Kaleidoscopic view of people riding an escalator and exiting into a concrete plaza.

Photo: Chris Barbalis, Unsplash

Why Foresight?

Foresight, also called futures research, is a unique field that brings together omnivorous research, systems thinking, analysis, and creativity in order to create plausible images of the future. But to what end? What are the strategic benefits of futures research?

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December 20, 2021 Foresight Process

Apple with syringes sticking into in on an orange background.

Image: Diana Polekhina, Unsplash

GMO 2.0: Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped

With technologies like CRISPR, digital twins, and cisgenic gene editing there is a nascent boom in synthetic biology.

This year, the New Yorker and New York Times Magazine both ran in-depth articles reporting on the potential of hacking photosynthesis and anti-oxidant enhanced tomatoes. Yet in 2020, 38% percent of adults in the United States think genetically modified foods are unsafe. Younger generations are even more skeptical. Will innovation be able to outpace the public’s doubts?

The concept of Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped? is that I will describe a trend, and then you vote on whether it is Overhyped, Underhyped, or Justhyped. Periodically, I’ll check in on the trend and share the voting results.

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December 20, 2021 Overhyped Underhyped Justhyped Trends Food Biotech Climate Change

Tweet reading: “i’m tired of self care. i think it’s time for other people to start taking care of me instead”

Image: Mira Gonzalez, Twitter

Self-Care: Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped?

Initially a practice for the chronically ill to manage their health conditions and gain autonomy, today even the hale and hearty approach self-care with righteous fervor.

The concept of Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped? is that I will describe a trend, and then you vote on whether it is Overhyped, Underhyped, or Justhyped. Periodically, I’ll check in on the trend and share the voting results.

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December 19, 2021 Overhyped Underhyped Justhyped Trends Self Care Health

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Albrecht Dürer with Qanon, China, the Coronavirus and a flaming earth over the horsemen’s faces.

Image: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Albrecht Dürer

The Apocalyptic Mindset: Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped?

Whether based in reality, fantasy, or some combination of the two – no matter what your theological or political persuasion there is something to keep you up at night.

The concept of Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped? is that I will describe a trend, and then you vote on whether it is Overhyped, Underhyped, or Justhyped. Periodically, I’ll check in on the trend and share the voting results.

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December 13, 2021 Overhyped Underhyped Justhyped Trends Climate Change Apocalypse

Van Gogh’s Starry Night projected on the walls of a large warehouse.

Immersive Van Gogh, Minneapolis. Photo: Eben Kowler

Immersion: Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped?

Coronavirus, climate change, democracy in peril. If the real world is overwhelming, are experiences where you can simply escape it all right on trend?

The concept of Overhyped, Underhyped, Justhyped? is that I will describe a trend, and then you vote on whether it is Overhyped, Underhyped, or Justhyped. Periodically, I’ll check in on the trend and share the voting results.

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December 10, 2021 Overhyped Underhyped Justhyped Immersion Trends Metaverse

Digital collage of a family in a victory garden with agricultural robots added to the background, and sketch of a mixed-used urban farm, and a vertical farm on the facade of a building with a drone.

Digital Collage: Eben Kowler

Local Food in 2035: A final project

It’s here, the end of the Fall 2021 semester. In this post, I’m sharing my final project for Futures Research.

The concept for this project is that I was hired” by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to help them explore the Future of Local Food in 2035. As a class, we were challenged to go beyond your typical slide deck and present our findings in a more engaging format. I created a micro website exploring two scenarios — Big Brands Green Up and Integrated Abundance.

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December 4, 2021 Food Scenario Foresight