Future Cultures with Scott Smith and Susan Cox-Smith

Scott Smith and Susan Cox-Smith of strategic foresight consultancy Changeist are co-authors of “Future Cultures: How To Build A Future-Ready Organization Through Leadership.” Scott and Susan explain the practice of applied futures and how to be better prepared for a range of potential futures by embracing creative thinking and innovative methodologies. Listeners receive a 25 percent discount on “Future Cultures” at KoganPage.com by using the promo code BIGEYE25 at checkout.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant: ​Coming up in this episode of IN CLEAR FOCUS: 

Scott Smith: You have to be able to maintain an awareness of what’s changing in the environment around you. And, you know, having a language for talking about future possibilities is really important.

Susan Cox-Smith: There are lots of futures cohorts who aim to thoughtfully consider how their own privilege or bias impacts decision-making for those who don’t have a voice about how certain futures may impact them.

Adrian Tennant: You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, fresh perspectives on marketing and advertising produced weekly by Bigeye, a strategy-led full-service creative agency growing brands for clients globally. Hello, I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, Chief Strategy Officer. Thank you for joining us.  Today, the world is still grappling with the aftershocks of COVID-19, finding ourselves in an era marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, or VUCA. This landscape has challenged just about every type of business, upending supply chains and demanding swift, often radical, operational adaptations. But we saw that some companies were better prepared than others to introduce consumer-facing innovations in response to the pandemic. This brings us to scenario planning, a strategic method that originated within military operations and was later embraced by corporations, most notably by Royal Dutch Shell in the 1970s. It’s about constructing detailed what-if scenarios to prepare for potential futures. Over the past couple of decades, this practice has matured into applied futures, an approach offering a broader, more collaborative examination of various factors: social, technological, environmental, economic and political in strategic planning. Now, why does this matter? Well, in a world where the unexpected has become the norm, Applied Futures offers a way for organizations not just to anticipate changes, but to actively shape their own futures. making strategic decisions with an eye on the horizon, readying businesses to pivot and adapt in the face of unforeseen challenges. Today’s guests are the co-founders of Changeist, a multidisciplinary consulting group, helping organizations identify, make sense of, structure, and tell stories about what’s next. Scott Smith has over 25 years of experience in Applied Foresight and Futures. He is Managing Partner of Changeist and has advised organizations including UNICEF, Comcast, JPMorgan Chase, and AXA, among many others. Scott is a regular media contributor on futures-based innovation, writing for Wired, Quartz, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. Scott’s also the author of the book, “How To Future: Leading And Sense-Making In An Age Of Hyper Change,” published in 2020. Susan Cox-Smith is the co-founder and partner of Changeist. She’s a researcher, writer, and producer guiding the development of new collaborative concepts, and her passion is seeking to enrich public engagement with possible futures. Named one of Forbes’s leading female futurists in 2022, she co-authored this month’s Bigeye Book Club selection with Scott. Their new book is “Future Cultures: How To Build A Future-Ready Organization Through Leadership.” To discuss how businesses and brands can be more innovative by building a futures culture, Scott and Susan are joining us today from their home base of Barcelona, Spain. Scott and Susan, welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS!

Scott Smith Happy to be here. 

Susan Cox-Smith: Thank you. It’s lovely to be here.

Adrian Tennant: Before we discuss your new book, I’m curious: what originally drew each of you to the field of applied futures and strategic foresight? Let’s start with you, Scott.

Scott Smith: The short answer is I’ve spent 30 years making my way laterally towards the place that I belonged in the sense of I found a field of work that functions similar to how I think. The long answer is I spent about 20 years working in different kinds of forecasting and strategy, mainly in the technology industry, both in the US and internationally. And most of that involved needing to imagine how people might use future technologies. I was working mostly on internet and interactive, sort of digital in the early days and since nothing existed in that way, we had to imagine how people might use something and look for historical analogs. And so I found myself in the practice of building where there was nothing, and developing a kind of structured understanding of what might be possible and the factors that drove it. And eventually found out that there was a field that had this name. And I didn’t have to be orphaned, and so I made my way over to the strategic foresight field and got a business card that said Futurist given to me. And the rest is history, or the future, one or the other.

