The Wicked Opportunities® Podcast

Join us as we tackle Wicked Problems through reframing our mindsets.


The world is filled with Wicked Problems – incredibly complicated predicaments that don’t have simple solutions. However, the real problem isn’t our complex world, but rather our outdated mindsets. The way that we see the future directly impacts the actions that we take today, so a better world requires better visions. Join futurists Yvette Montero Salvatico and Frank Spencer each week as they use the Natural Foresight® Framework to reframe our Wicked Problems into the transformational ideas that they call Wicked Opportunities®.

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[00:00:00] Yvette Montero Salvatico: Have you seen it?

[00:00:03] Frank Spence: I assume you mean the movie Encanto?

[00:00:06] Yvette: Yes, of course.

[00:00:07] Frank: I can’t miss it because if you’re watching TikTok or social media, there’s just thousands upon thousands of people singing the song We Don’t Talk About Bruno or maybe one of the other famous songs from the movie. I’ve seen it in every version you could possibly imagine, every thematic realization and adaptation that you can possibly imagine.

[00:00:28] Yvette: It’s crazy to think that, of course, now his name is escaping me, the Hamilton author.

[00:00:35] Frank: If you hadn’t said, “His name is escaping me.”

[00:00:38] Yvette: I know.

[00:00:38] Frank: Lin-Manuel.

[00:00:39] Yvette: Yes, so here he has another amazing breakthrough hit with the music.

[00:00:43] Frank: He’s just one hit after another.

[00:00:47] Yvette: I know.

[00:00:47] Frank: Basically, he wake up in the morning, say a few words, and it would be a Broadway play.

[00:00:51] Yvette: I know, it’s pretty amazing. I have seen Encanto. I saw it repeatedly during the holidays because, unfortunately, we were under the big quarantine.

[00:01:05] Frank: We don’t talk about holidays. [laughs]

[00:01:06] Yvette: We don’t talk about holidays, we just talk about COVID. Of course, if you haven’t seen Encanto, for us, for our family, my parents are Cuban, but my younger brother married a woman who’s from Colombia, so especially exciting for us and my nephews to see a film set in Colombia with a family, which, not unlike my family, large and boisterous. That was fun for us.

[00:01:41] Frank: I saw a bunch of articles and stuff just saying kids were seeing themselves reflected in the movie.

[00:01:49] Yvette: That’s right, I saw that.

[00:01:50] Frank: For the first time ever, it wasn’t a white pale and stale. There’s nothing wrong with white people, but they ruled the world. They colonized the world.

[00:01:58] Yvette: I know a few nice ones. The present company included.

[00:02:01] Frank: Yes, there’s a couple. Thank you.

[00:02:03] Yvette: No problem, my pleasure.

[00:02:04] Frank: No, it was great to see this representation and kids were looking. As a matter of fact, I was watching the Winter Olympics which just started and they had this great commercial, it was like these young girls, the BIPOC see themselves in some of these new, I believe. Anyway, getting off track a little bit.

[00:02:20] Yvette: The film, if you haven’t seen it, it’s really amazing. There’s some really deep themes around immigration and migration and people having to flee their homes, that’s how the film opens up with the grandmother of the family just having two small infants, twin children. I think they were fleeing, and unfortunately, her husband doesn’t make it through, but there’s a miracle and there’s a candle that continues to light.

Not only does it help them get past and get free of the people that were pursuing them, but it creates this amazing casita, and then it gives them all these amazing gifts. We won’t really spoil the film, but the title or one of the breakout, I think, hit from a song perspective, from a music perspective is We Don’t Talk About Bruno.

[00:03:23] Frank: Yes, very catchy and I think very emotional. You’ll cry a lot during this movie if you haven’t seen it before, or at least shed a tear, and especially that part where the husband doesn’t make it because it’s a lot about immigrants and border crossing.

[00:03:40] Yvette: What is it about Disney that they kill the parents right away?

[00:03:45] Frank: Yes, they always kill the parents. That man’s parents died, that’s what made him sad.

[00:03:50] Yvette: Jeez.

[00:03:50] Frank: [crosstalk]

[00:03:51] Yvette: Again, we won’t talk just about this movie, well, kind of we will, but we’ll bring it back to foresight here in a minute.

[00:03:58] Frank: I think we will because we really want to hone in. Obviously, as we started the show off, you heard the music on Bruno.

[00:04:04] Yvette: That’s right. By the way, welcome to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast. My name is Yvette Montero Salvatico.

[00:04:10] Frank: Yes, that’s right. My name is Frank Spencer, and we’re so glad that you’re with us for this year of 52 as we’re just sharing all of these insights on how to get features done, how to do foresight, the ins and outs of doing foresight.

[00:04:22] Yvette: I like the year of 52.

[00:04:24] Frank: The year of 52, it’s a year free.

[00:04:26] Yvette: It’s a year free.

[00:04:27] Frank: 52 weeks.

[00:04:27] Yvette: It’s our newsletter.

[00:04:28] Frank: The podcast is 52. It’s a year of everything.

[00:04:31] Yvette: It’s a year of everything.

[00:04:32] Frank: We’ve been making a joke in the office, it’s like it also is the year of no. [laughs]

[00:04:37] Yvette: Because we’re so busy because there’s so many people taking advantage of the year of free.

[00:04:41] Frank: It’s great, it’s fantastic, and it’s been exciting to see so many people taking advantage of the year of free and we want there to be more and more.

[00:04:49] Yvette: In this collection of the Wicked Opportunities Podcast, we are tackling probably one of the most substantive wicked problems and that’s the wicked problem of foresight implementation.

[00:05:00] Frank: That’s right, yes. It’s sort of our whole year, but especially in this particular episode because Bruno really represents. I think even people who don’t know foresight very well, they saw this metaphor of what it means to think about the future, talk about the future, and how people feel threatened by that.

[00:05:19] Yvette: Really quickly, again, if you haven’t seen the film, Bruno’s character, his gift is that he’s able to see visions of the future.

[00:05:29] Frank: That’s right.

[00:05:30] Yvette: Because of his gift, he’s actually excommunicated from the family, and they don’t know it, but he’s living within the house in solitude away from the rest of the family.

[00:05:42] Frank: I saw this great TikTok where somebody did Bruno’s perspective inside the wall as they’re singing the song outside the wall. We don’t talk about Bruno and you can hear it really muffled.

[00:05:51] Yvette: It’s real muffled.

[00:05:54] Frank: [muffled talk] and he’s like, “Oh,” he’s crying inside with the rats.

[00:05:58] Yvette: I’m sorry for anyone who is sick of the Bruno song because this podcast probably isn’t for you, and we’ll catch you next week. Every week, we’re tackling another approach or another angle on how we can democratize the future in the field of foresight because that’s our mission. If you’ve been listening in the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about situations we’ve had with our clients, we’ve talked about situations we face with prospective clients. Today, we want to take a little bit different tact and talk about what’s represented here in popular media with this character of Bruno in this film Encanto.

[00:06:38] Frank: Which certainly applies to your work and our work with clients. We’ve seen this before, we’ve been Bruno, we are Bruno, and we try to avoid Bruno as well, all three of those things. We’ll talk about how that really relates to our specific and technical and practical work.

[00:06:54] Yvette: We really believe that in many ways, Bruno is representative of many organization’s attempts at planning for the future. It’s really interesting because, again, if you haven’t seen the film, he really talks almost like forecasting the future, and there’s some great examples. He told me my goldfish would die and he did, but that’s what goldfish do, they basically die.

[00:07:22] Frank: They don’t live very long.

[00:07:23] Yvette: No, and there’s a part where he is talking to his sister on her wedding day, and he insinuates that the weather may not be so good, and it turns out there’s a hurricane on her wedding day. Now, again, there’s a bit of a nuance here because her gift is creating the weather.

[00:07:42] Frank: Oh, it’s interesting.

[00:07:43] Yvette: She gets real mad at him, but in reality, but I just was struck about how much our organizations really start to go down this official future path.

[00:07:56] Frank: That’s right, and especially to have Bruno on stage because if you really go back and watch the film a couple of times, Bruno was very popular in the town. His popularity started to wane when they were like, “Don’t tell me what’s going to happen.”

[00:08:09] Yvette: Yes, when the guy that was like, “You told me I was going to lose my hair, and then I went bald.” That is 70% of men.

[00:08:13] Frank: Yes, and he was, “You’re growing older. Are you growing older?” He was that Prophet on the stage. Then eventually, you’re like, “I don’t want to hear from this guys anymore because they tell me-

[00:08:27] Yvette: Bad news.

[00:08:28] Frank: – bad news,” right. This is what I don’t want to hear.

[00:08:32] Yvette: It’s so interesting because really, it’s a great example of how people really avoid the future because it’s unknown, it might be bad.

[00:08:41] Frank: Literally getting rid of Bruno was like getting rid of intentionally thinking about the future. Of course, we’re going to talk a little bit about the nuance of how he had visions and how relatable that is to foresight work, but yes, getting rid of him, putting him behind the wall with the rats. Does anybody relate to this? [laughs]

[00:08:58] Yvette: This might be therapy for us. In another podcast, we’ll talk about when we were set into the dumpster with the rats. No, that actually didn’t happen. Anyway, yes.

[00:09:08] Frank: Right. yes. Did you just Bruno us?


[00:09:10] Yvette: Did you just Bronu us? That’s going to be a new term. It is really interesting to see how in the film, their reactions to his prophecies, and ultimately, we say that he was exiled, he really left because he felt that he wasn’t contributing and he felt badly, and he didn’t want to continue to have these visions and create conflict within the family because his vision started to get progressively worse in terms of what could happen to the casita and to the family.

[00:09:48] Frank: Right, but again, they were only reflecting things that he saw. I love this idea where we don’t want Brunos around this, we want to have this very official linear future. The truth of the matter is the more linear we are, the more brittle and fragile we are. We try to avoid the Brunos because we feel safe in avoiding it, but in reality, it makes us more brittle and fragile. I had made a note here and I think it really relates to what you’re saying too, that if you actually pay attention to Bruno’s deeper prophecies, especially, and again, I don’t want to ruin anything if you haven’t seen the movie at all.

[00:10:25] Yvette: Maybe don’t listen if you haven’t seen anything. Go watch it, and then come back to this.

[00:10:28] Frank: Spoiler warning, but I’ll still try to be non-spoilee here.

[00:10:33] Yvette: Wow.

[00:10:33] Frank: I couldn’t get that out, sorry. That his last prophecy or vision was really a lot more nuanced than your goldfish is going to die, and the next day the goldfish died. It’s actually a bit of riddle of a mystery to figure out what it meant. The truth of the matter is Bruno’s best visions were open, they were dependent on actor agency, they were really guiding narratives that generated possibilities. You’ll see this in the film if you haven’t seen it. It’s the last vision that they figure out was dependent on Mirabel actually. That was who it was, right?

[00:11:16] Yvette: Yes.

[00:11:17] Frank: Actually deciphering this and taking actions and forming it as a guiding narrative instead. That’s really the power of foresight, right?

[00:11:25] Yvette: I think, too, there’s this weird, who knew that we were going to be analyzing this film like this? I’m sure the folks at Disney didn’t think that there would be a foresight podcast all about this film, but what about this idea that the whole Bruno We Don’t Talk About Bruno song is how we as the viewer learn about what has happened before? Really, it’s about the past, and it also gives you an idea about how the characters in the film, how the family and the community remember that is how things went down.

[00:12:00] Frank: Yes, that’s right.

[00:12:01] Yvette: He told me my fish would die, the next day, dead. He said that it was going to rain on my wedding and there was a hurricane. I think what’s really fascinating is our relationship with the past is often this belief that it is fact and I remembered it exactly and only the future is what is not yet written, but in reality, there’s as many pasts as there are potential futures.

[00:12:26] Frank: That’s a great point. Our friends at the Greek Futures Agency in the Greek government have done a lot of work this past year. I remember seeing it on LinkedIn about there being multiple pasts. It was a very popular several posts that they put up about this because they built a model showing the cone of possibilities, but they showed it backwards as well. They said just as many alternative futures that there are, there’s that many alternative past. People were writing saying like, “No, that’s not true, there’s one past,” and it’s like, first of all, even if there were literally one linear pass, we don’t perceive it that way.

Across the world we perceive different pasts. Now the truth of the matter is there’s different starting points in the past, different perspectives in the past just as many as there are open futures. I think that makes a great point because the way that we interpret the past directly affects the way that we will see the future. That’s why we see different futures around the world because we see different traditions and different ways of knowing and different perspectives and ways of traveling.

[00:13:23] Yvette: It’s all about the narrative. How they shaped the narrative of his prophecies because your point is valid in that his final vision was much more elaborate and-

[00:13:36] Frank: Nuanced.

[00:13:36] Yvette: – and nuanced, but I would argue that probably his first visions were too.

[00:13:41] Frank: Possibly so, right, yes. That’s how we thought.

[00:13:41] Yvette: That the only way that we saw those were through the perspectives of those characters. Through how they had processed it and remembered it and perhaps worked through their own trauma. We saw the final vision play out through Mirabel, who, interestingly enough, is the only character that doesn’t have a gift, but she probably has the best gift of all, which is the gift of empathy and the gift of really understanding the other characters and the casita and all that.

[00:14:11] Frank: Gosh, there’s a whole angle we could go down there that we didn’t put in our show notes, but she really was a great receptor for foresight. Like you want to find the Mirabels in the organization.

[00:14:22] Yvette: Yes, you do. That’s who you want, you want those change agents, the ones that are curious, the ones that maybe don’t believe they have a gift, but you’re going to unlock this ability within them.

[00:14:32] Frank: She was like, “Oh my God, Bruno’s vision was the butterfly and the thing, and then life came back and I was able to.” She really took this multiple perspective of the future, not the linear, brittle official futures that our leaders want. She was able to say, “This is the future we can form out of Bruno’s visions.” I’m doing the air quotes here. Rather than saying, “You said my goldfish was going to die and the goldfish died and that was the end of it.”

By the way, there’s a whole, I think, comment we want to make on that in just a minute, but like Yvette said earlier, goldfish don’t live very long. Baked in this also is Bruno just telling people, if you don’t change things, then this is what will happen. Your goldfish is going to die. You’re probably overfeeding it.

[00:15:15] Yvette: It’s so interesting because he was saying, this is what happens, this is the official future. Again, we’re comparing it back to organizational attempts at long-term planning is that they just tend to extrapolate the past, and then really set down that official future, and it does become, in many cases, a self-fulfilling prophecy because we’re blinded to any other option or potential. In the film, obviously, the mistake that they make is they believe that they no longer have agency in the future because he’s, what’s the word? Propheti–

[00:15:52] Frank: He was prophesying and he was giving them visions.

[00:15:55] Yvette: He was predicting, which we never do in foresight.

[00:15:58] Frank: That’s the part I love because I like to imagine that he wasn’t predicting. They were the ones that were predicting. They were like, “Bruno said my goldfish was going to die.” No, he said if you keep doing this thing, your goldfish will die.

[00:16:08] Yvette: That’s the whole point. Even if within an organizational context you think, “We need to have something to guide ourselves. We know these numbers are wrong as soon as we set them.” Trust me, I’ve done, I won’t tell you how many five-year plans I did while I still was at Disney and then afterwards. The idea here is that we knew those numbers were wrong as soon as we put them in the system, but we felt like it was better than nothing, but they’re actually more dangerous than doing nothing because what it does is create a false sense of security or insecurity if the numbers are bad and it leads to the self-fulfilling prophecy perspective where people feel they no longer have agency.

It’s so tricky because you do see organizations and institutions and communities have this really weird relationship often with foresight professionals. It’s similar to how people have sometimes felt about the weather forecaster. They get mad at the weatherman or woman, the meteorologist because they’ve said X, Y, or Z is going to happen.That often happens to foresight professionals. We started off this new collection talking about say goodbye to Frank and Yvette. A big reason why we were shown the door there is because we wouldn’t go along with the base narrative, the power trip narrative that was happening in that moment in that organization.

[00:17:31] Frank: I didn’t get down and dirty in that podcast, but I remember there was a certain gentle in the room who said, “If you go stand out on the 405,” which is a very famous highway in California, in Los Angeles, he said, “If you just stand there and count the numbers of cars that go by in just one minute.” His point that he was trying to make was-

[00:17:49] Yvette: Cars will never go away.

[00:17:50] Frank: – look at all the cars that people are buying. Without hesitation, I said back to him, I said like, “What do you think the average year of that car, the make of that car is?” Say we did this job in 2015, I can’t remember what the year was, is it a 2015? No, this is a 1984.

[00:18:08] Yvette: Even if it [crosstalk]-

[00:18:09] Frank: People are still driving these old cars, who cares?

[00:18:11] Yvette: – it’s so weird to think that I am going take the entire globe of potential consumers and I’m going to boil it down to the ones I can see outside my window.

[00:18:23] Frank: That’s just crazy.

[00:18:24] Yvette: I don’t think we ever mentioned that. Obviously, we called this podcast We Don’t Talk About Futures. No, no, no. Obviously, playing off of We Don’t Talk About Bruno, and again, the idea here is we wanted to highlight some of the parallels. Now I think we want to transition perhaps to some of the lessons, right

[00:18:44] Frank: We do, but I want to catch that one piece again too-

[00:18:46] Yvette: Oh, yes, please.

[00:18:47] Frank: – because we said the goldfish died. Remind me the name of the woman, Pipa?

[00:18:53] Yvette: Pepa.

[00:18:53] Frank: Pepa, that was the one that actually had the gift of controlling the weather.

[00:18:56] Yvette: Yes, she was his sister, Bruno’s sister.

[00:18:58] Frank: Or maybe not controlling the weather, but her emotions manipulated the weather.

[00:19:01] Yvette: Yes.

[00:19:02] Frank: She said, “It’s a perfect day. It was beautiful. My wedding day’s going to be perfect.” When he said to her, “I sense there is a potential for the weather to be bad,” he was really speaking to her attitude, and do then she created a hurricane because she got emotionally distraught over the weather might be bad. She did that, not him.

[00:19:20] Yvette: I know, that’s the part. We mentioned it in passing, but I think a big part of why Bruno’s gift wasn’t well-received or understood was because the community and even his family didn’t have the right foresight culture. They didn’t have foresight empowered culture.

[00:19:40] Frank: I’m glad you caught that piece too because you could see it in the way that she didn’t understand that he was telling her, “Watch your emotions. You’re an emotional person.” You see that in the whole movie, she’s very emotional. She walks around all the time with a cloud over her head. He was simply saying to them, “If you don’t change things.” Again, they didn’t have that culture to receive that. The entire community really wasn’t able to understand Bruno’s gift and they didn’t leverage it correctly. That whole town didn’t really have a foresight culture until Mirabel changed things and she was a great receptor for foresight.

[00:20:11] Yvette: Excellent. A little bit about Encanto and the link to strategic foresight. What can we learn? What are those takeaway lessons that are so critical if you are inside an organization attempting to integrate strategic foresight or continue a foresight practice or you’re a consultant or a partner within an agency or your own firm and you’re trying to help your clients build this capacity? What are some of the takeaways from this discussion around Bruno and Encanto and this idea of thinking about simultaneous multiples as opposed to creating a singular, official future?

That’s, I think, one of the critical parts, it’s just remembering that we cannot predict the future. If we could, trust us, we would have chosen the winning lottery numbers a long time ago.

[00:21:02] Frank: It would be a great gig if I can actually do it.

[00:21:04] Yvette: Let me tell you, so we cannot predict the future. If anyone is telling you that they can, whether it’s through data or some other crazy thing, run. Don’t walk, run away from them because, not only is it impossible, it’s actually terrible to even attempt to do it because it actually creates a more brittle, fragile environment to attempt to create a brittle, predictive model forward. The only way you would do that is by using history and we know that that’s the worst predictor of the future. We could do something better, we can map the future.

[00:21:41] Frank: Yes, and it goes back to the piece that’s one of my favorite setup parts, which is Bruno’s more nuanced visions, the big one that really brings the casita and the family back together was one that was more a guiding narrative that needed to be interpreted. It was multifaceted. It was filled with possibilities. It wasn’t, “Your goldfish is going to die.” I think that his final vision, the one where he had put the glass back together, it was multifaceted. It was multiple. If you watched the film and you look at it, you think, “Oh, this is more like a map and less like a prediction.”

When Bruno was giving those kinds of visions, the ones that were maps, they were cartography and they weren’t predictions or linear prophecies, they were much more powerful, and they were restorative and they were reconciliative. That’s what real good foresight does, is it restores, it reconciles, it reframes.

[00:22:40] Yvette: Excellent. We can’t predict the future, we map it, and that way, as Frank says, it’s much more powerful. Mapping those multiple, possible, and provocative futures helps us become, not just more resilient but also more adaptive, and ultimately, as we saw in the film, more transformative. They were able to transform the family. Although it appeared to be destructive with losing the casita initially, they rebuilt even stronger and on that grounding of multiple futures.

[00:23:16] Frank: Yes, absolutely, so we have to really think in simultaneous multiples. Shifting away from Bruno and back to Mirabel just for a moment, that’s what she was able to do. She saw the multitude in the family. In a way, Mirabel, I know we’ve already said, “Aha.” We had a big aha amongst ourselves if you realized that on the show, but thinking about it, she was a good type of futurist too. We talked about the adaptive, the resilient, and the transformative gifts of futures, and I think that we need different kinds of futures-thinkers. Mirabel represents a type of futurist in this movie as well.

[00:23:47] Yvette: Ultimately, maybe it was Mirabel’s gift that she had the gift of foresight and that’s interesting.

[00:23:53] Frank: More so, in a manner of speaking, was able to bring the family into a new future, a better future.

[00:24:00] Yvette: That’s right. That leaves us with our last lesson. If the first lesson is we can’t predict the future, we can map it, and we need to think in simultaneous multiples. Multiple futures is our second lesson. The third lesson is build capacity.

[00:24:12] Frank: Oh, I love it because you can imagine at the end of this film, if you get to see it, the community shifts to a new way of seeing their way forward. It’s not based on the prophecy of the candle and Bruno’s vision and all this. Those are almost mystical in a way, and they shifted out of that to more of about collaboration, cooperation, the community, agency, building the future. It was a different environment at the end of the film. It’s one that’s much more foresight-friendly.

[00:24:39] Yvette: And much more sustainable.

[00:24:40] Frank: And much more sustainable.

[00:24:41] Yvette: We’re constantly worried. If we’re thinking that the power comes from outside as from a candle or something else, it could be fleeting, but when we realize it’s really within ourselves, that we all have those incredible opportunities, it’s really a lot more long-lasting in that way.

[00:24:59] Frank: I know we drifted away from what might seem like traditional foresight really, but if you’re a practitioner or you want to be a practitioner or you’re inside an organization, you know, you’ve heard us before say, or if you haven’t, you’re about to hear it for the first time, that there’s all of these elements that go into foresight that don’t seem foresight-related on the surface but are so powerful like cooperation and collaboration and diversity of voice because, in the end, the community brought the tools and the stuff to rebuild the house.

They always were just like, “Oh, do the thing for us,” but at the end, the community was fully on-board with rebuilding the house and it was all one voice. We know that we need that diversity of strength and thoughts to build better futures.

[00:25:42] Yvette: I love that.

[00:25:43] Frank: That’s the culture, building the foresight culture. The whole culture.

[00:25:46] Yvette: Building the foresight culture, right. Again, we’ve said this previously, you can’t outsource the future. Any foresight effort should include capacity building or else, it’s just going to be another prophecy about your goldfish dying, and it’s not super useful.

[00:26:02] Frank: Have we ever had a client before that said, “Just tell me what’s going to happen to my goldfish”?

[00:26:07] Yvette: Not in this many words, but they’ve pretty much told us, “Just tell us what’s going to happen to X.”

[00:26:11] Frank: I’m already thinking of a future podcast that I don’t want to spoil in any way, shape, or form, but I remember certain clients saying like, “Tell us this. Don’t tell us this.” We did tell them the second thing and they got really mad.


[00:26:24] Yvette: I feel like all our podcast is going to be the same if we keep going in there.

[00:26:27] Frank: We’ll get there eventually. No, it wasn’t saying goodbye and forgetting about it. A bit of a different twist, but we’ll get to it.

[00:26:33] Yvette: All right, so we’ve reached the part of our podcast where we do our shoutout and it’s always fun thinking about who we want to give a shoutout to. We try to link it to the content of the podcast. Today, we’re excited to give a shoutout to Rosa Alegria.

[00:26:51] Frank: That’s right.

[00:26:52] Yvette: How did I do? I wonder if I pronounced it well.

[00:26:55] Frank: She’s going to write us because she’s a wonderful person, and she’s going to write or tell us whether we said her– We were close.

[00:27:00] Yvette: I’m channeling my Spanish knowledge.

[00:27:05] Frank: It’s technically a Portuguese pronunciation.

[00:27:06] Yvette: Right, but there’s some overlap. Rosa Alegria. Tell us about Rosa.

[00:27:13] Frank: I could say a lot about Rosa because we watch her from a distance. She is one of Brazil’s, if not Brazil’s top futurist, and we have a great long-distance relationship with her. As a matter of fact, not long ago, she might have nominated somebody for the year of free.

[00:27:30] Yvette: Yes, she did.

[00:27:31] Frank: We’re super excited about that, but that’s not what we’re highlighting. We’re highlighting because we try to highlight somebody in the show that really fits the theme, so we don’t talk about futures. That doesn’t seem to really fit her, but it does in building a foresight culture.

[00:27:46] Yvette: Especially, community-wide.

[00:27:48] Frank: Rosa also works hand in hand with Teach the Future, which is Peter Bishop’s organization. Of course, she’s part of the organization as well. She wrote on Twitter, I think, this morning. Not Twitter, Instagram, this morning or yesterday. She wrote, “Today, we had the first futurists class with eight classes of elementary one” from a certain school in Brazil. She says, “Futurist literacy officially enters as a subject in the school’s curriculum for all elementary-school students in 2022. This is a pioneering course in the world, an initiative of Teach the Future Brazil in partnership with the school and based in Sao Paulo.

Today’s class was in recognition of the three times that it was done.” By the way, because Teach the Future empowers teachers to do this work of foresight courses in schools, and the teacher was her daughter who also has an Instagram account.

[00:28:47] Yvette: We love that.

[00:28:47] Frank: She says, “A sense of legacy that I’m leaving behind.”

[00:28:51] Yvette: Wow, wonderful.

[00:28:52] Frank: We read that and we were super-excited. We saw a couple of months ago that in Copenhagen, I think it was the Copenhagen Institute for the Future, was also doing an initiative there where they were putting future in elementary schools. That is so exciting to see. Building, not just the foresight culture but starting at the elementary grades when we’re getting to these children early and building the world of tomorrow. Rosa, we think that is so powerful. We’re so excited about that. We hope that the shoutout causes people to call on you and write you up and maybe get more involved in what you’re doing there because what a great initiative.

[00:29:29] Yvette: That’s right. She’s giving the gift of futures-thinking to future Mirabels and Brunos-

[00:29:39] Frank: Brunos and the world.

[00:29:40] Yvette: – and the world and giving people the capacity to, not only be able to think this way but think critically, think in simultaneous multiples, imagine incredible, possible futures and make better decisions in the present to make them happen.

[00:29:54] Frank: Absolutely, so that’s wonderful.

[00:29:55] Yvette: Fantastic.

[00:29:56] Frank: It’s been great spending time with you guys again, and we got to spend time with Mirabel and Bruno today and always with you, Yvette.

[00:30:02] Yvette: Yes, and next week is a special week.

[00:30:05] Frank: Oh, yes.

[00:30:06] Yvette: We’ll be live next week, so if you’ve ever been screaming into your Airpods as you’re listening to this podcast telling us what to–

[00:30:15] Frank: Frank and Yvette, I’ve got something to add. You left something out.

[00:30:18] Yvette: I know.

[00:30:19] Frank: This is your chance.

[00:30:19] Yvette: It’s your chance because it’s part of our year of free inspiration. Continues next week with our weekend opportunities live session. We’re going live on YouTube, so check that out, reserve your spot, and hopefully, we’ll see a lot of you there. Until then, please make sure you’re taking part in the year of free. This is our year of free celebration, the year 2022, where we’re giving away free tuition to our global programs, free inspiration like The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, and free access to our natural foresight framework, which is now open source. Find out all the information you need at

[00:31:03] Frank: [singing] Now we’ve talked about Bruno.

[00:31:06] Yvette: We have, yes, and now that song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the foreseeable future.

[00:31:11] Frank: Like an ear worm.

[00:31:13] Yvette: Excellent.

[00:31:13] Frank: Take care everyone. We love you.

[00:31:15] Yvette: Bye-bye.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: I don’t know why I felt the need to do that [laughs]. I’m the director as well. Ring, ring.

Frank Spencer: Hello.

Yvette: You picked up fast.

Frank: We try to be very efficient around here and pick up on the first ring. We love our customers.

Yvette: That’s wonderful. Is this The Futures School?

Frank: Yes, yes. This is The Futures School. Sorry that I didn’t say. Hello, this is The Futures School. It was because I picked up the phone so fast.

Yvette: So quickly. I appreciate it. You need no introduction, honestly. Hey, I’m doing an off-site, you came highly recommended two today off-site. I’m wondering if you do– what do you call it? Strategic foresight.

Frank: That is what we call it, strategic foresight. We do strategic foresight, we do all kinds of engagements. What are you looking for?

Yvette: I have a two-day off-site with my leadership and I want some foresight.

Frank: Yes, foresightie. Yes, we could do that. Two days, that sounds like plenty of time for us to do a lot of great things.

Yvette: The full two days wouldn’t be dedicated to the future. We have things to do right now.

Frank: You’re saying that you can’t get your whole team to dedicate two full days to the training.

Yvette: Right. The two days of the agenda, could you do something in a day and a half?

Frank: We could, yes. Definitely. It all depends on what you’re wanting trends or do we want to get all the way to scenarios and that kind of thing. Of course, I know you’re going to have to account for lunchtimes, too.

Yvette: Of course, there’s going to be ample breaks, lunches, of course, yes. We don’t have a lot of attention span so we just have to [unintelligible 00:01:43]. Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s the end of a quarter so we are going to need to do financial results. It’s probably going to be a day, but again, with the lunches and the icebreakers, they don’t really like to get started super early. Basically, could you do something in two hours?

Frank: [laughs] How did we get from two days down to two hours?

Yvette: It’s a process where it’s–

Frank: You want me to teach you the field of strategic foresight, it’s like trying to teach somebody thermodynamics in two hours.

Yvette: That’s ridiculous. Now that I hear it out loud two hours is way too long. We have now that I’m really thinking about it, a solid 20 minutes. [laughs] Sound familiar?

Frank: Click, click. I may have hung up several times during calls like that before. It does sound familiar because this skit represents the exact kinds of calls we’ve had from client. No, I mean to a tee.

Yvette: Yes. Welcome to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast.

Frank: Yes, welcome. Welcome. My name is Frank Spencer.

Yvette: I’m Yvette Montero Salvatico. Yes, what you just heard is a pretty common situation, maybe not a phone call, maybe it’s an email, maybe it’s an intake conversation at some point over the Zoom, as we’ve all come to know and love, but the essence is still the same. That’s what we want to talk about in today’s podcast. This week’s podcast is Can you teach me thermodynamics in 20 minutes? Is what we’ve called this one.

Frank: I think we created this skit– Our audience doesn’t know this but all the skits we’ve ever done were created driving down the highway somewhere whether it was driving down the highway in Munich, Germany, or in California.

Yvette: I want to say that there were at least, a few that were completely organic, meaning we were in the middle– I remember our robot one that was spontaneous.

Frank: True.

Yvette: Yes, they all come from actual experiences. We’ve been asked a lot over the last decade for me more than a decade for you, for us to distill this field of strategic foresight, which people are still getting to know. Right?

Frank: No, it’s true. The field has been around for a hundred years but you would think it was a hundred days because there’s still a lot of people that don’t know about foresight. Yes, over the last couple of years, we’ve all been in this collective state.

Yvette: Experience.

Frank: Experience -that’s what I was looking for- of the pandemic and has sped up the notoriety, I guess, I should say, of foresight on LinkedIn and social media in different places but people still really aren’t super familiar with the field. I think one of the reasons is because there was already an established way of planning and linear planning, and all of this. This could be a different podcast but we’ve had tones of people say to us before their foresight is too sexy. They’re not ready for the sexy yet.

Yvette: That’s a good one. Will do that one another time but yes, that’s the flip of the dial.

Frank: It’s not too sexy.

Yvette: All of our skits are really based on our experiences. We do them in part to level the playing field, to make you feel like you don’t have this unique situation and that we’ve tackled it before. Because ultimately, humor is the best medicine and sometimes it quite honestly, helps us get through the day.

Frank: That’s another thing too, the skit wasn’t necessarily made with a good spirit and heart because we would leave the client say like, “That was like they wanted us to teach thermodynamics in 20 minutes”.

Yvette: Sometimes the origins of our skits-

Frank: Our frustration.

Yvette: Our frustration, sometimes it’s just straight-up humor. Sometimes it’s disbelief but just know, whenever you’ve seen us do a skit within an organization, in one of our public trainings, or during The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, you’ll know that it’s based on something real. This year, and the year of free, we’re doing things a little bit different on The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, each week we are tackling a problem, a topic, a practical piece of advice that we want to share with all of you.

Our goal is to tackle the wicked problem of short-term thinking, the wicked problem of difficulty integrating strategic foresight into organizations. We believe after these 50 weeks or so of podcast, you’ll be equipped, empowered, have the confidence to be able to integrate strategic foresight into your life, your organization, your community.

We’re glad that you’re listening along. Each week it’s got a standalone topic. Like I said today, we’re talking about this idea that organizations, institutions, individuals tend to have, for a number of reasons, a desire to shortchange the future in a lot of ways.

Frank: They’ve learned to do that with everything else, so why not learn thermodynamics in 20 minutes?

Yvette: It’s not valued.

Frank: Of course, that’s right.

Yvette: At the end of the day, we don’t value it. We don’t build our systems, our structures, our organizations around the future, we build it around short-term wins, quick gains, quarterly reports, et cetera.

Frank: I was just thinking that. You mentioned the year of free, the amazing year of free. I’m so excited about it. There’s a meta-message in here because we’re freely, on this podcast, giving away the secrets of the trade [unintelligible 00:07:21].

Yvette: That’s true.

Frank: Also, there’s another meta-message, and that is that it’s interesting that people want foresight but they don’t want it to be long-term. They want it to be short, really short.

Yvette: The irony.

Frank: Can you teach it to me short? Because I do everything short and I think short, and I act short and so foresight needs to be short. I need to catch up but our systems weren’t created to value building anything long-term, cathedral thinking. As matter of fact, I was talking to somebody, interviewing a new client that we have this week, and they were saying, “It’s really my job, I was hired to think in 50 to a hundred years.” You don’t have too many people that have jobs like that nowadays. They tend to have a job where they’re thinking in five hours.

Yvette: Inherent in that statement, and in that perspective, that people don’t value or don’t invest in long-term thinking, inherent in that is the misconception that the future is only about the future.

Frank: Exactly right. This is so powerful because the reality is that the way we think about the future, you’ve heard us say this before. The way you or I think about the future directly impacts the actions we take in the here and now, the actions we take today. Our future staking or foresight really isn’t about talking about what will happen 50 years from now with sentient biology, and then waiting to see if that came to pass or not.

Yvette: Exactly

Frank: It’s about talking about the ethics of sentient biology today, and then modifying our ethics or our actions or sharing of cars or whatever the case might be. Whatever we think the future is going to be about, we need to take action today to have the future we want to have, to have the ethics we want to have around the future, to take action today to make sure that we reach it.

We often say think transformatively, act incrementally. That means first we have that transformative vision but then we still have to act incrementally every day. We taking the right actions towards that future.

Yvette: Yes, we’re all creating the future every day with the decisions we make. When they’re not future empowered decisions, who the heck knows if they’re the right ones? We’ve definitely seen an uptick in our business over the last two years but at the same time, people are spread incredibly thin.

Frank: That they are.

Yvette: We’re still seeing this issue with attention spans and I think there’s still a lot of skeptics as it relates to strategic foresight and long-term thinking because just inherently our values, not our, me and you, but society’s values are generally still very quant heavy, wanting to forecast, predict, know, and think about complexity as the enemy. You’re going against all of those things when you’re trying to do foresight.

Frank: You’re often fond of saying that the corporate environment really has an antibody against foresight, doesn’t it?

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: That doesn’t mean for anybody that’s listening that if you’re in corporate environment, you shouldn’t try to use foresight. You absolutely should. That’s exactly why you should. It’s not just a matter of like, let’s use foresight, but let’s put a square peg and a round hole. You’re going to have to talk about culture change and competency building. Not just like, let’s use foresight like a twenty-minute tool.

Yvette: It’s not an app.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: If you’re listening to this and you are a foresight practitioner within an organization, whether it’s forprofit or nonprofit, governmental, just know that that we’re thinking about you, that we’re-

Frank: You’re a heart.

Yvette: – lighting a candle for you-

Frank: In our minds.

Yvette: I personally know, having been there, but I know Frank knows as well having worked in this field for so long, that it’s not an easy job. We’re of the perspective that just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

Frank: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I think that’s embedded in our message here today. It’s like, “Wow. I think it’s great that you guys that I know are on this tight time schedule and are going to set two days apart.” They’re like, “I wish it was really two days, but it turns out to be 20 minutes.” that’s an exaggeration, but two hours-

Yvette: Not too far off.

Frank: Not too far off though. Really? I would just encourage everybody you’re doing, you are here for such a time as this and you’re in the right place at the right time. Don’t give up, it takes courage to get past the thermodynamics in 20 minutes part, but that’s why you’re there.

Yvette: The fact that they’re calling and asking, or if you’re an internal practitioner, they’re looking you up to ask you to support is a win. Right?

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Let’s build on that. There’s lots of reasons why people perceive there to be this ability to distill a hundred-year-old discipline into 20 minutes. They have short tension spans. They’re skeptical. Our systems are built to work against it. They don’t understand or value complexity. They don’t prioritize the future. There’s a long, long list as to why people might ask for thermodynamics in 20 minutes.

Frank: Long list. I would include in that list that they think foresight is add on to what they already do. We need to shift systems.

Yvette: That’s a good point, they think, “I already do this. This just sounds like the next thing”.

Frank: Insight, foresight, they must be very similar. It’s like, of course, you can get insights out of foresight, but foresight takes you far beyond insight, just like On Beyond Zebra!, Dr. Seuss’s book is alphabet beyond the one now.

Yvette: We could do a whole another podcast, we might do it around sponsorship. Because I think there’s another thing piece here. It’s like, is the person calling on the phone, I’m calling because someone told them to look into foresight? What’s the impetus? Because you hinted at this, but ultimately strategic foresight is a change management process. I know that doesn’t sound real sexy to people, but ultimately, that’s what you’re doing. You’re trying to change hearts and minds, and get people to embrace the very different future.

Frank: You have an awesome job if you’re a foresight professional inside of a company but you also have a– I get it. You probably, this won’t be a shocker to you. You have a frustrating job. It takes a lot of courage and you just have to be excited about the change that you’re making because you are making change and oftentimes, it’ll be two steps forward, three steps back. Then other times, there’s 10 steps forward with maybe one step back. It’s all it all depends.

Yvette: I think as part of the year free, we continue to offer our Wicked Opportunities Podcast every week for free. By the way, once a month we will do it live, so we hope that you’ll join us for that live stream. In part, it’s inspiration, it’s also support. We commiserate with our clients and our practitioners that are working hard to do this in an environment that’s it can be uphill and uphill battle. Let’s talk about some of the solutions or the lessons embedded within this issue of teaching me thermodynamics in 20 minutes.

Frank: By the way, I just wanted to say really quickly too, is like, I think we’ve painted a picture of courage, but also one of obviously it’s an uphill battle. That’s why it’s thermodynamics in 20 minutes, but there’s plenty of studies that show that foresight inside businesses and organizations works.

Yvette: Yes, for sure.

Frank: That it’s powerful.

Yvette: Definitely. Building the business case, that can be its own podcast as well. The idea of going back and helping people understand that this is not something that was just created yesterday. This is not competitive intelligence. Although, we love when competitive intelligence professionals use foresight. This is not just your grandpa’s strategy, but at the same time, it can get exhausting singing for your supper.

Frank: Sure.

Yvette: There’s a lot to be said around building the business case for foresight. Let’s just say we have the situation where someone’s looking you up. If you are a consultant doing strategic foresight, maybe get a phone call like the one we just described. If you’re an internal practitioner, maybe an internal stakeholder is asking you to do this. I think our first piece of advice here is be wary.

Frank: Be wary of people that want to sell you a quick fix.

Yvette: If you are a practitioner and you are working with a consultant and they’re like, “We got you, we can get you the moon. We can hang the moon in 20 minutes.” Be really careful because this is a practice that– We’ll talk in a moment about how there absolutely can be quick wins. I think we have to be realistic about what is truly possible in 20 minutes, in two hours, or even across a two-day session. If you might be setting yourself up for failure. If you think you’re going to get all of this stuff and you’re not going to have to do anything else, so be careful.

Frank: There’s a difference between dipping your toe in the water in a 30-minute session or whatever.

Yvette: Absolutely.

Frank: Saying that 30-minute session is all we’re ever going to do with foresight. It’s all we need.

Yvette: That would be our first lesson, whether you’re working with an internal client or you’re dealing with external practitioners [crosstalk]

Frank: Especially in this two to now going on three-year timeframe. There’s appeared a lot of people who have added futurists to their linked buyer.

Yvette: But you know what? I hope a lot of them we’ve trained and I’m a firm believer that everyone needs to think this way, but you’re right.

Frank: I certainly wasn’t thinking of those people because they’re probably they get it. There’s a lot of people that have said, “I’m going to tackle on futurists to this.” Be very careful, buyer beware.

Yvette: Just look into it and make sure that they have the proper experience or credentials. If they’re telling you they can give you scenarios in 20 minutes, run the other way. That’s our first lesson. Our second we’ve already hinted at.

