Category Archives: research

Complete PhD Online

I finished my PhD at MIT this August, on “Large Scale Participatory Futures Systems: a Comparative Study of Online Scenario Planning Approaches”. I’ll write more soon, but here is the full PDF (11.4 megabytes) and the slides from my defense, below. From the abstract: This dissertation explores the role that participatory online collective intelligence systems […]

The Future of Public Services; Innovations in Online Scenario Planning, Part 2

The following mini-scenarios were created using the SenseMaker Suite Scenarios approach developed for my PhD with Dave Snowden and Wendy Schultz.   They were auto-aggregated using narrative fragments contributed by over 265 participants from around the world.  In other words, participants submitted stories of the future, tagged them, and then the system clustered them based […]

Emergent Futures Mapping with Futurescaper

Futurescaper is an online tool for making sense of the drivers, trends and forces that will shape the future.  As a user interface system, it still needs development.  As a tool for analyzing and understanding complex systems, it works very well and does something I have yet to see anything else be able to do.  […]

Three Innovations in Crowd Sourced Scenario Planning, Part 1

I’ve spent the better part of the last four years working on approaches to online scenario planning as part of my PhD. During this time I have designed and implemented three systems – each of which explored a different approach to crowd sourcing, engagement and online participation in futures work. I call these experiments in “large-scale participatory futures systems”.

How to Build a Collective Intelligence Platform to Crowdsource Almost Anything

The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence recently published an important overview of the theory and mechanisms behind successful crowdsourcing efforts. Their report, called “Harnessing Crowds: Mapping the Genome of Collective Intelligence“, can be found here.

Oxford Future of Cities Scenarios

Last year I participated in a large scenario planning effort as part of the University of Oxford’s “Future of Cities” programme. The project interviewed a range of business leaders, property developers, environmentalists, community activists, political scientists, engineers, architects and designers from around the world.  It then extracted a variety of themes and drivers in using a traditional […]

Slides from my recent talk at MIT

I recently was back at MIT presenting some of my research on web-based techniques for collaborative foresight and online scenario planning.  Here are the slides from my presentation. The presentation starts with a general overview of scenario planning, then provides an example from some scenarios work I did with the Oxford Future of Cities Programme (in […]

Harnessing Collective Intelligence for Crowdsourced Scenario Planning

This presentation is about a proposed schema for online, participatory scenario planning systems using crowdsourced or “collective intelligence” approaches. It introduces theories of collective intelligence, complexity, and organizational learning in the context of uncertainty and scenario planning, and provides several examples.

Online Scenario Planning Results

A few weeks ago I issued a call for participation in an experiment in online scenario planning with colleagues Dave Snowden and Wendy Schultz.  The experiment was one of several which I am conducting for my PhD. I am still crunching the numbers but I thought readers would be interested in some early statistics on […]