Adrian Tennant: Susan, how did you become interested in this area?

Susan Cox-Smith: Well, I married a Futurist. My background is actually in design, and I slowly but surely was lured away from the design side into a lateral move into futures in that, we have complementary skills. And so, as a partnership, it’s really worked quite well, and I learn from him every day.

Scott Smith: Likewise. 

Susan Cox-Smith: It was inevitable, I think, that I would get interested in fatures.

Adrian Tennant: Well, you both co-founded Changeist to provide applied futures and strategic foresight to organizations. Can you give us an idea of the disciplines you operate in and the kinds of projects that Changeist typically undertakes?

Scott Smith: We are a very broad church, and we work with a very diverse toolset. One of the things that drove us to set Changeist up in – what was it, 2007? – was some prior experience with the fusion of different disciplines being crossed over with futures work, with strategic foresight, to kind of use the professional or academic term. And that disciplinary blend seemed really effective, interesting, compelling, but there weren’t a lot of places doing that at the time. There weren’t a lot of agencies or places you could go for that level of experimentation. And what we brought together was some of it was my prior work in more traditional strategy, design research, marketing, communications, all those areas with, you know, Susan’s work in design. And, combined both the more rigorous research, and sensemaking and mapping, and kind of analysis areas with the more creative work around narratives, developing scenarios, developing material artifacts, immersions, experiences that would actually bring possible futures home to people in a more direct way. And then all of that led us into capacity-building and education. We started being asked to teach what we did, and that seemed both like a great way to educate smart clients and also to learn a lot more about our own practice and understand it through the kind of eyes and brains of other people. And so we started teaching about a decade ago as well. And so some of that work is more dense on the front end around research, where we’re brought in by often big organizations, sometimes brands, but more often these days, governments, large organizations that have a kind of big risk exposure, if you will. They’re facing a lot of uncertainty, and we will help them surface and structure the kind of insights that they need to start making sense of the future and then transition that into ways of communicating that possibility and creating context by bringing all those pieces together that can help different audiences understand what’s possible, whether that’s something visual, something experiential like objects, rich ways of delivering research that aren’t locked in PowerPoint. All of those different areas, I think. 

Susan Cox-Smith: I would just say that I think we fit very nicely in that space between academic futures and the trendy, agency-type futurists. which is, I think, why we’re typically respected with those organizations that need something less dense than, say, a big fat report and much more robust than, say, just a trend report or, “These are ten things you need to be thinking about next year.”

Adrian Tennant: Scott, your first book was entitled How to Future, published by Kogan Page, in which you illustrate that futuring – a verb – isn’t about trying to predict the future, which is probably a common misconception. Instead, it’s actually about stimulating creative thinking about a range of possible futures. So, can you expand on that idea for us?

Scott Smith: Well, as you’ve already seen, like the grasping for terminology can be challenging because there are so many different entryways and terms that are used around this work. And the idea of making it active and talking about futuring really, it was the best way we could describe the necessity to not just look at this as an arm’s length, more scientific management discipline that only gets taken out of the closet every five years, but really reflects the fact that it’s a kind of embodied, ongoing, way of thinking and acting. So we brought about the use of the verb to describe that, and this work is really, I guess it’s misunderstood as you say, people think about it as being, “Well, give us a prediction about the future.” And then you’re really only locked into one high probability narrow issue that truly misses the forest for one tree. And so much of this is about surfacing issues from different perspectives and helping organizations broadly, but people specifically within organizations, understand them. What could be happening in the future? What forces are around today that actually may point towards that and feed it? How do we all understand them differently? How can we actually synchronize that understanding in useful ways and think about what’s important, what these issues’ impacts might be, and also, what drives them? Why are things happening? This helps us find the different uncertainties and risks that are out there. The knowns, the unknowns. And put those different futures and different kinds of pathways in context with each other. So, it’s almost an anti-prediction. You’re actually trying to understand how different forces might come together to drive some kind of change that’s consequential. So that you can come back to the present and act differently now, not hang out there in the kind of blue sky future, just thinking cool thoughts and making cool images, but to do something different in the present to steer you towards a preferred future. You can see it’s not an elevator pitch! But it’s also a kind of systemic way of thinking about what’s possible.