Frank: We did. You did. The future is really about the present. Again, if you’re looking to just have somebody do a keynote about the trends in the future. Once we should monitor and radar, if you stop there that’s not foresight. We’re not looking to be the popular people on the stage. The pop futurist that just gives you these trends. It really it’s about embedding this in the actions today. You said it’s great if people use this on top of the platform of consumer insights or competitive intelligence or insights, or business intelligence, or whatever the case might be.

That’s great. Just know that, if it’s not really changing the actions in the present we’re not talking about putting this in our strategy or innovation or whatever, then we’re falling far shortened, that’s the thermodynamics in 20 minutes.

Yvette: I also think if you do have a client internally, or what have you, that is asking you to do this in such a short timeframe and you’re analyzing that and you’re realizing that part of it is they aren’t valuing the future. I think this conversation about explaining and helping them understand that this isn’t just an add on, this isn’t an app as you were saying and that ultimately it is absolutely connected to the presence. It’s just as valuable at the very least as the things that they’re doing right now.

I think sometimes when clients prioritize the future last, or put it off, or just thinking about it during five year plan time. Having a conversation with them, letting them know the future’s not about the future, the future’s about the present, can go a long way to moving the needle.

Frank: That’s right. I love something you just you said, it really gave me a mental image of– you said, “We do a lot of present things and this is just as valuable as any other present thing we do.” The reason it’s even more valuable. I love that.

Yvette: Of course it is more valuable.

Frank: It touches the present and the next present and the next present and it’s got this long line to it. There’s nothing else you really do in your organization that says, “Let’s talk about the immediate health, the mid health, and the long-term health.” There’s really. nothing else you do other than foresight in an organization that does that.

Yvette: It helps you prioritize what you’re doing in the present to make sure you’re doing the right things.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: If you have a hair on fire, bright shiny object, the sky is falling type of leadership. This might be exactly what you need because foresight helps you prioritize the things you’re doing in the present.

Frank: Tell your clients that what other system do you use? What other way of thinking do you use that covers all timeframes of your business, talks about where this organization is going, and how it operates today?

Yvette: Not to mention where it’s been.

Yvette: Where it’s been.

Yvette: Foresight really understands the DNA of where you’ve been and uses that going forward.

Frank: Such a powerful point.

Yvette: We’re so biased, but we love it.

Frank: There’s this other really interesting phrase that we often use, executive entertainment. I don’t know if anybody’s ever heard that before and we’ve had stories in the past that we talked about where firms have given their clients executive entertainment, telling them what they want to hear.

Yvette: It’s really easy if you’ve been booked for 20 minutes, whether you’re an internal practitioner or not to use those 20 minutes to just reinforce what’s already going on, like why shake the boat. If I’m only given 20 minutes, they open the door for me. I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. You know what? Your best bet is to not even do that engagement. Not only are you wasting your time, you’re actually going to do more damage to your own reputation, to foresight implementation further down the road in that organization. Be really, really careful. We’re going to talk probably the whole year about bravery and courage.

Frank: Yes, there’s a whole nother podcast here about– people often to say, it’s like learning to ride a bike. This is like any other thing. It’s like learning to ride a bike. You’ve got to gauge, I want to meet my clients where they are. I have to be willing to ruffle feathers here, but at the same time, it’s like, if I’m only given a brief period of time, do I take this client or not?

If they’re saying don’t ruffle to the feathers, we want this as an entryway, I dip a toe in 30 minutes, do I take–? You’re going to have to learn to ride your bike. You’re going to have to gauge because, at some point, you need to start rocking the boat with [unintelligible 00:22:13] a little bit. Maybe rocking the boat’s too strong of a statement, but you’ve got to be able to push them.

Yvette: Well, they’ve got to change their behavior. That’s the whole reason we’re doing this. If we’re going to do more of the same, then don’t bother, then don’t waste anybody’s time.

Frank: That’s absolutely right.

Yvette: A couple more lessons here. One we want to talk about was the Trojan horse.

Frank: I think it touches on the point that I was just making.

Yvette: Yes, exactly.

Frank: I saw a hilarious skit about the Trojan horse on TikTok not long ago. “Oh, we’re taking this nice horse in, what a nice gift this is.” The person inside the horse was like, “This is so sad. We’re about to kill everybody.” That’s what the futures knows that he’s doing. He’s like the court gesture. He’s like, “Yes, it’s so fun to do foresight. I’m going to say stuff that’s going to rock your–“

Yvette: Roba, roba, roba, roba.

Frank: I’m going to rock your organization. You just don’t know it yet. You are the Trojan horse.

Yvette: It’s okay if they’re nestling you in their agenda, like, “Yes, thank you so much. So excited to be part of this day of strategic thinking”, and yes, it’s like the opposite of executive entertainment. You package it in a way as you were saying that is more palatable, but at the end of the day, you know that what’s in that horse is really what they need to hear to create long-lasting change.

Frank: They were excited to bring the horse into the city because it looks so cool.

Yvette: How many people have we done that to? We have been the Trojan Horse.

Frank: 99.9% of clients and the other 0.01 or 0.1.

Yvette: We’re giving away too many secrets now.

Frank: Either fired us or got fired by us.

Yvette: At the end of the day, I think the biggest lesson here is that short interventions can still drive big impact. I think it’s a really big misconception that to do foresight, for example, you have to do scenarios. That’s the only way to do foresight.

Frank: Absolutely. This sounds counter to how we started off because we were like, “Oh no, you need two full days.” They’re like, “You got 20 minutes. Teach me thermodynamics in 20 minutes.” If it is done right, those 20 minutes can be valuable. We’re just saying be careful.

Yvette: Again, it’s all about letting level setting expectations. Would we rather have the full two days? Absolutely. We would rather have a client that fully commits to the beginning to the value of this?Absolutely. That’s not always the case. In fact, the majority of the time, that’s not the case. The flip side of that is don’t hold off until you have the perfect amount of time or don’t perceive or believe that the only way to do good foresight is through months of a scenario development project. We love doing scenario development project. They are some of the most transformational projects we do, but you don’t have to do scenarios to say you’re doing foresight. You can make a big impact.

If there were two choices, I would rather someone figure out a way to implement foresight in their day-to-day thinking over doing a major scenario project because over the long stretch of time, those daily interventions where I’m thinking about the future in my day to day actions, we’re going to drive a lot more value than investing in a scenario project if that’s the only thing you’re doing and you’re not thinking about the day-to-day. That’s not necessarily a choice.

You can certainly do both of those things. We love it when we can do both, but my point here is yes, take the 20 minutes. There’s some great tools and great things that you can do to drive value and then leave them wanting more and come back and offer them more to build on that.

Frank: I think in the end we’re saying, “Can you teach somebody thermodynamics in 20 minutes?” Of course not. Can those 20 minutes be valuable on the beginning of the road to learning? Yes.

Yvette: Can you get them really excited about thermodynamics in 20 minutes? We can.

Frank: I believe you can too. I know we can. Can you fashion those 20 minutes in such a way as to lead to another 20 in a two day and a one week and a three? Yes, you can. Don’t try to sell short foresight in 20 minutes and say like, “I can do the whole thing in 20 minutes”, and think that you can. Then, you’re just going to have to judge from there. Certainly, we understand the frustration. We know they want you to teach thermodynamics in 20 minutes, our strategic foresight, sorry, and use that leverage it to your advantage.

Yvette: Absolutely. Hopefully, that lesson and issue discussion was helpful to you. We are closing out each week’s podcast with a shout-out.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: These individuals that we’re shouting out are individuals that they could be in our very, very close inner circle or just folks that we’ve admired from afar. They’re individuals that we think maybe relate somehow to the topic of the week.

Frank: It reminds me of the Global Foresight Advisory Council live that we’re doing now too because where you have speakers come on there and the GFAC, I should say, has speakers come on there that don’t call themselves futurists. Some of them don’t even know the field of foresight, but they’re certainly making the difference in the future. I know you and I had talked about that we wanted to give a shout-out today to our good friend Clive Chang.

Yvette: Clive Chang is the Executive Vice President, Chief Advancement and Innovation Officer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Frank: The Lincoln Center.

Yvette: It’s cool.

Frank: He’s cool.

Yvette: He’s cool and we’ll talk a little bit about how we know him. I think what made us think of Clive within this context is that I think sometimes the arts are treated similarly to strategic foresight in that they’re not valued as much as other disciplines. People are like, “Can’t you just teach me piano in 20 minutes?”

Frank: It’s like, I want to digest all the art that I’m going to get for the entire year in 20 minutes. Somebody like Clive is like, “You can’t even just be integral”.

Yvette: When I’m looking at my agenda or my priorities, I slate something like the arts and creativity less than I would something more quantitative or tangible. We thought this was an interesting time to bring up Clive. We met Clive when he was working at the Walt Disney Company in the live entertainment group.

Frank: Disney theater, I was there.

Yvette: He already has a cool job, he had a cool job before, he lives in New York City and he helped lead the strategic foresight team within that Disney division and did some amazing work while he was there. We’re hoping to continue to partner with Clive and think about the future of arts going forward. We know certainly if you didn’t already know, before the last two years, I think another parallel part this the last two years, we’ve all really, really come to the realization that without art, without performance, our lives are incredibly empty and so much can be done through art.

Shout out to not just Clive, but everyone that’s working in that field, especially over the last two years. It’s been an incredibly challenging year for all of us but I think there are some pockets of society like the arts and live performances that have felt it acutely over the last two years. We just so appreciate the work that you all are doing. Clive keep up the great foresight work and great job.

Frank: I remember last week we had given a shout to Johana Línkova and Clive, both alumni, of course, in Futures School and as you said, a client work as well. In the weeks ahead, maybe some non-alumni?

Yvette: I think so. I think so.

Frank: I believe so.

Yvette: The world is a big place.

Frank: The world is your foresight [unintelligible 00:30:15]

Yvette: That’s nice. Again, we are excited about the Year of Free. The Wicked Opportunities Podcast is brought to you as part of the Year of Free. The Year of Free has three pillars. Of course, we have free tuition being offered to all of our global training programs, free access in the form of open-source, Natural Foresight Framework tools and templates being released all year long, and then free inspiration, which is where the Wicked Opportunities podcasts.

Also, the GFAC Live and Foresight-Fueled Action, those are on-demand prerecorded sessions that you can get right now on our website. All of this to help people continue their foresight journey, further integrate strategic foresight because our mission of The Future School, as you know, is to democratize the field of foresight. We believe that we’ll be better place if everyone thought this way.

We welcome you to take part of the Year of Free. If you have, let us know. We are going to start sharing folks that are nominating others. If you do know someone that could benefit from the gift of foresight, it’s super easy to nominate them. It’s a short form on our website, you take part in a quick call, and then we take it from there. We’re going to have some of the most amazing cohorts we’ve ever had this next year because of this nomination process. We’re just a few weeks into it and it’s already really just blown away all of our expectations.

Frank: No, it’s crazy. I can’t wait to be with these people and work with some of these people. We’ve prepared some extra special things for the sessions coming up because of it. Everything has been upgraded.

Yvette: Yes, we’re excited.

Frank: The last two years weren’t cool. They weren’t cool in some ways, but they were cool for the firm here and for all those people who’ve become part of the family, then what’s coming in this year and beyond is even cooler. We’re super excited about it. I am super excited to always record a podcast with you. I can’t wait until next week’s podcast. Then we will have our GFAC Live, but until then everybody, take care. We’re so glad you could join us. Of course, we also had the camera when this time.

Yvette: We did, so it was a little bit different of an experience.

Frank: You might see some of this.

Yvette: If you’re watching some of this footage, hi, and we’ll catch you next time. Stay safe. Until next time, bye-bye, everybody.

Frank: Bye-bye.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: Mr. Spencer.

Frank Spencer: Yes.

Yvette: I was wondering, have you ever been fired from a job?

Frank: Yes. Most definitely I’ve been fired.

Yvette: You answered that really, really quickly.

Frank: Well, there’s more than one.

Yvette: Okay then. I haven’t had that many jobs. I think of it more you’d probably get fired from a teenage job, but was this–

Frank: They were teenage jobs.

Yvette: Okay, that’s good.

Frank: Well, or early 20s.

Yvette: All right. That’s fair enough you’re still finding yourself.

Frank: [laughs] That’s true. That’s exactly what I was doing.

Yvette: We don’t have to know all the dirty details. I was just curious.

Frank: I did. I’ll make it sweet and short, but I got fired from a job at a convenience store, the woman just didn’t want me working there anymore. I think I was 16 or 17-years-old. I got fired from a paper route because I was doing a really lousy job because I didn’t want to throw papers.

Yvette: Well, you’re also not a morning person for anyone that knows you.

Frank: I’ve almost gotten fired from this job for the same reason, for not being a morning person.

Yvette: Not true.

Frank: The other one that I really, really, really got fired from in glorious fashion was I was working for a construction company and I was the guy at the desk who called the stores that delivered the bricks and the wood and told them to deliver how much bricks and wood out to the construction sites.

Yvette: Seems important.

Frank: Somebody else in the company was swindling both the company and the stores that deliver the stuff. At the end, they wanted to blame it on me as the new guy. Instead of me getting in trouble, they just said, “Oh, you shouldn’t have been swindling so you’re fired.” I was like, “Thank goodness I’m not at this company because working with the construction guys is quite–

Yvette: It’s no joke.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Let’s see, your foresight career almost didn’t happen if you had been able to be successful in your convenience career, your career in construction- [crosstalk]

Frank: or paper delivery.

Yvette: -or you would say journalism.

Frank: A type of journalism.

Yvette: Actually, I’m thankful for those three firings and the truth is we’ve actually each been fired from a more recent gig.

Frank: We have. That is something that we are going to get into in this first podcast from us, from The Wicked Oportunities Podcast of 2022. Hi everyone. My name is Frank Spencer.

Yvette: I’m Yvette Montero SalvaticoWelcome back. We are joining in brand new year, 2022. Unfortunately a lot of the same and so we’re still at home, wearing masks, trying to disinfect things, but we’re also learning. We’re excited to be introducing a new collection of The Wicked Opportunities Podcast for the next year. We will be going through our past experiences and sharing those trials and tribulations, and the funny stories with you in hopes that you could take away learnings from those experiences. We know you can.

Frank: Yes. One of the reasons that we wanted to jump into this new year with this new format is because as many of you already know, we’re now in the Year of Free. If you don’t know about it, we can talk about that maybe for a minute or two at the end of the podcast as well, a little bit more, but that’s why we’re also offering this how to make foresight work series, which is going to last the entire year.

Yvette: Yes. We’re really excited about the specifics around the Year of Free. If you caught the title of this inaugural podcast for this new year, you’ll maybe have been surprised, it’s called say goodbye to Frank and Yvette, and here we are saying hello. We thought that would be sort of a funny play. We’re going to talk a little bit about an experience we had where an engagement came to an unceremonious ending.

Frank: That’s right. I would even say or I had not planned this, but you’re probably–you know that old skit from, I can’t remember the comedian’s name, but he’s like a Southern US comedian. He says you might be a redneck if–

Yvette: Oh boy, we’re going to go there, jinks.

Frank: We might be a foresight professionals if you got fired from a gigs at some point. We’ll talk about that a little bit today. How do you challenge people and at some point, not at least in one of your gigs be unceremoniously let go?

Yvette: Again, I think you’ll really enjoy this collection of podcasts. The idea here is that this Wicked Problem of implementing foresight, it’s a challenge and we know this to be true and it’s our mission at The Future School to democratize foresight and the future. We really view this next year of podcasts as a Wicked Opportunity in helping you all be successful in your foresight practice, whether you’re a consultant, whether you’re a practitioner within an organization, or whether you’re just an individual, looking to fuel your work with foresight, we know that that can be a challenging situation.

The whole point of this whole Year of Free is to remove those obstacles. During our Wicked Opportunities Podcast, we’re going to share some very unique stories about our experiences. Again, hoping that you can learn from them. We’ll tease also that once a month, this Wicked Opportunities Podcast will be live-streamed. Look for those announcements later on this month. Let’s talk about, say goodbye to Frank and Yvette.

Frank: Yes, because that line, say goodbye to Frank and Yvette was the exact phrase that the gentleman who ran this particular company used. We were in a meeting and I thought it was going pretty well. As the meeting progressed, it seemed as if it was not going as well. I know you might be– some of you out there were saying like, “Well, maybe you weren’t doing a good job.” I thought we were, maybe we weren’t doing a good job. I think that we were starting to push a few buttons in the room. We didn’t see that coming because actually we will tell you that up till that time we had already been working for this company for quite some time, maybe up to a year, and they kept inviting us back and it was going very well. I think they just reached the boiling point at some point. The gentleman said, “Well, I think we’re done here.” Everybody wave goodbye to Frank and Yvette.

Yvette: Say goodbye to Frank and Yvette.

Frank: Then they just started in their meeting talking about other stuff as we packed up our things and went outside to a taco truck and had probably the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life. I’m like, “All right. I unceremoniously waved goodbye to them in the building and proceeded to eat two or three tacos outside. [laughs]

Yvette: A quick background on this case study, and then we’ll talk a little bit about our learnings and how you could apply those learnings in your own foresight practice. We were brought in by the chief HR officer.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Which is a great way that we often get brought into organizations. We love working with our HR partners because we really see foresight as a competency. This was a private company. It was not just a private company, but the founder was still somewhat involved. In fact, they were in a transition period where the founder was transitioning away. He was finally retiring after over 50 years of founding this company and he was transitioning it to family members.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Not everyone was a family member in the C-suite.

Frank: Not everyone.

Yvette: There were quite a couple.

Frank: There were quite a few. When we say private company, is one thing to be a private company, it’s another thing to be almost family-led and owned.

Yvette: Yes. Family-owned.

Frank: It’s no small company. They were transitioning into being a billion-dollar company at the time. No small company, even though it was family-owned.

Yvette: I’ll just pause here to say we’re often approached by different individuals and different organizations that are attempting to implement foresight. They might work for a public company like a Disney or maybe a smaller organization. They lament the fact that they work for a publicly-traded company and think about, “Oh gosh, if we were only privately held.”

Frank: Things would be different.

Yvette: Then we’ve got the folks that we love to partner with in government entities. They lament that, “Gosh, I wish we were a for-profit organization.”

Frank: Yes, because then we wouldn’t have these two or four-year election cycles.

Yvette: Yes. The bureaucracy. Then we work with our great non-profits and they lament that they aren’t working. You get the idea, right?

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: The grass is always greener or seems to be greener on the other side of the fence. I want to pause here and say, yes, we can point to some red flags or potential issues related to this engagement because of the organizational structure and the ownership. In reality, it comes down to the culture and the narratives that are pervasive. Clearly, the players and the backgrounds are really significant.

What was really interesting about the situation is the founder was a disruptor. The transformation he had already undertaken with this organization when the internet began because they went from being non-digital. The organization was formed in a non-digital environment with non-digital assets. It was specifically non-digital and it could have died when the internet came on. Many of his competitors and similar organizations died when the internet came on. He saw it super early on.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: As we do with many of our organizational engagements, we try to pull on that legacy DNA and we were successful for a time, but at last, it did not pan out long-term.

Frank: To your point, so one of the reasons we were super excited about this engagement, it was years ago, by the way, is because the founder who was still there was a disruptor. He was super excited about having us come in other big firms were doing work for them at the time, too, and creating new products and experiences for them. We were brought in because he was like, “Ah, foresight, we really need this.” He was super excited about it. If he had been in the room that day, maybe things would’ve been different, but at that point, he was told to hand it over it to some of his family members who weren’t as excited about the engagement, and that also brings up another point too, so let’s go a little bit–

Yvette: Let me just finish setting the [crosstalk] background because I don’t think we completely set up. We’re working with this organization. We were brought in by the chief HR officer and it was several tiers of work. Initially, we worked with the high potentials and it was really a leadership development project where we pulled them in and we did a multi-day engagement over several months using foresight to drive innovation. That was a spectacular success.

Frank: That’s right. That’s exactly what I was going to say. Is when you step down from that meeting that we had where they said goodbye to Frank and Yvette, it was really the executive team. When we were able to work with the high potentials for a year, that was a rounding success.

Yvette: Even initially some of the work with the executive team was successful as Frank said. They brought us back a number of times, but ultimately I think we were working ironically through a CLA tool. What emerged from the CLA tool wasn’t something that they all embraced.

Frank: Not even anything that we said right based on [unintelligible 00:11:11].

Yvette: It was all of them. No, I know. That’s [unintelligible 00:11:13].

Frank: Of course, if you use CLA or causal layered analysis on a regular basis or any of these foresight tools, you really know that it’s drawing the future out of them and they end up saying things that they didn’t often expect them to say. Again this goes back to and we’ll talk about this during the year that facilitation is really one of the biggest skills of a foresight professional. If you’re facilitating things correctly, they’re telling on themselves, or they’re drawing out the future themselves. They upset their own selves in this meeting, and then, of course, they were tired of hearing that and so they unceremoniously said goodbye to us.

Yvette: There’s definitely things that were happening in the background and we had already seen some red flags regarding the culture of this organization. Again I think even in working with the high potentials, we saw some of the below the surface indications, that would give us pause. Not enough for us to walk away although we have by the way. On the flip side, we have fired clients before.

Frank: Sure.

Yvette: Meaning we’ve walked away from client engagements when values weren’t aligned or we felt the goals weren’t in alignment, but we definitely didn’t feel that here although it was clear that everything from the outside wasn’t as it appeared in this organization, so privately held company in Southern California so competing with a lot of the tech companies there and they were trying to get some of the same talent. Their offices were amazing.

Frank: Amazing, and they were in the transition of moving to the offices across the street, which I can’t remember the time but it was owned by some really famous actor or actress.

Yvette: It was crazy because their offices were already amazing. They’re like yes, these are old offices.

Frank: We need better.

Yvette: Yes and they had–

Frank: It was Jennifer Lopez or something were buying her former offices. I forget.

Yvette: They had all the amenities that you would expect at a Google S campus, whether it’s ways to play games, and ping pong, and arcade games.

Frank: Slides and you know-

Yvette: Always free Froyo.

Frank: [unintelligible 00:13:19] pods.

Yvette: All the time. Yes.

Frank: They actually on a regular basis served the A Dole Whip from Disneyland.

Yvette: I forgot about that.

Frank: It was delicious.

Yvette: A Dole Whip. That’s totally what we missed from that.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Why was that a red flag? Because we never ever, ever saw anyone playing in any of those spaces.

Frank: Oh boy, that’s a tell sign. It’s like they’ve got this one whole floor that looks like the greatest game room you’ve ever seen in your life with the foosball tables, and the air hockey, and all the games from the arcade, and we were there for an entire year and never saw a single person in that game room, that should tell you something.

Yvette: Right. Then we learned even more when we worked with the high potentials and like a lot of futurists consultants, there’s post-it notes involved in our work. That’s the way it goes. Now we have digital post-it notes from our partners at Mural, but one of the participants shared candidly after a couple of our sessions that they use a lot of post-it notes and there are constant brainstorming at the company. In fact, it’s a negative thing. They said they had post it note–

Frank: Stress disorder.

Yvette: Yes, trauma disorder or something. A different word version of PTSD because they were forced to come up with ideas almost daily and they had to put their names on the post-it notes or they were color coordinated. I forget which one. If they didn’t have a good idea or if the idea just didn’t pan out, they were held accountable for those post-it notes. Again, so lots of red flags here but all in all, the high potentials did an amazing job.

Frank: They did an amazing job and actually on several different occasions and one that I can in particular they presented to the older founder and the leadership team and everybody was blown away. It was like a celebration meeting and the founder got up at the end and he said, “I told you guys, this is exactly the thinking we need in this company. This is going to be amazing. We’re going to do this long term.” It wasn’t very long after that that one of the people in the meeting who was also a family member I think he was like, “No, we’re going to end this soon.”

Yvette: It’s interesting because a lot of the recommendations coming out of the high potentials were very disruptive, provocative, and transformative taking the organization to its next level of growth and opportunity.

Frank: Yes. Putting them as leaders in the field instead of just trying to benchmark or copy others.

Yvette: Company also I think pretty risk averse. I remember them being pretty traumatized from their past when at one point the .com bubble burst and they had to let go of a tone of people. They kept referring back to that. There were definitely signs culturally and in terms of the potential for foresight not to stick, but as Frank said, it’s when we got to that C-suite audience that things really went downhill especially in that last engagement. What can we learn from this experience? There’s lots of lessons embedded here in this experience. What stands out to you?

Frank: Well, several things. I want to go back to the HIPO piece because I think that as foresight professionals we think and don’t worry I’ll expect on this. You’re not wrong if you’re thinking this way completely. I can’t wait to get in a boardroom with the C-suite and change their hearts and minds.

Yvette: Oh, makes sense? I want to start at the top.

Frank: Oh totally.

Yvette: They’re the ones that really set the direction and tone. They’re the ones that are doing visioning work. Why wouldn’t you want to do foresight there?

Frank: Except they’re often not the ones doing division.

Yvette: They’re often the worst. Remember when we were on that conference call, this could have been its own podcast. We were on the phone with a bunch of executives. We were doing an initial pitch and one of them said, “We’re all really close to retirement. Why would we worry about any of this stuff?”

Frank: We live in a time of nothing shocks me anymore, but back in the day that was a big shocker to literally have people on the phone saying, “I’m retiring in a year to three years. I don’t care what happens to the next generation.” You’re saying the quiet part out loud. Don’t do that.

Yvette: [unintelligible 00:17:28]. That could have been a good name. Don’t say the quiet part quite out loud. Frank is not saying that we ignore the C-suite but I think what you’re suggesting is that there’s other entry points that can be almost more successful sometimes.

Frank: That almost always are more successful.

Yvette: I think it’s a very much a tag team approach.

Frank: It depends on the culture. Yes, that’s right.

Yvette: It’s great to have both.

Frank: We just did a client, and we’ll talk about this on another podcast, where the best meetings were when the C-suite was in the meeting. Not the rest of the team was, “Oh, so also amazing,” but when they got the C-suite in there it just amped it up to 11. This was not the case with this particular and its culture again there.

Yvette: Again I think the takeaway here is don’t get so focused on starting from the top down. That’s one way to engage but there’s other ways too and you can get change happening from a ground swell as well. Sometimes people feel like they can implement foresight because they’re not part of the C-suite or they don’t have an audience with the C-suite and so they stop writing their tracks.

If you’re an internal contributor, or a practitioner, or you’re a consultant, it doesn’t have to be the C-suite that drives this work. In fact, as it is suggested or showcased by this example, sometimes you’re better off starting with a subset of an organization or a group that is really, really excited about this and primed.

Frank: How does that translate to something tactical? As a foresight professional, if you’re targeting people, you don’t have to target the C-suite, go after HR leaders and go after different parts of the organization. Think about unique entry points to companies, industries, and businesses. Broaden your horizon about who is excited about this. Find the champion and they are going to be in places that you don’t expect because you how organizations work.

It’s not you only get hired by the C-suite. There are people within HR or innovation or whatever who have the power to bring you in for short engagements or maybe longer-term engagements. Once that happens, hearts are changed, and you know the old saying that you do things first and ask for forgiveness or ask for permission later. Just find those new entry points, champions change agents to make your entry point with.

Yvette: I know we have to move on but I would also say that sometimes it’s in your best interest to not go via the C-suite, because ultimately implementing foresight requires that the rest of the organization buy into this and have their hearts and minds change. They’re the ones doing the work.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Just because your C-suite buys into this, doesn’t necessarily mean all roads are clear. That’s a great takeaway.

Frank: Once they see the success of the work at a level like this HIPOs, remember I just told you, it’s unfortunate. There was another gentleman who said, “Say goodbye.” I don’t know what happened afterwards. Maybe the dad founder guy was mad that we were gone, but just he never brought us back. He said in that meeting, “Oh, my gosh, this is so great.” When he saw the workers and the employees and the HIPOs producing this work. Yes, that’s exactly what you need to do.

Yvette: Okay. A second takeaway here is going to sound a bit self-serving, but we want to make sure that– actually, I will leave that one for last.

Frank: Okay.

Yvette: Yes. Let’s talk about courage.

Frank: Courage. We talked about I remember years ago, we were in some country, and I said really foresight, the main thing a foresight a professional needs, their main trait is courage. Because you are a professional, who is challenging the status quo all the time, all the time. Courage is the main thing you need. You need to have the courage to be able to say things that other professionals wouldn’t say, to step outside the box. Whether you’re an independent professional, or you’re working foresight inside an organization, you have to have courage to do this work.

Yvette: Yes. It’s not about provocation for provocation sake.

Frank: No.

Yvette: Obviously, we’re not talking about that. We’re also not necessarily talking about driving a fearful narrative. It’s funny. Fear is in the eye of the beholder, right?

Frank: That’s true.

Yvette: A lot of times we come to organization with a transformative narrative about their future. That scares them more than the one about threats, which is really ironic, but ultimately, having courage and being brave is a critical success factor in foresight work, because they’ll look for you to blink. As soon as you do, the organization is going to want to go back to the way things were. That’s where the inertia is, is back to the way things were even if that’s not feasible. You’re really trying to push something uphill against stream. Whatever the analogy here is, and it’s hard. It’s hard.

Frank: It’s hard. I’m sure we’ll hit this on another podcast somewhere in our 52 weeks, but we also don’t want to be guilty of executive entertainment, which is telling the executives what they already want to hear. I think a lot of times when we make predictions or we’re going in and they want to hear about the latest tech, and they already know what it is they want us to confirm it. That’s not really what we do as foresight professionals. There may be some like, “Oh, yes, you’re right about this technology, or whatever,” but are we really thinking from the outside in instead of inside out?

I know I’m hitting on things we’re going to talk about on another podcast, I just think it’s important to also mention, and we’ll circle around to this at some point in the future, that courage means that we’re not just trying to cuddle the executives of the company, we are challenging them. That’s what you do as a foresight professional challenge. That’s why you were brought in. Make sure before you’re brought in that they know what the mandate is of the relationship between you.

Yvette: I wouldn’t even tell them. I would just let it play out.

Frank: Well, yes, that’s true. Maybe that’s where it’s say goodbye to X, Y, Z, whatever your name is. You have to know.


Yvette: At the end of the day, you can’t be afraid of getting fired or failing.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Okay. I get it. That’s fun in games when you’re a consultant and like us have multiple clients. Your diversity of your portfolio of clients protects you. I worked directly at Disney and I couldn’t afford at that time to do things that were going to get me fired, and that’s why I hired Frank so that he would be the one to get fired. Wait, what? That’s our final point here.

Frank: He wasn’t worried about it. He had already been fired from his paper route.

Yvette: That’s right. He had plenty of history there. The last point here is that this idea or this aspect of having an external voice to push things along is really, really important. It’ll give you that boost of courage if you know you not only have a partner, but that partner, that external partner, can help really push the envelope and drive the conversation beyond maybe what you feel comfortable since all your eggs are in that basket with that employer, the external perspective isn’t just about courage, but it certainly helps from that perspective, right?

Frank: It does. You definitely need to think about that outside voice and of course, they’ve called you because they want an outside voice or you’ve contacted them or you’re having a relationship because of that. You don’t need to be afraid to also promote that. We tell our potential clients and clients all the time how valuable that outside voice is and we can reinforce that with them. Because, again, if you go back to who’s actually bringing you in, they want to be able to give the business case for that. We help them in their communication to the C-suite, or to the leadership of how valuable the external voice can really be.

Yvette: Yes. Again, if you’re a consultant and you have tons of clients, then I think you can just take the courage statement as it is, and really try to push the envelope but not be fearful of failing or getting fired. If you are an internal practitioner, I think this is one of the many ways or reasons why you would bring in an external partner to provide that lever. Again, those are our favorite client engagements when there’s already an internal practitioner, and we could provide that additional fulcrum from outside that additional leverage, provide air cover to the internal individual, and allow you to still progress in your foresight perspectives, and practice, and challenge the status quo effectively.

Frank: Don’t be afraid for somebody to eventually say to you, if you want to be a foresight professional, say goodbye to X, Y, and Z, whatever your name might be because that’s probably going to happen. That probably means you’re doing the right thing. You’re going to find other clients that don’t say goodbye to you, and you’re going to grow in your expertise and your ability to be that good foresight professional because if that’s happening, that means you challenged somebody.

Yvette: That means you did a good job. Quick recap. The first takeaway is, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a public, private, nonprofit, or government organization, they all have their pluses and minuses, it’s really ultimately about culture, looking for those red flags. Secondly, the entry point, don’t just assume that coming up at the top of the organization is the best. That’s not always the case. Often a balanced approach or a multi-pronged approach is ideal, but don’t ignore those other entry points, like the high potentials and the other groups.

Frank: Absolutely.

Yvette: Courage. Make sure you have the courage to not be afraid of failure or being fired. If you are an internal practitioner, and you need this job, it’s another great reason to bring in an external partner that can support your efforts and provide you that air cover.

Frank: Yes. Because just on that last point about courage again, because as a foresight professional, you are challenging people. Again, if this is not the work for you, if you’re afraid to challenge the status quo, then maybe you don’t really want to be a foresight professional. Again, that courage is so important. Who is somebody– because one of the things that we want to do on every one of our episodes this year, is to give a shout-out at the end of the episode? Who is somebody that really exemplifies this that we have worked with and we admire?

Yvette: Yes. It’s interesting we could have chosen a number of people, but the first thing that comes to mind for me is Joana Lenkova.

Frank: Joana, as we call her in the US.

Yvette: She’s really Yoana.

Frank: She really is.

Yvette: We met her when she was working at Walt International and she actually left that position right before the pandemic timing. It could have been a bit better.

Frank: We’re all in this together.

Yvette: To start her own organization, her own foresight firm. We’ve partnered with her firm and her for a number of years now, but she really felt the pressure internally and ultimately rose to prominence within the Disney organization as a futurist after she did one of the only if not the only scenarios that talked about Brexit, but when she continued to want to push the needle around provocative thinking for the company, that’s when she started to hit brick walls.

She was not fired, let’s be clear. She took leave of that organization for better, brighter opportunities. What’s cool is that she’s found a better fit now as the head of foresight at LEGO. I think it’s a great story around how she continues to have her thought leadership practice. She continues to work with LEGO because they support her in that thought leadership. She found a better fit. Sometimes you do have to move on. You have to see where the fit is and know that maybe something’s for a season or a reason.

Frank: I think her courage opened doors for her as a now well-known international futurist, independent futurist, writer, author as well, and of course, with the LEGO position, which she’s in right now. That’s that courage piece we talked about and the external piece too. She’s such a well-rounded example of what we’ve shared here today.

Yvette: Yes, excellent. That’s our shout-out. Just really quickly, sharing a little bit about the Year of Free. During 2020, The Futures School is furthering its mission to democratize the future with the Year of Free, which has three main pillars. Free tuition, free access, and free inspiration.

You’ve listened to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, which is part of that free inspiration. Of course, we join you weekly, and now once a month, we’ll be live streaming through our YouTube channel and through Futures Space as well.

Frank: That’s exciting.

Yvette: Yes. If you’re interested in joining in on the celebration of the Year of Free, you can nominate someone to receive a free seat at any one of our global learning events, or you can join us in using the Natural Foresight Framework, which is now open source as part of our free access.

Frank: There’s so much. Of course, if you want to learn more, just go to and you’ll see everything there. We’ve barely scratched the surface on what we told you here. I’m super excited about this year of podcast. We’ll circle back and do some of our old collection, but this new when is super exciting, how to make foresight work, the problems that we faced, and how we turned them on opportunities, and how they can be learnings and opportunities for you.

Yvette: I hope you’ve enjoyed it. We’ll catch you next time. Take care, be safe, and we’ll see you soon.

Frank: Bye-bye, everyone.

[00:31:18] [END OF AUDIO]

Frank Spencer: We are in our last week of Frankenstein’s Laboratory. I wanted to ask you since we’re right at Halloween now what your favorite horror film is or scary movie.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: You know that I’m not a big movie buff.

Frank: We’ve joked about this before that I guess one of your scary movies could be technically Men in Black. You’re a big Men in Black fan.

Yvette: I like Men in Black.

Frank: It’s Halloween-y like it’s aliens.

Yvette: Yes. Well, and Jurassic Park is scary too.

Frank: It’s scary too, but neither one of them are really Halloween-y.

Yvette: Yes, I know. I’m going to surprise you with this one. I love the movie Poltergeist.

Frank: Poltergeist, a very famous 1980s horror movie that I love, this one of the “Carol Anne”.

Yvette: Yes, I know. It’s scary.

Frank: “Carol Anne”.

Yvette: It’s scary.

Frank: “Don’t go into the light, Carol Anne.” Yes, that’s a good one.

Yvette: I watched it. It doesn’t go on TV anymore, I don’t know why, but if it was ever on TV– Then, of course, you heard all of the horrible things that happened to all the actors on there.

Frank: In Poltergeist II and III and Carol Anne, the little girl, of course, she passed away.

Yvette: Something happened to the dad. I mean, it was just like this thing–

Frank: They all stick around because remember he was coach and all this.

Yvette: No, totally.

Frank: Like all the grips and handlers on the movie died and there’s supposed to be curses. The Poltergeist is cursed if you want to look it up.

Yvette: Again, one of those movies that they should have just stopped after the first one, but we get greedy, we get a little greedy.

Frank: The first one is classic.

Yvette: So good.

Frank: The second one is like what’s going on, he swallows a worm.

Yvette: No, that scene in the pool because the house is under construction-

Frank: They haven’t finished the pool yet.

Yvette: Yes, and then all of the skulls come up, I’m like, “OMG.”

Frank: She is like, “Oh, no.” That’s when he finally says, “You didn’t move the bodies, you only moved the headstones.”

Yvette: I should make Sophia watch that movie so maybe she won’t be so involved with her screen time, maybe she’ll–

Frank: That’s the end of ever wanting to see the screen again. I have an interesting segue there. When my second son was young, I can’t remember how young, but let’s say seven. Pretty young, right?

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: We thought as parents it was a good idea to show him the original, not the Jeff Goldblum but the very original, original Fly, The Fly. The Jeff Goldblum movie, you don’t show that to kids. Where The Fly, he turns into the fly, it’s disgusting. The original Fly, he keeps a glove on his hand and a bag over his head and the lady finally goes, “What happened?” She rips it off and he has a fly as head and a fly hand. My son was fine up until then, and when she rips it off, he lost it. We’re sitting on the couch, he fell over crying. He’s screaming for about two months after, he had night terrors.

Yvette: That’s nice.

Frank: We’re wonderful parents [crosstalk]

Yvette: That’s what I was going to say. You’re paying for therapy for him now or–?

Frank: It’s free. [laughs]

Yvette: There you go. Well, hello everyone and welcome to the Wicked Opportunities Podcast where we torture our children.

Frank: My name is the Fly and you are Carol Anne.


Frank: If you’ve ever seen this movie. My name is Frank Spencer.

Yvette: I’m Montero Salvatico and as Frank mentioned, we are in the final week of our Frankenstein’s Laboratory Wicked Problem. We’re using natural foresight to work our way to our wicked opportunity, which is democratized discovery. Hopefully, you’ve tagged along with us the last few weeks and you’re ready for our final installment of this month’s wicked opportunity. It’s part of our monster series and of course, in week four we move into the create phase. This is where we use design fiction or prototyping.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Where we imagine a product, a service and an experience that we could pull from our wicked opportunity future.

Frank: That’s right. Of course, this is in direct relation to our specular futures class, futures by design that we host in conjunction with the Design Futures Initiative, DFI. I love this week because we get to do speculative design and design fiction, design futures.

Yvette: Yes, so just as a reminder, Frankenstein’s Lab is our wicked problem and here we’re talking about obviously a reference to the infamous laboratory of the lone genius, Victor Frankenstein. A place where ancient alchemy and fringe experiments were practiced away from the public eye without consideration for widespread ethical ramifications or societal education.

We’ve talked about how that idea of Frankenstein’s laboratory and the lone genius has continued to appear into modern-day and it’s definitely one of these dystopian tropes. That if we’re not careful continues to become a reality, whether it’s billionaires and their space race, or even well-intended folks trying to reframe citizen science but missing out on the inclusion component. We’ve talked about a lot of those things over the last few weeks. Hopefully, you’ve tuned in.

Frank: Yes, you’ve done a great job this month of pointing out just that lone genius theory. Which, by the way, if anybody’s ever taken leadership theory classes before and in foresight, by the way, you do take leadership theory classes. Because it’s a big deal how leaders think and leading us to the future. I remember in my master’s degree, some time back there was one whole course on leadership design and leadership development, and one of the theories in leadership is called the Big Man Theory. This goes way back and it’s the idea that there’s– Just that name, the Big Man-

Yvette: I was going to say thank you patriarchy, it’s just so systematic.

Frank: Yes, because there’s other ones like the followership theory and-

Yvette: Servant leadership.

Frank: -servant leadership, very good.

Yvette: Thank you. I don’t have my master’s degree in foresight but I have an MBA. I have a master’s degree in Frank Spencer.

Frank: You always say that, it’s hilarious. You are one of the leading futures in the world according to Forbes Magazine, and which is true actually. We’re just laughing because we like to laugh about that.

Yvette: We like lists of names because people get really excited by them. They get really excited.

Frank: That is one of the top 50 women futures, and not women futures, one of the top 50 futures, one of the top 10 futures in the world. If you don’t know it you don’t know it. The big man theory, it’s that there’s one leader, there’s a Steve Jobs that creates all the stuff and it’s always, always, always dangerous. It’s dangerous beyond unbelief. It’s not just the patriarchy, it’s colonialism. It’s not just colonialism, it’s just governance by top-down command and control. It’s seen as day, it’s dead, it still lives on. It’s like a corpse walking around, dead man walking.

Yvette: It’s so crazy, and doing the research for this month’s podcast, it’s been really interesting because we all have a walking around knowledge of this lone genius theory, but when you hear it presented as, “Hey, you know that poster that you have in your dorm room of whoever it is, Malcolm X or Einstein or what have you, that’s a manifestation of this infatuation with the lone genius.”

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: We continue to see it in pop culture and we continue to see it cultivated. Obviously, we’ve also talked about the mad scientist or the Frankenstein’s Laboratory in terms of the current crisis with the pandemic because there’s a lot of things to relate to, as it relates to that laboratory idea and that scientific advancement and how we’ve approached and accepted as a society the vaccine and the information from experts. We could have spent a whole another month just on this topic because it’s so rich and so deep. I’ve had a lot of fun.

