership of body politic). It’s the success of our approach that has slowed things down – but this summer will see its delivery to Oxford – the textbook/trade division in New York (the book will be large format, full color, lots of maps and diagrams and pictures). For me, it’s my attempt to pull together a fascination with the ancient world that began when I took up Latin and Greek as a ten year old, researches into ancient art and design, surveys of ancient urbanism in the Mediterranean and Roman north, modeling the workings of power and agency with a Marxian/Weberian twist, and now informed by a paradigm in Strategic Foresight. It’s the biggest project I’ve undertaken.

Meanwhile, I’ve neglected much else, or at least I’ve not been writing on much else here online.

My chorographic fieldwork in the English/Scottish borders has continued with two trips – in February and June [Link]. Mike (Pearson) was with me in February – we’re working on a new edition of our book Theatre/Archaeology.

Joining Larry Leifer in his Center for Design Research is proving to be a great base for my interest in expanding the human component of human centered design with an archaeological outlook. This is focused on the revival of a long-standing Stanford group – Foresight and Innovation [Link]. My work with Stanford Revs Program has shifted to this new home (automotive pasts, presents, futures), as has what we (with Chris Ford) are calling Urban Futures – long-term perspectives on urban dwelling and design, and, in a continuation of the mission of Stanford Humanities Lab, an affiliation with the Future Learning Lab in Norway. I was keynote at their conference in May [Link].

I’m also being approached by more and more corporations and organizations interested in how to take account of culture in their efforts to shift to the more human-centered outlook of the designer. This year so far I’ve worked with SAP, Severstal, Airbus, and hosted a fascinating talk by Sergey Kravchenko, VP of Boeing, a business visionary who completely got the relevance of an archaeological outlook. CityInnovate is a new partner with our Urban Futures initiative, building on my advisory work with the Mayor and City of Rotterdam [Link].

I’m expecting closer connections with the Historic Vehicle Association of America to offer scope for completing my researches and writing that started with Stanford Revs Program [Link].

My lab at Stanford, Metamedia, now with the moniker Pragmatology [Link] is receiving a clear out, is refreshed with relaunched websites [Link], and as a home for some wonderful researchers – Anja Krieger, Anne Duray, Nolan Epstein, and Catherine Teitz.


coming soon

cloud studies

Out in the field and a return to the breakup of Britain.

Northern coasts, part of my chorography of the English-Scottish borders [Link]



Fieldwork in the English/Scottish borders. Molly and I were out late this midsummer evening, walking and talking – at Bamburgh, court and capital of the Kingdom of Northumbria in the seventh and eighth centuries.

Below us, on the beach, (we found out via Gilbert (Cockton) on Facebook) Alex Braidford was capturing the strawberry moonrise – a once-in-seventy-years event [Link] – the next opportunity to see the full moon on midsummer’s eve is 2062.

Cosmic actuality – the arrangement of time beyond a mortal frame.

deep time – a return


Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scottish Borders.