Catching Our Breath

Well, that half-year went by quickly. We had good intentions to send a newsletter at least four times


March 5 · Issue #31 · View online
A periodic look into research threads on critical futures, strategy, post-normal innovation, providing a look over the shoulder of the team at Changeist. Each issue includes brief analysis, links, updates, and occasional auditory hallucinations.

Well, that half-year went by quickly. We had good intentions to send a newsletter at least four times in that period, but kept holding for additional news. In the end, so much happened that it stalled the update process. So, thanks for bearing with us. The best way to take this on is with a series of high points over that period:
Our 10th anniversary
Last August, we quietly hit an important marker for us: Changeist’s 10th anniversary as a company. It gave us an opportunity for some quiet reflection, a breath of relief that we’d carried on so long (particularly when you think of the world in 2007-2008), and a good time to re-evaluate the work we do, our objectives for the next phase, and also to thank those who supported us this far. We can’t name some clients, and others would make too long a list, but we thank them all, as well as an extended network of collaborators past and present, partners, and friends. We are grateful for the community of future-minded people and organisations we’ve met along the way, from the US, UK and Netherlands, to the UAE, Singapore, India, Norway, Australia, Finland, Spain, Mexico, Malta, and the list goes on. We’ve been happy to host many friends who have come to work, talk, or just relax with us, and thank those who have done so much for us. Here’s to the next decade.

A new identity
Having reached an important milestone, last autumn we began rolling out our first comprehensive identity redesign—well—ever. Managed by Susan Cox-Smith and developed by Nadia Hassan, we emerged with a flexible design system that we are even now finding new ways to extend and create with. It’s also given us a good reason to experiment with prints of particular variations, stickers, t-shirts, and—soon—some 3-dimensional models. Its core, the Wireframe, renders our name in a form that represents how we think about much of our work: a flexible scaffold that we, our clients and partners use to model new futures. Within that, a series of four colours, inspired by tones from late Anthropocene landscapes (pink hematite, turmeric, vermillion, and langite blue) are applied to denote different platforms via which we connect. Read Susan’s account of its development below, and if you are interested in us making some of the merch above available for purchase (stickers, shirts, prints, etc) drop a line. If there is enough interest, we’ll set up a shop.
A redesigned Web presence
With the new identity, we had an important building block for a streamlined update to our website. As with any space, a lot of stuff builds up over ten years, so we turned the blog to more of an archive, created spaces to feature projects or ideas we are particularly proud of, and simplified the rest. We also took the opportunity to have some fun with our own images, bringing in the talented Paul Hallows, whose prints of Alan Turing and Voyager adorn our offices, to render us in two-dimensional form.
A new office!
In February, after much searching, we found a place to spread our footprint: Amsterdam’s thriving A-Lab, located across the IJ in the city’s rapidly growing Noord neighbourhood next door to the iconic A'dam Toren and Eye Filmmuseum. We now occupy space within a building that used to house Shell’s Groot Laboratorium. For those familiar with the history of futures, you’ll note the irony. It’s also quite cool that one of the earliest computers active in the Netherlands, a Ferranti Mark I called MIRACLE, was housed here. If you read Dutch, you can find out more about the critical role of women as early computer operators on MIRACLE. 
If you are heading to Amsterdam, or here already, and want to stop by for a coffee, beer, veg in the indoor vertical farm, stroll on the waterfront, or just a chat, let us know. We also hope to make use of the gezellig event space for some interesting workshops or an open registration How to Future course. If the latter is of interest, vote with an email letting us know.
Recent talks
  • At the end of 2017, I got to join a great lineup at Impakt Festival in Utrecht on speculative realities. It was a nice chance to see colleagues, meet new people, talk about divergent images of the future, and spend a few minutes chatting with the filmmaker Adam Curtis (see talk video below). 
  • A big thanks to for having me as a guest speaker at their LABS anniversary + Behaviour Design meetup in Amsterdam in mid-February. It was a fun night to talk about technology in the public interest, and talk about Minitel. 
  • A gracious invite to close out Innovation Week for DEWA in Dubai allowed us to run a microworkshop and talk about managing uncertainty. 
There are more bits to tell, but you can catch more in the links below.
Upcoming travel
Here’s where we’ll be in coming months if you would like to connect:
  • Susan, Madeline and I will be in London March 15-17. 
  • Scott will be back in Dubai at the beginning of April, and again later in the month for our ongoing courses with the Dubai Future Academy
  • May holds the possibility of a swing through the US for several of us. Check back closer to time for confirmation.

Fresh Links
Our New Look Our New Look
Reality collection using the International Blockchain Evidence Registry.
Beyond Survival Kits: Humanitarian Aid Is Going Wireless, Communal, And Autonomous
The DyNaMo temporary digital citizenship kit.
Speculative Humanitarian Futures
What Will Everyday Space Look Like?
Exhibits from the recent Other Futures conference in Amsterdam. (clockwise from left) 'The Maasc'i / Jacque Njeri, 'Archaeology in Absentia' / Larissa Sansour, and 'Windows on the World'' / Ming Wong.
Madeline Ashby on the Cool Tools Podcast
How to Future
If your organisation is interested in building applied futures skills and understanding of core tools and approaches for strategy and innovation using future design, we’ve got you covered. To better focus capacity-building in critical areas, we provide 1-day modular workshops in:
• Sensing and Scanning
• Sensemaking and Mapping
• Scenario Development
• Prototyping and Storytelling.
A full program includes pre-session online on-boarding and support. Tools and approaches are presented in an accessible way, refined through over 10 years of teaching in workshops and educational environments.
We also structure custom workshops lasting from one to three days, structured around specific sectors or geographies. 
Find out more about the 1-day modules, or follow How to Future on Twitter for updates. 
1-Day How to Future Modules
Up Next
We are working on a new audio series—The Future From—that will debut in late Spring. This exploration, which we are developing internally, looks at the influences that shape how different cultures believe the future will unfold, focusing on non-Western perspectives. We already have one great episode in pre-production. If you would like to know more, or perhaps even donate to support its development, watch our various social channels below, or drop an email.
A-Lab Amsterdam, our new home.
You can find Changeist on the Web, on Twitter, Medium, Instagram, Facebook, or via this quarterly newsletter. 
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Changeist / A-Lab: Lab 101 / Overhoeksplein 2 / 1031 KS Amsterdam / The Netherlands