Frank: And relevant. Yes.

Yvette: No, yes, I’ve had so much fun exploring this one in particular, so I’m excited to get to week five. Just as a reminder, in week five, week four, I just want it to be a fifth week.

Frank: You really do want this to go on and on.

Yvette: It’s a bonus week.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: In week four when we prototype the future, we’ve now made it to the wicked opportunity. We’ve made it to-

Frank: All the ways.

Yvette: -all the way, so we start in week one, really focusing on learning, unlearning and relearning the wicked problem. Now, we really want to turn our attention to that wicked opportunity. Democratized discovery, just as a reminder is a decentralized view of scientific discovery that harnesses multiple ways of knowing, that multiple ways of knowing is really important. Widely disseminates deep knowledge and unearth novel ideas through complex emergence.

Frank: Yes, you’re right. The multiple ways of knowing is critical. It’s critical to this topic, it’s critical to foresight. A little teeny bit of a detour. I got in a bit of a Twitter, not war, that’s extreme.

Yvette: Debate.

Frank: Debate, it was short-lived because I gave up-

Yvette: Is kerfuffle, no kerfuffle isn’t a word.

Frank: Kerfuffle maybe, yes, I like it, kerfuffle. A little bit of kerfuffle. It was short because I gave up quick.

Yvette: Okay, smart man.

Frank: Not because I felt like I lost, but you can’t win on Twitter.

Yvette: No, social media, in general, is not where you’re going to convince people of anything.

Frank: No, absolutely not. I saw this meme recently, it said like, “That’s a weird hill to die on, but at least you’re dead. [laughs] That’s how I felt about this particular conversation or dialogue that happened with somebody, that I have since blocked. Yes, I will block you. [laughs] I have–

Yvette: I mean, do it.

Frank: Got to block that.

Yvette: I need to know, as we reemerge, by the way, we’re preparing for our first client trip where we’re actually flying somewhere as we record this tomorrow, we fly out and I’m just thinking about this transition from virtual space to IRL.

Frank: It could be, it might be many kerfuffles.

Yvette: Yes, and the fact that you can’t block somebody when you’re in the TSA line with them, “I’m blocking you.”

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: Yes. It’s not going to work

Frank: I need that visor that just comes down, we need some technology that blocks out living people.

Yvette: You’re, kerfuffle on Twitter.

Frank: I might have mentioned that, and I did it very innocently, I thought this person for sure would be excited about this. That it is my belief, and we could do a whole month on this too, I could expound on this. That in the DNA of futures thinking is care, empathy, even love.

Yvette: Dare. I say, love.

Frank: Dare I say, love.

Yvette: Watch, we did a whole podcast on this, it’s a whole set of podcasts.

Frank: We did. What a weird heel to die on, but at least your dead, because this person just wrote me back within. It didn’t take 60 seconds for them to get a reply. Oh my God, you are so dangerous. You are so philosophically and theoretically off base. It is, foresight is just a discipline. It has nothing to do with that. It can be used for evil. Of course, love can be used for evil, love manipulates people. That doesn’t take away from the fact love [crosstalk]

Yvette: You dated a narcissist. [laughs]

Frank: Yes. Tell me about it. Anyway, my point really being is that true foresight includes multiple ways of knowing, and that is care. That is reconciliation, that is empathy. Dare I say, love. When foresight’s being used correctly, it really relates directly to love, cooperation, care, reconciliation. You can write me at Frank Post Office Box 1234, give me one. [chuckles]

Yvette: If you want to send me hate about how the fact that I think foresight should be about love, please.

Frank: I know. Ain’t it crazy? That multiple ways of knowing is key, because again, the person’s right. Foresight could be used for what and has been used for whatever, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the key DNA of the field, there should be multiple ways of knowing.

This relates to our month’s topic too, because as you just said, I think it’s one of the key things that we talked about this month. Is multiple ways of knowing because it gets rid of that lone genius, but it does much more than that. It spreads knowledge. It gets us out of fake news. It gets us away from these, actually the idea that the person was running to me on Twitter is that all ways of thinking about the world into new ways of seeing the world, because I guarantee there’s a lot of cultures around the world that would have no problem with me saying futures, thinking and love should be directly related to one another, but this person was very industrial–

Yvette: What’s interesting is like you can disagree with whoever, that’s fine, but it’s really interesting when your reaction is that sort of vehement, quick, sort of [crosstalk]

Frank: You’re a dangerous person is what I was told.

Yvette: Knee jerk. That says more about the author of that comment that it does, who they’re saying that to, which is always really interesting to me.

Frank: It does, and I think, too, it relates to this topic this month and we’ll get to our design fiction here in just a second, but it does in that there’s a lot of people that are saying, but we still need these lone geniuses and look what they did and look at the Alibaba and look at the, and they try to keep you stuck in this way of thinking and multiple ways of knowing will release you from that. As a matter of fact, not only releases you, it forces you out of it, because the rest of the world doesn’t see things the way you do.

Yvette: By the way, none of those lone geniuses were actually lone.

Frank: Exactly.

Yvette: That’s the narrative. It goes back to that this collection is all about, is reframing narratives, narratives that do no longer serve us, so we have to reframe them and come up with new narratives, and yes, so I’m all in. I’m sorry about your Twitter kerfuffle.

Frank: No, no, no, but it was a good point about multiple ways of knowing it. I think it’s interesting to see people get– You make a good point. It’s like, I think this person was more afraid of something they couldn’t understand than they were really of what I was saying.

Yvette: That’s a response that comes out of fear, which is really interesting. When you’re fearful of someone–

Frank: It’s like, “What are you talking about?”

Yvette: Yes. It’s like when you mention spirituality with people and they lose their over it too.

Frank: Yes, they lose it.

Yvette: That’s always interesting, but anyhow, all right, so product, service, and experience.

Frank: Yes, so we always like to start with product and of course, you heard of it, tell you again about Frankenstein’s lab and then about democratized discovery and a decentralized view of scientific discovery. Before we were getting started, I was saying like, what if education changed and what if we had a discovery-based curriculum? Of course, a project-based learning, but you said yes, but the product should be and what is it that you come up with?

Yvette: Well, yes, I mean we chatted for a little bit. It was like I know that, for example, Montessori education is very discovery-based, but I thought about as well this idea that child children should learn from children, and children should be the teachers, and of course there’s been so much success with Khan Academy. We’re brainstorming what would be the next evolution of a Khan Academy in a world of democratized discovery. I thought, what if you had a Khan Academy, but it’s like the TikTok version, and instead of teachers doing the teaching, it’s other youth. It is a youth-controlled platform, small snippets of learning delivered to other youth that really prompt discovery and engage in that sort of experience.

Frank: I love the idea of democratized discovery influencers, and we actually even wrote the phrase down TikTok micro peer learning.

Yvette: I’m going to trademark that real quick.

Frank: TikTok micro peer learning. Micro in the sense that you’re getting learning in these short blasts. TikToks are like 30 seconds, or sometimes less, up to a minute maybe.

Yvette: I saw what part of what prompted me to think of this was that there’s already some great educational elements going on on TikTok. Again, a lot of them are adult driven, but I saw–

Frank: Which is powerful because the seeds are there.

Yvette: Yes, no, for sure. I saw a young woman. I think– I want to say she was maybe high school, maybe college, like I don’t know, young woman and she did a whole series for African-American History Month, Black History Month. I mean costumes and like just so well-curated that I know that she was teaching a lot of folks and the views were through the roof, it went viral.

The seeds are there, I think the interesting thing would be to have it to be peer-based as you mentioned, and I think that’s how you reinvigorate and how you reinstall a passion around discovery back into our scientific learning, which is what we’re trying to do here. If we roll it all the way back, it’s like how do we get the seeds? How do we get people curious again? How do we begin at a young age to inspire youth and not drill it out of them?

Frank: Yes. Well, remember last week, and I think you were the one that we’re saying that science needs a hype man, and that’s where these influencers are. They’re hype people, right?

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: Why is the only thing that gets people excited on a thing like a platform like this, makeup, there’s nothing wrong with makeup, but why is it just makeup or dancing or whatever, which are all fun. They’re great.

Yvette: No, and it’s death definitely like a combination of things, as we know, going up and down the CLA module or model, you know that there’s going to be systemic influences that push against it, and we definitely have a pop culture-driven image of what people should look like and feel. Again, I think if children are really owning these spaces more and more, you see that with activism, and so I don’t think it’s a huge leap to have them inform and fuel this learning.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: I think it would just be such a great feedback loop.

Frank: I love the fact that our wicked opportunity is called democratize discovery, because we have to normalize this. Why is the world the way it is? We have made education– we’ve siloed it so much in this stale ivory tower, that people are like, “Eh, I don’t want, I want to do something fun. I want to do something exciting.” We’ve made it unexciting.

Yvette: Yes. My kid goes to a great, great school. It’s an amazing school. We’re so blessed to have the opportunity and it’s still difficult to get her there, because it cannot compete with the excitement of her electronics and her technology and her gaming.

Frank: The stimulation and the cognitive, the neural–

Yvette: And hanging out with her friends, and so I get it. I understand why we have adult instructors, I totally get that. I also think we really need to blow up this idea of individualized grading and evaluation

Frank: Because that would be a big part of it, right?

Yvette: Huge, huge.

Frank: This is this idea of more of a trust-based and open-sourced platform. As you said, to blow up that idea of it being graded and datafied, but it needs to be just this more open learning experience, and why can’t we have kids actually being trained by entrepreneurs and why aren’t they making discoveries? Why can you only make a discovery once you’re in your 30s in a laboratory like Frankenstein? Why is that the place that happens?

Yvette: Right. Again, there’s great examples, Jack Andraka who made that huge discovery as a high-schooler and there are examples of this. One of the things that holds that back is what we’re going to talk about with our service idea. One of the things that held Jack Andraka, who by the way had the opportunity and actually conducted experiments to discover an early test for pancreatic cancer and there’s-

Frank: It’s been a while now.

Yvette: -great videos. If you look up at Jack Andraka and Intel and you’ll see his story, but one of the things that he was challenged by was that getting access to research and information about what had been tried and done before was all behind paywalls. We’ve talked about this throughout the course of this month, and so for the service idea, we thought of–

Frank: Yes, so this is obviously, and that was already hinting that, that open-source piece, that’s where I was leading this into the service piece, but this idea of IP or open data platforms, open IP open source, and also I think that includes an addressing of a recognition of all the parties that are involved, right? Because that closed source is for journals and all only recognizes certain individuals. It’s not only closed, but it’s closed in that who gets the recognition and who’s involved.

Yvette: Yes, I mean I think we talked about this early on this month about how the Nobel Prize can only be awarded to most three people I think it is.

Frank: Even though there might have been 16 people involved in that, but they had to pick the three that are really–

Yvette: Understanding that that’s also an issue, a systemic issue that’s creating more and more of this lone genius mentality. We thought this service would not only allow for more open access to information, but would use blockchain technology to clearly identify who had developed what aspect of a discovery. If you truly went to a crowd-based system, you would still be able to track who– maybe it’s some person in the middle of the Midwest that came up with that great idea that ended up spawning the cure for cancer. Technologies already existing. They’re just not being applied in this regard.

Frank: That goes back to what you said earlier. It’s like they don’t want to be applied. The system stymies it, but those technologies, that has been– We could go off on a tangent now, right? This is many of our podcasts it came before. The technologies that exist are open source technologies, so many of our technologies are screaming open source, and our systems create screen closed and we need to find out how we go forward with that IP.

I was thinking of a great example when you were talking that I was listening to a podcast this past week about the James Webb Telescope that they’re getting ready to launch in December was supposed to have already been launched but coming up soon, and this is going to replace the Hubble. Well, they’ll actually still use the Hubble and others, but the James Webb has a hundred times better field of view, infrared. We’re going to make discoveries.

As a matter of fact, the person I was listening to from NASA said, “Only a short period of time after we start looking through the Webb telescope, we’re going to have to rewrite our textbooks. One of the main things that we’re saying is immediately they’re going to download all of the data for open source, so that kids and high schools and everything can just look at the data that the Webb telescope is gathering.

I wonder how much of that will be understandable or open source in the sense that kids could really lay their hands on it, but this is what they’re claiming at least, and that’s the kinds of things that needs to happen, is that those technologies need to be more open source so people can get their hands on them so that we don’t have this rejection of science, because that’s a lot of the reason that happens is a rejection of science.

This even makes me think that what Victor Frankenstein did wasn’t completely wrong. It was interesting what he was trying to achieve in some ways. He just went about it completely the wrong way, and nobody knew what he was doing and he didn’t let anybody else in on it to check him and have ethics along the way and so he just did it, like the cowboy mentality you were talking about. There was science involved in what he did. It wasn’t just a madman. There was science involved, at least in the fable and the fiction and the story, but doing it by himself, he got himself in a lot of hot water, and it wasn’t open source. There was no IP open to the rest of the public. [chuckles]

Yvette: We get that you can’t flip a switch and make things open source. There’s economic models that play here and that’s what needs to be addressed, those underlying economic models that make it a scarcity perspective, the one that is rewarded, but it’s a critical part of this equation to create those open-source platforms to allow information, because it’s the information that’s going to lead to the new discoveries obviously.

Frank: That’s right, and I just wanted to add before we went on to our experience, that I had this idea that, and we hit on this at least in a couple of places in the past three weeks during this month that the original creators of something aren’t usually given credit for it, and so now there are all of these things that “lone geniuses”, I’m doing the air quotes, the audience can’t see, get the credit for, that it turns out had already been discovered centuries before, but our textbooks don’t mention that other ways of knowing.

It’s like, “Oh, the Mayans discovered that, but you said it just happened this past year.” We’ve done that for a long time. A great example of this is vaccinations. They’ve been around for centuries. As a matter of fact, I think we talked about this story briefly of Onesimus, the slave who actually said, “Hey, look, smallpox, in Africa we used to give everybody a little bit of smallpox and they got better.” They’re like, “What are you talking about?” and then did he get credit for bringing vaccinations to the new world? No, not at all. Of course, it was a white guy who took the idea and ran with it and said, “Oh, [crosstalk]

Yvette: And usurped the credit.

Frank: And usurped the credit. What if we actually went back in the history books and said, “Let’s fix this.” Where in the past has this been, because that would go a long way in opening multiple ways of knowing and the IP to other cultures as well, right?

Yvette: Right, so it’s not just about having access to new data, it’s about really being honest about the historical information and data-

Frank: Historical record.

Yvette: Yes, the historical record, and opening to the sense that we’re opening it up to, as you mentioned, other ways of knowing and the diverse, inclusive perspectives that we’re seeking when we’re really trying to create democratized discovery, it needs to include everyone. We’ve talked about this repeatedly in the podcast and certainly this month when we’re talking about having people be included in this process. We’re talking about those that are traditionally excluded, and so I love this idea of going back in the past and writing those wrongs and ensuring that people understand where these ideas came from.

Frank: Yes, and then last but not least, our experience. This reminds me of a interview that I did some time back with Zan Chandler. Gosh, I’m sorry, I’m so bad about this, but I don’t remember who else was on there, but I was going to say Craig Mallak was the one that was on this particular interview. You can go look it up. It’s on our YouTube channel or Vimeo or surely on our website. Craig talked about in his job and in his work, they created play spaces around apartment buildings or in downtown areas that were only supposed to be there for a period of time, like 30 days.

Yvette: Pop-Up Playspaces.

Frank: Pop-Up Playspaces. They became very popular very quickly, not just for the adults to take their kids there, but as a meeting place in the neighborhood for people to meet up in the mornings and have coffee and start to get to know each other, whereas before they weren’t talking to each other at all. The one, in particular, he talked about I think might have been in Toronto, if that’s the wrong city, correct me, Craig, if you’re listening to this at some point, but the residents of the neighborhood said, “Don’t take the play space away and they left it, it became permanent because it became a place for the neighborhood to get out and discover where they were locked away before.

They had no place to discover in urban environments, and I love this idea of for the experience of open play spaces are almost gamifying discovery. Bringing people out of the environments that they’re in, out of those closed spaces, out of apartment buildings, out of our neighborhoods and back into nature again. Getting rid of nature deficit syndrome, and so making these open play areas for people to discover again.

Yvette: I think that can definitely be something that’s put into the infrastructure. I think the other thing that could be interesting here from an experience perspective is adding that gaming layer to everything. We have our trend card-

Frank: It’s interesting.

Yvette: -it’s called Entertainment Everything. Again through the course of this month, week four usually is where we bring everything together, and we tie all those loose ends and tie a pretty bow on the month. You could see a lot of those themes and ideas are coming to fruition. We talked about those gamers using games to identify and to provide scientific advancement. This is not new. Fold It was one of the early examples of this. We talked about that, and more recent examples where they’re trying to map the gut biome. What if everything was a game, and through those games and the open source elements you were able to contribute to scientific advancement and discovery.

Frank: This is not a new idea, right? Entertainment gamification play in introducing play into things and a lot of designers will tell you all about it. They’ve been standing it for a long time. How little have we really done with this? How do we link science to play, to create a world of democratized discovery where everybody is involved?

I think it’s probably one of the keys because– and we actually already said it in the previous part where we said Sophia, your daughter, she is super smart, super brilliant, straight-A student, not a big fan of school. I can relate. I wasn’t either. I think a part of it is just boredom in some ways. Also competing with that or the games and all of these environments, how do we make school play? How do we make learning and science play?

Yvette: I think a lot of folks in our field know of the work of Jane McGonigal from IFTF who’s talked a lot about the benefits of gaming and gamification. Again, this is something that’s been studied. We’re not talking about just adding a trophy or a leaderboard to your Slack channels. We’re talking about something much more integrated and embedded. Again, alongside the other things that we’ve talked about, this is how you can get away from the lone genius, from the individual recognition, and really open up scientific discovery and advancement for everyone.

Frank: Inclusive play too, because everybody should be allowed to play. This goes back to a part of our theme is that even if we’re just using this as a saying or as a metaphor, everybody has not been allowed to play. Everybody’s not been invited to the game. We’re actually talking about a real play layer here, but in that, we also have to invite everybody to play.

That was part of Victor Frankenstein’s problem is he didn’t want anybody playing in his laboratory because he was afraid of what they would say about what he was trying to do. They probably would’ve said no. That’s a lot of time I think why you get the lone genius to think too, is people is like, “But here’s a million reasons why you can’t do it.” Somebody runs off and says, “Well, I’ll do it by myself.”

We obviously this month have hit on, and I think that’s a great place for us to end it, is a deep systemic problem that there are people who are saying, “But what if?” and most people say, “But what if not?” That makes the lone genius runoff and say, “Well, what if by myself?” We’ve got to do more than just open up the space. We’ve got to get rid of the systems that stop telling us or the systems that are telling us you can’t do it, or it can’t be done, or it can’t be discover, we’ll never get there, we’ll never go to the moon, man will never talk over a wire. We’ve got to get rid of those systems. That will stop the lone genius from running it off by themselves, I think.

Yvette: I also think there’s a huge fear component here. People, again, fear of the unknown, this is a constant theme of this collection. Fear of uncertainty, fear of the unknown, fear of change.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Again, we need folks to have agency in creating more prosperous futures. We could do that by instilling futures thinking and critical thinking in each of them so that they can make sense of what is happening and why or why not, and maybe a good idea or a bad idea, as opposed to just discounting it because it’s different.

Frank: I could not stress enough that we have to get a transformation mentality. The reason we have to get a transformation mentality is because that’s the way the world works. I had somebody tell me one time, they said, just because things you could change doesn’t mean they should change. Actually, what that person should have told me is things are always going to change. What am I going to do about it?

Yvette: Yes, exactly.

Frank: Just because you think things can stay the same mean doesn’t mean that they can or will, because transformation is a normal part of life. We have desperately tried to get rid of the transformation aspect. We love the adaptive and resilient part. We not too crazy about the transformation part because it rocks our boat. This past year and a half has taught us that transformation is not only inevitable, but we better get used to it or it will take us by storm.

Yvette: Yes. That’s the key. If you don’t like to be disrupted, then maybe be the one that disrupts

Frank: That’s right, because it’s a natural part of life.

Yvette: That’s right.

Frank: Well, this has been an awesome month.

Yvette: It has.

Frank: I think we left it on a place where these guys who are listening to podcasts have even more wicked problems to solve and create greater wicked opportunities.

Yvette: We love it.

Frank: It’s a whole systemic thing now that we’ve opened the Pandora’s Box too. I hope that in your course of listening that you’ve thought of even greater opportunities, ones that we thought of.

Yvette: Yes. We’re going to pick up the monsters collection again at the beginning of 2022.

Frank: That’s right. It’s holiday time now.

Yvette: Yes, we’re going to take a couple months off to, I don’t know, deal with whole new courses that we’re re-launching and new partnerships that we’re diving into.

Frank: Or just a few things.

Yvette: Just a couple of things.

Frank: It might be some exciting things.

Yvette: In the meantime, as you’re listening to these episodes and old ones, feel free to give us a rating and a review, that’ll help promote the podcast and help us further our mission to democratize the future and democratize the field of foresight. As always, we’d love to see you at future space where we have some big announcements coming in January as well.

Check us out in our upcoming courses as well. If you have any questions about any of that, just head on over to You could send us a message with any questions that you have. Until next time, Mr. Spencer, I can’t wait to hop on that plane tomorrow and get back on that bicycle and see how rusty we are at traveling and facilitating in-person meeting.

Frank: We’re going to give it our best shot.

Yvette: It’s going to be fun.

Frank: We need to do it because I think the new year holds probably more travel for us. This is a great month to end “this first half of the monsters collection month”.

Yvette: Yes. Pause our monster collection.

Frank: Again, as Yvette said, see you in January. Love all of you. Take care. We’ll see you then.

Yvette: All right. Bye-bye, everyone. Stay safe.

[00:37:38] [END OF AUDIO]

Frank: Is it going already?

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: We’re starting now. I wanted to tell you just a brief story. I feel like I might have mentioned this before, but I’m going to make this super brief. When I was a kid, there was this late-night, Saturday night, or Friday night. I can’t remember, but I was really little, and they use this like reverse imaging on TV. Now, remember this is the ’70s and the guy came on and he showed B movies that were creature from the Black Lagoon and Dracula like with [unintelligible 00:00:36] but he was a host and his name was Robin Graves. Get it Robin Graves.

Yvette: Oh, get it. Got it.

Frank: It was like, “Good evening, nine Robin Graves,” and it was supposed to be funny, but as a little kid it was scary. He actually was a used car salesman in our city, so it turns out because I’ve looked him up. There’s like one webpage left on the internet. They’re like, “Hey Savannah Georgia, Robin Graves if you remember him.” His real name was Robin something or another and he was a used car salesman.

On the weekends. He was hired by the TV station to do this terrible late night. Because ’70s TV and today’s TV, they’re two different things. It’s like, you know what I’m talking about. If you are a little bit older as one of our listeners, you know that television in the ’60s, ’70s, even ’80s maybe is not even the same thing as television today and kids would not understand, they would not get it.

Yvette: Shouldn’t even be called the same thing.

Frank: It’s not the same thing.

Yvette: Obviously, I’ve known there’s a difference, but it’s like when you see it through your kids’ eyes is when you really notice the differences. Because it’s like the frog and the proverbial boiling pot [unintelligible 00:01:43]

Frank: It is because for us, we’re still watching TV. We’re like, now there’s 4,000 channels, but it’s not just that there’s more channels.

Yvette: I was struck by the difference really when my second child who’s now 14 was really young and she was watching YouTube, or she had been watching YouTube and then she was watching [unintelligible 00:02:07] TV and she’s like, “Mom, I don’t get it. Just, I don’t get the Skip Ad.” I’m like, what are you talking about? She literally called advertisement, Skip Ad.

Frank: Because on YouTube, it says.

Yvette: That’s what you click on.

Frank: Skip Ad.

Yvette: She’s like, I click on that and it makes it go away.

Frank: Which I wish it could be. One of my family members used to say all the time, back in the ’70s, because the commercials would show, an hour would go by or even less than that and you’d see the same commercial again. They thought as a kid, if you bought the product, the commercial would stop.

Yvette: It’s like the opposite. The more you buy it.

Frank: I heard you this week also arguing about since it’s our monsters collection, we on this Frankenstein week and we’re in the month of October, you were arguing about favorite Halloween [unintelligible 00:02:54]

Yvette: Oh, you’re going to pivot. That’s quite a pivot.

Frank: I had to get the Robin Grave thing off my chest.

Yvette: Okay. All right. [unintelligible 00:03:00] There must be some story there. Some Facebook friend request from Robin Graves that we’re not going to know.

Frank: That would be hilarious if it was. Hi Frank, this is Robin Graves, I have three friends on Facebook.

Yvette: You might remember me–

Frank: I was a used car salesman.

Yvette: No, I just, I know–

Frank: Now 100 years old.

Yvette: I know we don’t like to talk about divisive topics here on the podcast. We like to keep things friendly, but I just need to know, are you team Candy corn or not?

Frank: That’s a hard one because my sister would definitely be team Candy corn and Candy corn is cool, but it’s actually disgusting, I think. It’s like, if you eat one, you’ve had more than one that you should have.

Yvette: I think people like Candy corn like it in large part because it signals, it fall and Halloween and the holidays.

Frank: It’s got the multilayered colors of fall in it.

Yvette: Very much like the Peeps signify Easter and spring. Remember we had that partner in South Africa that had really always had wanted a Peep and it was not Easter time, but she thought we had them all the time.

Frank: She was like, “Can you bring me an American Peep.”

Yvette: I ended up shipping her Peeps the next time there was Peeps.

Frank: They usually come in yellow, but you can get them now in purple.

Yvette: It took so long for it to go through customs that the Peeps were fairly recognizable.

Frank: Yes, because–

Yvette: They were hard.

Frank: If you don’t get the Peeps part, if you’re listening, they’re shaped like little tiny chicklets. Is that a word? That’s a chewing gum.

Yvette: They’re marshmallow but they’re chick-shaped.

Frank: Chick, chicklets. I like chicklet.

Yvette: This is quality programming care on podcast.

Frank: It is. Candy corn is like a Peep. Here’s the thing, if you go to the house, if you’re trick or treating and they have Reese’s cups, I mean you scored.

Yvette: No. If they have anything but toothbrushes, I feel like–

Frank: Okay, not anything. I’m like you know, Snickers. Okay, not terrible but if you get the butterfingers out the Reese’s cups–

Yvette: It’s tough because we’re in Florida and stuff melts within 15 seconds.

Frank: That’s true.

Yvette: It’s hard and you’re getting bit by mosquitoes. I’m sorry, I am anti-trick treating right now. Like I’m itching already thinking about it.

Frank: That’s sad.

Yvette: I want to live somewhere where it’s nice and cool and have to bundle up. There’s no mosquitoes and they give like–

Frank: Reese’s peanut butter cuts.

Yvette: [unintelligible 00:05:41] because my solution for this is, why don’t I just buy the Candy for my kid? She can go room to room in the house and I can just hand it to her. It feels like it’s way more efficient. I know the Candy is safe.

Frank: Get the best Candy either. You have sweet tars.

Yvette: I know it’s safe or air-conditioned. I know I get it probably is not.

Frank: I’m wondering for our listeners what Candy you give out because I know that in some ways, at least in the past Halloween was largely an American thing, but now it’s spread a lot and I’ve heard that people in Korea and Japan are really into Halloween now. I wonder what–?

Yvette: People really creative with the pandemic on how to give out Candy.

Frank: That’s true, you’ve got little. You stand up at your house and you like have a little rope line.

Yvette: They set it up in their yard. They’re on little stakes and little wooden dowels.

Frank: That also reminds me that when we were kids, the oldest lady in the neighborhood would set out a bucket on her stoop [inaudible 00:06:40] and she was not going to come to the door. You ring the door trick or treat, but it there’s a sign on, it says take two pieces or whatever. Of course, you take the entire bowl and put it in.

Yvette: Now with the ring doorbell, you better watch out grandma’s coming after you.

Frank: You are being recorded, and so what do you do? It’s like you put all these stakes out in the ground, some guy comes up and takes 15 of them. I just wonder what delicious Candy I might get in Korea or Japan? Hey, let me know, and welcome to another edition of the Wicked Opportunities Podcast. My name is Candy corn.

Yvette: Frankenstein Spencer.

Frank: That’s right, Frankenstein Spencer.

Yvette: My name’s Yvette Montero Salvatico. Welcome to our continuing trip down the wicked problem of Frankenstein’s laboratory. This is obviously the infamous laboratory of the lone genius, Victor Frankenstein, a place where ancient alchemy and fringe experiments were practiced away from the public eye without consideration for widespread ethical ramifications or societal education.

Of course, we’re reframing this wicked problem as the wicked opportunity of democratized discovery. This is a decentralized view of scientific discovery that harnesses multiple ways of knowing widely disseminates, deep knowledge, and unearths novel ideas through complex emergence.

Frank: Yes and of course, as usual, we every month follow the natural foresight framework of discover, explore, map, and create. Here we are on week three, the map week and we’re actually going to use this approach of art, adaptive, resilient, and transformative. Actually, if you want to go in the right order, it’s resilient, adaptive, and transformative. As you’ve heard, we’re not too crazy about rat as an acronym.

Yvette: We’ve accepted it.

Frank: We’re embracing it now, especially for our monsters collection, the rats.

Yvette: We have our little rat. When we talk about a resilient response, we’re thinking about the challenge in our current environment and what values and aspects of our society will, we need to lean in to or lean on in order to maintain this baseline or official future as it relates to our issue. What strategies will allow us to maximize our present success? Sort of tow the line, keep the lights on is our resilient response. We’re going to go through some of the resilient responses to the Wicked Problems/Wicked Opportunity.

Then we’re going to talk about adaptive, so when we talk about an adaptive response, if you want to repeat this too, you’re going to think about what problems or disruptions are apparent in our current environment. How can these be leveraged for our future success regarding this issue? What new maybe platforms or possibilities or partners can ensure that we avoid a breakdown as it relates to our issue. Then of course the transformative response, what is the core element of today that can be leveraged for ongoing success in the emerging environment? What new narrative must be imagined to allow society to achieve a breakthrough transformational outcome in regards to this issue? Those three prompters you can reuse

and use again and again to come up with this simultaneous multiples perspective that we need to be successful in a complex environment. We can no longer just map a single brittle future.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: We have to think as simultaneous multiples and using an adaptive, resilient and transformative framework can help us think about those simultaneous multiples. Resilient keep the lights on adaptive. What can go wrong next and transformative if all obstacles were removed and I could direct what he is done, what would I do?

Ask yourself those three questions the next time you’re at a decision point and you can build mini-scenarios as well. We’re thinking about the wicked problem of Frankenstein’s laboratory, and we’re trying to obviously map our way potentially to the wicked opportunity of democratized discovery. Let’s start with our resilient response.

Frank: Yes. I know I said on one of the previous podcasts that may have even been last week, but we do a lot of stuff. It’s hard to remember where you did something and when you did it, but I was mentioning that our friend Nora Bateson. She’s not alone in this would not sound unfamiliar to our listeners to say that she talks about and others have said that words, they hold so much meaning and definition [crosstalk] and power.

That’s like when I say a word to you already have this preset way of thinking and all of these mechanisms in your mind fire about what it is. If I really meant it a different way, the word is insufficient itself to really make you think differently. If I say to you, let’s do science differently. You’re done because the word science in your mind is already firing all these images of what a scientist is and how science is done and stuff.

You didn’t even hear the word differently. You’re just like science. What do you mean? You get stuck in these ruts. I love that you’ll remember on the podcast that we already talked about citizen science and I forget what the other phrase was, but collective science and–

Yvette: Community science.

Frank: Community science. Thank you. Then we’ve reframed this as democratized discovery, the word science isn’t even in there because we had this phrase that we were like, “Let’s be super controversial,” and so we wrote this phrase in our notes and our show notes. let’s don’t do science anymore. When you hear that, you think, oh my gosh, Franken and Yvette have–

Yvette: I’ve lost it. They’re anti-Vaxers now

Frank: Over the apple cart.

Yvette: You obviously aren’t full following us on social media if you think we’re anti-Vaxers.

Frank: If you think there’s a [inaudible 00:12:51] science and you don’t know too much about what’s going.

Yvette: I can totally see it. Don’t do science anymore, it’s similar to when I’ve given talks and I’ve said it’s not about stem. How do you stop the stem crisis? You stopped thinking about it in terms of stem.

Frank: I’ve been in one of those talks and the air gets sucked out of the room [laughs] because that’s how we get kids involved in and you are like, “Stop the stem thing because it just reiterates old sure.” We need to continue to study math and technology.

Yvette: Yes because you already see it with people saying, well now put arts in there. It’s steam and pretty soon it’s going to be the longest it’s steamers acronym ever.

Frank: [inaudible 00:13:30]

Yvette: Yes, exactly. What we’re really trying to say is stop trying to simplify and bucket things and name things based on how they were named before and I get where Nora’s coming from. I find it difficult to communicate without using some type of grounding.

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: Words have meaning, words have power and we need to at least be cognizant of that when we’re going into and trying to reframe a problem. From a resilient response, I think I need your reaction would just be let’s stop science. If we’re having issues with the loan genius and this laboratory of unethical behavior and things happening behind closed doors and millionaires and billionaires going to space. Let’s just nip that in the but as if that were possible. Right?

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: I think conceptually, what if we stopped doing science the way we do science today?

Frank: Right. Stop doing it the way we did it today. A more resilient response here is transparent processes that create ethical decisions. That transparency for ethical decisions and being able to get out of. I love this phrase, insightful community of science or incestuous community of science and more open source. This could even practically manifest as open-source journals. Right?

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: We’ve seen a call for all of that because we always make a metaphor for both resilience, adaptive, and transform, all three. Our metaphor for this resilient response is fumigating the ivory tower. I almost imagine, I love this one because I can imagine it’s like Frankenstein and the get out, we got to do some cleaning in here, fumigate this place and, of course, the ivory tower is a place where all of the scientists sit up and they’re separate from everybody else. The word science itself denotes immediately people with white coats on and laboratories and nobody knows what they’re doing and that’s what this entire thing has been about. We’re got to fumigate the ivory tower.

Yvette: Yes. That includes things like safeguarding and like you said, more transparent processes. I think we talked in the earlier weeks about recognition and recognition being systematically today for science being very much acknowledging and perpetuating cowboy science. Again, that loan genius. Part of fumigating the ivory tower, I think is really looking at those recognition platforms and systems and saying are they incentivizing the type of behavior that we really want or that even really exists because we already know that today. Science is a collective collabo experience, but our systems don’t reflect

Frank: That they don’t reflect that. I was reading to you in some of our scanning and client work today and your desk is near my desk.

Yvette: I’ve asked the teacher to move me several times.

Frank: Several times? I don’t doubt that at all.

Yvette: That’s actually a good one.

Frank: Behind my back.

Yvette: My back topic for a future witty banner is, my history of table moves and desk moves in my academic career.

Frank: Has it been multiple?

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: I heard someone say the other day, not to interrupt the show here, but that people who don’t ask questions and aren’t a little rambunctious as kids grow up to be serial psychopaths or whatever. I think I got really offended because I never raised my voice. I never said my desk was in the wrong place.

Yvette: Well, you went to a military academy?

Frank: Yes. Catholic school, combination, or I have a book thrown at your face in school.

Yvette: I was a social butterfly.

Frank: Imagine that.

Yvette: Today you’re kidding folks, but you’re the one that today we get into an Uber and you cannot wait to find out all about the driver.

Frank: Years of pent up frustration [crosstalk] going to military school to be quiet that this are article that I was sharing with you, said that, eSports is really powerful because it not only opens up new territories at universities and more and more universities are giving scholarships for eSports because they’re the most powerful sports we have because unlike football and ball and basketball which if you love those it’s perfectly fine. You could talk about coaching and team sports. [crosstalk]

Yvette: Comradery and competition. Yes.

Frank: Those things exist in eSports plus the idea of new territories, new ideas, and new industries, new jobs and it’s like so inventive. This article was really saying there was even a step beyond that because the adults didn’t really know that world. The kids were inventing new ways of learning and educating themselves. They were like, what is this? This is not how you educate and learn.

They’re like it’s something you’ve never seen before. I mentioned that because it is really this resilient piece. It’s like open it up. it’s not science anymore. It’s a new way of learning. It needs a new name?

Yvette: Yes. We were joking in the pre-show that science needs a hype man and needs to be cool again because in reality whether it’s DIY or folks experimenting on their own. There is a cool factor to discovery, experiment, and curiosity and we need to break it away from its traditional context like you said from behind the firewall so.

Frank: Well, and not to linger on this point too long, but I love this science needs a hype man because everything’s got a hype man today, except seems like science. The only thing we hear is like, we’re all doing because the climate’s going get used to living in thousand-degree weather or whatever.

Yvette: I can understand why it’s difficult like we’re going to talk about narratives in transformation, but it does struggle because, at the end of the day, you don’t want to try to oversimplify the science either.

Frank: You got to get it out there. If we’ve hyped up fake news, political divide everything, and science is like, “Well, we’re going to stay away from that because we’re too pure to be on social media, way too pure.” This is the trouble you got yourself in. You’ve got yourself in trouble.

Yvette: It’s quite the conundrum. All right, so let’s move on to adaptation. Again, resilience is that push end of the future. We’re starting to move towards the pull end of the future. We’re in the middle here, we’re trying to think about how we could leverage future disruptions for success. This is the type of person that’s really ready to ask what could go wrong next.

It’s again, moving along that pathway to transformation, but not quite there. Within adaptation, as a relates to this wicked problem, wicked opportunity, we really wanted to focus in on the inclusion of more voices in this scientific discourse and in science in general, right?

Frank: That’s right. I think I’ve already mentioned this on the podcast before too, but I’m stuck on it right now. I love this phrase that we’ve been talking about for at least a year, if not longer. We’ve talked about the concept for a long time, but now you hear more people saying, multiple ways of knowing or different ways of knowing. I love when people show up and they say, “Well, this is how you know this,” and it’s like, but that’s not how another culture knows it.

We used to say all the time that we had somebody in a class that said, “This is a universal truth,” and other people in the room– He turned around to look and thought everybody would say, yes, and they were like, “Not to us, it isn’t.” There is a different way of knowing. Quite honestly, this adaptive response is about marginalized voices and sharing different perspectives in a more universal cosmological integration that causes a holistic view or a new culture of science, different cultures of science.

I’ve talked about before the philosophy of science, it’s not how you do science, but why we see science the way we do, and not a different way. Why didn’t we start with C, and then B, and then A instead of ABC?

Yvette: I think, again, it speaks to embracing different ways of measuring, like qualitative measures. I’ve been struck over the last, I don’t know, 18 months or so, especially over the last probably six to eight months with the vaccination for COVID. I have found myself on social media falling into the trap of trying to use social media as a platform to create change, which is sometimes really challenging on these closed-loop platforms.

This idea of screaming from the rooftops, “Trust the science.” I think, through this month’s podcast, what I’ve come to realize is that, while it’s well-meaning, I know that I was meaning well, by saying trust the science, that if I put myself in the shoes of these marginalized communities, and the communities, for example of indigenous people, or people of color, even people with my background, Latinx individuals that there’s a good reason why they don’t trust the science, because, in the past, it didn’t represent them. It didn’t include them. It actually–

Frank: [unintelligible 00:23:11] worse.

Yvette: Yes, it actually used them as test ballons and as guinea pigs, so the distrust is founded.

Frank: Start the human trials [unintelligible 00:23:24] not on white people. There’s a culture of white. As a matter of fact, I know it’s been circulating around in a meme recently. It is true, it turns out that during slavery in the United States, and I’m sure that this has been echoed in other parts of the world, too, doctors would try new techniques on slaves, especially slave women because a lot of it had to do with reproductive organs and those kinds of things.

No anesthetics, multiple surgeries on the same person. There are just trials and they’re not even sick. Then if they found something work, of course, then they would go operate on a white woman who had the problem with anesthesia and really carefully in a sanitary environment. Yes, trust the science?

Yvette: Well, I can speak from another perspective, as well as someone who the generally the medical community looks at and says automatically you’re unhealthy, because of your size or the way you look. There is proven and established bias within the medical community against fat and overweight people and people of size. This is not a made-up thing. This actually creates and perpetuates this feedback loop where people don’t go to get medical care because they know that they’re going to walk in and they’re going to be mistreated.

Frank: And criticized and you just feel like garbage.

Yvette: Drugs are not tested properly on people of size or in many cases in women. This idea that we allow the number of, for example, blood clots, we can go down a whole path there, but we’re not going to go. My point is it was a realization for me to be saying trust the science, and I had to stop myself and say, “There’s good reason why people don’t trust the science.” I’m not saying that the vaccine aren’t safe.

Frank: That you shouldn’t trust the science, because that’s the tough part.

Yvette: I believe the vaccines are safe. I do, but I can now empathize with why for some people, this is a difficult decision for them and why it’s not just as easy as someone from privilege to say, “Absolutely stick it in my arm, give me the jab.”

Frank: Right, no problem. Again, that point because it was a point well made it is that we can overcome that by making sure that we include those voices, not just like, “Hey, get more Black people or indigenous people to make it a commercial about the safety of vaccines,” it’s about having science start with them and their perspective.

Because remember, in America there’s a long story of inoculation and vaccination around the world. We’re sticking on this one because of the recent vaccination anti-Vax problem, that it was a slave that actually gave doctors and Benjamin Franklin the idea of inoculation. Smallpox broke out and they like “We don’t know what to do.”

Yvette: Today, it’s the continent of Africa that is leading the charge with stamping out these types of contagious diseases.

Frank: They have the best responses to it because they deal with it all the time and the reason they deal with all the time is because the ravage that the Western world brought to that kind.

Yvette: Again, if you want people to accept change in the form of vaccines or social distancing, or whatever it is, you have to incorporate their beliefs, their language into the DNA of the solution.

Frank: Their perspective to start off with this. We did a lot of work that you guys didn’t even do because you didn’t need to. We were wearing masks for the last 30 years, we know already. It was like “Well, no, we got to get it from these white doctors or whatever.”

Yvette: The metaphor here?