Adrian Tennant: In your first book, you introduce sensing and scanning. Could you explain these skills and the difference between signals, trends and drivers? 

Scott Smith: What I was just describing to you is a way of, at least for me, it’s like mentally mapping a terrain. You’re going somewhere that you have a blank map with nothing on it, or you have very little on it. There’s not much data, if any, about the future. So you have to begin to develop an understanding of what’s on that terrain. What’s on the landscape, how it’s moving, and what it means. So, this kind of comes in a couple of different ways. One is a more of structured practice we call scanning or horizon scanning, which is a hundred-year-old practice that started with militaries around the world. But it really is that looking at the horizon line to see what’s coming. But you also need some categories for that. You need to be able to give things properties. What’s near, what’s far, what’s big, and what’s small? That’s where language like signals and trends and drivers come in. Signal is a kind of a single indicator of change that may or may not be consequential. It’s the thing you notice, the shift in behavior, the new announcement, the interesting data point that’s a little bit out of the norm. It’s the thing that makes your little voice in your head go, “Huh, that’s interesting.” But you can’t just leave it and let it go. So, multiple signals sort of form evidence of what we would call a trend, which is really just a pattern of change over time. Not a trend, as in what’s trending right now on social media or what’s trendy. But where can we sort of see multiple examples of something happening that we can describe as something shifting over time. So a change in behavior or a shift in economics or business or a technology trend. And then drivers or driving forces are kind of interchangeable terms. They are the high-level, bigger issues that persist over longer periods of time: eras of technology or systems of government or things like climate change are a massive driving force that touches almost everything. It’s not going to go away next year. It’s not going to go out of fashion. It’s here for the long term, and it drives other trends as a bigger force. Demography is another one that’s really important. So that’s kind of in a nutshell the levels of like small blips to big, long-running phenomena.

Adrian Tennant:How To Future” provides several tools to encourage collaborative futuring. Now, Susan, you and Scott lead educational workshops to teach strategic foresight skills. So, for anyone new to applied futures, what are a couple of tools or frameworks that you found consistently useful and applicable to a broad range of situations?

Susan Cox-Smith: I think the first is horizon scanning, just using that and bringing it to your work every single day, you know, paying attention to what’s going on, but it has to be effective horizon scanning. It can’t just be doom-scrolling. And it takes a while for people to really understand what they’re looking for or what they’re not expecting or how sometimes a little light bulb just goes off and says, “Wow, I never thought that would happen.” So that might be a signal of something. So I’d say that’s the number one, like very first tool or process that everyone should become better at because it will assist in the entire concept of futuring, of thinking about the future, because once you start to see these little markers get put down, as Scott said, you know, you can get a clearer picture of what that landscape is moving forward. My favorite tool, though, is actually Impact Wheels, Implications Wheels, or Future Wheels. They’re all the same tool with different names. But what it does is it helps further populate the landscape by taking one of those trends, a signal of change, and then saying, “Well, what happens next?” or “Where do we go from here?” or “What would be a reaction to this?” And you can go out into first order, second order, third order, implications that help guide and, you know, we talk about mapping and how to future, and this is one of the ways that we use to fill in that map of what could potentially happen, and they’re not tied together in any way so you can explore both positive and negative implications and they can all go off in their own different directions. So, it’s an incredibly useful tool, actually, if you’ve got an important question that you want to explore so that you’re guiding yourself through potential scenarios. 

