Dutch Future Society: Interesting Day’16

I wrote earlier about a coming Interesting Day, an annual gathering of the Dutch Future Society. Back then it was in the future, and by now it’s already a past: the event was held last Friday. On the picture above (and the one below) you see Freija van Duijne, the Chair of the DFS, opening the event and welcoming the participants.

Below is a quick recap of the day:

 We had two very interesting keynotes to open the day: first, Regina Joseph talked about ‘superforecasting’, a new technique (or approach) that quickly becomes the next Big Buzzword.

We spotted it some while ago, and it became very visible after the publication of the same-name book by Philip Tetlock (Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction). The whole business of ‘predicting’ and ‘forecasting’ is not what we do at Summ( )n (to be honest, it’s almost exact opposite to what we do), but these kind of approaches are very much influencing our clients, so we have to be in the loop.

The second story was about a blockchain technology, and how it can be used to ‘predict the future’, told by Maurits Kreijveld from Wisdom of the Crowd.

Same stuff: great technology that can potentially transform many industries (and not only finance, where it is now known in form of Bitcoin and similar manifestations).  But to use it as merely predicting tool looks like a gross abuse of this potential.

I guess I was not the only one in the audience who was somewhat disappointed with the slant of these two presentations, especially in view of the main theme of the conference, Transforming Futures. They were both good and informative, but somewhat limited in scope, dealing only with the ‘prediction’ part and not tackling the issues of impacting, changing, and indeed transforming these futures.

It became especially evident at the last session of the morning part, so called Interesting Conversations:

Stephan Verveen (from Funnel Vision, and also a board member of the DFS) has invited three distinguished ‘future gurus’ to talk about their take on the matter, and all of them raised the same issue, of the necessity to impact on and intervene into, rather than only forecast the futures.

There was also another reason for this ‘stand-up futuring’, and this is a freezing foyer of the Amsterdam Connected, the business center where the event was hold. Otherwise very nice location, but the temperature was definitely below a comfort zone.

[This guy was watching the event from above a good half of the morning, all in the same pose:

The afternoon part was opened by an incredibly interesting talk by Stan Brouns, from Bronslab, about the latest development in gene editing, and specifically about CRISPR (pronounced crisper), the most famous technique of this kind so far. Very informative and grounded in reality, yet (and may be because of that) a very inspiring and thought-provoking talk:

And then there was our session (I mean, there were more parallel sessions, of course, including the one by Erica Bol, from Teach the Future foundation, but we missed all of them running our own show).  Well, what can we say about our Future Probing session? They are always lively and fun, that’s for sure 🙂

At the end of the day the community co-created one large visual ‘signature’ of the event, both a record and a forward statement.

Our ‘dolphin’ is there 🙂

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