Frank: The metaphor here then is a great one, it’s what color is my science. Color my world and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of course the famous book, What Color Is My World? What color is your science and it should be multicolored,and it should be multi-perspective, multi voices, marginalized voices, and the way that they’ve already been dealing with it. You said early in the pandemic is like I don’t know when the pandemic is over when the Asian stores and restaurants that are established in my city stop wearing a mask because they know they’ve been doing it for a long time.

Look at those guys that’s the voices you need to listen to. I just wanted to give a really quick shout-out to the fact that I’ve been thinking about this this morning. The vast majority if not all of them, of these people that go into medicine and they want to be doctors and nurses and all of this and they want to create vaccines, there’s no conspiracy they’re excited to create these things.

Yvette: These are systematic and structural issues. Again, I don’t want to go off on a tangent here, but the idea of the BMI, look it up, it’s a racist-

Frank: That’s right. Where did it come from?

Yvette: -measure, it’s inaccurate, it’s ineffective yet we’re still using it in schools and medical degrees-

Frank: For all kinds of anxiety and exercises.

Yvette: -insurance, everything.

Frank: What should BMI [unintelligible 00:28:47]

Yvette: It qualifies you whether you could get surgery and it’s absolutely been completely debunked. It was developed by the statistician for a completely different purpose. It’s not the individual doctors or nurses-

Frank: The systemic right.

Yvette: -it’s the systemic and structural issues.

Frank: It’s not that there’s a conspiracy with my point here because these people– inoculation was discovered in the 15th century. We didn’t just start giving vaccines to people. It’s one of the greatest discoveries of humankind, go get your vaccination. Again, we’re making a good point here, we need these marginalized voices or else it’s not going to happen

Yvette: You can’t just keep screaming trust the science.

Frank: What color is your science?

Yvette: Understand. Okay. We’ve talked about the resilient response, fumigating the ivory tower, we just got through adaptation, what color is my science. These are individual responses to our current issue of the Frankenstein’s laboratory that lone genius which in many ways is manifesting as this COVID-19 response.

Frank: You can see both the ones we just did fumigate Frankenstein’s tower and his science wasn’t very colorful it was black and white even in the movies, right? That

this is deconstructing Frankenstein’s laboratory.

Yvette: Again, we’re talking about simultaneously doing all these. When you go to repeat this exercise and you’re thinking about a resilient response, keeping the lights on and adaptive response, what could go wrong next, a transformative response. If all obstacles were removed then I could direct what is done. You want to actually construct all of these and simultaneously deploy them.

Frank: What a great tool this is, this art tool? Building these just many responses. You should use this repeatedly in your foresight.

Yvette: You could use it every day. Everyday decision-making should be fueled by foresight. All right. Let’s talk about transformative. Again, we almost want to loop back to let’s stop doing science. Don’t science anymore, but in a different way where it just becomes just a part of the social fabric.

Frank: I think this gets us all the way to our democratize discovery piece because you wrote down here, not just a transformational view of science, but what is science? When we get down to it and of course, we could give the formal definition, but we’re talking here more about, how do we reword this? We wrote down a very convoluted idea of transformative learning for holistic vitality. Vitality in life. What if science was reframed as wonderment? Science sounds so stale, but wonderment sounds wonderful.

Yvette: What if we stopped siloing science just like we talked about earlier with STEM and not put science in a box and not say only the kids that are going to the STEM schools study science. No. We all should study science.

Frank: Everybody has wonderment. Everybody wants– until it gets taught out of you by science. Everybody has wonderment and that’s really what the basis of science is. People who get into science get excited. They’re having wonderment and others are like, “Science is stale and boring.” No, it’s not. It’s wonderment. We need to get it out of its silo, see beyond, as you said earlier, STEM.

This inward-looking piece I had written in the show notes. If we look inward, then we only see the world as we see ourselves. If we see ourselves from a different perspective, we’ll see the world differently and we’ll see science differently and we open up these silos and to this unsiloed democratic discovery.

Our metaphor here is what we might call science in the wild. Are rewilding science. I love this. It’s like rewilding cities, reintroducing long-lost life forms back into the city. Plants and fauna and flora and animals and letting it be more natural environment [unintelligible 00:32:44] integrated.

Yvette: Integrated. If you have seen the visual that goes along with this month’s podcast, you’ll see the final vignette is that that purview of science just happening within nature and that democratized discovery in reality where, again, science is something that’s woven into the fabric of our lives and takes place in a more natural integrated way.

Frank: I love this because I know we had already mentioned it in the first one and you can see the reflection throughout. That’s another good tip when you’re doing the art [unintelligible 00:33:22] tool is to– Listen for the echoes because if you really saw in each one of those, we had a different response, but there was an echo throughout them or a mirror throughout them. You heard this almost way of– Well, as a matter of fact, go back and listen to this again and you tell us what the reflection was.

I’ll tell you what one of them was. It was this idea of just redefining science or finding a new name for it. Eventually, we ended on just unsiloing it all together and completely rethinking what it means, how we define it, the words we use around it. That’s complete rewilding of it.

Yvette: Remember, as we’re working through resilience, adaptive, and transformative, we’re also working our way through the push and pull of the future. We’re working our way from our wicked problem to our wicked opportunity. In this case, Frankenstein’s Laboratory or the lone genius, all the way to democratized discovery. All of these frameworks are tied together.

Again, that’s why the podcast is so powerful because you can definitely listen to each week independently, but they build on each other and they support each other. We would love to hear what you all think about this month’s theme of Frankenstein’s Laboratory and how we can work to get to our poll of the future, that wicked opportunity of democratized discovery.

Frank: That’s right. How do we overcome just the Elon Musks and the Zuckerbergs and the Bezos of the world capitalizing on and siloing away the science, the discoveries that all us need to take part in? Again, thank you to Alice Iddi, our wonderful mapmaker, and to our also illustrating [unintelligible 00:35:05] who makes our illustration, and to you Yvette. It’s always wonderful to do the podcast with you.

We started to get Frankenstein to come out of his lab, gave him a nice bath, put him back in the field, let him talk to people, and get resocialized again. I hope that you’re seeing your way forward in that too and then one more week of Frankenstein. Actually, we’ll be going dark for November and December, but we’ll be back with the last [unintelligible 00:35:29] of the Wicked Opportunity monsters collections starting in January 2022.

Yvette: One more week left. We hope you join us next week. In the meantime, please check us out on Future Space or We’ll talk to you again soon. Stay safe, everyone.

Frank: Bye-bye.

[00:35:48] [END OF AUDIO]

Frank Spencer: Halloween month, October, and of course, I have to have everything decorated in theme on point for Halloween. Which by the way, for me, I know that you know this, Yvette, but for me, it means not cutesy. I don’t want little skits.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: It’s fall you all.

Frank: Yes, a smiling scarecrow. No, it’s Halloween it’s supposed to be scary. I don’t want to see kids walking around, Powerpuff Girls costumes.

Yvette: You got a real problem.

Frank: I do have the super problem but if you didn’t get scared, you didn’t have a good time.

Yvette: We did decorate the porch of the office with fall things. We have two hay bales, which is pretty funny when you think about the fact that it’s still a thousand degrees outside because we live in Florida. Some fake pumpkins because we can’t buy real pumpkins, they would literally rot in one day. I don’t know that stuff is a little bit cutesy but–

Frank: It is cutesy. It’s our office there’s not going to be an inflatable Frankenstein out there or something or a Dracula.

Yvette: Certainly, not in September, October.

Frank: At least there is a mystical mysterious element because there’s two lanterns out there, they’re fake and they have batteries and all that but it looks like the spooky lantern that you see going down the railroad track with the disembodied hand carrying it or something. That’s what I think when I go up, and everybody else just think cutesy hay bale. Which by the way, hay bale reminds me of the haunted hay bale [laughs].

Yvette: Hayride.

Frank: Hayride that we would go on every year when we used to go to LA every– It seemed for a while there we were going to Los Angeles every October. We always went-

Yvette: We went there a lot. We had our program out there quite a bit.

Frank: That’s one of the reasons why and client work.

Yvette: Yes, a lot of client work.

Frank: They have a very famous, the LA Haunted Hayride every October.

Yvette: It’s cool because similar to the theme parks here, obviously there there’s theme parks but there’s also the whole movie industry. There’s a lot of really incredible specialists effect and set designers that I think maybe they love Halloween as much as you do. They go all out.

Frank: It’s the time to shine.

Yvette: Yes. We pile in. Thinking about doing this now, you talk about being scared. The idea of being elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of strangers in this open air. You’ve got that going for you.

Frank: First the–

Yvette: You’re right because they do cover you up.

Frank: No. First, they put you in a cage with maybe 20 of you but they put you in a small cage. You’re supposed to feel like you’re trapped.

Yvette: Hopefully, they’ve made some modifications.

Frank: Then the lawnmower that pulls the [laughs] hay.

Yvette: It’s not a lawnmower it’s a John Deere tractor.

Frank: That pulls the–

Yvette: You’re really ruining this opportunity [crosstalk] because there were actually pretty cool scenes as you go along. There’s the proverbial guy running around with a chainsaw.

Frank: Yes. They come up and bang on the trailer that you’re in. You’re out in the open and of course, you always have some jerk that’s like, “I’m not scared of you.” Some of the scenes, I think it’s a Los Angeles thing. Maybe it’s a worldwide thing, I don’t know but I had never been to one before where it’s you literally ride through a cult gathering.


Yvette: A bunch of dismembered bodies.

Frank: Yes. There’s a Charles Manson scene. I’m like, “LA, what’s wrong with you?” [laughs] I mean, Dracula, mummy and all this, that’s what I was expecting but it was all cult in the woods theme, the cult in the woods- [laughs]

Yvette: I’m curious what haunted hayrides and haunted houses look like in your neck of the woods. If you want to share with us on social media, we’d love to hear but welcome. Welcome everyone to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast.

Frank: My name is Frank Spencer. Your name is Yvette Montero Salvatico. For those who have not been to the podcast before. If you haven’t, there’s probably a lot of goodness that you want to catch up on. We are in week two of this month with our theme of–

Yvette: Frankenstein’s Laboratory.

Frank: Frankenstein’s Laboratory.

Yvette: Yes, exactly. Every month in The Wicked Opportunities Podcast we tackle a theme. We use natural foresight tools to reframe a wicked problem as a wicked opportunity by updating our mental models. Yes, this month we’re tackling Frankenstein’s lab, which is, of course, this idea that the infamous laboratory of the lone genius, Victor Frankenstein. Many people think Frankenstein’s the monster but it’s actually speaking about the scientists.

Frank: That’s right we covered all that last week.

Yvette: A place where ancient alchemy and fringe experiments were practiced away from the public eye, without consideration for widespread ethical ramifications or societal education. Last week we delved into the root origins of this idea of the lone genius, the mad scientist, the ethical ramifications, the way science has been traditionally and in the past, and even in the present seen as exclusionary and in the ivory tower, if you will.

Frank: Or up in Frankenstein’s lab, up in the top of his house locked away.

Yvette: We reframed Frankenstein’s lab to democratize discovery. Which we defined as a decentralized view of scientific discovery that harnesses multiple ways of knowing widely disseminating, deep knowledge, and unearthing novel ideas through complex emergence.

Frank: That sounds exciting. It’s so needed today. I know we’re going to talk about we’re in our explore week, as you said, the natural foresight framework. This is the week where in explore that phase of NFT is really all about, what are the weak signals? What are the trends? What are the emerging issues? We’re going to talk about articles today that shows both Frankenstein’s lab, and then that democratize discovery that we’re talking about as our wicked opportunity.

Yvette: Yes. I love this week because we really do get to get really topical. I think sometimes with wicked problems and we get opportunities, they can seem pretty huge and all-encompassing. It could seem like, “What can I do as an individual?” What you’ll hear today in this podcast is really five articles that, number one, showcase that this is an issue that we’re dealing with right now.

Also, how we’re seeing those weak signals as early indicators of the emergence of this wicked opportunity of democratized discovery. We could pull that future to today. We can either go down the pathway of continuing down this evil genius, mad scientists, science set apart or we can pull toward ourselves the more aspirational vision of democratized discovery. Let’s kick us off.

Frank: I was just thinking too that and what I was going to say a moment ago was, I know some of our articles today are going to talk about how important it is to get science into the public zeitgeists. We’re dealing with an environment right now, I think, worldwide but definitely in the United States where we’re just not seeing the importance enough of finding ways to get this kind of information, the knowledge, learning, and wonderment in the hands of people, but we are working overtime to make sure that the public gets plenty of social media, instagramming, tiktoking, and Amazon products at their fingertips and that’s the billionaire guys.

By the way, I wanted to ask a question real quick and go back to your– it’s tough but when we talk about Frankenstein’s lab today it’s a lot of these billionaires, the Musks, the Bezos, the Zuckerbergs. The lone geniuses.

Yvette: The lone geniuses today.

Frank: Victor, himself, Victor Frankenstein, I think was probably– he wasn’t a rich guy.

Yvette: I don’t remember how it was written in the story.

Frank: He was a gravedigger for one thing because he got Igor to go out.

Yvette: It’s tough when you’re looking for body parts. It’s not like there’s a market for those.

Frank: No. Order them from Amazon. He could have ordered them from Bezos [laughs].

Yvette: Don’t be judgy about his grave digging.

Frank: Because Amazon’s got everything, it probably has the body parts for you too.

Yvette: I was going to say it’s tough because, obviously, social media has the promise of democratized discovery, learning, and knowledge. It also, as we talked about last week, makes it so that everybody’s an expert so that no one is an expert.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Everyone’s an etymologist right now and everyone’s a virologist and–

Frank: None of them are. Now, I think I may have mentioned this on the podcast before but write me a dirty letter or a nasty letter. Nasty letter, that’s what it is, it’s not dirty letter. Don’t write me dirty letters.

Yvette: Jeez [laughs]. That’s not this kind of podcast. We’d be far more popular, I think actually, maybe for collection story.

Frank: How come our listening with, triple fold.

Yvette: It’s called OnlyFans people, look it up.

Frank: Only our fans would [laughs].

Yvette: I have a new marketing strategy for us.

Frank: Okay. Write me a nasty letter, not a dirty letter.

Yvette: I’m just thinking about the alliteration with foresight but I will not go there. I will let them go there.

Frank: That’s right. That nasty letter not dirty letter would be about me saying something bad about the metaverse, because you guys have already heard that I’m not convinced about this whole metaverse thing, especially when it’s like, “Oh, the metaverse is growing in popularity and it’s about buying a virtual dress for your avatar”.

We need those environments to be about science and learning, not about NFTs and dresses for your avatar. We don’t need more of that nonsense. It’s just ridiculous. I am a fan of the metaverse of, “Online embodiment and digital spaces”, but it has to be about this. It has to be about decentralize our democratic discovery. Not about dresses for your avatar. It’s nonsense.

Yvette: I don’t know why you have to judge my avatar if she wants a dress. First started going, we’re going to go through about five articles that point either to this wicked problem, this wicked opportunity. Again, demonstrating that this is an issue that we’re dealing with and how it’s manifested differently than in the past or how it’s manifesting differently.

The first article I want to highlight is out of Times of India, June of 2021, Save us from idiot savants: Did COVID come from a Wuhan lab? Either way technologies mystique must be challenged. Right off the bat, this article really speaks to, yes, this controversy as many of you may have heard, there is a science journalist name, Nicholas Wade, who has posited that there is evidence to suggest that a lab accident actually released COVID-19.

This is at odds with the prevailing theory, that COVID-19 resulted from an encroachment into environmental space and is more of an issue related to climate change and environmental degradation. We’re not going to debate in this podcast whether or not, this came out of a lab, but it did prompt our thinking and it actually speaks in the article about Frankenstein and about how whether or not COVID-19 came out of the lab. Actually, would not be that surprising, given that really we’re seeing a lot of scientists push the envelope ethically exploring these viruses.

Frank: Yes. I was just going to reiterate what you were saying too, because if you look online and if you’ve done your research, [laugh] if you’ve done your social media research, you’ll see that there’s tons of articles now on the, “Evidence.” I’m doing the air quotes here. There are some strong indicators of evidence that this may have come out of the lab. There’s also equally if not stronger evidence that that’s not the case.

Yvette: Yes, that’s why I say that’s not the point of this discussion.

Frank: That’s why you said that’s not the point of discussion. But as you’re saying, it is super interesting that scientists tend to have a tech fetishization, and so when that’s the case, we tend to do things because we can technology for technology sake. You can imagine, the mad scientist, Victor Frankenstein saying, “Can I make this virus grow to a place where it could be more dangerous for humans? The reason I need to do that is to find out, what would it take for that to happen?” And then one little leak and we’re all in trouble.

Yvette: Yes, so it says in the article that, “Virologists had for some time have engaged in dangerous, ‘Gain of function’, experiments, whereby viruses are engineered to become more efficient in spreading disease.” Again, you can get understanding of why they’d need to do these tests, but also, we have this, as you said, enamorment with technology and the ability of humans to engineer life and have this power that, again, a theme within the Frankenstein novel, for sure.

We thought that was a really interesting story of very, very topical. Again, we don’t need to talk about COVID in every podcast, but it’s so interesting how this time that we’re living in really just represents so many themes that are actually not new.

Frank: It brings them all to the surface, it’s like you can’t help but go, “Wow, this is really illuminating a lot of stuff.” Actually, something that we did not discuss right before we went live here today, but we had been discussing earlier, is that the virus itself is like a Frankenstein. It’s like, you could imagine Victor in the lab with the–

If you look at our banner, a picture that we have drawn, our beautiful illustration, you see that first part being Frankenstein himself with the beakers and pouring the stuff together and making the Frankenstein, and so it’s like, this virus whether it did leak from a lab or more likely was an encroachment of humans on natural spaces, which is equally a problem. It’s a type of lab problem. It’s a– we created a Frankenstein.

Yvette: Yes, and whether it’s happened, like you said, and I think part of the interesting thing about this article is that there are lab experiments that ethically, and we’re going to get to some of those in this conversation as well. The fact that these theories even being considered is because we have had, in the past, been able to have insight into these experiments and really questionable ethics in some cases, and again, it’s back to the separation of science from society, which we’ll talk more about in a moment.

Frank: That’s right. Just locked away. I love that, so we’re going to stay with the theme of Frankenstein’s Laboratory here for a minute when we’re looking at some of these articles.

Yvette: And the lone genius, right?

Frank: And this genius of course. That leads us right into this article. The Billionaire Space Race Is the Ultimate Symbol of Capitalist Decadence by Luke Savage and we’ve seen this lately with Branson going to space, with Virgin and the spacecraft that they created, and the big spaceport that they have in the middle of the desert, and then of course with, Bezos going to space as well with Amazon, and their terribly designed phallic-looking rocket.

You can’t help, but watch these guys and just see them as these– I know it’s going to come up in an article later, but as these lone genius cowboys, off the range, with their pistols, “I’ll do whatever I want to do”, because they’ve got billions of dollars. Billions. We still don’t really know what a billion dollars is, because it’s just too big, it’s like a hyper object, it’s to big to imagine.

Nobody needs to have a billion dollars. That’s a statement that I’ll stand on. Nobody needs to have a billion dollars. If you do have it and you do amazing ethical things with it, fantastic. If you’re just sending yourself to space, it’s a bit of a scary prospect.

Yvette: Yes, it’s tough because we know as futurists that experimentation and space [crosstalk] is an incredible, lightning rod for new discoveries, and having a zeitgeists of exploration is how you keep humanity moving forward. It’s a great element of the DNA of a futurist.

Frank: It’s funny, we switched roles here a little bit because you’re playing my role now because I’m usually the one saying like, “I hate that people are getting down on space exploration because of this”, because it’s so needed, it helps the Earth. It’s important for science extension and it’s like, “Yes, it’s important”.

Yvette: The privatization of space -I know that’s not the point of this topic- is really about a land grab in terms of these business leaders and business entrepreneurs wanting to get those lucrative, government contracts because at the end, we’re not going to have a space program funded solely by billionaires. It’s not going to happen. So, a lot of these space advancements or trips to space, like we just had one yesterday where they sent four individuals, just regular citizens, and to space, those are all about creating the public relations needed for people to support this movement.

Again, just like we talked about last week with the dorm rooms covered with the posters of Einstein, again just not just have a fetish around technology, but these men are the architects of these technologies that we have a fetish for, and so we end up becoming more enamored with that ego as well.

Frank: Yes, absolutely, and wasn’t it Branson that said, there was the quote from him. They asked him afterwards, like what would you think when you were up there? And he said something I’m paraphrasing now along the lines of like, “When I was up there, I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, look what we’ve done. What can we do next?'”

Yvette: If we can do this, imagine what else we can do? Which some people have taken of like, “I’m scared to know what the privilege would allow you to do”.

Frank: Do not want to know what that next thing that you’re imagining that you’re going to do is– As a matter of fact, I was watching just a couple of days ago when SpaceShipOne with Branson did go up and he came back, it was moments after they had landed and they were hyped up from having just gone to the edge of space. Really.

They didn’t really go up to the space station or as high as the one that launched last night did, it’s going to be it for three days with just regular citizens on it, and it’s up near the space station level. The guy asked him, he said, “Can you give a good answer to your critics that have said this is just a bunch of billionaires wasting money playing God and going to space as a stunt when we could be using that money for other things.” This is literally how it went down. He waited for saying he hesitated, deep breath, “Well, when I was young and I had nothing but $200 in my pocket”.

That’s not the answer. Don’t defend how you got from 200 to billions of dollars. We’re asking, are you doing something ethical with your billions of dollars? And again, is Frankenstein’s lab and that discovery that’s only limited to a few people. Is it ethical? How do we make science more ethical?

Yvette: Excellent. All right. That was our second article. Let’s move on to our third article. This one is called decoding, the CRISPR-baby stories, which again, if you saw this month’s theme, you had to know we were going to go to talk about the CRISPR-baby, which is the ultimate example. I think of 21st century Frankenstein. This article was written by J Benjamin Hurlbut, and it was an MIT technology review. Basically, he reviews three books that explore the– I already forgot how to pronounce it. Remind me again, the scientist’s name that–

Frank: [unintelligible 00:22:25]. I had to look down at my name here.

Yvette: I’m going to go with, Hei.

Frank: Hei. Okay. [unintelligible 00:22:33] going to say that.

Yvette: Obviously, I think most of our listeners would have heard by now of this story from, let’s see, what year? November 2018 was when it was revealed that this young Chinese scientist named Hei was using CRISPR to engineer human embryos. At least three of them became living children. They’re now known as the CRISPR babies. Of course, this is now the highlighted chapter in gene editing, so there’s been several books written about this. What I love about this article is he doesn’t just review the books, but he talks about it from the standpoint of storytelling.

The author says storytelling matters. It shapes not only how the past is remembered, but how the future unfolds. There’s a bit of a meta element of the story here because, in fact, the writer was actually at a meeting in January 2017 when he actually met Hei the first time. What’s interesting about that meeting is that it was a small closed-door meeting hosted by the University of California at Berkeley, and there was a major scientist, a senior scientist from an elite American university who said, “Many major breakthroughs are driven by one or a couple of scientists by cowboy science”.

It turns out that one statement may have been the impetus or the light bulb moment for Hei. He actually speaks about this later saying it was in that moment that he said and realized that, “Look, I have to be the one that breaks the glass ceiling on this. I know people are saying this is not ethical, but somebody’s got to be first and it’s going to be me”, and that cowboy science metaphor really resonated with him. What’s interesting is that the author goes on to say, “I went back and I reviewed my notes.” Good reason to take notes at these meetings. He realized that “Hei points to as being so impactful to his later decision to create these human-engineered embryos”.

Frank: Which again, was an idea of a major breakthrough are driven by one or maybe two people?

Yvette: It actually, that quote was longer than that. The scientists said, “What’s going on right now is cowboy science, but that doesn’t mean that that’s the best way to proceed. We should take a lesson from our history and do better the next time around”.

Frank: But you only hear what you want to hear. You only hear what you can hear. Actually, this has a lot to do with philosophy of science as well, because our Western philosophy of science, which is extensive, but I’ll just mention one thing and it’s in this article, is that again, the lone genius is the one who really comes up with these discoveries and breaks the glass, as you said. That’s a bad philosophy of science. That leads to a lot of trouble.

Yvette: That’s not true. We know that that’s not true and again, there’s a bit of a meta element to this article because I encourage you all to go and read it because he talks about the other two books as several books and just how the way that you’re telling the story is critically important but I think the article comes to a climax when he says science-centric storytelling implies that science sits outside of society, that it deals primarily with pure arenas of nature and knowledge, but that is a false narrative.

Frank: It’s a false narrative because stories really drive us. The stories we tell it back to the philosophy of… Philosophy of science in this particular case, it’s not just about science, it’s about the way that we formed at science and why we do it the way we do it and why another culture might do it a different way and so in the end, he who was with the best stories wins, are they with the best stories win? And so are not necessarily with the best stories, but just the strongest story or the story that lands.

I was even thinking when I was saying that, correct myself, because it’s not necessarily the best story is just the story that wins. In this particular case, that’s the story and so that’s why we have CRISPR babies when without any ethical thought to what is that going to mean. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched the movie Splice before. It’s a good Frankenstein [unintelligible 00:27:29] movie. It starts great where we engineered a human baby with a tail and hooves that is also extra strong and smart, but bad ending to that movie, go watch [unintelligible 00:27:41].

Yvette: It’s unfortunate. I know we have to move on because we need to get through the rest of these articles, but it is unfortunate because I think there’s so much promise with gene editing, but now it’s taken a step back because–

Frank: That’s always the problem. You said it’s okay with the space race day. When we do this stuff wrong, we lose confidence in it and it holds such amazing potential. It’s the same thing with social media, social media at this point, 10, 15 years again, should have us launch way beyond what we are right now in terms of governments and equity and instead, we got dresses on avatars.

Yvette: And cat videos. The cat video aren’t bad.

Frank: And authoritarianism.

Yvette: There’s that, yes. Not so good.

Frank: Then the point is then we lose trust in social media. No, it was supposed to be a great thing. It’s like, “This is why we can’t have nice things”, that saying.

Yvette: What’s interesting about the CRISPR story too. We call it a false narrative of the lone genius and I believe that even Hei, in this situation, didn’t act alone, but he, I think he definitely kept a lot of people out of the loop, obviously. His decisions were driven by his own ego clearly. Ironically, when in fact science is driven by the “Lone genius”, that’s actually when we have problems and it’s a false narrative when true science leads to these amazing discoveries, it’s never just one person. We just like to, again, give credit to one, that’s just the cowboy element the lone genius narrative that’s so tempting for us to go and exploit. All right. Let’s move more towards the wicked opportunity end of the spectrum and talk about gaming.

Frank: Of democratized discovery. There’s an article that we had pulled out for this one about gaming, as you said, which is like, “What? Gaming?” But yes, absolutely because this article is called Borderlands 3, Which is a very popular game. A lot of Twitch streamers are playing Borderlands. Borderlands three is using its millions of gamers to help map the human gut micro-biome. This is an article by Dave [unintelligible 00:30:17], just from 2020. Basically in this article, he say like, “Look, Borderlands 3, a really popular game that has 8, 9, 10 million players now at this point.” They actually purposely created a game within a game called Borderlands Science.

It was in conjunction with this group called the American Gut Project. Because we have now discovered that our microbiome in our gut has a lot to do with our health overall, brain, heart health, our immune system, all kinds of great stuff. They even called the gut the second brain. They use this game to gather more and more and more information. As a matter of fact, it says in the article that the colored blocks and puzzles in the game that it’s serving players, that the game serving players, each represent nucleotides and fragments of microbial 16s ribosomal RNA gene sequences, big fat sentence there. All of which were collected from human stool samples, contributed to and sequenced by an open research platform that I told you about the American Gut Project. These colored blocks and everything that the people in Borderlands brought, stool samples [chuckles].

Yvette: That’s [inaudible 00:31:34] interesting.

Frank: I really like that one. It’s amazing, because they were saying, we’ve got all these gamers out there. There’s two things going on in this article. One, how can we use all these people to play these games because we found out that gaming is an amazing way to unlock the secrets of this sequencing and science-

Yvette: Yes, we’re pattern in sense makers, and when you add a gamification element and people are trying to get a high score. We saw with the game, fold it, where we’re able to outpace a medical discovery, a scientific discovery that was decades in the making. Scientists had tried to figure this one aids protein out, and they released it in a gamified form. Within a few weeks, the gamers had progressed to a point that, again, a decade-long scientific research effort had not produced these types of results.

Frank: It’s tricky because I know that our listeners are probably thinking right now, “Well, if you didn’t hear everything we said, that sounds like sure enough, I’m a gamer on the internet. I can discover something scientists couldn’t discover in 10 years.” That’s not how that went down. They had to design the sequence for the gamers. They didn’t actually know the science of sequencing, but they learned how to fold it, and the help of these people. That leads me to my second point, it’s not just like, “Wow, we’ve got this great resource, let’s utilize millions of people on the net in this virtual space”.

Also, this is a great opportunity for us, a great platform where millions of people are gathering to get science education in the hands of people, because how else are we going to do it? Or, why wouldn’t we utilize the space where millions of people are on social media and in gaming to teach people science to get science in the hands of people so they can be those as the phrase often goes, and we’re going to see this in this article coming up, “Citizen scientists” is a popular phrase.

Yvette: I think too there’s a third element here that’s talked about in the article about how there’s a commercialization aspect of it for scientific discovery, that people that maybe hadn’t ever heard of this game would be more apt to go and play it because of the potential benefit of playing the game to promote science and wellness.

Frank: As a matter of fact, I’ll just end on this quote from the article. It’s a great one, it’s a couple sentences long, or maybe just one long sentence, it says, “My dream is that more and more games integrate citizen science into their projects, and that the collective skill and creativity of the billions of video game players around the world can be pressed into the service of helping our species overcome some real-world scientific hurdles that we’re facing on the cutting edge of medicine, physics, engineering, climate, space exploration, as we’ve talked about earlier, many other critical areas of focus.” As a matter of fact, they were even saying in the article that because they were so upfront about it, and you were referencing this, that this game is to help that people were more engaged in what lesson games.

Yvette: Yes, first they were going to keep it a secret. Then they were like, “No, we should really tell people because they will get excited about that”, and that was the truth.

Frank: Awesome.

Yvette: Excellent.

Frank: Of course, in our illustration, again, in that third-panel frame, you see the gamer sitting there and all that, and that’s what we’re representing with that.

Yvette: Excellent. Excellent. Let’s move into our final article for this week’s podcast. That’s an article entitled Making Citizen Science Inclusive Will Require More than Rebranding. It’s from June, 24th of this year by Laura Oleniacz, maybe? O-L-E-N-I-A-C-Z. I picked this article because little backstage info here, as we were exploring the Wicked Opportunity and how we were going to frame it for this month, of course, we landed on democratized discovery.

Early on, we had talked about this in citizen science, right. This is a term that’s been around for a long time and it seemed like an obvious thing to take Frankenstein’s Laboratory, the lone genius, the mad scientist to citizen science. As you can imagine, developing the podcast is a non-linear event. We months in advance are commissioning the artwork while thinking about the framing, while conducting the research. The research helps inform how it’s framed, how the artwork is. There’s a lot of going back and forth. This is a really good example of how this scanning actually helped informed how we ended up framing the wicked opportunities. We shifted it from citizen science to democratize discovery, in part because of what this article says.

Frank: I love how you mentioned that sort of a meta-reference, because that’s how foresight works. It doesn’t stop, you don’t determine where it’s going.

Yvette: It’s iterative.

Frank: It’s iterative, so the [unintelligible 00:36:45] itself helped us to see citizen science, really there’s nothing wrong with that phrase, except there is, that’s this idea of who is a citizen, and largely the phrase citizen science has still meant white.

Yvette: That’s because-

Frank: – degree.

Yvette: Wait, wait. It doesn’t necessarily mean that but if you look at who’s participating, who has the privilege to participate in citizen science, it is, on average, fluent white males, not 100%, but just the majority. If you’re thinking about not just the terminology citizen science, which can be problematic, as we’re labeling people with that term, whether they’re a citizen or not, it’s interesting to think about the ramifications of language in that context, but also just the representation that we’re seeing today, or the lack of representation of minority groups, of disenfranchised individuals, people that really should be represented in the scientific movement.

Frank: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, in the articles have scientists need to focus on tangible efforts to boost equity, diversity, inclusion in citizen science. Then it goes on in the article to also say, in an effort to resolve concerns that the term citizen science is exclusionary to people who do not have citizenship status. In a given nation, some organizations have moved towards using the term community science among other names, but that term also is used to mean other things as well.

Yvette: Yes, and you can’t just rename something.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: It’s like you can’t just slap a new label on something.

Frank: Yes, it’s all fixed now.

Yvette: Yes, you’re not addressing the issues. Again, that’s why I think democratized discovery and what we’re going to continue to talk about in the rest of this month’s podcast when we talk next week about resilient adaptive and transformative strategies to ensure a democratized discovery future when we talk about in week four prototyping that democratized discovery future. This is how we create that change. It’s not about changing a brand, or a name, or getting rid of an unfortunate term. It’s really ensuring that we’re building from the ground up from that narrative.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Then creating systems and structures that will allow more people to participate in scientific discoveries.

Frank: Absolutely. I hope you’ve enjoyed these five articles that we’ve brought you in the Explore Week of the Natural Foresight Framework in this month’s Frankenstein’s Laboratory and then moving towards democratized discovery. I keep tripping upon that, but you’ve heard me do it several times in this podcast, but democratize discovery as you just mentioned, at the end here it’s not just about naming, it’s about truly democratizing it.

Yvette: You trip up with democratized discovery. Mine was Anthropocene.

Frank: Yes, anthropological something or another.

Yvette: We’d love to hear what you’re reading as it relates to the lone genius way. The way that we’re fetishizing technology, those incredible space billionaires or what you think about the term citizen science. Let us know what your thoughts are. We’d love to collaborate and communicate with you as you know. You can find us on Futures Space or through any of our different social media channels. The Future School is where we live and @learnedforesight is our handle on a lot of those platforms, so check us out in the meantime, Frank, thank you for spending time talking about Frankenstein.

Frank: Maybe next time. We’ll talk about how my name Frank used to often be in school made fun of Frankenstein. Here comes Frankenstein.

Yvette: It’s still sensitive about that. We could talk, do a little of therapy with that.

Frank: Obviously. I’m still sensitive about that.

Yvette: Sometimes we call you Frankie style, so we could-

Frank: It was supposed to be a play on Frankenstein, but it’s Frankenstyle. Everybody Frankenstein is saying goodbye, and I’ll see you next week.

Yvette: Stay safe. Bye-bye.

Frank Spenser: It’s October.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: Your favorite month of the year.

Frank: I could not be more excited. This is my favorite month of the year because it contains my favorite holiday of the year, which we’ve already expressed on other episodes.

Yvette: Multiple occasions.

Frank: Here we are, nonetheless.

Yvette: We’re in October in the midst of our new collection, the Monstrous Collection.

Frank: Life could not be sweeter.

Yvette: I was going to say you are peaking right now.

Frank: I’m peaking right now. I wanted to ask you before we got started today on our new month, what is your favorite memory of Halloween, or maybe in particular Halloween costumes?

Yvette: That’s a good one. I just had to jump on the phone with my mom to remind myself of some of the goodness that was our childhood Halloweens, because as a child of immigrants, we didn’t even know McDonald’s was a thing, just to give everybody a perspective. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized, oh, you can go to a restaurant and get food.

Frank: If you guys were driving down the road, nobody said, let’s stop at McDonald’s.

Yvette: No.

Frank: You just went to the back seat and got the rice and beans on the cooker?

Yvette: My mother had a full-on pressure cooker on the back of the station wagon. I’m not joking.

Frank: Delicious for food, bad for bugs.

Yvette: Yes, not so good. Surprisingly, we’re not purchasing. There’s no purchasing of costumes, but my mother and my grandmother both knew how to sew so we had some pretty good costumes. On the downside for us kids, they lasted a long time. What does that mean? That means that one year my brother was an alien.

Frank: Excellent with an alien costume?

Yvette: Yes, and it was very reminiscent of this past month that we just had with alien invasion. He was an alien, black outfit with the appropriate accessories. The year after, that became a ninja costume.

Frank: Same costume?

Yvette: Basically.

Frank: Now he’s alien-ninja. He’s a ninja from–

Yvette: There’s no more alien. He’s embodying the ninja with-

Frank: Just a ninja with the same costume.

Yvette: – the same costume, maybe with some different accessories. He had his eyes covered.

Frank: Just accessorizes.

Yvette: Right.

Frank: He was like it was an alien, but now it looks like a ninja, same costume?

Yvette: Yes. It’s all about how you personify.

Frank: The base of the custom must have been [unintelligible 00:02:24].

Yvette: Then she thinks it became a pirate. We’re not really sure. We have to find the pictures of it.

Frank: A pirate.

Yvette: Right.

Frank: We went from alien to ninja to pirate, but it’s all the same costume.


Yvette: I’m telling you. You’ve got to be industrious. Again, these costumes last a long time, she made them. Again, for those of you who have grown up on costumes from the store, you don’t know how lucky you are, that those things fell apart immediately that evening.

Frank: By the way, I do think I heard your brother say that his favorite costumes were just the paper bag from Piggly Wiggly or the grocery store.

Yvette: Publix, yes.

Frank: Publix or whatever, over your head.

Yvette: It was actually Pantry Pride at the time if I’m not mistaken.

Frank: Right. The name of the grocery store with Pantry Pride, because you might be listening to this in Singapore, China, whatever your grocery store name is, tear some holes in a bag.

Yvette: Not a plastic, a paper bag.

Frank: Don’t put the plastic bag.

Yvette: No, this is a safety concern. He said that even one year, my mom put the paper bag on her head and she got candy. There’s a lot to unpack here about the socioeconomic status of my childhood. You’ve got an inside view to that.

Frank: There’s a whole journal article here, the socioeconomic status of Halloween costumes. When you said that about don’t put the plastic bag on your head, it reminded me of in the ’70s, an era long gone, your land of the lost. It used to be that at Halloween went to the store and the costume hour was just boxes. Boxes with a mask inside with a rubber band.

Yvette: Oh, I forgot the– yes.

Frank: Yes. You just looked at the box and the mask was through cellophane, but the costume was behind it. You just picked out clown or whatever. Then now we’ve gotten to where the costumes hang on racks and stuff and [unintelligible 00:04:08].

Yvette: By the way, you might be thinking to yourself, how did that custom still fit him? He’s not the tallest guy, he didn’t grow a lot, but eventually, they were more knickers. It was perfect for the pirate because it’s like a cyclops.

Frank: Rip the pants a little bit. You’re like–


Yvette: Yes, exactly.

Frank: What else could you say it was?

Yvette: It’s like the whole episode–

Frank: Those box costumes, you put that mask on, and if it’s on for more than say 60 to 90 seconds, you are basically sweating like a guy who’s getting ready for a pro-wrestling fight.

Yvette: Let’s just bring this back to today because these are the same– I’m not going to say a bad word, but these are the same idiots that say they can’t wear a mask in a pandemic, but they were walking around the whole neighborhood collecting candy with scooby-doo on their faces. No problem.

Frank: Never take it off. You get home, and literally, your face is glistening with sweat. They’re like, I can breathe, just too tiny nose holes. Too tiny. You’re just steaming it up in there. It’s like a sonnet.

Yvette: By the way. You can’t even see if cars are coming or nothing.

Frank: I remember thinking when I first put it on, I’m so cool like Frankenstein. Then I’m like Frankenstein was really uncomfortable all the time. No wonder he was angry. Listen, I got to tell you a really quick story.

Yvette: Okay, it’s got to be quick because we’re [crosstalk]–

Frank: I didn’t get to tell my story and they’re going to love this. That is that we used to every year, we didn’t even go trick or treating because my house was considered to be a haunted house, an actual haunted house on the block. I think we’ve mentioned this before. Because everybody knew that, it was the perfect place to set up a haunted house when people visit on Halloween. They knock on the door, I answer dressed in a costume and it’s scary. You can see behind me, there’s something on the stairs, but it’s in the dark. It’s one of my friends dressed in a costume.

We used to make our “friend”, I’m doing the air quotes here, that was the most gullible of us all. You got to pick out the most gullible in your group. We were like, “You’ve got to go in the attic.” There’s an attic window in the front of the house, but you’re up in this dark attic by yourself. He always dressed like Frankenstein because he was one of our friends that was the lumbering, taller than everybody else. Looked a little like Frankenstein in real life.

Yvette: He was tight cast.

Frank: Yes, but all night he would throw a dummy out the window, and then he’d be like, “Frankenstein threw the dummy out the window.” Then we would carry it back up the stairs and give it to him through the attic door and run away because it was scary.

Yvette: You think me making black beans and rice in my station wagon was weird?

Frank: Again, the socioeconomic.


Frank: All night he was screaming from it. There he did the Frankenstein. Then he’d be like, “Can I cut him down and scare you?” We were like, “No, you got to stay up there and torture him.”

Yvette: Today, he is like–

Frank: Right, actual psycho probably.

Yvette: Yes, he’s probably a hoarder. He’s probably doesn’t leave his house.

Frank: Right.

Yvette: That’s nice. We need to look him up.

Frank: Welcome to the new month of The Wicked Opportunities podcast.

Yvette: I know you don’t listen past this, so welcome. My name is Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: My name is Frank Spencer, and I told that story at the end there because it relates specifically to the theme of this month’s Wicked Opportunities podcast.

Yvette: Right. This month, we are traveling or reframing the wicked problem of Frankenstein’s lab-

Frank: Frankenstein’s laboratory.

Yvette: -to a wicked opportunity, which I can’t remember if we say it now, I guess they read it on the descriptors. They already saw them now.

Frank: They probably know. In this first episode, of course, we’re always hovering around more of that wicked problem so that we can tell you why.

Yvette: Unpacking it.

Frank: Unpacking it, and then getting to our wicked opportunity.

Yvette: Of course, you’ve been with us now the last few months, you know that we are working through our new collection, the Monstrous Collection. We’ve done alien invasion, we’ve done zombie apocalypse. Now we are going to tackle Frankenstein’s lab. We’re going to be using the Natural Foresight framework to walk through the reframing of this wicked problem because we believe that the world would be a better place if everybody fueled their work and their mindsets with Foresight.

