One year after leaving Minnesota for Finland to study the future…

Photo: Molly and Nick at River City Review 2014 in St. Paul Recently, the City Pages—an alternative weekly paper in Minneapolis-St. Paul—ran this story featuring a photo of my wife Molly and I at last summer’s River City Revue produced by Works Progress. Seeing that photo brought me back to an incredible moment. We were going to Finland so I could study Futures Studies at Turku School of Economics. The tremendous change that came with that decision was beginning to happen. The photo was taken a half mile from our house, and we are surrounded by people from our community of artists, thinkers, and doers. River City Revue tours St. Paul’s riverside featuring arts installations, talks, and music. Molly’s part that year involved participants in singing songs to the river. Moments before the picture was snapped, I had learned my residence permit had been approved—I was allowed to live and work as a student in Finland. Was this the craziest idea ever? Undoubtedly. Was it the right thing to do? Couldn’t be certain. Was it too late to change course, if I was wrong? Not totally, but there would be a lot of explaining to do.  Continue reading One year after leaving Minnesota for Finland to study the future…

What gets to be in the future?

Photo: Demolition of Schmidt Power Plant Lately I’ve been asking myself “What gets to be in the future?” Do these plants I’ve planted in my garden? Does my pet dog and pet bird? Do good relationships with my spouse, my family, and my friends? Does my house that was built in 1880? Does the majestic view of the cathedral, state Capitol, and city skyline across the river? Does the building I work in? Does the Web and the Internet? Does art and expression? Do these nations? Do these cities? Do these fields and wild spaces? Do my dreams? Do your dreams? Do our collective aspirations for humanity? Continue reading What gets to be in the future?

Systems, Levers and the futurist Donella Meadows

Photo: Donella Meadows. Credit: Donella Meadows InstituteMany people have heard me ask, “Which lever are we/they supposed to pull?” when activists are being rained on by cynics. It is usually met with blank stares—Are you talking about ancient voting machines or gambling? Quid est hoc vectis? I usually drop the metaphor and move on. But, levers are an important concept in futuring. Continue reading Systems, Levers and the futurist Donella Meadows


Photo by Navicor: A meteor during the peak of the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower. The photograph shows the meteor, afterglow, and wake as distinct components.The first few times I listened to Daft Punk’s album Random Access Memories, I hated the very last song “Contact.” More precisely, I couldn’t stand how the song ends with an increasingly higher and higher pitched landing sound of an unidentified object approaching Earth. Today, I love this song. I love it because it makes me think about actualization.

I use the word actualization to describe the moments through which new ideas become reality. Usually, these moments Continue reading Actualization

Quantum, a futurespace thought experience for the holidays

The hustle of shopping, hosting, traveling and party going can make it easy to lose sight of what is truly important during the winter season of holidays. This is the burden of “accelerated time,” the model of time believed to be in play among Western and Western-influenced people. In celebration of this time of year, each other, and the anticipation of “quantum time”—a working name for the next model of time projected by some futurists—I present this group thought experience for you and yours to enjoy together as you reunite for the holidays. So print this out, or read it off your mobile device, and try it with your friends and family. Continue reading Quantum, a futurespace thought experience for the holidays

Do not rob people of hope

I attended my first World Future Society conference in July 2013 and encountered many big new ideas, concepts, and people. One of my most valuable takeaways came not from a presentation, but from a conversation I had with another conference goer, Isabel Abrams.

Isabel is communications director for Caretakers of the Environment International, a worldwide network of secondary school teachers and students who are actively concerned about environmental issues. This is what she said (paraphrased), Continue reading Do not rob people of hope

Martin Luther King Jr. was into Star Trek and why that matters

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a fan of Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols says about a half hour into the documentary Trek Nation (2010). She shares her story about meeting Dr. King and learning Star Trek was the only show he and his wife Coretta allowed their kids stay up to watch. Continue reading Martin Luther King Jr. was into Star Trek and why that matters

Hello from your friendly futuring literacy advocate

It is becoming increasingly important for more people to know first-hand about “futuring.”

As a  futuring literacy advocate, my goals are to introduce people and organizations—representing a wide range of perspectives—to futuring methods, ideas, concepts, people, groups, programs and history.

Why? Because when more people are actively adding their voices to futuring conversations, more relevant and useful futures become more probable. In other words, futuring literacy leads to wider participation in future shaping.

Welcome to my futuring blog.