What good is scientific rigor when nobody gives a shit?
This note is based on a Twitter thread I wrote while attending a futures studies conference in Finnland.
My eternal question to academic futures studies, especially in (northern) Europe: What good is scientific rigor when nobody gives a shit? I’m not asking you to give it up but rather that you put as much effort into having an actual impact.
Futures play too much of a central role in society to leave the public discourse around them to the trend gurus, tech evangelists, and advertising agencies.
At the moment, there seem to be two poles in futures work: on the one end, you have the academic futures studies focused on scientific rigor. On the other end, you have the design-thinking-ish workshop-driven futuring approaches (lots of canvases). Both have little impact for opposing reasons.
I’m interested in the space in between, where most people operate who have been influential in my understanding of the field. I want to do deep work routed in theory and proper methods, combining it with participatory and critical approaches while minding the politics from the beginning with the goal of as much impact as possible.
One exemplary expression of that: Can we teach students foresight methods and, simultaneously, prepare them for the backlash and politics they will experience once they try to apply future thinking in their future work contexts?