That’s the key way to reframe wicked problems, those complex problems that seem to just get more and more involved with every attempt at solving them. We know that Foresight is the way to tackle them. We use Foresight, specifically, Natural Foresight in our podcast. Week one is discover, week two is explore. Then we map them, we create. You could follow along on future space through our Reframe Magazine that gets delivered to your inbox every week.

In addition to the podcast, we have supplemental pieces of content. This week, you get to participate through a crowdsourced image of the future exercise where we create a mood board. You can decide whether you fall more on the wicked problem or the Wicked Opportunity side. There’s no right or wrong answer. It could depend on the day and what news article you’ve just read.

Frank: That’s true.

Yvette: In this week’s version of the podcast, we use the framework of learn, unlearn, and relearn. We learn by understanding the origins of the wicked problem. Sometimes that’s in language. For this month, it’s really about literature. Then we move into unlearn where we dissect the pop culture framing of this dystopic trope.

Frank: How did that morphe over time and how does it manifest today?

Yvette: Then we relearn and debut and explain our Wicked Opportunity future. It’s important to note that what we’re trying to do here is not necessarily remove or eliminate the wicked problem, but we’re trying to leverage the environment in which that wicked problem exists to really showcase how there’s a wicked opportunity hidden within it’s just a matter of reframing our mindsets.

Frank: Yes. Right. Before we jumped on the podcast here today to do the recording, I was reading a tweet from Nora Bateson and she said, “Be very careful of the industrial age complex because its language and its framing has snuck into everything from food to the way you’re betting your house, your neighborhood, and everything. You have to understand that’s the water we’re swimming in.” The wicked problem is the water you’re swimming in. How do we think about that completely different? Swim in those waters differently, swim against the grain, so to speak. Use that environment that we’re in and [unintelligible 00:10:46] thinking upside down to see the different way.

Yvette: Right. Ultimately, what we’re trying to demonstrate with these podcasts is how you and your everyday can unpack problems both in your personal and your professional and in society and use foresight to discover novel, new ways of approaching it. To create more transformational futures and often starting with the why and understanding the origins of a problem or an issue is the best way to start. If you’ve been with us since the first collection you know that we used to use CLA or we would use CLA for this part of the first collection that first week, and for this collection, we’re using learn and learn relearn. Let’s define Frankenstein’s Lab.

Frank: Yes. I want to start off by just saying, of course, this is the book Frankenstein from Mary Shelley. Considered one of the first works of sci-fi or Gothic horror or [crosstalk]–

Yvette: They didn’t even know it at the time, but now looking back [crosstalk] it’s pretty amazing. She was 18 years old at the time.

Frank: That’s crazy and it was a challenge, of course. We’re going to talk about this a little bit more, but she wrote it on a challenge, who could write the scariest story. I think we’ll get into that in a few minutes, but I love this quote from the book because she’s actually describing the lab and you’re wondering right now Frankenstein’s lab. Month one, you did zombies, month two you did aliens. I was expecting this to be vampires this month or something. but literally, we’re not focusing. Remember if you ever read Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s the doctor, not the monster. The monster was unnamed, right? Who is the real monster in this book?

Frankenstein’s lab the way she describes it, I think really sets the stage for what we were want to talk about this month because she said it was a “Solitary chamber or rather cell at the top of the house, separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and a staircase where he kept his workshop of filthy creation.” This describes what we’re talking about, the definition of our wicked problem really is a reference to the infamous laboratory of the lone genius, Victor Frankenstein, a place where ancient alchemy and fringe experiments were practiced away from the public eye without consideration for widespread ethical ramifications or societal education.

Yvette: Right. We want to focus on this idea of the lone genius of how that’s truly a wicked problem. We see it manifesting today with our billionaires going to space and the like and just the ethical dilemmas and the fear that are still induced by scientific transformation and experimentation. Look no further to your daily debates about vaccinations-

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: -and the COVID virus to see that this is still, this distrust of science, this concern over ethical ramifications of our interplay with technology is still very much a serious issue that she, Mary Shelley, had done so brilliantly. In terms of the history and the origins of this idea of the lone genius or sometimes the mad scientist archetype, of course, the book itself is the starting point for a lot of these elements. You wanted to talk a little bit about why she wrote it. It was interesting because it was the year without a summer. There was a volcanic eruption.

Frank: That’s right. There was a lot of the summer where even there in Europe, the sky was bloated out.

Yvette: Yes. They had to stay inside which again, reminiscent of a similar period of time over the last year and a half.

Frank: Sounds familiar.

Yvette: Did you write a famous novel during your time during the pandemic?

Frank: I did not.

Yvette: Yes. We learned how to use the air fryer.

Frank: I read the novel on how to effectively use the air fryer to make my delicious food with. I did a lot of work. Do I get any credit for that? There were lots of clients, lots of scenario writing. Did I write? Yes, I wrote a ton. Did I write a book that will someday be as famous as Frankenstein? I did not.

Yvette: Not this time around.

Frank: Not this time around.

Yvette: She did write it as a result of a contest. In the book, it describes Frankenstein as trained as both an Alchemist and a modern scientist, which in many ways makes him like the bridge between those two eras of that evolving archetype.

Frank: Right. Yes and I just wanted to mention briefly too, because I know our audience will find this fascinating that at the time there was really a lot of focus on what was called galvanism which was this fringe science today. If it were today, Jeff Bezos would surely be spending Amazon money on this. Maybe he is in a manner of speaking. We’ll talk about that too.

Yvette: Yes. We see lots of examples of science today.

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: Radical life extension, we’re going to talk next week about the genetic babies.

Frank: That’s right. Our transhumanism, there’s all kinds of things that we could talk about today that like good futures. We’re like Frankenstein’s ourselves I think a little bit the future, I see that. This science of galvanism was like, can I bring a frog or a cow’s head back to life if I electrocute it? It turns out Shelley was hanging around her father and these parties that they would have at their house where they would invite famous scientists. Even the father of Charles Darwin was often there and these different guys were into this galvanism.

This is probably at least to some degree where she got this idea to write Frankenstein from was reanimation through electricity. Remember the body parts that were used to make the monster were human and parts of pigs and all and then they raised it up and let the lightning bolt strike it. He came down and the monster was alive. This is the science of galvanism, this is probably where she got this from.

Yvette: Super interesting too. We’ll talk a little bit, I think later about socioeconomic status and influencing who gets to practice science and discovery because in reality, what you just described there is really rich people getting together and almost be bored and like, let’s reanimate a frog because we got nothing else to do.

Frank: That’s exactly right. As a matter of fact, in the movie where and I think you were saying in the book, Frankstein never says to the [unintelligible 00:17:09] it’s alive.

Yvette: Never said it.

Frank: It’s alive, It’s alive but in the movie made in the 1930s or I think late ’30s, I’m probably wrong about that correct me if you want to fact check our show. You actually do see the doctors say it comes down, this hand starts to move, he goes, “It’s alive.” Then he turns to the people that were witnesses in the room and he says, “Look, three sane scientists, one madman.” He was suggesting that the mad lone scientist was more important than the collective wisdom of the established scientists.

Yvette: Yes. That’s really interesting because even if you look back to this idea of genius before the 16th century people didn’t really speak of other people being geniuses, but rather them having genius. Genius as the Harvard scholar, Marjorie Garber says, meant a God or spirit given to every person at birth, but then we started to see a change with the enlightenment thinker who sought to give man a dignified central place in the world. They actually made our man’s, I guess not mine at the time, man’s thinking the center of their universe and created a profoundly a social self.

Frank: Oh my goodness and we could go the rest of the month on just this individualism versus the collective, which is a lot of what this month’s about, but this extreme radical individualism is what we’re seeing in two ends of the spectrum really all the way from the Bezos and the Musk’s who Jeff Bezos, I think as we stand here today is worth $190 billion. When you’ve got that much crazy, ridiculous, insane, and psychopathic money, why not make a rocket shape phallic and go into space even though you have no astronaut training. Do whatever you want because it’s all insane at that point.

Yvette: Yes. It’s interesting because hand in hand with this idea of the lone genius is the secret nature of it, the isolated and siloed element of it. I love this piece of research that we gathered where once we made it past the futile and farming way of life to more of capitalism and industrial environments, artists needed to be more than entertaining. They had to be original, they had to profit from their work, and so it was in 1710 that Britain enacted its first copyright law. That established authors as a legal owners of work and really giving new cultural currency to the idea of authors, originators creators-

Frank: The lone genius

Yvette: -the lone genius.

Frank: That’s so heavy. In other words, capitalism reinforced that whole idea before art was truly art and then it became a commodity as everything we commoditized. We’ve talked about this before, we commoditized death now.

Yvette: Again, any time that you assign a trademark or copyright, we’re not necessarily suggesting that we’re against those things, but that creates implications around firewalls and secrecy. We’ll talk a little bit more about that. The lone genius, isn’t just about someone challenging the ethics and acting alone, but there’s a secretive aspect, right?

Frank: Exactly. You’re setting me up beautifully because I love this piece of research that we have. Again, thank you, Ashley Powers for all of our research every month and here, this quote says “Frankenstein is the prototype of the mad scientist who hides himself in the laboratory.” You see that in our banner picture that [unintelligible 00:20:59] has drawn for us this month. It says, “Secretly creating, not an elixir of immortality, but in the human life only to find he has created a monster.” Frankenstein is not only the romantic overreach or determined to transcend human limitations. No, no, no. He is also the air of Baconian Optimism and enlightenment confidence, that everything can ultimately be known and that such knowledge will inevitably only be for the good.

I wrote a side note to myself here. It’s like, if you think about that phrase, what should be coming to mind for you is centralization, determinism, control. As man, we’re separate from nature. I’m going to control it. That’s what that lone mad scientist– As a matter of fact, I look forward to next week because we’ve got some articles that talk about some of the recent discoveries especially around designer babies and that kind of thing. How we try to control our universe. Look, the bottom line here is if you look all around us as I was quoting Nora Bateson earlier, be careful of the water that we’re swimming in. The monster is everywhere.

We’ve created these plastic societies where I’m driving down the road to come to the office this morning and there’s the stoplights and we’ve covered the ground with cement for cars to drive on. We are those Frankenstein creators in many ways. We’re learning that from that same attitude of the lone genius of the commodification that you just read about this. A way to try to control our environment and create a monster out of it.

Yvette: Right. We talked about the origins. I think we’re jumping ahead a little bit, but now we wanted to make the transition, that was learn, now we want to unlearn and talk a little bit about the pop culture representation of the lone genius, the mad scientist, that was first originated in Frankenstein. I think it was really telling one of the articles that we read in preparation was close your eyes and imagine a scientist. What is that cultural representation that comes to mind? There’s some obvious ones, Doc Brown.

Frank: Back to the Future.

Yvette: Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters. Of course, Dana Scully from the X-Files.

Frank: She was the good– Mulder was the crazy mad scientist on the show, I think in a way.

Yvette: Yes and then Seth Brundle from The Fly.

Frank: The Brundlefly. You know what’s really interesting about that, The Fly? Of course, played by Jeff Goldblum, which I love him in another movie I’m going to mention in just a minute, which is actually a Frankenstein type movie too is that he was both the Frankenstein character and the monster because he made himself into the fly is really [crosstalk]–

Yvette: That’s heavy. Rick and Morty, Rick Sanchez and [crosstalk]–

Frank: Rick Sanchez, crazy drunk, Rick. He got the white lab coat on.

Yvette: Yes, but beyond scientists, we’ve really also romanticize the idea of the lone genius. A lot of young adults heading back to college these few weeks and you’re seeing in dorm rooms everywhere, posters of Floyd and of Einstein. You always have that great quote at the bottom “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The popularization of these lone figures, we’ve gone back historically and documented that they weren’t acting alone.

Frank: Of course, right?

Yvette: We love this idea of this narrative of the lone genius.

Frank: Well, I imagine you’re putting that on your dorm room wall. If you actually are or if it’s hanging somewhere. If it’s in the library at your school, it’s because they’re trying to get you to aim to be the next Einstein to be the next Musk, to be the next Bezos, or whatever. Again our real discovery is collective. We’re going to get there eventually, but I want to talk about a few of the other movies too like aliens for instance, because the original alien movie, we don’t know who created the alien. If they’re just another breed from another planet, turns out that wasn’t the case.

There’s another race of engineers who are going around the universe, creating life and taking it away again which is exactly what Victor Frankenstein tried to do in the book. We see movies like Splice, where they created a new baby made out of animal parts and human parts, [crosstalk] super creepy, and created a new species. This is very Frankestenian. Jurassic Park was the movie I was going to mention. One of your favorite movies of all time.

Yvette: Life finds a way.

Frank: When you think about John Hammond-

Yvette: Yes, that thing is Frankenstein all over the place.

Frank: -John Hammond, the scientist, the movies. “I got a mosquito from an Amber Bock sucked out his blood and made a dinosaur. They’re like, “You are crazy,” because he was the craziest scientist they knew.

Yvette: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Frank: He was like, “Oh.” Remember at the end of the movie, Hannah goes to the car, he goes, “It’s over.” When the dinosaur had eaten everybody is like, you finally just figured out this is over? The Raptor ate your handler. Oh my goodness. There’s X [unintelligible 00:26:06], you mentioned The Fly. I even saw a funny picture when we were doing some of the research of one of my favorite cereals of all time, Franken Berry. They used to have [unintelligible 00:26:12] as well, but Franken Barry, that Frankenstein has been all over the place. I think even in the cereal was like the monster, yes, the representation, but this delicious cereal created by the makers of Franken Berry.

Yvette: It’s interesting because like all the other tropes we’ve talked about, these don’t just get created out of nowhere. We can talk about why Mary Shelley wrote the book had to do probably with fear and uncertainty. She also had, gosh, so much death in her life. My goodness, all her three children died as infants.

Frank: Within four years of each other.

Yvette: Her husband died.

Frank: Drowned. Percy Shelley of course famous author himself.

Yvette: He was only able to marry her because his pregnant wife–

Frank: Committed suicide. This all happened within a six-year period and her mom died too.

Yvette: When we look at these Frankenstein films and we look at these films about the lone genius or the mad scientist, they’re really probably speaking in part to our fear of science and this idea that scientists somehow know more than we do. Gosh, I wish that was relevant today. It seems so. Wait, it is.

Frank: Oh, darn.

Yvette: Oh, wait, it is.

Frank: If only had that had stayed in 1818.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: Here we are in 2018, 2021, nope.

Yvette: You see this weird confluence of the lone genius that myth of this cowboy scientist and this one person knows it all combined with our distrust of science in many ways, coming together on social media to where this individual who has done “His research”. Which probably means reading a couple of tweets is able to weigh on an argument about immunology and has the same amount of street cred and credibility as the literal immunologists.

Frank: Yes. Well, you were saying all of that and I couldn’t help, but think why you were saying that, my mind was in the lab and I saw you with your words mixing a wild mad scientist potion together. That’s what it is. This is this crazy elixir of science is locked away behind journal articles, so we don’t know what’s in it. We don’t know.

Yvette: We’re skeptical.

Frank: I don’t know what’s in that vaccine. I don’t know what’s in it.

Yvette: I don’t know what’s in it.

Frank: I know it’s a bunch of mad scientists over there plus you also pour into this elixir, a lack of education

Yvette: A distrust to academia and education.

Frank: Education, right. You mix all that goodness together and disassociate people make this gap between the haves and the have nots wider and wider. What you end up with is a monster that devour society.

Yvette: Right. The individuals that do generally can pursue stem fields are the ones, generally speaking have a higher economic class because our lower socioeconomic class and our marginalized communities don’t have those opportunities. It is quite the confluence of variables to create the environment that we see today. This is why I love the work that we do because don’t get into a Twitter debate about this because it’s far too complex to boil it down to 140 characters.

We have to take time to discuss what are the origins of this? You could argue that the origins to those Facebook debates that you’re having right now is the 1800s.

Frank: It is.

Yvette: We’ve got to unpack this before we can move forward. If not, you’re just operating at the surface and you’re frustrating yourself and everyone else and you’re not getting anywhere.

Frank: I just read two great articles, both saying that Ben Franklin, by the way, used to be an anti-vaxxer. His son died of a smallpox. He instantly became a vaxxer. Made the hospital said, “Oh no, I was wrong.” This argument surfaced again in the 1800 in America, the early 1900, the late 1900. Here we are, again, it hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s the same argument. If you think this is new, it’s not as old as the hills. We have not fixed this because of the cowboy nation that we undergo. I know that our podcast goes around the world and this is heard in other places as well. We see the same kind of responses in other nations for maybe different reasons or similar reasons.

Yvette: Academia is siloed across the globe. Again, I think that was for a reason at some point, the idea of specialization and being able to focus. In fact, when you look at something like the Nobel Prize, it can only be awarded to at most three people around a particular topic.

Frank: Wow.

Yvette: Here, our systematic recognition is reinforcing this idea of the lone genius of the individual contributor and the savior of it all.

Frank: Wow.

Yvette: Are we moving on to relearn?

Frank: Yes. We have gone through learn, unlearn, and now we want to be able to tell people what the wicked opportunity is, define that. How can we, again, as Yvette says, not live inside of that problem and try to solve it, but really see this landscape as an opportunity, flipping the script, leveraging it, and doing something radically new, something provocative, maybe even preposterous.

Yvette: Yes. How do we update our mindsets, our mental models to look at the problem of Frankenstein’s lab, the lone genius of siloed disciplines, and how do we approach that problem with a new perspective? We think the wicked problem of Frankenstein’s lab can be reframed as democratized discovery. For us, this is defined as a decentralized view of scientific discovery that harnesses multiple ways of knowing. Widely disseminates deep knowledge and unearths novel ideas through complex emergence.

Frank: Decentralized discovery, decentralized communal discovery, and then really being able to leverage that emergence that’s around us so that everybody can participate. My first question to you Yvette this?

Yvette: I would say the ways of knowing I think is such a crucial part of that.

Frank: Oh, yes. Maybe we’ll mention that again because it’s so powerful, but because there are multiple ways of knowing in the world.

Yvette: There really are.

Frank: Let’s get back to that again in a second because I want to actually ask you a question.

Yvette: Sure.

Frank: Because the tough part about this is you already really mentioned this. It’s like, so now if science is dispersed among everyone, how do we know we’re getting something accurate because we’re not saying, I don’t think that studying for long periods of time and really knowing the depth of immunology or cancer research or synthetic biology and all, you can just pick up a book and know that, are we saying that?

Yvette: No, but I think it’s just recognition that siloing away knowledge and putting it on high doesn’t generate acceptance of that knowledge. It’s like what we tell people when we are advising them about creating a foresight competency, that siloing that away or if there was a way to even just purchase the future of your company and be able to know that having that volume of knowledge is pretty useless because you’re not equipped to do anything with it or understand it, or really don’t have the culture within your organization to address it, to accept it, and to act on it.

Similarly, we obviously recognize the importance of scientific discovery. We’re just saying that it can’t be held to just the rich, the white, and the male because I think we have– There are many different ways to democratize discovery. There is letting more people into the field, there is different ways of knowing and recognizing that there is more than quantitative metrics in science or there should be and it should be valued as much as the qualitative and the other ways of knowing and in looking for discovery and knowledge and information from everyone.

Frank: Yes. I love that you said that part because really what that leads us to is that by the end of this month, we’re going to need to get closer to how do we reform or rethink a society where it’s not a question of, gosh, we’re just saying that deep knowledge isn’t important anymore. How do we disperse that knowledge more? How do we give and empower agency among the masses to think that way?

Yvette: How does discovery just become something every day that we do, that we embrace, that we seek as humans in one another, in ourselves, in our environments?

Frank: That allow us to both learn and give learning to-

Yvette: Teach, yes

Frank: -and teach. Also just to, even if we’re not learning and teaching, and we don’t have some kind of deep knowledge, it creates greater wonderment, which is a space for learning [unintelligible 00:35:23]. I think that’s super, super important. As a matter of fact, I know a part of what you were saying [unintelligible 00:35:29] it reminds me of the disordered universe or cosmos. The Disordered Cosmos is a book by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, is relatively new. She’s writing on not just physics and the universe, but she said it should be everybody’s right to go out, look up into the night sky and have wonderment. In the book specifically, she talks about LGBTQ and the trans community and just immigrants community, indigenous communities that have been historically left of the sciences because they’d been largely white and male.

Yvette: Let’s talk about this evolution of the wicked opportunity. One thing that we didn’t mention as it relates to Frankenstein is that in his creation, there was an element of wonderment that he had as almost like a newborn. In analyzing that piece of literature, many people point to the fact that that book really teaches us about compassion and empathy. Gosh, if we don’t need more of that these days, I don’t know what we do need more of?

Frank: Isn’t that a key, because if we have more compassionate empathy in society, there’ll be more wonderment, more openness to learn, and know that I don’t know everything.

Yvette: From each other, yes.

Frank: It’s the idea that if I’m really closed down, I think I’m really smart. The smarter you actually really are, the more you’re open to that you don’t know very much.

Yvette: I think the other thing that has changed around science, even though we’ve talked in this podcast about how the current state of affairs suggests that there is still fear around science and a distrust, we have seen more and more ordinary people entering into science and their humanity be amplified. Women have also obviously entered into the sciences more and that’s, of course, critical because we tend to ask more questions about relationships.

Frank: Love it.

Yvette: I think connecting on the internet and networks, allowing more people to have access, we’re already starting to see this move to more democratized discovery. The weak signals are all around us about how this is already emerging.

Frank: That’s awesome. Of course, when I mentioned that list I didn’t even mention the women part it’s so basic. Bringing that feminine spirit and the science is so important because again, it’s like swimming in that old pool.

Yvette: It’s tough because although there’s obviously–

Frank: No diversity of it.

Yvette: There’s obviously greater representation of women in science, but having had people close to me in that field that are female we’ve got a long way to go because we might’ve checked a few boxes of how many women we have represented, but they don’t feel included. The systems in place definitely act to discriminate against having women continue to progress in those fields.

Frank: Yes. You hear a lot about still microaggression and that’s happening towards that feminine spirit in science because we still want to hold on to the mad lone scientists.

Yvette: Right. Structurally women, when they want to have a family and have children-

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: -again, child-rearing and falls mostly to women in most situations in society. It’s very difficult for them to maintain a career or be able to on-ramp it back on. The other thing we talked a lot about in this podcast is this idea of information and siloing. Of course, that would be a big part of democratized discovery is breaking down those silos, making information much more readily available.

Frank: I think it really plays into the fact, as a matter of fact, at one point we had considered calling our Wicked Opportunity, citizens science, and we’re aware and there are others that have been able to teach us even more on the fact that, and then we’ve read a lot about the fact that this idea of citizen science, which a few years ago was a more popular moniker for what we’re talking about when we say democratized discovery really who is the citizen? How do you define who a citizen is? Again, that can lock the doors to a broader, more diverse, more varied, and colored way of seeing the world.

Yvette: Yes, because today citizen science as great as it is mostly practiced by wealthy white individuals. It does lock out individuals of different backgrounds cultural representations, worldviews, race, and you name it, so, and we need all those because neuroscience studies clearly indicate. If you go back and you look at the works of Einstein and Picasso and all of these supposedly lone geniuses, first, you find out they weren’t actually acting alone. They all had counterparts and peers and partners-

Frank: Groups.

Yvette: -that were huge in influencing and helping them make their discoveries. Neuroscience more recently has really pointed out that having a creative network, having multiple individuals tackling a problem– We take it for granted now, we know that this is the case yet that image and that myth of the lone genius continues to persist despite the fact that we have evidence to suggest that having more individuals, more diverse perspectives involved in solving a problem is much better.

Frank: I love that you brought in social neuroscience. How could you possibly go wrong with that? I think just to close out, we wanted to get back to that multiple ways of knowing, because it’s not just about more inclusion, it’s about more inclusion of different ways of seeing the world. Quite honestly, if you go back to more historical cultures that are being unearthed and I was just reading a piece from [unintelligible 00:41:18] today talking about the Maori way of knowing in New Zealand, very different from a Western view of things. Now we start to dive into the philosophy of science. Why is science been framed the way it is? It’s not because of the science we discovered it’s because of the context that we develop the science in.

That’s a heavy, heavy thought because you’re like, “Wow, we know about neutrons and boom, that’s just because of that’s the way it is.” No. Actually the way we learned about neutrons is because of the context that it was learned in, and if you had learned it in the context of the Maori nation, or [unintelligible 00:41:55] had learned about it from South Africa, it still might be neutrons. Maybe we would have given it a different name, maybe, but I think that the metaphor surround it would be quite different and the philosophy of science would be different.

Yvette: Yes, everything that we need to capture within discovery doesn’t fit in a test tube, and I think by embracing different perspectives what we’ll find is new ways to solve some of these huge challenges like climate change, that are exacerbated by our current scientific ways of knowing. I’m excited about this new month.

Frank: Oh, this is such a great month. I’m so super excited. Frankenstein, we’re going to get you out of that laboratory and we’re going to create a new laboratory before this month is over. One that’s much larger, bigger. You’ll see it probably in the picture already, the header that [unintelligible 00:42:44] does for us, but that laboratory is yours for the take it’s all around this.

Yvette: All right. Thank you so much, Mr. Spencer. It’s been a pleasure again to spend the last little bit with you discovering learning, unlearning, and relearning about Frankenstein’s lab.

Frank: As always, you’re awesome. I’m so excited we’re in our Halloween month, I look forward to the rest of this month and everybody that’s listening until then we can’t wait to go on with this conversation about Frankenstein’s lab. We’ll see you next time.

Yvette: Bye-bye everybody, stay safe.

[00:43:15] [END OF AUDIO]

Frank Spencer: It’s our last week in this particular topic, and I just want to kick us off by saying that I was thinking about the scary events in your life, the scariest events in your life. Mine would always probably revolve around something to do with high school. Have you ever had that recurring dream where you never finished high school. Even as an adult, you’re like, ”Oh, there’s still one class?” You have to keep–

Yvette Montero Salvatico: Mine are always like I show up and I’m not prepared.’ That’s my biggest fear.

Frank: Mine is I didn’t take the test. I don’t know what the test is, or whatever, and I bumped into somebody in the hall.

Yvette: You had a pretty– I mean, what most would consider I think a pretty traumatic high school experience. I crashed a car during driver’s ed, and my experience was less traumatic than yours.

Frank: That’s good. I went to an all-boys Catholic military school. It sounds like I went to boarding school, but I didn’t. I got to go home everyday.

Yvette: That almost would have been better. I don’t know. No, never mind. I take that back.

Frank: There was one day when a priest, because a lot of our teachers were priests and the other half were military people. One day the priest looked up from his desk and his eyes, nose, and ears were bleeding. I don’t know. I just thought I’ll throw that there. It was trauma.

Yvette: Okay. That’s one way to kick us off today.

Frank: Parts of my high school experience. High school is just such a scary, scary, scary time in people’s lives, I think. If our listeners out there have any “Oh, no” high school scary moments, things that go bump in the night, experiences, write us, tell us about it.

Yvette: You’re fond of saying, ”I’m glad I didn’t peak in high school.”

Frank: I’m glad I didn’t peak– I didn’t peak in high school. At the time, I was sad about it.

Yvette: That’s the thing. That’s the thing with perspective comments.

Frank: If there were different classes in high school, say an upper-class, middle-class, and and a lower class, I was classless. I was looking at fourth class, which was like, ”Does he go to school here?”

Yvette: You were just trying to find your way.

Frank: There was that little to me. Before we went to kick this off, I started thinking, during that time, there were just so many events where I would torture my sister on a regular basis. I was thinking even before we went into these scary moments from your childhood, and I know that you and I both had sibling– It’s high school and siblings.

Yvette: I’m the only girl and I have an older brother and a younger brother. There was a grapefruit incident that I’m still not quite over.

Frank: Don’t even elaborate on that. Leave it as grapefruit incident. Let people use their imagination.

Yvette: If you have brothers, you know it can be a few things.

Frank: I will say mine was a stairs incident and we won’t fill in the blanks on that either, but my sister was involved in the stairs somehow. Then a haunted baby doll that always made an appearance around the house, and that’s why she is the way she is today.

Yvette: Your sister?

Frank: Nobody dropped her on her head. It was the haunted baby doll.

Yvette: All right. Enough about our siblings. Welcome, everyone, to the Wicked Opportunities Podcast. I’m Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: My name is haunted baby doll. Frank Spencer.

Yvette: We are working our way through our second month of our second collection. This is week four. This is our create week. It’s always a good week. We are reframing the Wicked Problem of alien invasion to alien eyes.

Frank: Take us to your leader.

Yvette: Exactly. We’ve been working our way through the Natural Foresight® Framework because the podcast, like everything else at The Future School, is fueled with foresight. We believe that everyone should have their lives professionally and personally fueled by foresight. It should run in the background like the operating system helping fuel our decision-making in every facet of our lives. We believe that, if this were the case, the world would be a better place, which is why we showcase how to apply tools during the Wicked Opportunities Podcast, which is, by the way, delivered to you, wherever your podcasts are received, but also via the REFRAME Magazine, which if you’re interested, you could subscribe to. It has the podcast, but then it has a whole bunch of a week’s worth of content. There’s usually a secondary piece of content that goes along with the theme.

For this week, it will be a webcast actually with a TFS alumni and TFS friend, Tamarah Usher, and we get into a little bit of the alien invasion, alien eyes topic, along with lots of other stuff. We talk about motherhood and what it’s like to balance professional and personal, and how she views foresight. If you haven’t had a chance to check that out, that’s a plug for that.

Frank: Tamarah is an amazing futurist and design professional who works for Slalom. There’s just so many– You’ll see that’s the newest one. Before that, there are so many of these recordings that you could just make a television show series out of it. There’s a ton of them. Go back and look. There’s some amazing, amazing interviews.

Yvette: Our foresighted Action series is a video series where we interview decision-makers, policymakers. Sometimes they’re alumni, sometimes they’re not. They’re all people that practice and feel their work with foresight. We love to include that as part of the Create Week. The other thing that we talk about in the Create Week is speculative futuring, because we’re prototyping in this week.

Frank: That’s one of my jams. It’s one of my jams. I really get excited about, in the field of foresight, emerging realities, novel things, and of course you can’t talk about that without talking about speculative futures, spec design, prototyping, artifacting the future, and hot wiring a car from the future and bring it back in design fiction. Really what we do during the Create Week in this collection is we do design fiction. How do we look at things, products, services, experience prototypes from the future around our theme, and bring it to reality and touch the future. Be able to hold it in her hand.

Yvette: If we’re working our way from the push to the pull of the future, as we often do and talk about in the Wicked Opportunities Podcast. We really are trying to pull that future, that Wicked Opportunity future of alien eyes to today. Speaking of alien invasion, alien eyes, shall we just review the quick definitions?

Frank: Always. Every week we do that, and of course, if you’ve been hanging with us– If this is the first podcast you’re listening to, welcome, but you should definitely back up three podcasts at least.

Yvette: You got some binging to do, to catch up.

Frank: You got some binge watching. Netflix, Foreflicks. No, that doesn’t work.

Yvette: Oh, I get it. Foresight. I see what you did there.

Frank: It didn’t work.

Yvette: It’s good. It’s good to have–

Frank: It was a nice try.

Yvette: Good brainstorm.

Frank: The definition of an alien invasion. We’re defining it as the fear of external or unfamiliar influences that threatened to alter the homogenous knowledge, beliefs, and traditions of a community. Sorry, I didn’t mean to stumble on the homogenous piece. Again, if you go back a couple of episodes, you’ll see why that is.

Yvette: Sometimes, people call it homogeneous. We’ve talked a lot about alien invasion over the last few weeks. Week one, if you haven’t had a chance to listen, we talked about the origins of the word. We always do that in week one. We want to learn, unlearn, relearn.

Frank: The etymology.

Yvette: Yes. Just really thinking about why we’ve created this narrative around alien invasion, and what does it really suggest is going on? Because it’s not really just about a fear of space aliens, or aliens from another planet, that could be part of it. What we’ve discovered over the last few weeks of tackling this issue is that really alien invasion is a fear of the unknown and a fear of uncertainty, which we’ve talked about is very meta as it relates to strategic foresight, right?

Frank: That’s right. This has almost been like our foresight endorsement month. Of course, the entire podcast is foresight endorsement.

Yvette: They all are, but this one especially, because I do think that even what we talked about when we scanned on week two. We talked about those weak signals. We talked about not in my backyard. We’ll mention that again today. This idea that we are fearful because we think we can do nothing about uncertainty, and that we are victims to VUCA. Again, there’s a great podcast in the first collection where we actually unpack this idea of VUCA being the enemy. If you haven’t listened to that one, you would love it if you’d love this month. It’s a good sister podcast or set of podcasts.

If we could equip people with the agency to create more equitable futures, then you start to be less fearful. We talked last time about a study that suggests that we would rather know for certain that we’re going to have an electrical shock, then have a 50/50 shot of not having the electrical shock.

Frank: Because it’s a certainty, right?

Yvette: Is that why people aren’t getting vaccinated? “Because I’m sure to get it now. I don’t want to chance it. I just want to know for sure that I’m going to get this thing and get it over with.”

Frank: We could go off on a tangent, but I think that’s partially true.

Yvette: We did talk about the pandemic quite a bit last week. Again, our goal with these podcasts is to equip all of you with language, tools, scaffolds, and frameworks that you can use in your day-to-day lives.

Frank: And confidence to be able to do it, and the courage. Because we can’t stress enough that foresight takes a lot of courage. Because the reality is foresight is not just a stand-in for glorified forecasting or predictive analysis.

Yvette: Or strategy.

Frank: Strategy, how to do it better, a better mousetrap. No, foresight is a way to really embrace uncertainty, complexity, and to leverage it. To understand what’s trying to transform alternative realities. When we work with clients, they may have a focal issue of X. We definitely focus on that focal issue but we have to explore those externalities and those macro forces and those patterns of change that really speak to how is that going to be defined and redefined? It’s not just a stand in for, like, can we do what we’re doing a little bit better? It’s like, no, that’s antiquated. Let’s find out how things are really changing.

Yvette: I think it’s interesting too. Because it’s easy to say we’re democratizing foresight. It’s easier said than done. I think that phrase has now been picked up by a lot of different groups which is great. We need everyone involved in this process because there’s a lot of work to be done. We have to infiltrate every part of society with foresight. I think sometimes and if you’re listening to this podcast, chances are you already think this way. If you’ve gone to our programs, you already lean this way.

We’re not trying to convince you, we’re not singing for our supper in these podcasts. We’re really trying to equip you, as Frank said, with the confidence and the courage because these conversations, when we talk about democratizing foresight, it’s not happening necessarily on this podcast. It’s not even happening necessarily in our training programs. It’s happening day in and day out when you have individual conversations with people that are in your circle of influence. Because these types of conversations require trust and I’m not going to convince somebody in your circle who doesn’t know me that this is the way forward, that’s your job.

If you are looking for, “What can I do in all of this? I’m not in charge of strategy for my company. I’m not the CEO.” You don’t have to be. Do you have a circle of people that you influence? Everybody does. What are you doing to have these conversations with them about creating agency? How are you reaching out to marginalized communities to help them have agency? It’s a privilege to be able to have these conversations and express these thoughts and spend time with this. What are you doing with that privilege? What are you doing with that privilege? It’s great that you’re listening to this podcast, but what are you going to do next?

In the create phase or week of the podcast, we try to add even more tangibility to some of this but even so we’re going to be talking about some concepts here that hopefully help you move forward with your conversation.

Frank: I love that you use the word influence or influencer because we hear so much about influencers today. You keep using that word agency too. I like to follow a lot of people that have conversations about whether agency is something that we really should have or whether that’s egocentric, and we just need to know that we’re a part of the birth-live-die process. We’re specs on the beach. The truth of the matter is we’re just as much a part of nature as any other things are a part of nature. We’ve also got to get away not just from the we’re separated from nature, but the separate but connected idea.

It’s not enough to be separate but connected. We have to realize that if the sun and the moon have agency and the universe has agency to some degree, we have that same agency and we’re here for that purpose, the purpose of life, the purpose of wonderment, the purpose of the universe. We need to live into that purpose. That’s what foresight really is all about. It’s like how do we wrap up past, present, and future and agency and influence and emerging realities and transitioning transformation? That’s all foresight, and bring it into action today which is our Create Week.

Yvette: That’s right. I keep thinking of the word empathy and I know we’re going to talk about empathy in this podcast but foresight is an empathy technology at the end of the day.

Frank: Totally. That’s a whole other podcast, but I love this–

Yvette: Because if you only cared about yourself and about even your inner circle, you won’t practice foresight. We practice foresight because we know there’s more to life than what we can personally influence and touch. There’s more to it than our time here on earth. Because we want to be part of that, something bigger, and ensure our legacy and the legacy of the generations to come. We care about that long term. It’s not about waiting around for that to happen. It’s about informing our decision making in the present through that filter or through that lens.

Frank: You could even say that foresight is a technology of maturity. I lost the train of thought there a little bit but I was thinking about the fact that Peachy this past week was saying from the center of the engaged foresight, foresight is as a technology of care. We talk about foresight being a technology of love, of reconciliation. You cannot love, care and want to reconcile if you’re not thinking about where is this going and how do we do better, and there’s got it be a better way? Those statements we make with foresight.

Yvette: Again, we could go down a whole path of like– I learn something new every day about how different cultures view the future differently. I knew that already, but how some cultures feel like they have to reconcile the past before they can even start thinking about the future. I think that’s really interesting. Again, so wherever you are in the world, whatever you’re dealing with right now, we want to provide that solace, that comfort, that support in using foresight and leveraging foresight as your operating system.

To that end, let’s talk about our Wicked Opportunity this month which is alien eyes. Alien eyes is defined as embracing novel and unique ways of seeing the world as a means of challenging our outdated, antiquated mental models which are untenable in an environment of exponential complexity. Again, just if you’re new to the podcast, we’re not talking about just getting rid of the Wicked Problem or trying to solve the Wicked Problem. It’s really about viewing the Wicked Problem through a different perspective, updating our mental models to view it in a different way. Realizing that within the context of that problem, there’s actually an opportunity.

Frank: Right. For instance, I’m so glad you brought this up because this was on my mind too. One way to solve an alien invasion, kill the alien.

Yvette: We talked about this resilient response last week, about building up the borders.

Frank: Put up a wall.

Yvette: Keep everybody out.

Frank: You’re never going to actually address a problem within the context of the problem because you’re thinking in the context of the problem. It’s just a circular feedback loop. You need to look at this a different way. That’s why we didn’t say alien invasion, anti-alien invasion. It’s, “Let’s completely look at this like the alien would. Let’s get an alien eye.”

Yvette: It’s super meta. It’s super meta. We’re leveraging the aliens to help us view life differently. We’re leveraging the uncertainty. We’re leveraging the novelty to say what is it teaching us? What can we learn from it? How can we adapt and transform to honor it?

Frank: This is just how I– Call it Frank’s version of foresight and his opinion, fine, but this is how I want to encourage you guys to do foresight. Don’t try to solve a problem just on the face value of the problem. Look at what’s trying to emerge, what wants to unfold. I was talking to my friend Jean Russell this past week and she said, “How do you take the sadness and lean into it and leverage it for the opportunity that it’s trying to present?” It’s trying to say something to you, but you’re trying to just overcome the sadness instead of saying, “This situation is trying to speak difference to me.”

Yvette: That’s hard. That’s really hard. Again, I think that’s where you lean into your community, and the community that we’ve built around The Future School alumni and then even broader on Future Space is an amazing place to reach out. Because I guarantee you, if you’re struggling with something that you’re not going to find that you’re alone. It’s a great place to find that support. Excellent.

In this week’s podcast we’re going to take the idea of alien eyes and we’re going to really run with it. We’re going to think transformationally we’ve reached the end of this theme and it’s all about the Wicked Opportunity at this point. If you’ve noticed, we start the month, week one, really focusing on the Wicked Problem, alien invasion in this case, and slowly but surely, we creep across that push and pull of the future all the way now to week four.

Now we’re going to focus solely on that Wicked Opportunity because we’ve tackled that Wicked Problem. We’re going to imagine and create and innovate speculatively using design fiction, a product, a service, and an experience that we could pull out of the idea of alien eyes. How can we manifest alien eyes even sooner by our decisions that we’re going to make today?

Last week, we talked about strategies we could do to deal with this new landscape, resiliently, adaptively, and transformatively. Today we’re going to talk about what’s a product, what’s a service, and what’s an experience that we could create to hasten the arrival of alien eyes?

Frank: Because now, as you’re saying that, if you really think about it, of course, it follows the natural foresight. Discover, explore, map, create are four weeks of every theme. If you think about the way that we’re handling it time, that first time we’re doing unconscious biased modeling. In our second week, it’s all about scanning. Then we do strategy, and last but not least we’re doing designs, so I love that.

Yvette: We really do hit those impact areas really well. We can start with personal development.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: In innovation, we got strategy in the middle there. Now it’s really good.

Frank: Beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing.

Yvette: It’s almost like we know what we’re doing. What do you know? All right, so a product?

Frank: Nobody knows.

Yvette: Actually nobody knows. We have a whole song around that.

Frank: Nobody knows how much work goes into everything that we do.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: Yep.

Yvette: Product, let’s get into it.

Frank: I’m going to steal your thunder, because to be quite honest, this was your idea. As many ideas around here are because you’ve freaking amazing.

Yvette: Fucking amazing?

Frank: Freaking.

Yvette: I said the same about you.

Frank: It’s not a cuss word.

Yvette: I said the same about you. People think that we don’t get along because of our little-

Frank: Everything about that.

Yvette: True. If you’ve been around us long enough, clients know that we get along. We have a playful banter as they like to say.

Frank: That’s what we call it, witty banter.

Yvette: Yes. A product? I’m sorry I interrupted you.

Frank: Empathy valuation.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: Remember that we talked all about NIMBY, not in my backyard. Yvette read you guys an article about how home ownership turns you into a jerk.

Yvette: No. They could have just titled it that and that would have been quicker. It was fascinating to me because it’s a great article in that so many intricacies. You think you’ve figured it out, and you think it’s just a simple linear path from A to B?