Adrian Tennant: Well, you mentioned the Covid-19 pandemic. “How to Future” was published in 2020, which was a particularly turbulent year by anyone’s definition. Your new book, “Future Cultures” was published just last month. Scott, what prompted you to write this new book and in what ways does it differ from your first book?

Scott Smith: I can remember when we pitched “How To Future” in 2019, telling the publisher, the editors at Kogan Page, “2020 is going to be a big year,” and that was purely on the perspective of it’s an end of a decade, a round number, elections coming, Brexit was going to be really sort of kicking into gear. We had no idea, obviously we could have had an idea, but we had no true idea that the COVID pandemic was coming. It tripped us up a little bit. And that the book got slowed down and stalled in production. We literally had a team from the World Health Organization asking us for the book as a field manual to sort out this crisis. And we couldn’t get it to them in time because it got caught up with the lockdown. But along the way, we kind of were reminded by and kind of reinforced the experience of understanding how even trying to teach or skill someone as an individual in being better at understanding, acting on, designing around the future, building strategies for it that doesn’t change the broader organization culture around that person. They can go to a workshop and learn these skills, but then they’re the one person who thinks differently and wants to act differently than the rest of the organization. So, you’re almost creating another quarantine for those people with those skills, and what’s really important is that you start to change the way the culture operates far more broadly in the organization, not by having that one person or a handful of people kind of fight the brave fight of the future but by making the culture of the organization more amenable to what that team can do. So we open up with a kind of anecdote that’s a true story of one of our workshop participants waiting till everyone else had cleared the room and then coming up afterward and saying, “This is fantastic. I’ve never been allowed to think like this before, but what do I do when I go back to the office on Monday morning? And my boss says, ‘Stop that, you know, you’re creating disruptions. You’re bringing lots of what ifs into the office!'” And so that really drove home this need to help those people set the table for their colleagues and help change the way the conversation happens. So if How To Future was more of a kind of, as I said, field guide or scout guide to tactics, for practice, Future Cultures is a much kind of higher level approach that’s almost designed for the stakeholder, the manager, to help them better understand what it is they’re asking for and to get a better return on their investment in future skills, on a kind of broad basis, rather than just equipping a specialist team and then maybe leaving them on their own.

Adrian Tennant: Let’s take a short break. We’ll be right back after this message. 

Scott Smith: As the world around us is showing, it’s always hard to know what the future will bring. Susan Cox-Smith: But you can be better prepared for the uncertainties of tomorrow. Hi, I’m Susan Cox Smith. Scott Smith: And I’m Scott Smith. We’re the authors of a new book, “Future Cultures: How to Build a Future-Ready Organization Through Leadership.”Susan Cox-Smith: Our book offers proven strategies to fundamentally rewire your culture to become more fluid, agile, and prepared to handle whatever tomorrow brings. Scott Smith: From future-proofing your brand to adapting the experience of your team or workforce, “Future Cultures” includes practical design tools and foresight techniques that will bring your focus clearly into the future.Susan Cox-Smith: As an IN CLEAR FOCUS listener, you can get 25 percent off a print or electronic version of Future Cultures using the exclusive promo code BIGEYE25. This code is valid for all products and pre-orders, and when you order directly from the publisher, shipping is always free to the US and the UK. Scott Smith: To order your copy of “Future Cultures,” go to the publisher’s website at KoganPage.com. That’s Kogan with a ‘K.’ Susan Cox-Smith: Thank you. Scott Smith: Thank you.

Adrian Tennant: Welcome back. I’m talking with Scott Smith and Susan Cox-Smith, co-founders of the multidisciplinary consulting group Changeist, and the authors of the new book, “Future Cultures, How to Build a Future Ready Organization Through Leadership.” Scott, you use a novel acronym in the book, so what makes people within an organization HAPI – that is H-A-P-I?

