By Julian Scaff

Get accustomed to hearing words like “unprecedented” to describe the rapid onslaught of compounding climate disasters.

The View from 2021

The beginning of this decade was marked by the failed global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a rapid increase of climate disasters, global civil rights unrest, and the near overthrowing of the U.S. government. Much of the news is doom and gloom, and we face enormous challenges with existential consequences for the entire planet. Nonetheless, there is reason for optimism, and as is always the case during times of historical struggle, there are opportunities for innovation. …

by Julian Scaff

In 2350, humans will be highly augmented in ways that would make most people today very squeamish.

I have greatly enjoyed the television series The Expanse for its plot lines and characters that seem scientifically, sociologically and psychologically plausible. Set in the year 2350, the political fracturing between multiple human colonies across the solar system, the evolution of different cultures in these various colonies, and the impressive scale of technology are credible and persuasive. However, as a futurist and designer I find many specific details in the series to be painfully anachronistic for a society 330 years in the future. This is not a criticism of the series, rather is a common characteristic of…

These are very strange, very trying times. The predictions and hopes that many of us had for 2020 have been swept away in a tsunami of turmoil. Winter gave way to a spring full of challenges. A pandemic is still spreading across the country, keeping us isolated physically. The sort of race-based hate we should have left in the 1960s has proven it’s still alive. Often, the violence that results is perpetrated by police who are rarely held accountable. The kind of strong leadership that could guide this country to the other side of these crises is instead worsening things…

This article is based on a presentation by Erik Wingren and Petra Wennberg Cesario

by Julian Scaff

Startups are cool and exciting, and the opportunity to innovate and build a profitable business (or get bought by a big company for a lot of money) is tantalizing for both the founders and investors. But the stark truth is that about 90% of startups fail. Some of the reasons for this are beyond the control of the people involved in the startup, but many of the reasons for failure are absolutely in their control. It’s critical for founders and investors alike to…

On Visioning

Why Purpose and Ethos Lead to a Stronger Vision

“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.” ~Malcolm Gladwell

In his 2009 TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” Simon Sinek famously asserted “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” This is true for customers of a product or service, but is equally true for an organization’s employees. The consulting firm Imperative published a study in 2016 that revealed that the most important factor in employee job satisfaction is having a sense of purpose. …

Julian Scaff

Experience Designer, Design Researcher and Futurist. Associate Professor of Interaction Design at ArtCenter College of Design.

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