Frank: “I bought a house. I’m a homeowner.”

Yvette: No, slow down. Really, honestly, the interest in that article, this is another great example of like, how do we find our scan heads? We knew the topic of alien eyes and alien invasion. We were going down the path and Ashley does a lot of our research. She was going down the path of fake meat and our acceptance of those types of innovations.

Frank: The discourse response.

Yvette: All of that. Then I went down the path of uncertainty, and I have a local group here that literally stood up and got rid of the board members of our homeowners association and started talking about NIMBY. I had never heard of it, but I immediately didn’t like it. I thought, “This is not nice.” Sure enough, reading this article, it’s a very common thing. It’s a super common thing for it to happen.

Frank: It is.

Yvette: It’s all, of course centered around us, being human, wanting to protect probably the value of the largest asset we are ever going to buy. Actually, it’s people attempting to think about the future, because this is their future of their family.

Frank: In a wierd, warped way.

Yvette: Well, within the system they’re having to work into.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: What happens is, by blocking new development that they feel is going to impact the value of their home, by the way, it would not negatively impact the value of their home. The reason why people perceive that blocking these practices or these new ideas helps their value of their home is because blocking those things actually furthers housing scarcity. It’s the scarcity that is creating elevated housing prices.

We would be better off if you were able to think holistically about valuation. This is the problem with our quantified current industrial age systems. It’s that they’re built on what we perceive to be a simpler time. I don’t even think it was that simple back then, but we were able to like bury our head in the sand, I think, a little bit better back then, but now you’ve got globalization, you’ve got technologies, you’ve got social change, all of these intricacies, all of these interconnected elements. It’s so funny because it is a reaction to those things. Literally people know that they cannot really change the value of their home because there’s so many factors that go into it, the public schools, et cetera, there’s just so many things. They do the one thing that they can, which is go to the board meeting and scream and yell like children. Literally like four year olds.

Frank: That’s right. Well, I’m actually glad you brought that up because Corey, Dr. Roy was tweeting this past week and said, “To think more linearly, to think more to non-progressive, is to fall back into infantilism.” Which is what we do to protect ourselves, because we remember that when we were kids, things were straightforward, linear, and simple.

Yvette: That was our perception of it.

Frank: Which is because we’re kids.

Yvette: That’s all you you were exposed to.

Frank: That’s what we fall right back into, it’s infantilism.

Yvette: That’s really interesting. My idea with this empathy valuation, and you could call it whatever you’d like, we’ve done some scenario work around this.

Frank: Yes, I was going to mention the same thing. We wrote a whole scenario for a client on empathy rising.

Yvette: Yes. The idea here is that if we were able to better inform citizens about empathy valuation, so make our valuation of our homes and all these aspects to be more holistic. They don’t just account for historical and those very industrial age metrics, but rather account for the social good, the quality of life, the things we’re starting to see, signals of people caring about and people measuring.

Frank: I forget who said it, but somebody put it evolutionary, cultural transformation. I know those are big hefty words and no neighborhood board is going to say that, but it is what it is. I think we even wrote it here. It’s an environment of cultural inclusion that benefits all parties involved.

Yvette: Well, it’s interesting because the Orlando Economic Partnership who we worked with previously are moving towards more holistic measures, and their-

Frank: Broad-based prosperity, how do you measure that?

Yvette: It used to just be like, “Oh, we’re going to measure jobs created.” Well, what jobs? They started to move their dashboard to be more holistic and closer to this empathy valuation. If anyone from that group is listening, shout out to you all for your good work.

Frank: Anybody around the world that’s listening to this says, “Hey, look in our country, we’re already doing something like this. We have something similar, or we’re moving away from that.” We’d love to hear more about that because I love this and I love what we said in that scenario that we wrote for the client too, “Can we have test beds, maybe cities or neighborhoods that really test this empathy models or empathy valuation models, and how can we do that? What are tools to actually make that practical?”

Yvette: Excellent. That’s the product that we had. Now, if you’re not in charge of your neighborhood board, that’s awesome. Probably you sleep better at night because of it. Are there things within-

Frank: Don’t get on the neighborhood app either.

Yvette: No. Do not do that.

Frank: Maybe do.

Yvette: No. Do not. It starts off well and good. You’re like, “Wow, this is amazing.” Then you’re like, “Why?” No, what I was going to say was, within your organization, within your role, how can you look holistically at things that you’re evaluating and valuing? How do we move all of our valuations or evaluations from strictly quantitative to also considering the qualitative?

Frank: I love that. That’s the first thing we touched on where you’re going to see our service here in just a minute is similar, but the next step up I think. When you look again at our banner picture for the month and, at the end, you see people with alien eyes. Those eyes or eyes of empathy because your eyes grow and they become alien esq when you get more empathy.

Yvette: The next step from walking a mile in a man’s shoes is like if we were really able to see through someone else’s eyes, that would be an amazing, amazing gift to be able to have.

Frank: It really is. That’s our product. Now in terms of designing fiction or designing a service and service design, a lot of service designers are talking about foresight nowadays. As a matter of fact, one of our good friends Kara Massa just moved to Orlando. She is a service designer and futurist working for Athenahealth now.

Yvette: That’s right. She’s a neighbor.

Frank: She’s a neighbor now. I was reading, because I saw where she had liked something. It showed up in my feed that service design network was talking about foresight and doing all this stuff on futuristic thinking in foresight.

Yvette: Welcome, we need you all.

Frank: Welcome.

Yvette: Welcome, we need them all.

Frank: Here, we thought about if we’re getting alien eyes, what would be a service for alien eyes? One of the things that’s come up this past week in social media a lot is trying to go to other nations. We’ll just make it up. This is not a real thing. Empire’s trying to go into other nations and enforce their will upon them.

Yvette: This is a theoretical thing.

Frank: Just totally-

Yvette: Hypothetical.

Frank: Totally hypothetical.

Yvette: Never heard of it.

Frank: It doesn’t work because we think that we’re going to go promote our vision of what freedom and liberty and democracy and liberty for women and education for children, all this stuff that most people in the world would agree is a good thing. How do we get more education to the hands of people? How do we get people to be able to do their creative things, and their jobs, and their passions, and their purpose?

Of course, there’s governments around the world that are authoritarian and quashed that, and anti-women’s rights and all of those things. We think that the way that we can improve that is by giving them our economic system, the one that doesn’t work for us.

Yvette: What could go wrong?

Frank: Or doing something militarily, because we’ll just enforce liberty on you, which is like Jumbo Shrimp. It’s an oxymoron. “We are going to enforce liberty on you.”

Yvette: It’s like trying to force my 14 year old to do anything. Is basically the same result.

Frank: “You’re going to love school or I’m going to give you a spanking.”

Yvette: Exactly. “Aren’t I in charge here?” “No.”

Frank: It reminds me of one time when my sister said they went on vacation to Disney World because we live here, but she–

Yvette: Do people actually come here?

Frank: Yes. People actually come here to go to vacation to Disney World and walk through the gates of the magic kingdom. It happened to smell like trash or something because I think they were collecting the trash and she got a whiff of trash smell. The whole family said like, “Ooh, it stinks in here,” and she got really mad and she said, “Everybody better enjoy join or I’m going to kill all of you.”

Yvette: Oh, family vacations.

Frank: Yes, they’re so fun.

Yvette: That is so much fun.

Frank: That’s us going into, oh, someplace like let’s just make it up Afghanistan and telling them, “Hey, you’re all going to be free here.”

Yvette: What you’re saying is approaching change from lenses that are strictly economic or political, even just thinking about it systematically. Go back to that first collection of podcasts, CLA was our first tool every month. It’s a fun time. We talked about how we try to switch out systems and we really get really curious, why doesn’t it stick? Why doesn’t change stick when we just swap systems out? That’s because there’s values undergirding those systems, and more importantly, there’s narratives that undergird those.

Frank: Yes, because if you’ve really been playing along at home, shouting bingo down the hall, then you know the alien eyes really is all about myth and metaphor.

Yvette: Right. We’ve talked about this idea of the narrative throughout, not just this month, but this idea of these dystopian tropes are a narrative and are producing fear and an additional uncertainty and a reaction to uncertainty that’s negative, but we’ve talked about a lot of different narratives in this month in particular too.

Frank: We have and when we were talking about this idea of a service design, design fiction service, it brought to mind for me and I’m looking at this picture over here of Amanda Gorman that we keep on the shelf and her beautiful poem, The hill we climb, during the Biden inauguration. Then I remembered that Victor Matti who is one of the heads of their World Future Studies Federation, has said this past week commenting on the situation in Afghanistan which is going on right now as you’re listening to this podcast, that if we really want to see this change across the world– It’s cross-cultural too, by the way, the message that needs to go out. We need to fund or support an army of– I think there’s a better word than army, but this is his word. An army of writers, and artists, and poets, and teachers, and educators, and speakers and brave, and risk-taking intellectuals and activists.

I’m just really struck by that image and I’ve thought something similar before, but I love that he repeated this, brought this back to mind again. Can you just imagine if we actually spent those billions of dollars that we spent over the last 20 years trying to prop up an army or a military regime or a force change on people. If we had spent that money on the artists, on the poets, on the writers, on those who weep and cry and paintings, and impact our emotions. If you look back historically, it’s always how change happens. People are impacted in their own hearts and in their own minds first before there’s any external change.

This is even why we said in foresight, it’s like if you want to make an active impression in your organization, something that sticks, it’s not going to be systemic. It’s going to be changing change agents and leaders hearts first, and then they’re going to want to run with it because now it’s their idea, it’s inside of them.

Yvette: Right. How do we work against the sea of negative and anti-truth that is happening on social media?

Frank: Exactly.

Yvette: That’s what’s being funded. To counteract that is this.

Frank: They funded an army-

Yvette: Yes, exactly.

Frank: -of writers, and thinkers, but to do damage.

Yvette: Yes, exactly.

Frank: Nobody learns from it. They go like, “Well, I guess we have to cover that with our military regime.” No, its message. Where is the message? If we were funding an the army, let’s put Amanda Gorman at the head of all this. She’ll fix things real fast for us because it’s that message that needs to get out, and if we had actually spent– Could you imagine, we spent– I think the new military budget in the United States is coming up as $38 billion, but we’re not going to spend any of that money on education, on healthcare, and we’re certainly not going to spend it on poets, writers, and activists, and that’s where our money needs to be going.

Yvette: Yes. Excellent. The service to fund– we need a new word other than army– writers, artists, poets, teachers, educators, speakers, brave and risk taking intellectuals and activists. I love it. Let’s move on to our experience. Let’s end on a bang.

Frank: End on a bang. Our experience on alien eyes is we need to see differently. For me, there’s no better metaphor than what many of you have heard us talk about before, and that’s what we call holoptic foresight which is unique to The Future School. It’s something we created 10, 11, 12 years ago. We’re still working on it. As a matter of fact, we’re talking about now creating a holoptic foresight communities of practice around the world. If you’re interested in that, let us know and stay tuned.

Holoptic foresight, the way we define that is an evolutionary human trait of anticipatory autopoiesis– don’t worry, we’ll fix this in a minute– characterized by the collective perception and cooperative co-creation of emerging realities. In other words, what we’re saying in short is this is a state of existence that makes foresight a natural, both biological and societal human activity.

Yvette: It doesn’t feel like an app. It’s just something that happens, like we breath?

Frank: Foresight is a skill. It is methods. It is a philosophy. It is all these things, but as we grow, is it possible foresight could be an evolutionary trait? Because we love to like harp on the fight and flight trait. “Oh, we’re just lizard brain and fight and flight,” by the way, the lizard brains completely not true. It’s a metaphor that’s untrue in neurological science.

This idea of fight and fight is true. Is it the case that we could be evolving as not just individuals but as a society to actually cooperatively see or perceive what wants to evolve? I contend that it is, and there’s a lot of research and studies that we outside of the field of foresight that we lean on to explain holoptic foresight. It’s something that we think is a liminal space between that strategic foresight where we implement, and that visionary foresight where we dream.

I see this as a circle, and that Holoptic foresight is that liminal space where we changed to see foresight and the world differently. Holoptic, by the way, means many eyed. It’s one whole entity, many eyes, one whole way of viewing. Cooperatively, which is that mature into the evolutionary scale, we can have this trait of holoptic scene, which is an anticipatory of foresight technology.

Yvette: Oh, I hope he buckled your seat belts before that folks because that’s where we leave you. Again, we want to provide support wherever you are on your foresight journey. I think for some of us, it might be closer to the more push end. I’m still trying to get my trainer wheels off of here, off this bike. For some of us, we’re ready to hop into those holoptic communities of practice which we’re really excited about too.

Frank: We hope that we’ve certified every mode of mobility and transportation, and we want to, because everyone’s welcome. We want to meet you where you are. I need you to meet me where I am, so we can all grow together.

Yvette: Yes. We want to spur your thinking and it’s our job to have provocation in these podcasts as thought leaders of the field, but we want to continue to learn. Let us know what you think, and join us on Future Space. Engage with us in any of our social media channels with The Future School, and until next time.

Frank: Yes. Another great month, right?

Yvette: I know another month in the books.

Frank: I won’t give it away, but I’m super excited about next month. It’s a little bit of bwahahaha, another monster.

Yvette: It’ll be another monster for the next few months.

Frank: For sure.

Yvette: Yes. Anyway. Thanks, everyone. Stay safe and we’ll see you next time.

[00:39:55] [END OF AUDIO]

Frank Spencer: Right before we started the podcast, of course, it’s always fun to pre-podcasting. We get to sing songs together. You should be here for the pre-podcast. We have to have the pre-pre-podcast. It’s like the party before the party.

Yvette Montero Savatico: That might be the more interesting part of the podcast.

Frank: We sing Into the Unknown from Frozen.

Yvette: We should all be Elsa. We should all be embracing going into the unknown. That’s what this month is all about.

Frank: For some weird reason, we started singing Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and also The Brady Bunch theme.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: Which reminds me, by the way, that when we first met many moons ago, there was a great story about Little House on the Prairie. One of your all-time favorite after-school shows. You watched it with Leave it to Beaver, which by the way, you knew the Leave it to Beaver trivia the other day. I was really shocked.

Yvette: Wally.

Frank: Wally, the brother. We all forgot Wally. You remembered who it was.

Yvette: Remembered it.

Frank: Then, you’ve got to watch Gilligan’s Island, who knows what else. Love Boat maybe of something. Only assuming.

Yvette: So many good shows. It’s when TV was actually good.

Frank: Definitely, Little House on the Prairie with Michael Landon.

Yvette: It was a favorite, yes.

Frank: Half-Pint.

Yvette: I don’t know what you’re referring to regarding this show.

Frank: I think you probably do because early on, we would really talk about educating capacity and biases and assumptions.

Yvette: Right. Actually, yes. Laura Ingalls was the first “alien eyes” example. Now, I remember. If you could travel back in time and kidnap is a strong term, but if you could encourage Laura to join you and you brought her to Disney World, she would probably faint, or to Super Target, she wouldn’t know what to make of it, but if you took her, this star of Little House on the Prairie, to any fifth-grade classroom, she would know right away where she was because, in many regards, that classroom hasn’t changed from the one-room schoolhouse made famous in that TV show.

Frank: That’s right. Then, at some point, I can’t remember when, you said, either to an audience, or maybe behind the scenes, which let’s assume that it was behind the scenes. You said that from the books, from the fictional stories–

Yvette: No. You’re not remembering. I only referred to it as the TV show. You one time told me, “Well, she was a real-life person and there were books before there was a TV show.”

Frank: That she, Laura Ingalls Wilder, actually wrote herself. Somebody else didn’t write the book. The woman, Laura Ingalls Wilder. [laughs]

Yvette: Okay, all right. You’re so smart. My response to you was, “I will know Little House on the Prairie my way. I will know Laura my way. You can know her your way.” Mine was on my grandma’s bed, watching it on TV, fighting over the remote with my brother.

Frank: You were like, “Oh, that’s so cute. It’s a made up story about this girl named Laura.” But Laura Ingalls Wilder actually, her father would blow up– They would kill the pig, and then, use all the parts including the bladder. They’d blow it up for a kickball outside.

Yvette: All right. Don’t ruin it for everybody.

Frank: That’s history, people. I’m sorry. They kicked around a pig bladder.

Yvette: That’s fantastic. I’m not sure why this was the witty banter. Welcome everyone to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, where we talk about blowing up pigs’ bladders to use as kickball. Welcome.

Frank: Laura had a lot of fun.

Yvette: I am not Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was then, later known when she got married. I am Yvette Montero Savatico, but she made three names cool, back in the day.

Frank: Totally did. I am also not Michael Landon. I am Frank Spencer, but Michael Landon was–

Yvette: Rest in peace.

Frank: Rest in peace, but he was the cool guy.

Yvette: No.

Frank: Michael Landon was cool.

Yvette: I can now say, in hindsight, that he was probably the major reason why I liked that show. Not going to lie.

Frank: Very similar to your CHiPs experience.

Yvette: Okay, are we going to go there too?

Frank: It wasn’t Ponch that you liked. You liked Jon.

Yvette: Okay, everybody. Okay, everybody. Don’t judge me.

Frank: Quick trivia.

Yvette: Please.

Frank: Michael Landon became famous before Little House on the Prairie for what? Little Joe, Bonanza. Remember?

Yvette: Oh, yes. My dad liked that show.

Frank: He was Little Joe.

Yvette: I also remember that this punch line involved me saying that you knew about Laura Ingalls as a book because you’re a bit older than I am, but let’s not go there.

Frank: That was not necessary.

Yvette: No? Okay, so sorry.

Frank: It’s interesting how you think there’s a lot of things where I go off-topic on the podcast, but you– What is the monster this month, age?


Frank: That’s ageist, my friend. That’s ageist.

Yvette: Yes, I apologize.

Frank: Welcome to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast.

Yvette: Welcome. We are in week three of our second month in our second collection, where we are tackling wicked problems that really are personified by dystopic tropes represented by monsters.

Frank: Monsters and things that go bump in the night.

Yvette: Month one was all about the zombie apocalypse, AKA the attention economy, and we reframed that as the global brain. This month, we are tackling alien invasion. Not the little green Martians, but usually things that are known and cause us to have a risk-averse response.

Frank: Clearly, we talked about tons of movies, videos, books, films that had all of this alien stuff in it.

Yvette: Super fun.

Frank: We’re showing you that the reason this is so popular is because we are trying to make sense of the world around us that often seems very alien and that we believe, is a good thing. It should be a good thing. How do we take this wicked problem, and instead of just solving it, flip it on its head, use it, and say, “Let’s become more alien.”

Yvette: Yes, so week three is the mapping week and in this collection, we use a framework called ART. Adaptive, Resilient, and Transformative. It allows us to think about adaptive, resilient, and transformative strategies or responses to our wicked problem, as we attempt to map or migrate to the wicked opportunity of alien eyes. Shall we quickly define our wicked problem and wicked opportunity again or?

Frank: Yes, so for those who may have been joining for the first time and you’re listening to this out of order, we just want you to remember that our definition of an alien invasion is the fear of external or unfamiliar influences that threaten to alter the homogenous knowledge, beliefs and traditions of any community. Then, instead of just solving that and saying, “Well, let’s try to get away from this homogenous knowledge.” What if we gained alien eyes?

This is our wicked opportunity, which is embracing novel and unique ways of seeing, knowing the world as a means of challenging our outdated and antiquated mental models, which are untenable. In an environment of exponential complexity, have to be seen in a completely different way.

Yvette: Right, so if you were around, last month when we did the mapping week, you’ll know that this is also the week where the Reframe magazine also includes an incredible illustration from our artist, Alice Edie, out of Australia. I’m thinking about how she captured, last month, that ART is really RAT because it’s resilience usually first.

Frank: We said, if you remember, “That’s it, we’re going with RAT the rest of the time.”

Yvette: The rest of the time.

Frank: It’s not the ART, Adaptive, Resilient, Transformative. We’re going to do RAT.

Yvette: She had a RAT doing art, so if you missed that. It was literally my favorite thing.

Frank: It was Maestro RAT.

Yvette: It was very good. We have several prompters, and again, the whole purpose here is we’re trying to equip you. We’re trying to give you the confidence to practice strategic foresight and futures thinking in your day-to-day life by modeling that behavior, every single week on The Wicked Opportunities Podcast. People say that they don’t do foresight because it’s too conceptual, and it’s not practical, and it’s not tangible and it’s really our mission at The Future School to change all that.

Through The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, which is fueled by our framework, Natural Foresight, we walk through the framework. Discover, explore, map, create and we deploy different tools every week, and show you how it’s done so that you feel the confidence that you need to do this yourself.

Frank: Just a really quick plug. If you’re not familiar with the Natural Foresight Framework very well, there’s videos out there on it. We’ve done a few. You can look for those. They’re on our website, but there’s also the guide to the Natural Foresight Framework, which you can download on the website.

Yvette: The Primer, which is a shorter read.

Frank: The Primer, which is a shorter read about discover, explore, map, create. We’ve said this a million times, but the Natural Foresight Framework is a true framework that you can use that really helps us, just like we’re doing this month to embrace complexity better, to grow with it, to evolve with it. It’s a super-powerful framework that’s not linear and that’s why companies around the world are using it.

Yvette: Complexity is not going away, friends.

Frank: No, nor should it.

Yvette: I know what you’re feeling right now. Again, this is that evergreen comment of, it’s a very heavy time in our world and part of the reason why it feels so heavy is because we have not equipped our fellow peers and ourselves with the ability to understand and respond to a complex environment.

Frank: So heavy. It’s so heavy. It gives me chills when you say that because if we were equipping people to embrace complexity instead of writing articles about how we should defeat it. Our friend, Nora Bateson, she probably would say, “Stop calling it complexity because you’re trapping it.” But she calls it vitality. It’s called life. Complexity equals life.

Yvette: Like we said in last week’s podcast, how we frame things, the narrative we give things, makes all the difference in the world. When we view complexity and the growing complexity as the enemy, then we default back to old ways of doing and thinking that aren’t going to solve these issues that we are confronting.

Today, this week in the wicked opportunities podcast, we are going to map a RAT response, a Resilient, Adaptive and Transformative response, so that we could demonstrate how we move from alien invasion to alien eyes. The more specific example we’re going to use is around the pandemic and around COVID-19, but before we jump into that, I just wanted to share a little bit about what we mean by Resilient, Adaptive and Transformative.

When we’re talking about resilient responses, we’re talking about, when we’re given the challenge of our current environment, we ask ourselves what values and aspects of our society will we need to lean on in order to maintain our baseline or official future as it relates to this issue? We are just trying to hold our own and keep our path forward. What strategies will allow us to maximize our present success? That’s what resilience is about.

We’ll circle back to that in just a second. When we’re talking about adaptive and an adaptive response, we would say, ask ourselves what problems or disruptions are apparent in our current environment and how can these be leveraged for our future success regarding this issue. What new platforms, possibilities or partners can ensure that we avoid a breakdown as it relates to the issue. That’s more of an adaptive response.

Again, there’s no right or wrong here. We probably want Resilient, Adaptive and Transformative responses for all the issues that we’re facing day in and day out, because we have to think in simultaneous multiples and different responses are appropriate with different time periods, different situations. Moments in time, transformative, the prompt would be what is the core element of today that can be leveraged for ongoing success in the emerging environment? What new narrative must be imagined to allow society to achieve a breakthrough transformational outcome in regards to this issue?

We’re not just trying to avoid breakdown when I just try to stay the course, we are trying to leverage the current environment to reach a higher order, higher plane of existence.

Frank: Yes. I would just even add to that it’s not about– It’s either adaptive, resilient, or transformative. It is all adaptive, resilient and transformative. I say that mostly to– I could go off on a different tangent with that, but mostly to say that eventually, if things don’t transform, they die. Transformation is a part of nature. I know that there’s a couple of popular future thinkers out there who might disagree with us on that, but that’s exactly why there’s different people in the world with different messages.

Yvette: Bring it. No, I’m just kidding.

Frank: I’m thinking of one in particular who had said to me at one point, which is perfectly fine, “Well I don’t know about the transformation part and does everything transform?” Yes, everything eventually transforms and without transformation or [unintelligible 00:12:56] that I mentioned last week, transformation literacy, things are going to die off. There’s a point in time of transformation. It’s a natural part of the order.

Yvette: We just did our S-curve lab with our activator cohort and we talked about how everything goes through that natural growth curve that S-curve and if we’re not planning for cascading growth curves, then we’ll reach a point where we have a breakdown and not a breakthrough. That’s all about transformation, so because this idea of ART or RAT is relatively, I think, new to folks, I just want to do a very super simple, quick example, which could’ve been the topic quite honestly, that we could have used for today’s podcast because it does relate to the idea of alien invasion, alien eyes, but we felt like we’ve already tackled this type of issue and we wanted to talk about the pandemic specifically, but the question or the topic of diversity and inclusion, or as it’s continued to evolve, it’s changed names.

A resilient response originally, was really about that core diversity. It was about creating awareness and having Hispanic heritage month and really acknowledging and saying to people, I see your differences, which is great. I mean, diversity is amazing, but then we learned, we evolve. We understood that it wasn’t enough to have diversity. We needed to have inclusion. You can think of the move to inclusion as the adaptive strategy or response, but this came usually in the form of, we need more women or people of color on our boards and checking the boxes.

Frank: Yes. I was thinking even as you were saying that that I remember someone say not long ago, I’m sure several have said this, that we don’t want inclusion because that means that you are the guys who had the keys or the power to include us. We want ownership just like you have.

Yvette: You’re jumping into that transformative piece where it’s really about equity. If resilience was about diversity and adaptation was about inclusion, then the transformative response would be one around equity, ownership and really experiencing someone else’s perspective, that alien eyes, embodiment. We could just end there, but how sad would we be? We wouldn’t have a very full podcast.

Frank: See you next week everybody.

Yvette: Now, that you’ve got the idea here, what we’re talking about when we’re talking about resilient, adaptive and transformative responses, let’s talk about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frank: That’s a good one.

Yvette: Right. An alien virus.

Frank: It is a novel virus that’s what people don’t seem to be understanding yet after 18 months or longer, that this is not a version of the flu. It’s not the pig flu, that’s part of the flu, but a worse flu. Also, it’s not the flu. It is the corona virus, which at its most simple essence, it’s a cold, I’m not a virologist, but I’m just saying some of what [crosstalk].

Yvette: But he’s read a lot on the internet.

Frank: [laughs] Right.

Yvette: So that makes you one.

Frank: Over the last few days, I became a political analyst too. Thank you Twitter. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express last night. [crosstalk]

Yvette: That’s good.

Frank: But just saying all this, because I could easily accidentally also put out misinformation as well and I want you to try not to do that.

Yvette: We have to be really careful. One of the reasons why we wanted– And we generally lean into courage when we talk about topics. We’ve talked about really all of the topics you’re supposed to avoid on this podcast over the first, second [crosstalk]. Religion, race you name it, We’ve talked about it. You might think, “Well, maybe the pandemic isn’t that controversial.” There’s controversial elements in it and like Frank said, we don’t want to misstep.

Please, if we say something incorrect, please let us know and we will definitely correct it, but we don’t want to, because of fear of making a mistake, we don’t want to tackle this issue because today it’s a global pandemic tomorrow it will be the next issue that has a global footprint. Last week we talked about not in my backyard and the fact that your real estate, if you will, in that case, actual real estate, I’m talking more figuratively here where your ownership begins and ends, that usually drives this idea of alien invasion. Don’t come on my property or my area that I own.

Frank: I saw another acronym is YIMBY. Y-I-M-B-Y, I never got to see what– I think it’s like you’re in my backyard, which is like, did it need to be different from NIMBY [inaudible 00:17:57], but then in my mind imagined it to be a positive thing, like yes, in my backyard.

Yvette: Oh, we’l have to look into that because I know that NIMBY is not positive.

Frank: No.

Yvette: What’s interesting is we talked at the last podcast about how your territory or how you encompass the in-crowd versus the out crowd, has limitations. Here we’re talking about literally a virus that’s spreading across the globe. There is no backyard where this virus hasn’t touched and this will be the case with problems as we go forward because complexity, because systematic risk because we’re all interconnected. Climate change and another great example.

Frank: Well, I know we’ve mentioned this on the show and gosh, we got to have this great presentation which I think has been released by now. I’ve got to go back and check, but from a Peachy Dakinya from the Center for Engaged Foresight on the Philippines, and I probably just messed up her name, but I think I phonetically pronounced it. Peachy is a wonderful futurist, but before that wasn’t environmentalist and was talking about biodiversity and she– You’ve seen a similar meme on the internet I’m sure, but during her presentation to us and to the global foresight advisory council, she showed the multiple waves and the tiny wave was the pandemic.

The people below the wave here were like, if you just wash your hands, everything will be okay and the way behind that was climate change. Usually, they stopped there, but then she showed this giant wave over that, which was biodiversity. It was really not recognizing that we’re connected to everything. As we stay disconnected, there’s this wave that will that will drown everything out.

Yvette: Hold that thought, Mr. Spencer, you’re stealing your own thunder with your ways, but this is one of the reasons why we wanted to tackle this issue and walk through what we’re seeing as resilient, adaptive and what we believe is the transformative response. Are we ready to talk about resilience?

Frank: We are.

Yvette: Remember, when we’re talking about resilience, we’re trying to think about how do we stay the course? How do we support the status quo? I think this is the most obvious response. We call this response in terms of a metaphor, build a wall. We’re trying, this is early on in the pandemic, although people are still trying to do this, where we closed our borders and really responded in terms of fear and xenophobia.

Frank: It’s only increased it. Here in the United States, and I’d be interested to hear elsewhere, we had certain groups saying, “Told you, we should have built a wall, because who is bringing the virus over? It’s the people from–” it’s always from the global south, so it’s below us, it’s the Mexican community that’s coming across, where we were supposed to build this wall when in reality, the facts show that there is less uptick of COVID in Mexico. It’s the other way around, they don’t want us to come into Mexico. We’re the ones with the virus, more so.

Again that xenophobia, it’s easy to blame. Here’s the air quotes, again, you don’t see me doing it, “the alien” for the problem when it’s not the alien that’s the problem. We try to build these walls and to close the borders and deny other cultures as if that’s the problem when it’s not the problem.

Yvette: Right and then again, it’s an old toolkit for what is a very new futuristic attacker and it’s why it’s comical to think that you are going to somehow stop the entry of this invisible virus by closing physical borders. It’s a little bit crazy and I mentioned that this was response early on, but really a resilient response continues because if you hear people talking about the vaccine, they almost act like it’s more alien than the virus itself.

Frank: I don’t even know what to say. The frustration is always in my voice. It’s like, we have a– This is where I started this conversation with it’s a novel virus, it’s actually a type of pneumonia, or it’s a super pneumonia in a manner of speaking, or that’s the effects that it has, at least, you’ll drown in this thing. It’s so novel and so alien, but we’re more worried about the vaccine than we are about the virus.

We’re worried about the thing that can help us rather than the thing that can actually kill us but it’s like, again, we form this idea about what is in that thing? I don’t know what’s in the vaccine. Who knows what they may put in it, what the ingredients are? Which is crazy, because–

Yvette: You eat McDonald’s? [laughs]

Frank: I saw this one I saw this TikTok this past week, it’s called the-

Yvette: You have a TikTok feed now.

Frank: I have a Tick tock feed.

Yvette: I got you addicted.

Frank: It’s called the Redneck liberal and he’s saying, it’s real southern and everything and he’s talking about progressive policies and he said, “What are you talking about? You don’t know what’s in the vaccine? You don’t know what is in Dr. Pepper, but you drink tons of those every day.”

Yvette: Especially diet Dr. Pepper.

Frank: Well, yes you don’t.

Yvette: I lost my train of thought.

Frank: No, it’s just that we don’t know what–

Yvette: I know what I was going to say. It’s the response to uncertainty. Again, that I found a more recent study that showed that when people participating in this study knew with certainty, 100% certainty that they were going to get an electric shock, they were actually calmer than if there was a 50%, 50% chance that they would get the shock.

Frank: Why is that?

Yvette: Because they would rather know they’re going to get shocked than not know.

Frank: There’s a certainty about knowing you’re going to get shocked?

Yvette: Exactly.

Frank: They’re going to get shot, they’re not going to get shot, but in the middle, it’s just really bad.

Yvette: I can’t deal with it. I need to know. That’s how badly we deal with uncertainty.

Frank: Well, that’s interesting, because there was an article that we were also going to share and speak about the virus that really talked about we think there’s a hypothesis that if we tell people like Dr. Fauci in the United States, you either love him or you despise him, and you should be loving him because he’s been around for a long time. He’s an amazing individual and like all good science, when we learn more, we shift. That’s what science does.

It says, “Hey, a few months ago, we were off a little bit, we’re going to change the projections and our responses to it because we’ve learned more. That’s science.” But for some reason people like, “Uh.” It turns out, instead of trying to be certain at every stage, if we told people we’re not sure things are going to shift, they can actually handle that, but we’ve done a bad job with that.

Yvette: Being transparent is more important than having a false sense of certainty.

Frank: Yes, false sense of certainty.

Yvette: It’s good stuff. Okay, that’s resilient. I think that’s pretty straightforward. This idea of building a wall, keeping it out, albeit not very successfully, but that’s how we try to remain the status quo. Let’s talk about–

Frank: I don’t to mean to harp on that last thing because we mentioned that this month is so tied to why you should do foresight, alien eyes, why you should do foresight and that last piece is like, if we start telling people that they need to embrace uncertainty, and it’s going to be okay, their organizations aren’t going to collapse, they’re actually going to be glad.

I think this even goes back some studies that show that when you do foresight in your organization, people get jazzed about it, and then when you stop doing it they know that you’re almost like you’re hiding something again and that we need– Just like the article you read to us already from last week, that we need to actually have uncertainty built into our organizations and society–

Yvette: Yes, curiosity is important.

Frank: I just couldn’t get away from that because this idea that it’s okay to be uncertain and that people are going to be okay with it, but we’re convinced people are not going to be, and that we quantify everything, and data has become king and that is wrong. We need to dethrone this whole I’m sure data is king thing and get back to more qualitative exercises in society.

Yvette: Because again, the fact of the matter is, the world is uncertain and you can’t predict the future and so–

Frank: But isn’t that what data tries to do though? Because I’m not saying data is false. Obviously, it’s a real thing.

Yvette: It’s why we call it the warm familiar blinky. It gives us a false sense of security.

Frank: I’m not by no stretch of imagination, trying to say there isn’t such a thing as data. I’m saying that when we put it on the mountaintop, it’s awful.

Yvette: Right and so ultimately, what we try to do as foresight professionals is recognize that we’re all making decisions every day that create the future, we just need to do it more purposefully and with frameworks that allow us to have a transformational, transparent, collaborative conversation around what we want to do what we don’t want to do, what future we want to create more equitably, period as the kids say. Period.

Frank: Bustin’, bustin’.


Yvette: Geez, we’re just–

Frank: [unintelligible 00:27:22]. Our next part of the RAT equation is adaptation.

Yvette: Right. For resilience, we talked about building a wall. For adaptation, we want to talk about following the herd.

Frank: The metaphor, follow the herd.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: This is the idea of really avoiding disruption. This can happen through social distancing, wear your mask, make sure you get it on there.

Yvette: Yes, we’re adapting to this environment and so what do I need to do? I need to put on a mask or I need to battle putting on the mask. I need to just get out there, we need to live our lives.

Frank: I know we have lives to live.

Yvette: Yes, and of course, follow the herd, we’re talking about this idea that we all need to get it, we need to have herd immunity.

Frank: It’s not false. Of course, the way that you try to get there faster is through vaccination.

Yvette: What do you know?

Frank: What do you know?

Yvette: What a concept? You have a lot less dead people when you do it that way.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: And a lot less heartache and a lot of less illness.

Frank: That’s why we have herd immunity around smallpox, and we have it around– And I know the argument about zoonotic versus non-zoonotic, but that’s why we haven’t heard immunity around this, because most people have been vaccinated for mumps and rubella and measles and the same thing has to happen here, but eventually if it were possible and there are good reasons out there, why this is not going to happen as speedily or as efficiently than it could with the flu, or something like that with Coronavirus, this herd immunity can’t just happen just from people catching it, because like you said, it’s going to be a lot of dead people.

Yvette: It’s very costly.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Yes. Then remember then, we’re talking about adaptation, resilience and transformation, working our way from the push to the pull of the future. In the push, we’re being more reactionary, in this middle section, we’re trying to make a shift so we’re not just reacting to the response, we’re thinking more thoughtfully about how to avoid disruption and so in the way that businesses and governments have reacted, they’re like, “Look, let’s stop the bleeding. We need to get people back to work. Let’s put practices in place to make it more safe, et cetera.” I would say that to some extent these tactics are helpful, social distancing and mask wearing.

Frank: They absolutely are. As a matter of fact, I want to add something onto the end of this that I don’t think we put in show notes or anything, and that is that one of the reasons that we want to get back to life as normal and again, this goes back to last week when we were saying, discuss response and I want to know what’s normal. I don’t want you in my backyard. It’s because it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of a capitalist economy and we just cannot wrap our heads around the fact that I do not need to push my kid necessarily back to school. I know it’s driving us crazy, so there’s that whole part. It’s true but–

Yvette: No, but the reason is because we don’t have a social safety net. We talked about this last week.

Frank: There’s a clip going around of two news commentators or a guest and a news commentator talking about, in the military to train their dogs, they keep them hungry and that we should, the only way to get people to go back to work is stop giving them a social safety net, make them hungry. That is capitalism speaking.

Yvette: It’s scarcity. It’s back to the scarcity mindset.

Frank: I know that somebody is going to listen to this and go, “You anti-capitalist.” But do you got to remember that capitalism and democracy aren’t the same thing. One is an economic and one is an ideology. We do not have to depend on extreme capitalism and that’s what this is showing us. A transformational way forward is not just something about the viruses that the reason you’re trying to push people out there and that you’re afraid of everything is because you’re afraid that the job and you’re the way of life that you knew it is going to collapse and guess what?

Yvette: It’s going to collapse either way.

Frank: It was happening before the pandemic started.

Yvette: That was resilience and adaptation. Let’s talk about transformation. For transformation, we want to just talk about the fact that the virus is mutating. We’ve got Delta, we’ve got other variants. why don’t we follow suit? Why don’t we mutate ourselves?

Frank: The vaccine, right? Back to the vaccine.

Yvette: Let’s talk about the vaccine.

Frank: Let’s not go too deep, because I’m not a scientist, but for those who are, you can certainly chime in and I love this woman that I follow on Twitter. She’s sy talk with Tracy I think, so @sytalkwithtracy, if you want to look it up. She’s amazing, she’s a a retired immunologist and virologist, a professor from John Hopkins university. She knows what she’s talking about and she watches videos and then comments on them with a split screen that you can share duet on TikTok and she talks about this.

It’s like this one woman who came on and said, “So as you get a vaccine it’s alters your DNA.” No, it doesn’t alter your DNA. It is a messenger, RNA. It’s sending a message to the RNA to tell your body to replicate or to watch out for the spike proteins so that when it does come in, it will be able to fight it. That’s an oversimplification of a vast amount of science, but what it is doing that other vaccinations have never done is it’s actually changing the way your RNA responds. It’s not a mutation, so don’t think that I said that it’s a transformative response of your body, unlike the way we’ve ever done vaccinations before.

Yvette: Right. What we wanted to think about in this transformative response is seeing it from the perspective of the virus. This alien eyes concept and what we’ve called this transformative response, where resilience was build a wall, adaptation was the herd, transformation is empathetic mutations.

Frank: Yes, I love that empathetic mutations because ultimately, we just touched on the fact that mutating and the RNA messenger vaccine and all of this, but I love this idea of empathy too, because we need more than just a vaccine for individual bodies that sends a message to an RNA. We need a social transformational meme like a messenger for our social RNA that transforms or sends a message to the rest of the society that you don’t have to hold onto life as we knew it. It’s time for a transformation.

Yvette: Right. It was never about the virus because there’s always gonna be the next virus and the next virus, whether it’s an actual virus or not. It’s a realization that we have to think about the fact that we’re interconnected as a species and these crises are going to be interconnected crises that require us to utilize foresight and foresight, a big part of it is looking at the world with alien eyes.

Frank: That’s right. To get super practical and technical here for a moment. One of the reasons this virus even happened as far as we know so far is an encroachment on our wildlife and on the rain forest and those kinds of things where, because it’s a zoonotic, a virus, from animals and so that itself speaks to the fact that we don’t understand our interconnected ecology, that we are nature. We’re a part of nature. We need to treat this whole thing with respect and it’s our disrespect that’s causing a lot of this.

I said this even before we started the podcast that if you look at this as a much bigger picture, it is our siloing and our separation from everything that always causes every problem we have. We have nationalism, climate change, biodiversity loss, it’s all about siloing, it’s all about alien invasion. When we treat the alien like alien, when we give it a name alien, we’re going to end up with a problem, but when we get the eyes, when we become the alien, when we see through that a different way of sensing the knowing a connected way then we solve our problems.

Yvette: We mentioned, it’s not really about altering our DNA so to speak, but if you go down that fear or that metaphorical path we need to really alter our mindset to be more caring and acknowledge the fact that we’re all this together and that we have to tackle these issues in a unilateral way or no one’s going to be successful. I also love how potentially these MRNs vaccines have set us up to cure cancer potentially to potentially offer a cure for HIV.

Frank: That would have never happened before. What a sad thing that were like that for whatever reason, I even said this last week that we’ve been tricked largely by the barons, the media bearings, the ad barons, the political barons and we’ve got to stop listening to them. We’ve got to take back these spaces like the digital space and such and we got to take back this critical thinking, this knowledge because this amazing, this horrible thing has happened, that the pandemic still has a silver lining. We’re going to use these MRNs for things that we didn’t think we could solve before. This could be a way for us to solve cancer and in that crazy.

Yvette: It is.

Frank: We have gotten to stop the misinformation. That’s tearing down such a wonderful, wonderful thing, a way to transform that we’ve never seen before.

Yvette: Again, if it has taught us anything our response to the pandemic has shown us that we need to equip people with the ability to engage with uncertainty, to have a healthy dose of curiosity, and to not approach the world with a mindset of scarcity and risk aversion and we’re going to need that. We need to cultivate a futurist mindset if we’re going to be successful in this crisis, as well as the ones that are found.