Scott Smith: It’s a double-edged acronym that we arrived at purely by accident. If we’d been trying to think of something that cute, it wouldn’t have come up. But, in the sort of process of putting the book together, one of the things we thought was really important was to start with people in the way that we think and work as individuals. And what are the kind of characteristics that lend themselves towards a more kind of anticipatory posture. So H A P I stood for Highly Anticipatory Potential  Individuals – kind of a mouthful! But we had been thinking about that for a number of years and trying to identify and maybe index or kind of score in some way what may make people more inclined to, or ready to, be comfortable with the kind of ambiguous circumstances of the future. And we went back and interviewed some people we have the kind of highest respect for in this field, who we think represent the gold standard of practice in some ways. One of them was our colleague Jeanette Quek at the Center for Strategic Futures in Singapore; Noah Rafford, who had been at Dubai Future Foundation; a lot of people who had deep experience, and we started looking for common attributes that we could also understand and get on board with ourselves. And so if you look at LinkedIn, for example, and when people are hiring for foresight jobs, they’re looking for statistics degrees, or engineering degree, a PhD in science. Great. But that actually may work against you in the sense that it makes you very good at one thing, but what really helps people function in these environments is a kind of a menu of different characteristics like curiosity: how sort of self-driven are you to discover new things? Are you really interested in sort of finding out about new topics? Do you want to dive into what makes things tick? All these sound obvious in retrospect when you say them, an awareness and kind of sort of tuned-in-ness to the world and kind of things that are going on outside of your direct field of interest. Are you the kind of person that not only scans lots of different sources and looks through different media, listens to different things, reads different books, but also are you that person that sits in a train station or an airport and just kind of sits quietly and watches with your headphones off? Do you pay attention to what’s happening around you and sense the environment? Do you look up and down when you walk? So that kind of awareness of the world is really important. Empathy and the ability to take perspective from someone else’s point of view and understand others’ roles and how they may be impacted by things. Thinking about what Susan was just talking about a minute ago, what are the impacts that follow on from things? If I do this, what happens next? Some people are just wired better to think this way, not in a kind of biological sense, but it’s just how they may have been raised or their personal characteristics. And I think the last one is kind of an ease with uncertainty and your ability to just go with operating in turbulent and unknown environments. And, of course, many of us are getting an unexpected baptism in that by world events. But you also see people who are happier or more accustomed to and comfortable with that ambiguity. And I think it’s something that you can build. It’s a capacity you can build, and some of us are, because of our life experience, maybe more attuned and kind of used to those levels of environmental risk, maybe because of our own kind of personal characteristics. We wanted to identify those and describe them as a way of helping people look for individuals that may not have all, but some of those, and then be able to build teams in complementary ways. How do I start to build a team that has an overall profile of those characteristics?

Adrian Tennant: In “Future Cultures,” you’ve developed a visual canvas called the Future Culture Planning Map. Scott, could you explain how it can help leaders think about the steps they might take to build out a strong futures practice?

Scott Smith: Both in terms of the kind of case study interviews that we did and also our own experience kind of told us that so often organizations, they often don’t start with a kind of strategy to build a futures capability. It starts through somebody has a need for some kind of forward-looking report or a study or, you know, some other kind of purpose. And that kind of builds this sort of reactive, responsive way of dealing with things. When you could take a more strategic view of the organization and begin to think about “What would I change across the organization?” in different places, looking for certain kinds of people, or adopting certain kinds of tools for knowledge management, or changing the rules and norms of the organization. If you only attack those individually, you’re disconnected, and you end up with little tactics instead of a full strategy. So the map came about both as a way of creating a layered view of the organization that we could use to understand it, but also then it became a kind of tool for mapping initiatives that can help you build a more overarching strategy rather than these kind of point approaches.

