Dr. Noah Raford is a scenario planner, strategist and policy advisor. He works as an advisor to the UAE Prime Minister’s Office, where he provides policy and strategy advice on a range of special projects. Previously he helped design, develop and manage the nation’s first foresight and scenario planning unit.
Before moving to the Gulf, Noah was a strategy consultant with GBN / Monitor, co-founder of the strategy facilitation boutique Sensitive Dynamics, the former North American Director of the design studio/think-tank Space Syntax Limited and the Senior Research Advisor to Prince Charles’ Foundation for the Built Environment. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics Complexity Programme, a fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture, an advisor to the Scenarios Lab at the USC Annenberg School of Communications, and a fellow of the International Futures Forum.
Noah completed his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he focused on new approaches to scenario planning and foresight using the networks and the web. He is an expert at group facilitation and creative workshops, a former urban planner and designer, and an advocate for novel approaches to stakeholder engagement and strategy creation. He has consulted with governments, NGO’s and private corporations around the world on a range of issues related to foresight, urbanism, risk, governance, policy and strategy.
Some of Noah’s current and past affiliations include:
- The UAE Prime Minister’s Office: Advisor to the Director General.
- The Executive Office of Dubai: Advisor for the private office of the Ruler of Dubai, focusing on policy entrepreneurship and partner development.
- GBN / Monitor: Strategy consultant and scenario practitioner, with a focus on urban, regional and national development.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: PhD in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, with a focus on crowdsourcing, collective intelligence and urban informatics for public policy. My complete PhD is online here.
- London School of Economics:Senior Research Associate in the Complexity Programme, focusing on social phase transitions, complexity theory and management strategies for complex, turbulent environments.
- The International Futures Forum: Collaborative reflection for conceptual emergencies, with a focus on online means, creative workshops and other forms of collective intelligence. With Graham Leicester and others.
- USC Annenberg School Scenarios Lab: External advisor, focusing on the use of online and transmedia for crowdsourcing aspects of the scenario process.
- Space Syntax Limited:Urban design think tank and policy studio, based in London. Former North American Director.
- The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment: Former senior research advisor to HRH the Prince of Wales’ architectural and urban development charity in the UK. Provided advice on critical infrastructure resilience, supply chain management, strategy, etc.
- Humanitarian Futures Programme, Kings College London: Occasional consultant (and friend to the Programme) on futures methodology, strategy development and policy research for complex humanitarian crises, with Dr. Randolph Kent.
- Sensitive Dynamics Ltd: Founding partner, organizational change and strategy consultancy in complex, dynamic and politically sensitive environments. With Sean Lowrie and Cliff Dennett.
- The James Martin 21st Century School, University of Oxford: Research on system transitions and systemic risk mitigation with Dr. Peter Taylor and scenarios / futures research with Pam Hurley and Prof. Angela Wilkinson.
Noah is also interested in urbanism, design, crowdsourcing, collective intelligence, and social complexity. He lives in Dubai, is married with two children and is a semi-retired techno DJ. He maintains an occasional podcast called NerdHouse (mixing deep techno with deep lectures and spoken word) and is finishing his first book, “Age of the Warlord Entrepreneur”.