Frank: We do well, I’m just going to end by saying again, thank you, we could. who does our beautiful graphic every month and this month by now, if you’re listening to this, you’ve seen the amazing four parts of the header visual, where the aliens you see, oh my gosh, they’re pointing, they’re scared. They’re running away and then they see it’s alien craft but on that last frame, which we’re going to really get to most of the next week in our create do you see the people’s eyes start to turn into aliens eyes? They’re seeing the visitors they’re seeing what they were afraid of before and they’re seeing one another through a new lens, a new eye, a new way of knowing.

Yvette: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Mr. Spencer, thank you to all of you for joining us. Next week, we will talk about implementing this transformational strategy in the form of new experiences, new products and new services to give you an even more tangible representation of alien eyes. Until then stay safe. We’ll catch you next time.

Frank: Read some lore and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

Yvette: Or watch the show.

Frank: I wonder if she ever thought about aliens, if they ever thought about.

Yvette: I don’t know. I don’t believe there was an episode on Little House, on the Prairie about aliens, half pint to don’t have to about.

Frank: What it would make for some great fan section.

Yvette: I am quite certain that they dealt with metaphorical aliens a lot if I had to guess.

Frank: Yes. I think Nellie at the corner store probably pushed the idea of it.

Yvette: Well, Nellie hymns herself was an alien, but that’s a topic for another time.

Frank: There would be some great fan section, Little House on the Prairie alien version where they had to deal with it.

Yvette: The reboot of Little House on the Prairie. It’s actually [inaudible]

Frank: For next week. We’ll see you then, but go write some alien fan fiction, Little House on the Prairie version and take care.

Yvette: Bye.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: A lot of folks that listen to the podcast will know, of course, that you are an incredible futurist. For decades now, you’ve been–

Frank Spencer: Well, thank you.

Yvette: A steward, a visionary in the field. What many folks, maybe that even are staunch fans may not know is that you’re actually a really good cook.

Frank: A renaissance man, they might say.

Yvette: I don’t know if I’d go that far.

Frank: No, because you don’t see playing the lute around the office or anything.

Yvette: You do play the guitar.

Frank: I did, see. I told you, renaissance man.

Yvette: Another fun fact. You can throw together a stir fry and other things.

Frank: I learned years ago because as– my mother was not a negligent mother or anything, I felt like that’s where I was about to go.

Yvette: “My years in the foster system. I had to raise my siblings.”

Frank: I cooked for the entire– they came up and, “Another serving, please.”

Yvette: “I learned how to feed the family of six with one kidney bean.” No, that’s how [inaudible 00:01:12].

Frank: No, I just learned how to cook and I think my sister did too.

Yvette: Here’s the thing. I always am jealous of people that cook like you do because I can follow a recipe because I’m analytical, my background’s in finance. I have a set of rules to follow. I’m very anal about it. I’m measuring stuff out. That’s why I’m a really good baker but making regular food, it’s a disaster.

Frank: What I’ve noticed about you making what you’re calling and doing the air quotes here “regular food” is you get nervous about it. You can do it but if it doesn’t have a recipe to go, you’re really worried. You would be fine. Except this whole quantitative thing is tripping you up.

Yvette: Actually, this has to do a lot with our theme and fear of the unknown.

Frank: It actually does.

Yvette: That’s really good.

Frank: Just to end this idea, I learned a long time ago to cook by sense, like sense making this. Like does that seem like it would be good? You try it and if it isn’t, you never do that again. You do it differently.

Yvette: I’m seeing a whole new career path for you. It’s like the futurist chef where pattern and sense-making evolve into culinary masterpieces.

Frank: Culinary anticipation.

Yvette: You’ve got the name. All right. We got to stop recording because you got to go work on the logo now.

Frank: Need to work on it, and my new set of meatballs. You know how they have a craft of beer. I have like six meatballs every [inaudible 00:02:41].

Yvette: Let’s work on that. I’m not sure if I would do meatballs as my first product launching. Welcome, everyone. My name is Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: My name is meatballs.

Yvette: Chef Frank Spencer is your name. Welcome to the weekend [crosstalk]

Frank: I’m starting my own show, The iron futurist.

Yvette: No, I’m telling you.

Frank: That didn’t work?

Yvette: No, culinary, what did you say? Anticipation?

Frank: Culinary anticipation.

Yvette: TM it baby. TM it.

Frank: You could be like, you know the Property Brothers? You could be the one that just brought the people in and said, “Hey, I’d never get my hands dirty but have a meatball.” I’m in there greasy and serving the meatballs.

Yvette: I’m not even going to touch that with a 10-foot pole because we got stuff to talk about here. Welcome to the wicked opportunities podcast where we talk about wicked problems and incredible complexity as well as meatballs. We cover it all, people.

Frank: I feel like these are all– there’s a Venn diagram here somewhere.

Yvette: Somewhere. We are in our second collection, our second month, our second week. All twos right now, which is interesting. If you were with us last week, we started off with a discover week. We tackle a wicked problem every month using strategic foresight and more specifically, our natural foresight framework. It is our mission at the future school to democratize the field of foresight. We believe the world would be a better place if everyone had thought this way. It’s our mission life work to demystify these tools. Through the wicked opportunities podcast, what we do is we take real-world problems and we unpack them and we try to find weak signals in the environment that point to them and then we build strategy toward a more prosperous aspirational future and then talk about how you can innovate out of that. That’s basically the gist of it.

Frank: That’s the gist of it. Like you said, we follow the natural foresight framework, discover, explore, map, create. That’s our four weeks. If you’ve never after all this time seen the natural foresight framework, well, there’s plenty of places to see it at, and companies all around the world are using it. In this second collection, in particular, wicked problems through work and opportunities, we’re talking about monsters. This is our monsters collection as you already know. As Yvette said, in this month, we’re talking all about alien invasion.

Yvette: Right. We unpack those dystopic tropes, talk about how important it is to have more transformational narratives in our society, if we truly want transformational change. We are now in the Explore week. As we talked about last week, we are in alien invasion is our wicked problem. We are working our way through the natural foresight framework to really show how we can leverage complexity with updating our mindset to really unframe or reframe, I should say, alien invasion as alien eyes.

Frank: In this explore week, different from the first collection because we’re following some different tools, different ways of looking at things. In this one, we’re doing environmental scanning. We’re taking the articles, we’ve done scanning, we’re going to talk about some articles that sort of drift from the alien invasion idea more towards the alien eyes as we move along in the articles and then as you know, if you listened to the first week, we’re going to spend that–

Yvette: The first month, yes.

Frank: First month. Second week, first month.

Yvette: We spun the wheel for the first time.

Frank: That’s what I was going to say. Prices, right.

Yvette: It’s exciting. I’m excited too. I’m all choked up about it because it’s one of my favorite things.

Frank: Spin that wheel. Then we’ll do a version of what we call stump the futures.

Yvette: Explore phase is all about environmental scanning. It’s all about reading articles and finding those weak signals, not only the trends but the value shifts and then, as Frank said, with some of the features, we’ll talk about some implications of the articles that we’re reading. Let me just remind everybody about the wicked problem and the wicked opportunity just to ground everyone in case you’re just diving into the topic here. When we talk about alien invasion, we all know what this means. From a pop culture perspective, we’re talking about aliens coming from another planet. We define alien invasion for the purpose of the wicked opportunities podcast as the fear of external or unfamiliar influences that threaten to alter the homogenous knowledge, beliefs, and traditions of the community. Now, I have fear around homogenous, the word.

Frank: There’s a whole, I think, probably phenomenon around fear of words. There’s a phobia for everything.

Yvette: I’m super fearful of mispronouncing people’s names.

Frank: Oh, that’s terrible. I’m bad at this.

Yvette: I actually don’t know if it maybe stems actually from the fact that I learned Spanish before I learned English and there was probably times in my childhood where I said– I know it, that I said words wrong because growing up in a Cuban household where it was Spanglish or Spanish, and I learned everything by ear and anyway. We went off an a little bit of a tangent there. Thank you for being my therapist. Yes. Okay. That’s alien invasion. Obviously, we’re fearful of the external unfamiliar, it’s threatening our way of life where we don’t want to include people outside of our group. We’re going to talk a lot about that.

Frank: There’s a lot of reasons for it. We’ll talk about it.

Yvette: Then alien eyes, we want to move towards this wicked opportunity of alien eyes. This is embracing novel and unique ways of seeing the world as a means of challenging our outdated and antiquated mental models, which are untenable in an environment of exponential complexity. If you want to learn more about the origins of alien and alien invasion, check out week one if you haven’t. We talked a lot about where that concept came from and we impacted and then we built towards the whole idea of alien eyes and how it really is a great encapsulation of foresight and because it has to do with how do we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes?

Frank: Seeing things differently. Seeing novelty. I think novelty is a big word for this month. More so than probably the zombie month where we went to the wicked opportunity, the global brain. Now talking about alien eyes, we need to be comfortable with seeing things at different ways, see different perspectives, right. Anticipating novel things coming our way and somehow creating a stress ability to be able to embrace uncertainty. That’s what alien eyes really means.

I love that you hinted too that in some of the articles today, we’re going to talk about why all those movies about aliens invading and us building and military exercises against it or somehow stopping the aliens from invading really relates to how we try to stop the other. Here I’m doing the air quotes again but you don’t get to see it from the podcast. The other. The other can be a lot of things. There’s a reason. There’s actually good evolutionary and biological reasons why we reject “the other”. Rejecting the other biologically, neurologically, physically, emotionally, is also a very bad thing. Wow, what a mind-bender.

Yvette: What a conundrum.

Frank: What a conundrum. How do we deal with that?

Yvette: In the articles that we’ve curated for today, by the way, you can get a hold of these articles in our Diigo Outliner as well as a few others we won’t have time to discuss. The Diigo Outliner is basically a little sneak peek into our scanning repository. If you’re interested in how we scan, what we scan, what we highlight, what we tag, check out that Diigo Outliner that’ll be released as part of our reframe magazine that’s free. You have to subscribe.

In today’s collection of articles, we’re going to talk about everything from homeownership to food and morality, to actual alien invasions, and the fact that our talent needs to embrace curiosity. I think that covers the basic topics.

Frank: Nice. You left one for the end, but we’ll talk about that one together.

Yvette: Yes, I said actual alien invasion. I kicked it off with that one. That’ll be the last one, but it’ll be interesting. I’m excited, so really good. Then, of course, we’re going to end with some of the features. We’ve got to stop dilly-dallying, we’re going to run out of time. First article, Entitled homeownership can bring out the worst in you. It is on Vox.

Frank: That’s already controversial.

Yvette: I know. I love controversy.

Frank: Homeownership can bring out the worst in you.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: A lot of people are in homes.

Yvette: I don’t see an author here. Oh, here we go, by Jerusalem Demsas. This was published July 30th, 2021. Let me explain what this article is about. Obviously, if you’re from the US, you already know our infatuation with homeownership, perhaps this goes beyond the US. I’d love to hear from our global audience and let us know what homeownership and if that’s something that’s aspired to. Here, if you want to achieve the American dream, it really goes hand in hand with owning a home with a white picket fence in a neighborhood.

Frank: That’s right, nice neighborhood.

Yvette: Yes, in a nice neighborhood. That’s the key here. We’ve really pushed homeownership for a number of decades. I think the idea being that it supports economic stability, gives people a stake in America’s future, is the idea, right? What this article talks about is that it’s really evolved and it’s turned its beneficiaries against progress and change. You become a homeowner. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you end up being against change. If you all have heard this concept of Not In My Backyard.

Frank: NIMBY.

Yvette: NIMBY. I sought out this article because we’re seeing this happen in our development here where we live in Central Florida. A group actually ousted the homeowners’ association board, and the group actually called themselves NIMBY, Not In My Backyard. They organize and protest new development, new roads, new apartment complexes, you name it. This article just talks about how, in reality, one of the major drivers here is America’s scarcity mindset. It talks about survival values, which supposedly come about because of economic scarcity, include ethnocentrism, xenophobia, fear of disease, and a hunger for authoritarianism.

We’ve created the situation in America where we have a shortage of housing. At one point last year, we were down to 1.9 months of housing inventory, which means that, if no houses were being built, we would run out of houses in two months. You know it would be much sooner because there are pockets where it was way worse. In the US, we’ve also provided or not provided a social safety net. When you finally join the homeownership club, this is likely the largest asset that you own, and so your mindset is, “I’ve got to protect this at all cost, and the only thing that I can control because I can’t control the complex elements that impact homeownership value in a scarce environment, I look to organize.” It’s a lot easier for me to organize with the people that live in my neighborhood as opposed to the people who might be for the additional bus stop or the COVID testing site. Those things benefit a diffused group.

The other group, the homeowner group is a very clear, tangible group that is easier to organize. They’re also usually White, usually wealthy. While really they’re not driven by scarcity within themselves because they are wealthy, they still are fearful of what happens when their homogenous communities end up resembling more diverse communities. You see coded language like neighborhood character, historic preservation. You know what that language really means is we’re valuing White character and White history.

Frank: We want things to stay the way they are.

Yvette: Exactly. It’s a fear of change and it’s tough. It’s a very vicious circle because these are the individuals that also vote. When you become a homeowner, you go out and you vote at higher numbers, whereas people that are disenfranchised are those that don’t have stable economic–

Frank: Don’t vote or don’t have as much access to vote, which is a statement that should not come out of my mouth, in a democracy “don’t have access to vote.”

Yvette: Yes. Let me recap. At the end of the day, there’s this really interesting study that they did where they showed that homeowners worked against things that would benefit society as a whole. This is time and time again like you become a homeowner, and you only look at your own benefits, you become more selfish. These are things that go against the betterment of the overall society, which, again, ironically, in the long term, would benefit me as a homeowner because it improves the housing values if everyone gains.

Economists have measured the loss of aggregate growth as a result of restrictions on housing supply to be roughly 36%. The average worker could have made roughly $3,600 more. You’re really hurting yourself, you’re hurting everyone.

Frank: It doesn’t matter because the thing that you’re not hurting is the thing that you really care about the most, which speaks volumes about quantitative or qualitative, that we definitely care about the qualitative piece more. In another article, I’ll save it because the article I want to talk about talks about why those groups are in-groups versus out-groups and how we determine what an in-group and an out-group is.

I just needed to come to this acronym of NIMBY, Not In My Backyard, because of the topic that we’re on, alien invasion reminded me of SETI, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and the SETI group. It’s almost like Not In My Backyard is a group that’s seeking forward and destroying aliens.

Yvette: It is in their own way. It’s out of a risk aversion and fear, ultimately.

Frank: You can easily see how– I’m sidetracking I think the important part of this article right now.

Yvette: There’s so many good things in that article.

Frank: So many good things. You can make a whole movie about this, aliens invading the block. Remember, there was a movie called On The Block or something like that, and aliens invade. They were like, “Not in my neighborhood,” which really is a metaphor for, “I’m kicking the aliens out of my neighborhood.”

Yvette: While I understand you want to create solidarity and connection within your community, I think it’s when you do so by creating walls, for lack of a better metaphor, that you end up–

Frank: I think it’s a great metaphor because we’re all very used to it at this point.

Yvette: Well, you end up hurting yourself in the longer term. Again, it’s a failure of the ability to think about the long-term aspect, to your point, to value not just the quantitative historical things that we typically use as metrics, and understand the qualitative, the ability to understand systematically how things are connected, and that it’s not enough for my little zip code to do well. We all hurt if– The article even talks about how these individuals, maybe they retire with a nest egg, but everyone’s moved away because no one can afford to live there and there’s no affordable housing.

Frank: How it destroys the whole environment after a period of time. It’s just counterproductive.

Yvette: It does.

Frank: A non-alien eyes’ perspective, a non-curiosity, a non-inclusive will tear the environment. When we start talking about biodiversity, and how that’s all about diversity, creativity, difference, inclusion, multitudes of species, it can come right down to a human neighborhood or an anthropological neighborhood. It’s like when it’s not biodiverse economically, culturally, eventually, it decays, it dies.

Yvette: So what you got?

Frank: Yes. Related in many ways, there’s this article that was published July of this year by Lewis Fabian and it’s called, Is disgust related to morality.

Yvette: Interesting.

Frank: It says as a subtitle, The disgust response acts as a behavioral immune system. It’s like important, the article goes on to say that, “Historically and evolutionarily we tend to not eat foods that we can’t relate to over a period of time because what we have done is we’ve weeded out poisonous are dangerous foods to our people group.”

Yvette: Right. Well, that sounds like a good idea. I definitely don’t want to be eating the poison mushrooms.

Frank: Exactly. Anything that looks foreign to us, we develop this disgust symptom or syndrome actually causes us to– our disgust responses is what I was trying to say, causes us to reject it.

Yvette: Even unconsciously when aren’t even thinking about it.

Frank: Yes because we’ve learned that over a period of time.

Yvette: is this why my kids didn’t like new foods growing up? Did they think I was trying to poison them with the vegetable?

Frank: In a manner of speaking, yes.

Yvette: McDonald’s chicken nuggets were safe. I don’t know.

Frank: You know what’s really interesting about what you just said, is it says in here that we made fun of the last president in the United States always eating McDonald’s. It could have actually been purposely done because he knows that the majority of Americans eat McDonald’s and if you eat McDonald’s you’re the in-group, because it’s a food everybody can trust.

Yvette: And it’s accessible and yes. And it’s all Americans, all American. Fascinating.

Frank: As opposed to the elites, eating sushi and Boba tea, and I was like, oh, gross. I don’t want to eat that. I don’t want to eat meat and potatoes that are hamburger from McDonald’s, that’s what real Americans eat. We’ve learned over a period of time to protect ourselves from this. The interesting part about this article is it says there’s two things I really wanted to point out without really turning the pages of the article here and looking at it. I’ve memorized what it says, that– early on it says we can go into a group. We humans actually hate to be in too large of a group because there’s too many people that are in there that we might not know.

Yvette: Too many variables.

Frank: We’re disgusted by most of them.

Yvette: I can align with that.

Frank: They could be sick.

Yvette: That’s true nowadays. I’m really into that. I’m super into that.

Frank: Of course, even more with the pandemic we really know it but even before the pandemic. If it’s around a thing that we all are there for a reason, like we went and see Stevie Nicks in concert, I don’t want to see Stevie Nicks, it just came to mind. One time we swam in the fleet with met pool.

Yvette: We did, that’s a story for another [crosstalk]

Frank: We’ll have to do a woody bear on the Fleetwood Met pool. If we all were there, we’ll tolerate it because we’re all there around the same thing.

Yvette: There’s a common thing tying us together.

Frank: We know it must be safe. We assume we’re all there to enjoy Stevie Nicks and nobody’s there for any other reason. Otherwise we don’t want to be in large groups if we don’t know, if they’re all there. The mall can even serve as a type of because you can get in the mall and feel like it’s too crowded, but we know we’re all there, the local mall to shop and have fun. There’s some commonality. What this article basically says is, yes, that sounds great about the food thing and we pass it on and somebody ate something’s poisoned.

Now, we want to pass things on, not just genetically but medically, message-wise so that our kids wouldn’t be poisoned.

What happens is we pass this from a tangible thing to an intangible, more qualitative thing, morality. Now, we start to say, well, if the food was disgusting, then your sexual orientation of, it’s not like the one that we use in our in-group, it’s also disgusting, it might hurt us. You look different, you’re skinny. We’re not as skinny. These people are taller. We’re this average height. Of course, skin color, we created race back in the 1500s. That’s how that happened. That’s how that came about.

Yvette: It went from something that was triggered by safety and wellbeing and like just staying alive and mutated.

Frank: Along he evolutionary scale to us stopping on that scale of evolution because we’re supposed to keep moving from competition competition, right? The disgust response to cooperation, that’s the higher order of evolution. You don’t move to it because you get used to this environment where you’re like, we’ll just stay here. It’s called complacency and static.

Yvette: It’s weird because I know like some people would be like, well, we evolve because morality is a higher level than just flight or fight. Using judgment, I’m judging you, that’s higher in the evolutionary chain, than adjust being afraid of the poisonous mushroom.

Frank: That’s exactly right. I think it really leads to this, one of the next articles that you were going to talk about too or it’s down the line somewhere, maybe I’m the one with it. I am the one with it. After you described one of the articles that we’ll get back to the food thing here again, but it’s really interesting because along the line, we’re supposed to learn that diversity in our food supply as well is good, we just need to learn to eat other things and we need to learn they’re not bad, but we don’t do it. That’s why you get a McDonald’s capturing the psyche of the zeitgeists of society because we serve one thing and we serve it well, processed hamburger, cow meat.

Yvette: And we serve billions, interesting.

Frank: And we serve billions. I love that, what you said that you eventually translate this into morality and the rest of that sentence that I stopped reading at the beginning was protecting us from disease but produces strong reactions to perceived outgroups, which could eventually create greater diversity, cultural evolution and societal transformation. When we stop at that, we never get there.

The end, I remember the in paragraphs and the article said, it’s interesting, the United States has a melting pot, but our melting pot is that when you come to our country, you need to learn a language. Similarly, you got to go to a mall and dress as they show on our commercials but in Canada, our neighbor next door, diversity is much more accepted, but you can dress differently.

Yvette: It’s weird too because in America, like I get it and being a child of immigrants, being a first generation American, there is this aspirational component of being American and try to assimilate that. That is like not that we were ever embarrassed of our culture, but there was a level of pride obviously in learning English and being successful here and, and blending in. That’s all part of that indoctrination.

Frank: You can see how it’s gone from that to just in a few short hundred years really a short period of time where now we’re in a psych case where people are saying, that all really hurt us. It hurt a lot of people groups and it benefited one people group in particular and that’s got to change.

Yvette: All right. Speaking of change, we’ve talked about a couple of articles, I think lean more toward the alien invasion, wicked problem, fear. Why we maybe have an aversion to new things. I want to turn our attention to a article from chief learning officer written by, oh, I can’t see. I don’t know what I did with my glasses. What is that?

Frank: The article was written in January of this year by Alison Horse Meyer. This is why you have to take your glasses into the podcast booth as well. Oh, okay.

Yvette: I’m so old. The title is Why we must deliberately embed curiosity instead of conformity. I know articles about creativity and curiosity are a dime a dozen. What I loved about this one though, is it talks specifically about curiosity being a counterpoint to conformity. Then it talks about the reason being the fact that we’re in a complex environment. Our environment is complex and constantly changing. We need intentional development of Metta skills. I love that Metta skills. The ability, the knowledge of how to learn, right? How to unlearn and how to relearn right?

Frank: The knowledge of how to get more knowledge than knowledge of how to learn, you know?

Yvette: Yes. Definitely navigate Oregon. It excuse me, organizations and their leaders must dismantle, ingrained conventional frameworks and legacy thinking conformist approaches and inflexible systems and deliberately embed curiosity if they are to succeed in our VUCA world.

Frank: In an environment where novelty becomes the norm.

Yvette: Yes. Curiosity, this article says it’s defined is generally defined as the desire recognition and pursuit to explore novel ,uncertain, complex and ambiguous invents. This author says, instead of VUCA, let’s talk about Nuka. Of course, curiosity is actually squashed through a single agent. Conformity. Conformity involves restraining beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and actions that are suspected to or actually do deviate or disrupt social expectations, conventions and norms. You have organizations, especially nowadays where they’re trying to figure out these hybrid work environments. People don’t want to go back to the office. They’re struggling even harder to curate and cultivate a organizational culture and I could see that resulting in a backlash to creativity of wanting more and more people to perform.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: That is the death knell, especially according to this article. It says instead, curiosity also is the embodiment of intrinsic motivation. If you want to get an engaged workforce, we need to promote the creation of more resilient forms of knowledge building, cultivation of shared experiences, and reinterpretation of the boundaries and nature of issues. What they’re basically saying without saying it is that we need strategic foresight in futures thinking.

Frank: That’s right. I was thinking about it.

Yvette: The new skill paradigm, it says, is really a meta-skill paradigm. Where the skills we need to develop are those higher-order capabilities, like creativity that catalyze the development of other skills. He calls this double loop.

Frank: Yes, double-loop learning.

Yvette: Or she, excuse me, Allison calls it double-loop learning. Again, we wanted to sandwich this in the middle of the two articles on either end of it because I think it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed by some of this other stuff like oh, gosh, homeownership makes me a jerk. I am going to hate all new foods and I have to love McDonald’s, it’s an ingrained evolutionary trait. This is why the French fries are so– I could have a whole discussion about McDonald’s French fries, and especially when I was pregnant.

Frank: There might have to also be wooden bears.

Yvette: We’ve come up with a lot of wooden bears but we wanted to, again, in the middle of this, nestle this idea that how do we turn the tide as we now look at a couple of articles that may be pointing more to the alien eyes. How do we specifically curate and cultivate skills within ourselves? We wanted to point out this idea that meta-skills and meta-learning, the double-loop learning, and this idea of curiosity over conformity.

Frank: Yes, excellent. I think it leads right into this article, which was published, I believe in May of this year. These are all in 2021.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: It’s called social acceptance is vital to success of novel food technology. I said I was going to [unintelligible 00:32:15]

Yvette: You’re going back to food, you must be hungry.

Frank: It’s [unintelligible 00:32:21] culture to be hungry.

Yvette: It’s interesting when we came up with this idea of alien invasion, alien eyes, we thought early, early on, that we wanted to make sure that we broaden the perspective here about what we’re talking about. Because obviously, it’s very easy to have a discussion centered around immigration and migration and those types of things. That is obviously critically important. We’ve talked about that in other podcasts in the first collection, but we wanted to make sure people understood that whether or not you’re for the wall or whether you open your arms for Afghan refugees. What we’re talking about here is anything that is alien. This movement towards technological new foods, the fake meat, so to speak, and the backlash of those things genetically modified. Decades ago, food was given a really bad rep and this all has to do with our acceptance of novelty, right?

Frank: It does. If you know us, you know that we think that’s all tied together. They’re not separate.

Yvette: No.

Frank: Articles or issues, really.

Yvette: Again, I only highlight that because I think it’s easy for us to sit there and say, “Well, obviously, I’m progressive and I would accept who my neighbor is. I’m progressive in that perspective.” Are there other elements in your life where you don’t even realize you’re unconsciously-

Frank: That’s right, let’s all cry together.

Yvette: -having this negative feeling around something that’s different.

Frank: That’s right, in this article they hit on this exactly and says nowadays we know that there’s a lot of genetic modification in foods. Of course, we’re seeing the meat moving away from meat and more meat alternatives. Maybe even growing our meat, cell growth in laboratories. Singapore is really on top of all of this with food technology, food tech, agtech, adjustment funds, and kind of things. I going to do this quickly. It says as Singapore aspires to be a regional global hub, it needs to stay abreast of the issues that are actually impacting the risk perception. It’s not about like, oh, it turns out the genetically modified foods don’t hurt people and we’ve done a lot of research about it. It’s perceptions around this. It goes on to say that technologies we think that novel foods ingredients as processes will be automatically accepted by society, or just overly optimistic alternative proteins plant, insect, cellular, animal, including fish reared in high-intensity environments, they all have the potential to be rejected by members of society. We’re seeing negative reactions to them. While there’s apparent social acceptance of plant-based meats at this time, there’s pushback linked to highly processed nature of the product. I don’t think this thing is natural, or the nutritive value of the product, the presence of genetically modified ingredients. Just the yuck factor, the cleanliness factor, the naturals factor, and think about what I’m saying in all that how that really relates to societal transformation as well.

I thought this was, I don’t know why but for me in this article, the most fascinating part was the end where he says, “We need to prepare a risk communication engagement strategy for these alien foods.” I thought it was really heavy because I was thinking about Otto Scharmer and present scene and Holarctic foresight. If you’ve listened to our shows before, you know what these things are but it’s really about changing our perception or perceiving novelty. As Scharmer said on an article recently that we need tools for societal transformation, we have to have a message. I even heard someone said the other day, it’s like, “If we really wanted democracy to spread around the world, you can’t do it through economics or military it’s through message.” Unleash the poet’s, unleash the Amanda Gorman’s of the world. That’s how you change minds. We need an engagement strategy, a message strategy to be able to have alien eyes and receive societal transformation.

Yvette: Yes, that’s why narrative is so important and we talk about it all the time.

Frank: Yes, that’s how super powerful. Yes.

Yvette: All right. Shall we do our last article real quick?

Frank: Last article, we’ll do it real quick.

Yvette: Then will do stump the future. This last article is entitled, it’s from May 13th of this year, Even if You Think Discussing Aliens Is Ridiculous, Just Hear Me Out. This is by Ezra Klein, and it was in The New York Times. I know, it’s a little bit on the news, alien invasion and we’re going to talk about alien invasion, of course. This article was published right around the time that the US government issued their report about all of those sightings.

Frank: Yes, that’s right.

Yvette: This author posits what would happen if we did in fact, have an alien spaceship crash here on earth, is that right?

Frank: Yes. He says, “Imagine, tomorrow, an alien craft crashed in Oregon. There was no life forms on it. It was just a drone, but it was obvious that the technology was alien. How would it change human culture and society?” It goes on to posit that what would immediately happen and what is happening right now it’s not a land grab, it’s a narrative grab. Who is controlling the narrative? I think this is going to be really powerful than just a minute when we talk about our stump the futures piece, potentially, I hope we go in that direction. We’ll see, my mind’s already wanting to talk about a certain things so we’ll see where we go.

Yvette: We have to spin the wheel, Frank Spencer.

Frank: I know.

Yvette: The wheel decides.

Frank: I know, we’ll see what happens. We have to spin said wheel.

Yvette: [laughs] It goes to chance and fate.

Frank: It always does, that’s the whole point of this podcast, I think. How do we really change that narrative? I love this part where he says, “The reality is in life, and beings on earth, we already have gods, spirits, angels, ghosts, ancestors, it’s already not weird for us to think there’s people watching us or things that are out there. Would it really change anything?” Somebody else says, “No, it probably would because it wouldn’t just be about a civilizational collision, it would be about a new scientific revolution.” Much like when we found out that the Earth orbit the sun, or the world was filled with bacteria, or life shaped by natural selection, this too might have that kind of change. For instance, think about the fact when, in the same decade that we went to the moon is when we also created Medicare, Medicaid, and the Civil Rights Act. Then Klein says, “I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”

Yvette: Interesting.

Frank: If we are able to see through alien eyes, incredible societal transformation is possible.

Yvette: Wow. Love it. I love ending on that note in terms of our scanning. Now, we want to play stump the future. What we’re going to do is-

Frank: I love it.

Yvette: -we’re going to spin the wheel a couple of times. I won’t go into the details because we’re running a little bit short on time, but the idea here is that there are three ways of scanning. We scan from the point of manifestation, which is the trend which we use, our STEEP categories, Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, and Political to make sure we’re scanning robustly across all those domains. Then we have values, the point of origin and then point of implication, a point of impact, excuse me. We have five-point of impact questions, think, frame, connect, produce and use. First, we’re going to spin the wheel Yvette:-and see what seat category we land on. Here we go.

Frank: All right beak out your beautiful wheel then.

Yvette: All right, here we go. I hope it works.

[wheel spinning]

Frank: Okay.

Yvette: Whoo, environment.

Frank: You landed on the environment.

Yvette: Asha will be happy, she’s an environmentalist. Of course, the environment doesn’t have to be just the natural environment, it could be the built environment.

Frank: That’s right. We talk about that all the time.

Yvette: It could be the virtual environment. Okay, so that’s our steep category. Now we’re going to choose the point of impact question. Again, think, frame, connect, produce and use, these are five questions that we can ask to understand what are the counter-trends? What are the impacts, what are the implications of our scanning? Let me spin the wheel.

Frank: Our wheels are big, by the way, but there’s two side by side so we can add to different categories here.

Yvette: Well, our studio isn’t that large so here we go.

[wheel spinning]

Yvette: Ah, connect.

Frank: The connect, your favorite one.

Yvette: That is my first– Connect is what technology medium or art will be used to connect people, places, and things.

Frank: Environment and connect. Of course, we’re talking about alien eyes here. Environment and connect, and we’re talking about alien eyes. I love this idea of the medium on Connect. I know that many times, even last month when we talked about global brain we’ve hit on digital spaces. Immediately in my mind, there’s a powerful idea that comes up about the medium and the way that was used. I’ve been harping on NF T’s lately non-fungible tokens and introducing scarcity to an environment that’s supposed to be about abundance. I think there’s something to be said about this environment.

Yvette: Well, yes, because in theory, we’ve heard a lot said about how virtual reality can really be an empathy machine. When we’re talking about alien eyes, in a lot of ways, we’re talking about ensuring empathy.

Frank: I love that.

Yvette: However, I can already hear our participants saying, “Wait just a minute, how is that virtual space is going drive empathy, as we think about connecting in that virtual environment, or connected environment? When we see today, we have tons of echo chambers and a lot of our issues. This was touched upon in a lot of the articles were are being exacerbated by social media and similar platforms, right?

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: Risk and anxiety and those false narratives are being amplified.

Frank: Well, this is exactly what came– what I was starting to hit on already, the medium because this is– Again, I’m not pulling this out of thin air. This is something coming because we chose this, but I don’t personally believe that that environment, that digital environment, and really a blended environment between the physical and digital– because we’re moving more towards that.

Yvette: Okay, so I like this idea. I like the idea that it’s not just, I’m thinking about the virtual space, because I do think even the article about homeownership really speaks to the fact that we have physical spaces, too. Really, what we’re seeing is a blending of those environments.

Frank: Yes, and what I was going to say is that if we were to correctly and morally and ethically take care of this, instead of just using it for various reasons, then we wouldn’t let groups being absconding it and hacking it and stealing it from us. You see, those spaces being used for a lot of good and moral purposes but largely, what we know is Twitter and Facebook. You think, “Oh, gosh, millions of people getting on the internet have all these opinions.” I actually don’t think that’s what’s going on. I think that we have political groups on there who’ve divided us. Misinformation, that misinformation didn’t come from Jane Doe and John Doe down the street. It came from a group that was using it to get reelected and to trick you. You got tricked.

Yvette: I was going to say, Jane and Joe did amplify it, but they didn’t originate it.

Frank: Yes, you got tricked, and you should be mad about that.

Yvette: Yes. I think it goes back to what you were saying around scarcity and the fact that these platforms have been monetized. They have owners, they’re not really open.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Even if you think about access to the internet, it’s not equitable. It’s not distributed equitably. When we talked to a group not that long ago, about how we thought access to the internet was a great focus for their efforts. The response we got was, “Isn’t there free Wi-Fi at McDonald’s? Why would we need to ensure that?” It’s let them eat cake. When you introduce scarcity and this economic model, when in fact, these platforms should be a public utility.

Frank: Public lands, right? We talked about that in some scenarios we wrote recently for clients. I just want to end by saying that don’t be mad at the medium, be angry at those who misused it. It’s the same thing we saw this weekend, a new article that I forget who it is Amazon, Google, of course, Bezos. They’re now going to literally put advertisements in space so that you can see them.

Yvette: [chuckle] I had heard this, geez.

Frank: No, this is actually happening. What it does is it hurts space exploration, which is so vital to us. Don’t be mad at space exploration, we need more of that. Be pissed off at Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, who divided you. He tricked you.

Yvette: Yes. I think at the end of the day, this idea of alien invasion versus alien eyes, Often the line of division between those two ideas fall in how you perceive your environment. Where your land “begins and ends”. If it’s within your neighborhood, then you might have that NIMBY mentality. If it’s within your country, you might have an America first mentality. If you can broaden people’s perspective, even beyond our Earth to be more curious and explore and get over that risk aversion, and that morality of things that are different, then I think you can get a lot closer to alien eyes.

Frank: You can, excellent.

Yvette: Excellent.

Frank: Love it. Well, thank you for joining us for another edition of The Wicked Opportunities podcast, as we’re in our alien invasion to alien eyes a month. We will see you next week for the map version of this, where we will take a look at adaptive and resilient, and transformative strategies.

Yvette: Absolutely. See you guys next time. Stay safe.

[00:46:37] [END OF AUDIO]

Yvette Montero Salvatico: We’ve had a lot of incredible global adventures.

Frank Spencer: We have had a ton of incredible global adventures. When you say that, to me, it’s just immediately in my mind, I just had these flashes of like, the Sydney Opera House and standing in front of a monument or the Berlin Gate.

Yvette: Those were standout moments. There was also the time that we almost got sent back from Canada.

Frank: Yes, I almost got us arrested. We should not tell that story on a podcast.

Yvette: Why? We didn’t do anything wrong.

Frank: We did not do anything wrong but it was close [laughs].

Yvette: What?

Frank: It was close.

Yvette: It was a good learning for us about what to say and what not to say to the Customs Officials.

Frank: See? That’s what I’m saying.

Yvette: No, I think this is actually probably really valuable advice for people.

Frank: And therapeutic.

Yvette: This might be like– they might get all their money’s worth for this podcast in the witty banter section.

Frank: Then listen carefully here. If you’re ever going to Canada, I won’t say where because it’s a big nation, and you land in the airport, and you’re there to speak at a conference and/or do business.

Yvette: Always say that you’re there to speak for a conference, that’s what-

Frank: That’s why I started with that one.

Yvette: Because that’s not what we said.

Frank: Unless you’re Canadian.

Yvette: Yes. They really don’t like that Americans get Canadian jobs.

Frank: I thought we were friends. I thought Canadians came over here. There’s a place in your car, we could go across the border, I can go across the border, we can go watch the backside of water at Niagara Falls.

Yvette: You are wrong because we made the mistake of saying on our customs forums, that we were there to do business with a client.

Frank: Right, which was not true?

Yvette: No, it was true.

Frank: Okay, I can see this is part where I am wondering.

Yvette: I know, it’s a little bit confusing. We’re going to tell the truth right now on the podcast to help the people.

Frank: We may not be let back in Canada again.

Yvette: We told the truth when we got off the plane.

Frank: We did.

Yvette: Then when we had gotten our luggage, and we thought, “Oh, it’s time to head over to the hotel and have a nice drink and stuff”, they were like, “Mr. Spencer, you need to go that way-

Frank: Line B.

Yvette: – and Miss Montero Salvatico, you go that way”.

Frank: Line A. I was like, “Why are we going to different lines?”

Yvette: We got separated. Thank God it was an English-speaking country, no offense, I know they speak-

Frank: Better English than we do.

Yvette: Right. Of course, I’m only saying that because if we were somewhere where we got separated and it was non-English speaking, we’d have that against us but do you know what? Actually, would have been better because I think the fact that we could speak English got us in all kinds of problems, because I know you started talking and you started digging.

Frank: I tend to talk. Everybody’s my friend.

Yvette: Yes. I think you got nervous and so you were like volunteering-

Frank: Nervous is extreme. I wasn’t shaking or sweating.

Yvette: No but I wasn’t with you but I can only imagine.

Frank: I was like, “What’s going on here?” They were asking questions that were really weird and I couldn’t even understand why they were asking them to me, it didn’t make sense. But in the end, here’s the thing, this is not even what our witty banter was supposed to be about.

Yvette: No but this is going to be what it’s about.

Frank: This is what it’s about.

Yvette: Next week we’ll do the other one.

Frank: It was the inspector that got us out of the trouble, wasn’t us.

Yvette: Right. I said to him, “What is the issue?” He basically said, “Look, there’s tax implications if you’re coming here to work for a company.” One of the questions they had asked, “Isn’t there a Canadian company that could do this work?” I’m like, “Well, I don’t know”.

Frank: Right, that’s the big deal.

Yvette: You have to pay taxes if you’re obviously–

Frank: Of course.

Yvette: We now know this and we now know to say that we’re speaking at a conference. Anyway, so by the end, I think he just felt badly for us because we had, I won’t say where but we flew for a long time, this is not a short flight.

Frank: Again, a part of the large nation of Canada, one point of entry.

Yvette: Yes. That was a long way away from Florida.

Frank: Well, thanks. You just noted that’s not Toronto, obviously.

Yvette: Anyway, yes, the inspector was kind enough by the end to say, “So, you’re saying you’re here just to pitch to this company?”

Frank: Yes, he started doing that kind of thing where it’s like, “In other words, you want to speak at a conference”.

Yvette: That’s what he was doing to me, and so I was like, “Yes, that’s right.” In the meanwhile, Frank’s coming over and they’re basically putting Frank in handcuffs to send him back.

Frank: It was close but–

Yvette: His guy was not as nice as my guy. He comes around the corner, Frank does, and he’s like, “I let ahead and told them I’m like” [unintelligible 00:04:42].

Frank: That literally happened, just about like that. The inspector that was with you looked at me like, “Say no more words”.

Yvette: “No more.” And you can tell from my face that I was like-

Frank: I immediately went silent. I don’t think I spoke for the next hour.


Yvette: Anyway, people were being sent back. It’s not an exaggeration, we dodged a bullet. Anyway-

Frank: The guy in front of me went back, but yes.

Yvette: Welcome to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast.

Frank: Welcome.

Yvette: Hopefully, that wasn’t the highlight of the whole thing, but you know what? You get what you pay for, so there you go.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: My name is Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: My name is Frank Spencer, and Canada, I love you.

Yvette: We do we ask for political asylum-

Frank: Oh, Canada.

Yvette: – multiple times and we love our clients there, if any of them are listening, shout out to you all. You all are amazing. Not that we have any clients there because they would be tax implications like that.

Frank: Yes, but I might be speaking at a conference there when the pandemic is over.

Yvette: We just have friends. You know by now that The Wicked Opportunities Podcast is fueled by foresight, we have a mission at the future school of democratizing the field of foresight, we believe the world would be a better place if everyone thought this way. Through The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, we look to reframe wicked problems as wicked opportunities by updating our mindsets, using foresight tools and methodologies.

We are within our Second Collection, our First Collection was several months ago, and we went through seven months. They were amazing. Go back and listen to them. They’re still timely, and we’ll probably be creating some content around them.

Frank: More than probably, yes.

Yvette: Yes. We’ll be creating some content around that so be on the lookout for that. Last month, we moved into our Second Collection, which is our Monsters Collection.

Frank: Our Monsters Collection. Of course, you finish Zombies now if you’ve been listening, and so we’re entering as that said, our new month, which is all about aliens.