Susan Cox-Smith: And we’re big believers in having public spaces that kind of set out, you know, “Here’s what we’re doing,” or “Here’s what we want you to think about.” So, you know, by actually having a physical map somewhere that people can walk up to and look at, it kind of can work as like an employee handbook to think about the future because it’s a way of getting those tactics and plans, in front of people’s faces rather than in a report or an email. And so that you can see when things start to move and what actions are being taken and clearly sometimes, people can say, “Oh, I can contribute to that. I know how to do that.” Or “I know someone who’s good at that.” So, as I say, we’re just really big on making sure that there’s a lot of visibility around these types of efforts because so often the people who work in strategic foresight or futures are totally separated from the rest of the organization and there is no awareness that they even exist.

Scott Smith: We’ve colored the map in a way as a sort of afterthought that if you put this on your wall, in your office, you know, on your cube, people will see it, come up and say, “What is that? What’s going on?” “We’re actually trying to put together a strategy. What, do you have ideas?” so it becomes a kind of watering hole, a sort of focal point to do what futures is supposed to do, which is draw together different strategic conversations and get people thinking about what they want to happen next. So it’s sort of doing what it says on the tin in a way.

Adrian Tennant: Susan, you were responsible for the case studies in the book. Could you share an example of an organization that has developed a strong futures culture?

Susan Cox-Smith: Yeah. One of my favorite interviews that we did was with two people from BBC R&D. So they are specifically tasked with developing new technologies, new ideas. And, two people on the team really wanted to start applying a more futures-focused kind of infrastructure to the work that they did. So it’s pre-work before you do R and D. You do some future-scaping, as we sometimes call it. And they did a very good job of seeking out and finding other people in the organization who were also interested in applying these types of tools and processes to their own work. And they built like just a little group, and the great thing about R& D is that they’ve always been very transparent and visible with the work that they do. So this is another example of kind of being visible, and people knowing what you’re working on and what you’re trying to do. And so they sought out others to join with them. And so now they’ve got a network within the organization. And they actually were asked to design an artifact for – was it 100 years of the BBC? And they had 100 objects. And theirs was the 100th object, but it was from the future. And they worked with schoolchildren in Britain to decide and develop what this artifact would actually be and what it would represent. So, you know, I think they have very clearly and visibly applied like all these steps. They do horizon scanning. They do sensing. They do storytelling. They make prototypes and artifacts. And then they assess their work. So, they very much follow our How To Future process, and it’s kind of taken on a life of its own, and we’re a little bit proud.

Adrian Tennant: Scott, in your experience, in what kinds of ways can strong futures cultures impact day-to-day operations or processes within organizations?

Scott Smith: So this is a challenging one in part because people are always looking for immediate impact, and you’re talking about something that is, by definition, long-term. So then you have to think about how can this aggregate up to a level that isn’t just, you know, a report dropping every day, but useful insights that are to hand for people every day. Organizations clearly need to set a direction and go and they can’t constantly be steering in different ways, but you have to be able to maintain an awareness of what’s changing in the environment around you. And you know, having a way, for example, to a place and a language for talking about future possibility is really important. We have a whole chapter on language, and how you can adapt language for the future. Going back to COVID as an example, think about how quickly we brought into our own vocabulary 20 or 30 different terms that none of us knew before January of 2020. And suddenly we’re talking about ‘R numbers’ and you know, personal protective devices, and all these things. So, learning how to use language, enabling conversations, creating venues for explicit discussion about future possibility, and framing opportunities. So basically it’s building a muscle memory. How do you go through these different kind of, capabilities and bring them into your day-to-day work? So it’s not something that only happens once every five years over in the annex in another department.

Adrian Tennant: Susan, if brand marketers, advertising planners, or strategists listening to this are interested in incorporating a futures-focused approach in their work, what advice do you have for them?

Susan Cox-Smith: One thing we often have to talk to people about, particularly in the fast-moving world of advertising and brands is that you shouldn’t mistake the temporary, the superficial, or the near for the long-term. So, you know, this is an industry that works very much on tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. But it is incredibly useful, you know, particularly for brands, I think, to be able to have a long-term view. I think that it’s useful to seek out subject matter experts and help let them contribute information that leads to better world-building and can create more robust scenarios because they encompass a wider view.

