To put it even more simply, we can be seen as having moved from being a species of small people in a big planet to being big people living on a small world. We have moved from the Holocene to the Anthropocene. The problem solving toolkit and frameworks of understanding what worked for humanity in the Holocene are unfit for the Anthropocene. Linear, partitioned, localised, cause-and-effect problem solving that still dominates is simply not up to the job.
This project aims to develop and test tools for understanding and dealing with global, systemic and multidisciplinary challenges. The intention is to develop and refine ways of helping people and groups to:
• achieve a concise macro-perspective that is simple enough to work with without being simplistic
• develop a holistic, realistic and revisable visions for the future
• understand realistic routes to bringing about change in this direction
The intention is that all those who engage with the process will become better able see how they and their organisations can best contribute to the change they want to see. The project aims to engage widely, with academics form all disciplines, with businesses, with individuals and communities from different cultures.
By way of example, this mindmap, complete with typos, offers one summary of the collective thinking that emerged from a series of events in Lancaster and London, exploring realistic but positive visions for the future in 50 years time. The groups so far engaged might be characterised as largely UK, middle class and perhaps predominantly left leaning, but relatively diverse within those boundaries. Next steps are to test the process with more diverse groups and to work up the practical implications; if this is the future we want, what brings it about, and what can any of us meaningfully do?
Related to this project are the Global Futures events which are intended to enable new thinking around big global challenges. They do this by bringing together people from different disciplines (science, politics, psychology, sociology, business, leadership, art, …) in an informal way for short presentations, followed by discussions and then chats over a drink, usually followed by practical discussions about the practical implications for those present, the University and the town.