Adrian Tennant: Scott, do you have any resources that you’d recommend for individuals wanting to build their literacy in applied futures?

Scott Smith: Well, obviously, I know of two good books, that I guess, I mean, they were written and in part to put things in a very kind of plain language. But I think, you know – sort of skipping the books about big top trends because those will probably be obsolete next year – one of the things I found really useful is to dig more deeply into kind of resources that help us understand how we think about futures as individuals and as a kind of culture. Andy Clark’s got a great book called Surfing Uncertainty. He’s a cognitive scientist who really lays out some interesting thinking around the way our cognitive processes deal with the future. Vaughn Tan, who’s a researcher on risk and uncertainty, has a book called Uncertainty Mindset that starts out looking at how restaurants’ R&D works, but also really drills into that as a great example of working in an uncertain environment successfully on a day-to-day basis. It’s a fascinating read and he’s blogged a lot about it. There’s a great book called The Manual of Design Fiction if you want to look at kind of new practices around creating objects and media and materials from the future that was written by Near Future Laboratory that I highly recommend. And very visual, very interesting. We tend to not think about things like science fiction because it sort of gets in your head and makes it harder to think clearly. And we’ve also shared resources on the different book websites as well that people can download and use as well.

Adrian Tennant: What do you find the most exciting thing about the current state of applied futures or how the field is evolving? 

Susan Cox-Smith: I think we’re finally starting to see useful diversity, intersectionality, and inclusivity in futures work. There are lots of little shoots of futurist cohorts who aim to thoughtfully consider how their own privilege or bias impacts decision-making, for those who don’t have a voice about how certain futures may impact them.

Adrian Tennant: And Scott, what’s interesting you right now?

Scott Smith: I think that this kind of explosion of approaches continues that’s been going on for the past decade. We are always kind of looking at how new tools and ideas and experiences can be brought into the kind of futures tent. And so I’m really, really interested and have been for a while in different modes of storytelling, how different storytelling devices can be applied to help people better understand and have empathy with different futures.

Adrian Tennant: What’s next for Changeist?

Susan Cox-Smith: We actually depart for Adelaide, Australia, for a month to do a research fellowship there. So we’re looking forward to having a break where we can just work on one topic and not be shooting all over the place. But we’re actually trying to create some new dimensions of our work, being more creative, finding new ways to develop and present our work.

Adrian Tennant: Susan, if IN CLEAR FOCUS listeners are interested in learning more about your work with Changeist, what’s the best way to connect with you?

Susan Cox-Smith: LinkedIn is probably the best social media source right now. But we’re still on Instagram and Twitter and some of the others. And we also have a newly updated website, and that’s just Changeist.com.

Adrian Tennant: And Scott, I understand you have some resources accompanying Future Cultures. Where can folks access them?

Scott Smith: So there’s a website for the book. It’s FutureCulturesBooks – with an S – dot com. That’s plural, all one word, slash resources, and that map that we were talking about a minute ago, as well as some examples of how to use it wisely are available there. We’ll put other links, other bits of research, and resources up there, ’cause we love kind of sharing what motivates us.

Adrian Tennant: We’ll also include a link in the description for this episode to purchase a copy of Future Cultures directly from the publisher, Kogan Page. IN CLEAR FOCUS listeners can receive a 25 percent discount. Just use the promo code BIGEYE25 at the checkout. Scott and Susan, thank you both for being our guests this week on IN CLEAR FOCUS.

Scott Smith: It’s been a pleasure, thank you. 

Susan Cox-Smith: Lovely. Thank you.

Adrian Tennant: Thanks again to my guests this week, Scott Smith and Susan Cox-Smith, co-founders of Changeist, and the authors of “Future Cultures.” As always, you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation, along with links to the resources we discussed, on the Bigeye website at bigeyeagency.com. Just select ‘Podcast’ from the menu. Thank you for listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, produced by Bigeye. I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Until next week, goodbye.

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