Yvette: Right. Last month, we looked at zombie apocalypse. This month it’s all about alien invasion. Each week within this month, we will tackle a different or use a different facet of the natural foresight framework to reframe alien invasion into something new and different. It’s not about solving this idea of alien invasion. We’ll talk about how we define that, but rather reframing it and updating our mental models so that we see the opportunity within this complex landscape. I think that’s it for setup, yes?

Frank: Yes, except for the fact that and I know you’ve already gently touched on this, but our learn, unlearn.

Yvette: Right, this week is-

Frank: You say refrain, and I just want to say in this week, what we do is we go through learn, let’s talk about the etymology, the origins of it.

Yvette: The origins or to the idea, yes.

Frank: Then we have unlearn so it’s been reframed, but only its own natural wing or zeitgeist of society, right?

Yvette: Yes. How does pop culture refer to this wicked problem? And of course, super fun with the Monsters Collection.

Frank: Then of course, so important in foresight first to relearn, and we’re going to relearn what that new wicked opportunity might be, and set us up for the rest of the month.

Yvette: You could participate, play along. This week, we have our mural, our mood board mural, on MURAL the tool so be on the lookout for that. If you get your REFRAME Magazine delivered to your inbox, you will see the opportunity to crowd-source your image of the future, whether it’s alien invasion, or maybe it’s closer to our wicked opportunity, which we’ll reveal later in this episode.

Frank: That’s right. Before we dive all the way in, I just wanted to mention too, and started to do this, threatened to do this in the first month, never got around to it. That was just that I want to thank a couple of people because we do always say that our map that occurs in the third week, if you listen to Zombies, you saw that in our Wicked Map week and you’ve seen that all the months where, in the third week, we have our map week that Alice Edy draws this amazing graphic map for us, which is going to be a part of some more collateral that’s coming out.

Yvette: She’s from Australia.

Frank: She’s from Australia. She’s amazing. You should use her. If you see those maps, and you want to do that kind of work. She’s amazing. We’re so glad that she’s one of our partners. Then now you see that in the Monster Collection we’ve got a header that appears in the REFRAME Magazine, and it goes from black and white to color across the three weeks until it’s fully colored on the fourth week, and that comes from Eugene, who goes by Wickard on 99designs, and he’s amazing.

Yvette: Yes. He’ll be providing our artist’s visual illustration every month. I can’t believe this is our job, that could have been a good witty banners.

Frank: It was.

Yvette: Can you believe this is our job? One moment, we’re talking about the future of food systems, the future of public transport and transportation in Latin America, and the next minute, we’re talking about zombies and aliens.

Frank: Aliens invasion. Also, of course, a lot of you guys know Ashley Bowers, our research and ideation manager and, of course, I don’t sit here just rattle these things off. She’s our resource manager, so we’re talking like we’re really smart and she’s written a lot of these scripts for us, so thank you, Ashley. She has to sit in this chair at some point and just be on the podcast.

Yvette: Actually, we are doing– I don’t know how much longer we’ll do them. We’ll see. We like to just play by ear what people are interested in. We had been hosting on future space and opportunity to go behind the scenes. We’ll keep doing that. I think it’s fun to hear her perspective, and she just has a lot of great insights. Those are great shout-outs. Alien invasion is our wicked problem this month, and this is the discover week.

We’re going to learn, unlearn, relearn about alien invasion. By the end of today’s episode, you will know what our wicked opportunity is. We define alien invasion as the fear of external or unfamiliar influences that threaten to alter the homogeneous knowledge, beliefs, and traditions of a community. Or homogenous.

Frank: We did though the homogeneous one month. That’s why you got tripped up.

Yvette: Let’s do that again. That again. The fear of external or unfamiliar influences that threaten to alter the homogeneous or homogenous. I’m going to do it wrong every time.

Frank: It feels like milk.

Yvette: Yes. The homogenous knowledge, beliefs, and traditions of a community. I think they get the idea.

Frank: It’s funny because I was. Obviously, it’s like when we’re in one neighborhood, in one territory. We’re going to talk about that a little bit. Everybody around us is basically the same. We think of the person in the house next to us, our neighbors, as being aliens but we’re really in a safe space.

Yvette: Right. If there’s an us, there has to be they, right?

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: By the very definition of the concept here.

Frank: You can already see where this is going to be going over the month, but we’re certainly going to talk about the little green– Well, the phrase is little green. Today would be little green people or little green people.

Yvette: Stop it. Let’s talk about the etymology of alien. The idea that it really originated from Old French and term really meaning strange or foreign. From the Latin aliēnus, “Of or belonging to another, not one’s own.” Of course, foreign, strange. I love this idea of the root beyond.

Frank: I love that idea that it’s whatever is beyond, beyond us, beyond our knowledge, beyond our space, beyond our scope, our sight. I love that phrase you read, “Belonging to another.” Just not of me. It’s not of us. It’s not of we. I know we’re going to go into this, but when I look out into the cosmos, I think, “Gosh, what could it be out there? It certainly isn’t here. It’s alien.” Then we start making books, movies, and spaceships. We’re going to get into all that. That’s how that came about.

Yvette: It’s definitely something that crosses all, I think, disciplines, all–

Frank: And cultures.

Yvette: Yes. It’s really interesting. Because ultimately, you saw it in terms of when we talked about alien invasion in particular, of course, that’s super common in sci-fi. We’re going to delve more into that. This idea that something is coming from another region, or in that case, another planet to invade, to take our resources, to challenge our power or our existence.

Frank: To exterminate or supplant us. I love that you’re diving into this thing that we’ve talked about a lot in the past, even with clients. This is the idea of the formation finally of nation-states, first tribes, and then nation-states eventually. Now today, we see trends about the dissolution of nation-states or digital nation-states. This even bleeds evidence, something like NFTs, non-fungible tokens.

Yvette: I was going to say. Yes.

Frank: Again, we want to silo things off.

Yvette: We want to silo. There’s a scarcity mindset. Of course, it makes sense. I think as we built territories, as we set up the idea of tribes–

Frank: And resources. It’s a lot about resources.

Yvette: Of course. Again, anytime there is a collection of individuals, and there’s this us, there is people outside of the us by definition.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: I think that’s where the idea and of course, an army invasion is something completely different. I think related to this idea of people from the outside coming in and taking what is ours.

Frank: I love how we set this up so far because it’s a trick. It sounds like it’s inevitable. It’s inevitable for us to see the alien, or is it? I didn’t want to get away from this little piece too because won’t be long before we’re already leaving and learning and getting into unlearn. Alien trope, literature, movies, and all, sometimes the aliens come to help us.

Yvette: [laughs] Yes. I laugh because it’s usually people don’t buy into that.

Frank: They don’t want them to help us. The aliens are like, “I’ve come in peace to bring you technology and knowledge of curing diseases and all.” And we always shoot them.

Yvette: We’re like, “No, thanks”.

Frank: “No, no. We’re good. We’re good. We’re good.” Because we’re suspicious of each other. I just wanted to put that out there too, is that oftentimes the alien has knowledge to give us, another way of knowing, and we don’t want to know another way. The reason I’m talking like this is because obviously, I’m speaking about two things at one time. One of them is a trope of little green men and the other one’s something else.

Yvette: It’s just interesting because ultimately, it speaks to how we respond to other cultures, other ideas. Throughout history, we see that the collapse of civilizations and loss of resources caused people to move to new territories, and that becomes the catalyst for human progress. When cultures mash globalization occurs, new ideas are formed. Yet it doesn’t stop us from being fearful, right?

Frank: That’s right. It absolutely doesn’t. I’m just reminded of– I wrote myself a little side note here, that Mulder used to say– Mulder and Scully, remember they were always– It was other things on the show but they were always out for aliens. Aliens kidnapped his sister. He used to have that poster in the background of his office, “The truth is out there.” Again, the truth that they’re hiding something from us, but not the truth of another way of knowing necessarily, which is really, really heavy.

Yvette: There’s a lot of skepticism. We’ll talk a little bit about our desire to find alien life in this whole perception that it does exist and it’s being kept from us. There’s just a lot of layers to this.

Frank: I think before we leave this learn part here, this last little part, we just want to mention is you probably are listening to us and you’re thinking, “Aliens, alien stories, H. G. Well, The War of the Worlds“, you can’t miss it. And the, “Was it real or not? Did people thought it was real on the radio, so they killed themselves or committed suicide? That’s not true.” It is true. It was really scary for people back then. It was really this idea they knew it would be a scary show because it was all about losing our sense of being and having to accept the other or see the other, face the other for the first time ever. I love this.

One of the first times ever in H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds where they really talked about another species. It was before that, of course, obviously, in the 1500s, where we first ever created the idea of races, as if there are separate races in the human race, because we’re all human. We’re one race. Around the 1500s, 1600s, this idea of race started laying hold and that’s when the idea of aliens really, really set in. You see some of these really early readings about the Moon and could there be other species from planets? By the 1800s were in full bloom writing about stories about aliens and all, somewhat because of the fear of other races, which don’t exist.

Yvette: Of course, you have to obviously speak to this idea of people feeling that other people are aliens.

Frank: I guess one of the things I’m even trying to get out there is we created the aliens. We created the aliens. As you’re going to see in just a minute, Yvette and I are going to get into talking about the fact that thinking alien is really the way that we need to think to thrive as the human species but instead, we created aliens to be afraid of so that we can protect ourselves.

Yvette: Yes. Because ultimately, you can almost describe alien invasion as the fear of the unknown or uncertainty.

Frank: Yes, that’s right.

Yvette: The irony, of course, is being uncertain is what makes us human and the fact that we are curious creatures. It’s a bit of a conundrum. It’s like that scientific study we sometimes quote that said that people say that they want innovative ideas, but their reaction to uncertainties is physical nausea.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Of course, we want to explore, we want to grow as humans, but there’s also a part of us that is incredibly terrified about the unknown.

Frank: I know this is silly but it’s like, you’re at the movies, and you peek at the screen through your fingers. “Here comes the alien on the screen”.

Yvette: I don’t like scary movies.

Frank: We want to see the alien. We don’t want to see the alien. It’s a conundrum with that.

Yvette: I make Frank tell me the whole plot of a scary movie before I will sit down and watch it.

Frank: I have to do a whole podcast with just me doing five minutes a movie, like the sound and talking really fast.

Yvette: People would like it.

Frank: I know we’re going to get into this again in just a minute. I don’t want the audience to miss, and then hold us to this, that clearly, we’re hinting at foresight here, that alien invasion has a lot to do with the way we ought to practice futures thinking. It’s really this month, almost more than any other monster month is about specifically about foresight.

Yvette: It’s very meta.

Frank: Yes, it is.

Yvette: So we ready to move on to unlearn? Did we talk enough about this idea of the origins of alien invasions?

Frank: Yes, absolutely.

Yvette: Okay. Again, in learn, we talk about the origins, just to understand the history and the context. Then we move into unlearn, which is a pop-culture interpretation of this alien and alien invasion as a monster. Where do we want to go here first?

Frank: Well, there’s just so much where I can begin.

Yvette: We could sit an entire week just talking about this. It’s a really good stuff.

Frank: We can’t miss out on the fact that all the way back from Project Blue Book, from 1952 to 1969 in the US there’s hundreds and hundreds of UFO sightings. All of this has been documented, and some of it was explained, weather balloons.

Yvette: 700 were not explained. I just want you to know.

Frank: 700 of them not explained?

Yvette: Yes. This recently came to light again, as you all probably know, the Pentagon issued the report in June of 2021.

Yvette: Yes, this year.

Yvette: Yes, claimed that there had been 120 sightings by military pilots that have been baffling scientists. Again, in researching this month, and in looking for images and in content, you don’t have to look far. Go to the Etsy shop and type in, “Alien.” It is everywhere. There’s all kinds of memes related to it. I think you could do a whole episode on memes, which is would be really interesting too.

Frank: I mentioned a few minutes ago that I know that everybody’s thinking War of the Worlds because that’s a really famous one. They’re also thinking about 100 other movies. We’ll get through some of them in a minute here, but you can’t talk about aliens without talking about Area 51 in the United States.

Yvette: Part of this podcast is making a date of when we’re all going to storm Area 51.

Frank: Yes, rush the base. Rush the base.

Yvette: They can’t stop us all.

Frank: If we all run onto the base really fast, we’ll find that, because you know they’re holding the alien bodies there.

Yvette: Obviously.

Frank: Some spacecraft, and of course, we deconstructed the technology. That’s why we have cell phones. We went to cellphone so quickly because it’s really an alien technology, and quantum physics and all that is really alien technology because we found the craft back in the ’50s. We’ve been spending a lot of time deconstructing it and building technology. That’s why we have toasters today.

Yvette: That is deep.

Frank: Probably not the truth, but again, we love this kind of lore and myth to try to explain some of these things. Even our technology today is supposed to be alien.

Yvette: It’s so interesting because I think it goes back to not understanding how the technology works. It’s more complex. I can’t fix it myself. I don’t know how it works.

Frank: I don’t know what’s in it.

Yvette: Yes. It’s like my food is alien.

Frank: The shot is alien. The vaccine is alien.

Yvette: My God, don’t get me started. Everybody get their damn booster shot. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, and you’re able to get it-

Frank: Get it. Get it.

Yvette: – get it. That’s the rest of this podcast., we’re just going talk about–

Frank: I love, by the way, that the TikTok I heard you listen to today with a woman who was saying like, “Come on. Don’t you know that inoculations were first ever discovered in ancient Africa? It was the Africans who actually brought it to the rest of the world? Get your shot. Get your inoculation”.

Yvette: Well, she basically said, “Look, if your profile still says, “Black Lives Matter” and you are not wearing a mask, and you haven’t–

Frank: You don’t understand ancient African history.

Yvette: Yes, and you need to get our name right out of your mouth. Get that right out of your profile.

Frank: Right out of your mouth.

Yvette: We diverged there, [crosstalk].

Frank: It was good. I think that was a really good little commercial. We don’t have a lot of commercials here. This was, “Pfizer, Moderna. Sputnik. Get your shot”.

Yvette: We have to pay for this podcast somehow.

Frank: I was back there saying that we are the aliens. I think just it’s worthwhile saying whIle we’re talking about some of these movies, that this really is about imagination too. Remember way back, we did a whole month on imagination.

Yvette: It was our first month.

Frank: You can go back and listen to it.

Yvette: It’s good.

Frank: Imagination Literacy. It really is like a nice companion month to this month because you see that in all of these movies and all of these different sightings like the close encounters of Kelly, Kentucky, where the phrase “Little green” first came from. We have in the description for this month. I love that Ashley wrote for us here a list of movies. We could think of others. Just to ask the listener, where were you, or what were you doing, or what was going on historically if you remember these movies? When you saw this movie, or you were first aware of these movies, what was happening in society around this? Do you remember?

Yvette: Do you remember? Also, want you to think about what aliens have traditionally looked like in all of these movies?

Frank: That’s a good question.

Yvette: Because, spoiler alert, they looked a lot like us.

Frank: Interesting.

Yvette: Again, a failure of imagination in many ways. Of course, initially, it was the failure of technology. They could only do so much special effects. They put the guy in the costume and he’s the alien. He’s going to have two arms and two legs. Even after we got great special effects, aliens still look a lot like us, two eyes, often. This is because it’s very difficult for us to imagine a life form that doesn’t look like us. We’re very [unintelligible 00:26:03] centric. Even if they were able to, or someone was able to use their imagination, which I’m sure they could, the public wouldn’t swallow it. They lean away from those types of interpretation.

Frank: It’s a meta thing again. It’s like, “I want to see an alien movie. Don’t make it look too alien because I won’t recognize it as something that I can fathom, that the mind can fathom.” Again, going back to our foresight piece, if we want to really get out and [unintelligible 00:26:32] this cone, the cone of possibilities, the cone of the future, we have to get to those provocative and even preposterous futures. A preposterous future here is that if we do finally find alien life somewhere else, it’s probably not going to have a mouth hole, a nose hole, two earholes, two eyeholes.

Yvette: It’s probably not going to watch TikTok. Are we going to have anything in common with this thing. I don’t know. Back to the movie list.

Frank: Yes. I was thinking as I said the name of the movie, one of my favorite alien movies is Arrival. Touchy, and the original stories of our lives, and the idea that the aliens were these, God, it was 60 foot tall, and their language came out of their hand as smoke in a circle, but they still had language and they still walked on tentacles, and also even then.

Yvette: Wait, this thing says the Alien franchise started in 1979.

Frank: The Alien franchise started the year that I started high school.

Yvette: No way.

Frank: I feel alien at this point.

Yvette: You really should.

Frank: Thanks.

Yvette: No, just kidding.

Frank: Thanks a lot for that.

Yvette: I do remember E.T, 1982.

Frank: I remember where I was when I saw Alien too. I saw it with my dad in the theater. It was one of my favorite movies of all. Close Encounters of the Third Kind. You were like, “I don’t even remember that.” She put on here, The Day the Earth Stood Still in ’51.

Yvette: Yes, of course. That was the OG.

Frank: I love this movie with Klaatu barada nikto. I wasn’t alive yet. In ’77, you don’t even put that, and I saw Close Encounters in the theater. I believe that was the year Jaws came out as well, ’77.

Yvette: That was a good year.

Frank: You named one that you like.

Yvette: Men in Black.

Frank: One of your all-time favorite movies.

Yvette: 1997. Remember the Edgar suit? Who remembers Edgar suit? Which again, is so telling.

Frank: He was walking around with an Edgar suit on, didn’t look like Edgar.

Yvette: She’s like, “He kind of looks like Edgar, but not”.

Frank: It was like something had an Edgar suit on.

Yvette: [laughs] So much.

Frank: Good scene.

Yvette: So much.

Frank: It is telling you too because again, and we see, the aliens either look like us or they embody us. They come in seed pods like in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Independence Day, they could mind control us. Remember that? In the beginning of our minds?

Yvette: Yes. I love that in those movies, I think in a few, I know for sure, Independence Day, of course, it was the iconic scenes were in DC with the monuments and all that good stuff. Again, it’s not accidental. We’re worried about an alien invasion coming and taking taken away our lives and our way of life.

Frank: Remember what the moral message of that movie was.

Yvette: Remind me.

Frank: That the whole world, that we came together as the human species-

Yvette: To fight off.

Frank: – to fight off the aliens and other aliens. It’s like, “Oh, we can all be one”, and then it’s like, “But we can’t”.


Yvette: If it’s convenient.

Frank: “Welcome to earth”, and he punches you in the face.

Yvette: Well, I can tell you that that basically is played out in real life because the alien we’re all facing as a globe right now is one of the viral nature.

Frank: It’s completely alien. As a matter of fact, it’s called a novel virus. It’s an alien virus.

Yvette: Right. We’ll talk a little bit more about our strategies around that and how it relates to this month’s theme. We’re not all coming together so good.

Frank: It’s not working out so great.

Yvette: Not so good. Well, especially in the US, I think other parts of the world may be better.

Frank: Some much better. Some similar, and we’re doing real bad.

Yvette: Real bad. Well, and not surprising. Not surprising when we still call certain humans illegal aliens. If you’re an alien from another planet, you’re legal, but if you’re a human crossing the border for a better life, you’re an illegal alien. Of course, for those of you that are not aware, Biden is seeking to replace the term alien for a less dehumanizing term. I can’t believe that still exists in this day and age that we’re still using the term.

Frank: We should be woke about and cancel. It shouldn’t be the word alien, calling another human an alien, but when you do that, it’s easy to dehumanize them.

Yvette: It’s dehumanizing. You’re dehumanizing, and you’re able to, again, it’s us versus them. It’s fear of the unknown. It’s fear of the takeover. Let’s be clear. The illegal alien language is not accidental. The fear here is that we have minority groups that are going to become the majority that are literally changing the way that our society looks and acts in our culture. The more of those “Aliens” you let in the border, the more it challenges the white race, the majority, the traditional majority that’s now going to be the minority view. They’re facing an uncertain future. They’re coming at it from fear.

This is why we talk about alien invasion. Why do we spend as much time researching this content and putting this together? It’s because it relates to things that we’re dealing with. The reason why we even had alien invasion movies when they first started out in many ways is because we were fearful of the geopolitical environment and it was manifesting because of all of those crises. It’s not accidental, our films and our media and our pop culture is reflective of our fears that we’re dealing with as a society. It’s a way that we have to try to make sense of it. The problem is that when we depict them as zombies and aliens, that becomes the dominant narrative. It just exacerbates how we treat people, as well as how we treat people from another country for beings from another [crosstak].

Frank: I think we started off the first month saying that the reason we created monsters was to make sense of our fears, and our biases, and our worries. We carry those tropes and those images and those myths and metaphors on to protect us, but we don’t need to be protected for it. We need to flip our mindset. That’s why we believe so strongly in moving something from a wicked problem it’s not a problem, to a wicked opportunity. You’re looking at this wrong.

Yvette: You are. Again, this month is so meta because in a lot of ways, the reason why these things feel like complex problems that are impossible to overcome is because we’re trying to solve the problem from within the problem using the context and the language that created the problem in the first place. It’s because of our fear of uncertainty which this wicked problem, wicked opportunity really demonstrates. Let’s move into relearn here. We’re going to close out this episode letting you know how we’re reframing the problem of alien invasion.

Frank: The alien invasion again, just to remind everybody that it’s the fear of external or unfamiliar influences that threatened to alter the homogenous knowledge, beliefs, and traditions of a community. That’s how we define wicked problems, but how would we say it’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity? How would we define the new wicked opportunity?

Yvette: From alien invasion, we go to alien eyes.

Frank: The eyes have it.

Yvette: Embracing novel and unique ways of seeing the world as a means of challenging our outdated and antiquated mental models, which are untenable in an environment of exponential complexity.

Frank: I know that everybody’s that’s listening, or most that are listening, if you haven’t, you can go back to the reframe magazine or wherever you saw this and see that banner again.

Yvette: The illustration?

Frank: The illustration. If you look on the website, you’ll see the whole thing. The part that I’m talking about it’s gray at the end, because it’s not going to be color until our fourth week. You’ll see that we need to get the alien’s eyes. We need to have alien eyes. How do they see a different way of seeing, a different way of knowing. We have to have multiple ways of knowing simultaneous ways of knowing. That opens up our curiosity to the uncertainty, that foresight, to be able to look at different ways of seeing and knowing makes us more full. It makes us holistic. It makes us robust. It makes us be able to tackle problems in a way that they’re not problems. They’re actually opportunities. Complexity is your friend. The alien is your friend.

Yvette: That’s how we evolve. This idea of alien eyes, I first came across it from 10 years ago. I was one of the first foresight books. Yes. I do read books. It’s published by a professional futurist named Edie Wiener. She’s based out of New York. I think her firm is called The Future Hunters. It used to be Wiener Edgerton Brown. Then they changed their name. Anyways, so she talks about this idea of alien eyes as a way to look at our existing problems in a new light. The idea here is that if you have a challenge, you say, “Hey, if I had an alien from another planet, come down and take a look at this.” What obvious things would they see that we can’t see because our educated incapacity?

Frank: Our biases, our assumptions, our educating capacity. I know before the show, I said this is a great place to mention because of this is about foresight. This is really about future biases. Not this idea of unconscious future bias modeling that we often do, which is about the biases and assumptions, different ways of seeing. Before you start to do any foresight, you need to be able to see like an alien.

Yvette: If not, you’ll really build a future that looks a lot like today with the dominant narratives. Alien eyes, I think is a concept you could think back to when that most famous picture was taken Earthrise from one of the first missions.

Frank: 1969.

Yvette: Yes. Ironic, it’s an alien concept, not taken by an alien, but someone in space.

Frank: When you think about it, it still blows my mind that it’s 1969. It was the first time we ever took a picture of the Earth from off the Earth. We never ever looked at the Earth.

Yvette: Yes, we’ve never seen that perspective before.

Frank: What?

Yvette: Yes. 1969. That was basically yesterday. It’s crazy. We have so much to learn, but that picture changed so many people’s perspective around the environment and it’s still-

Frank: It was one of those greatest pictures ever taken.

Yvette: Yes. That is literally the OG alien eyes in many ways, because an alien would see Earth in that way. What new perspectives can it give us to be able to view it from that angle?

Frank: That was the same error. Well, slightly before, but around that time, when Star Trek was coming out to seek out new civilization, new life, brave new, strange new worlds to break a boldly go where no man has gone before. I just mentioned that because we were talking about the idea of the Earth’s rise. I think the Star Trek universe, where they were like, “Embrace the alien, we are the alien” was so important for that time. We could go off on Lieutenant Uhura and really the impact she made on NASA and so much. Really, that show embodies what we’re talking about alien eyes.

Yvette: Right, because while alien invasion is more of an image of the future and present that demonizes what is unknown and has it related to fear, this wicked opportunity is really about embracing the unknown as part of just the inherent nature of existence. I want to just lastly touch on this idea of foresight and how wrapped into this wicked opportunity. This idea of futures thinking and foresight is.

Frank: I’ve been talking about this the entire time. There’s no way that we can get away from this idea of what I really believe foresight really is. As a matter of fact, I was harping today separate from the podcast here that I think a lot of foresight still gets drawn in and wrangled in and even hijacked by forecasting and different intelligence seeking methodologies and trend hunting. Fortunately has trends in it, but it’s really about getting away from the quantification and the massive amounts of data because you don’t see new worlds with that stuff.

Foresight is about being able to have an experience outside time and space, outside of the boundaries of the biases and the boundaries that the assumptions that lock us in. I’m not saying that doesn’t include any data, that foresight doesn’t include trends, but it definitely is a movement from what our friend [unintelligible 00:39:40] told me would talk about this epistemological uncertainty. Just give me more data and I’ll know it. Too, we’ve talked about this on the show before, to ontological and predictability, novel unique realities the nature of the future is changing. It’s become alien and you need to recognize it if you’re going to be practicing good foresight. That is foresight, so it couldn’t tie more into this idea of alienized aliens, alien eyes, alien invasion, foresight. Goes hand in hand.

Yvette: Yes, if you’re interested, another one of the early collection, first collection podcasts to check out is the one where we reframed VUCA as the long now. I think that’s another one that we go into depth with this idea that we just have to gain a comfort with uncertainty and understand that we’re all creating the future every day with the actions we take and really, ultimately, what we’re trying to do with this podcast and all of our work is to give people agency to create more equitable futures and change the narrative, embrace a new narrative around the unknown.

Frank: Around the unknown. I hope you really have enjoyed our week one of Alien Invasion to Alien Eyes. I promise you, the next three weeks are going to be amazing. We’re going to start talking about things that we might think are alien in terms of our foods and things we do and see, what’s alien to us.

Yvette: We’ll talk a little bit about how this relates to the pandemic and our response to that and then we’ll culminate the month thinking about products, services, and experiences that allow us to pull the alien eyes, Wicked Opportunities future to today. Hopefully, you’ll stick around for all of those weeks. In the meantime, please check out our opportunity to crowdsource the future with that mural, and we’ll see you around future space and we’ll see you next time, everybody. Bye-bye.

Frank: Bye-bye.

Frank Spencer: I don’t know if you remember this or not, but one time– and I remember for some reason being in the airport, but it was you and I, and our head of human design, Nicole Baker Rosa. We were traveling to Argentina and this was early on in Nicole’s stint with the Futures School, Kedge. She’s now been with us for seven years, although there was a little sabbatical in there somewhere too.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: Sad time for all.

Frank: Sad time for all. I chose this moment to tell her early on as I do with all new employees to try to break them in, to tell them about the fact that I used to live in a haunted house. I just saw you roll your eyes.

Yvette: Well, I’ve spent a good amount of the last 10 years knowing you rolling my eyes, but yes, the haunted house thing drives me crazy because, yes, Nicole was too scared to sleep that night. Later on when you shared it in Argentina with the client, a table full of 30 people absolutely went silent. They all were having separate conversations. When Frank started to regale people with the stories of little children, ghost children, playing with a ball and phantom phones ringing in the hallway that weren’t connected, everybody’s eyes were on him. It was fascinating to see a largely Catholic religious culture just be absolutely mystified by this conversation and these stories.

I’ve heard you tell these stories across the globe and I should be fascinated by it. For me, it’s a little bit of annoyance because it tends to disrupt things, because people have very different varied reactions to your haunted house stories.

Frank: They do, but in general, it’s memorable and you want to make this connection with your clients in wizard relationships. Everybody loves a good haunted house story. I was starting off by saying Nichole was like, “Thanks for the introduction to the company. I couldn’t sleep all night in my hotel room, afraid that little children were going to crawl up on my dad with pennies on their eyes or something.”

Yvette: Oh gosh.

Frank: That’s an old joke between Mike Morrell and myself. Then yes, in Argentina, they were like– and I get these questions afterwards too. It’s like, “Do you believe there were ghosts or demons or angels?” I was like, “I believe none of that. I don’t know what to believe. I can just tell you that I used to live in a house where some strange stuff did happen. Nobody was causing it to happen. I’m not saying that I believe one thing or another, I’m just telling you what happened.”

Yvette: We’re not going to go into detail, but if you are interested in learning more about the very old house that Frank grew up in in Savannah, Georgia, and the actual history of homicide or death or–

Frank: No, I don’t know. I wouldn’t say any of that. There is some history in that house that we lived in. Of course, Savannah, Georgia, it’s been named the most haunted city in the United States of America.

Yvette: Are there Zombies there?

Frank: There’s zombies in Savannah, there’s zombies in Orlando too.

Yvette: Well, there’s zombies on this podcast. Welcome to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, everyone. My name is Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: My name is Casper the Ghost, no Frank Spencer.

Yvette: We’re excited to have you join us for the final week in our first month of the new collection where we really try to be like Scooby-Doo and his friends and unmask-

Frank: Scooby Scooby-Doo, where are you?

Yvette: -unmask the Monsters that have taken shape in terms of dystopian tropes and these tropes and narratives that we talk and share as a society become part of the zeitgeists-

Frank: That’s great.

Yvette: -and cause us to create different things and take different actions. Our goal with the Wicked Opportunities Podcast, which is fueled by Natural Foresight, is to try to unpack some of those wicked problems in this case, the zombie apocalypse this month and reframe them as wicked opportunities, really leverage the complexity all around us for greater opportunity, innovation and transformation. This month we’ve been exploring the global brain.

Frank: We have. One of our goals of course, on the show is very much like the Mystery Machine Kids from Scooby-Doo, The Gang. I can just hear them saying now, “We were going to steal the future, if it weren’t for this meddling futurist on the Wicked Opportunities Podcast.”


Yvette: I feel like maybe.

Frank: I’ve waited for a long time for that joke to unfold.


Yvette: I know you love Halloween, but you’re not a big fan of the commercialization and the dressing up. You always want to dress up monstrous to scare the crap out of the kids in the neighborhood.

Frank: It’s Hallow-eve or Hallo’ws eve.

Yvette: That’s where I’m going

Frank: I don’t want to see fairies and Barbie dolls.

Yvette: The woody banner’s over. I feel like we might have stumbled across the Kedge costume. We should be the Scooby-Doo gang.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Gizmo, the Kedge puppy can be Scooby.

Frank: He would be Scrappy-Doo, actually. He’s a little bit small.

Yvette: Oh there you go, Scrappy-Doo. Anyway, we’ll figure out who the rest of us are in the course of the next few months before we head out to visit. We will be in Austin, Texas, I think around Halloween time during our program in-person. We’re excited about that. We’re in the create week. Every week we go through a phase of the Natural Foresight framework, Discover was week one, where we unpacked the myths and the origins behind the idea of the zombie apocalypse.

Then we moved the Explore phase in week two, where we actually showed you how we conduct environmental scanning to find trends, values, and then map out implications. We got to spin the wheel. That was very exciting.

Week three, last week, we did a mapping week, and that was great. We talked about resilient, adaptive, and transformative strategies around the zombie apocalypse and the global brain. By the way, zombie apocalypse, we define as the viral and systematic siphoning, manipulation, and monetization of public attention. We’re looking to reframe zombie apocalypse as the global brain, a planetary information and communications technology network that interconnects all humans, becoming increasingly intelligent and playing the role of a brain for the entirety of humanity.

Frank: I love that every time.

Yvette: The create week, create phase of the Natural Foresight framework, I just want to pause here and say, don’t think we’re not creating the whole time, we are. In the create facet of the Natural Foresight framework, we talk about integration, implementation. We really believe Foresight should serve as the operating system running behind everything that we do. For this new collection of podcasts, we want to share in the create week a different way to approach foresight, specifically design laid in, correct?

Frank: That’s right. As a matter of fact, I would say more specifically designed fiction. If you’re not familiar with the term design fiction, it’s something that companies and organizations and governments and society has been using increasingly. Yes, from our perspective, I think it’s a sub practice within the larger foresight ecosystem. It all depends on who’s speaking, because I get to speak at design conferences from time to time, and the designers feel like futures is a subset of what they do. That’s cool. That’s cool.

Yvette: That’s cool.

Frank: That’s cool.

Yvette: I love that. We’ve said from the beginning of our partnership that our goal is not to have Foresight stand out or be necessarily its own department, sometimes those efforts, although well-meaning, end up not working out so well, you almost have a bullseye on yourself. More importantly, it’s not working as the operating system at that point. It’s like when we work with the client and we co-create trends and patterns and scenarios. When we reach the end of a client engagement or in the midst of it, and we have a client that has taken full ownership of the work that we’ve done as their own, we know we’ve been successful, as almost like these parents.

Similarly, when I see a field like design say, this is ours, it’s like, sure, great. We need everybody to think it’s theirs. We need everybody to think that creating the future in a more equitable way, giving people agency is theirs. That’s the only way that’s going to be successful.

Frank: As you were saying that, it was coming to me, I just did this interview this morning with one of our alumni from Nigeria. You’ll see it come out in a couple of weeks. Maybe at the time you’re hearing this it’s already out. He was saying that he’s an engineer by trade, who actually has four master’s degrees. People like that, make me sick.

Yvette: [laughs] You’re jealous.

Frank: It’s nothing but pure green-eyed jealousy. It’s the green-eyed monster, there you go. He was saying, “Engineers try to make things right. Designers want to make things relevant.”

Yvette: Oh, that’s powerful.

Frank: That was super powerful.

Yvette: I love it.

Frank: He said, that’s why design really wants to design our future. This idea of design fiction is something that has been in the Foresight field for the last, I don’t know, 10 years, maybe longer, I don’t know. It’s growing in popularity over the last few years and it’s the idea of artifacting or prototyping the future. Can we actually touch and build something that comes from 3 or 10 or 50 or 100 years from now? We often say it’s like, back to the future, you go to the future, hotwire the car, and bring it back to the day.

It’s been shown that if you can actually touch the future, which is a crazy concept, that you have a greater connection to it, and retention of it, and your imagination expands. We can’t touch the future because we can build prototypes. We prototype in R&D all the time. Well, what if we prototype further out 50 years or 100 years out? What if we build worlds and stories and scenarios and then pull out those technologies, experiences, products, services, et cetera, and actually show people like, look at this thing that came from the feature, I built it. We start to imagine what the world looks like, the world we’re living in.

As a matter of fact, of course. Now we’re privileged to have a partnership with the Design Futures Initiative. We’ve recently launched and it’s happening again, or probably already happened by the time you hear this. We have another one in October, our futures by design course.

Which is a two-day speculative design, futures design, design fiction course that helps people to see how to use the foresight that we teach in our other courses, but really, for this artifacting, prototyping, building strategic designs, and really employing this in businesses to say, “Look, this is what it looks like. This is the products we would build. This is how we’re going to use foresight to actually implement innovation and implement these products and services and designs in the world.”

Yvette: It’s the way that we can suspend disbelief. Scenarios are a powerful tool, scenarios in conjunction with artifacting in the future is even more powerful. In the create week of this new collection, we’re going to spend time artifacting our wicked opportunity future, which in the case of this month, is the global brain future.

We’ve spent some time thinking about product, service, experience that could exist in a global brain wicked opportunity future. We want to chat a little bit about that with you and then we’ll close out this week. We’ll close out the month with some conversation about how do we look forward maybe 50 or 100 years out ourselves? How do we replace these dystopic tropes that are a part of our sci-fi and our pop culture with new visions of transformational futures? We’ll end today’s podcast with those visions of the future that will conclude our month of exploration of the zombie apocalypse and the global brain. Ready to get started?

Frank: I am ready. I’m excited.

Yvette: I’m excited too. Let’s talk about this. First, we got a product. Again, the idea here is to create tangible manifestations of this future. We’ve gone from more conceptual conversations about the global brain this month, all the way now to how do we make it a reality? How does it physically manifest so that we can inspire you to begin creating this wicked opportunity future right now. We don’t have to wait 50 or 100 years. We can pull that future to today with our decisions and actions in the present. What is a product, Frank, that you think might manifest in the global brain of future?

Frank: Well, just to lead into that, I just want to quickly say that I loved one of the facilitators in our FxD course, and DFIs FxD course, Jack Wilkinson, who is a protégé of Elliot Montgomery, who taught at the new school, and it’s really popular for teaching on frameworks about speaking of design. He says, “This is why world-building is so important. This is why we approach scenario development as world-building.”

Because if they’re deep and robust, you can go in and find these kinds of products, right? Jack often says, “If you’re in space, and you’re an astronaut, and you want to chew bubble gum, what does the space wrapper look like?” It might not be in the story, but you can start pulling out of that and say, like, “Well, how do we develop bubble gum wrappers for the astronauts that would keep the gum safe, and gravity resilient?” Or whatever the case might be.

I think in terms of the global brain because that’s what we’ve gotten now, right? We transitioned away from zombie apocalypse, we’re now a global brain. What would a product look like for that? You and I talked about this idea of maybe really a series of products that really speak to a physical, digital, integrative architecture. I love this word, architecture, because when we think of our architecture, we mostly think of, and I know because my dad’s an architect, and I used to all the time when I was a kid, go with him on the jobs and stuff and see the buildings being built. We think about buildings. Architecture is the environment we live in, the ecosystem, how we built the way we interact with one another.

Yvette: Right. How cities are designed.

Frank: That’s right. This integrative piece is really important. What does it mean for the physical and digital not to be two pieces that we’re trying to put together, but it just becomes one seamless environment in our architecture in so many different things, our transportation, our energy grids, our schools, the way they’re open-sourced, and organizations and commerce all become a part of the architecture that is a physical-digital integration?

Yvette: Yes. As we were prepping for the podcast, we did a little bit of research and exploration. There’s a really interesting piece written by Nathan Keebler, December of 2019. No idea when he wrote it.

Frank: Those were the days.

Yvette: Yes, really, the before times, cool. It was entitled architecture as interface: architecture in the digital world. He talks about, and this is true in architecture and it’s true in every field I believe, he says, “Current architectural practice has primarily only utilized digital tools to speed up old processes for greater productivity and profit.” This is not what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about adding a layer of technology on top of old outdated processes and products.

Frank: That’s a powerful statement because it really just reinforces the zombie apocalypse.

Yvette: Exactly. It just doubles down on the zombie apocalypse, friends. The idea of architecture as interface, speculates the synthesis between physical realm and architecture and the variable possibility of digital space to develop a new architecture. He goes on to say this requires an evolution in the operation of the architect to think more like a spatial programmer.

Frank: That is so powerful. This is exactly what I was talking about. It’s like, the architect’s not just supposed to be thinking– I’m sure we have a lot of good architects like this, but this needs to be way-

Yvette: The norm.

Frank: -the norm from which we teach this. It’s like, I don’t want you to build a building. I want you to think about the entire ecosystem, a spatial programmer that’s powerful. The reason this is our product is because we’re saying that this will enhance the idea or lead to the opportunity of a global brain. It itself is an opportunity to cut from the global brain. This seamless environment, the stacked environments, sub stacked environments of the physical and the digital, and whatever other environments there might be as well that help us to understand how we can have a new architecture that leads to this sharing of idea, of thought and evolutionary development.

Yvette: We’re fond of saying that a lot of our wicked problems come from the fact that we silo things, and I can’t think of a more siloing impactful aspect to the zombie apocalypse than the idea that technology is separate from us, that technology is separate from humanity, that technology is separate from society. The fact is, it’s not and the more we try to treat it as such, and we think of “limiting screen time” or putting a negative connotation on certain technologies, the more we do that, the more we actually exacerbate the problem of the zombie apocalypse.

Frank: That’s right, exactly right. I think what you just said is super powerful. The more we put a negative connotation on it. Again, I go back to that phrase I keep using, we can’t solve a problem from within the problem. If we keep saying like, “Point to the dystopic. Point to the apocalyptic”. We’re going to end today on more hope-leading sci-fi. If we keep doing that we never understand how to actually solve– I’m doing air quotes, you can’t see it. Solve the problem.

Really see the opportunity, because we’ll be focused on the situation and context of the problem, and you never get out of it. You can think about future visions of the problem in the apocalypse [unintelligible 00:19:04] you’re still in the context of the problem. You never get out of it.

Yvette: Right. This idea of using technology just to speed up old processes, again, this is why people have a negative reaction to technology. We’re not really using it to its fullest potential, because we’re not leaning into it. We’re not integrating it. We’re treating it as something separate from ourselves.

Frank: Completely.

Yvette: Product, architecture. Physi-digi integration architecture is the product that we imagine in the global brain being so helpful. What are the products, I’m wondering, that you all are seeing? We’d love to hear from you. Tag us or send us a message with the products you might prototype out of a global brain future.

Okay, so let’s talk about services. Next, service in terms of the global brain. I like this idea of a service centered around development. We talk about education development, I think, in every single podcast to some extent, so critical. Here, we want to specifically talk about this idea of digital literacy or digital citizenry.

These are not groundbreaking topics by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the definitions that I have for both, one is from 2011. Just really quickly, digital citizenship, according to this piece, is the norms of appropriate and responsible technology use. Digital literacy is defined as the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information requiring both cognitive and technical skills. Again, this isn’t a groundbreaking idea, this idea of digital literacy or digital citizenry. We wanted to explore that in this conversation about artifacting out of the global brain future and why was that?

Frank: Obviously, we can’t have the product we talked about earlier without the service.

Yvette: Yes, it all works together, hand in hand, and I think a lot of the issues we’re seeing now, again, this is not earth shattering news, is because we don’t have within our populace, the critical thinking skills to something as simple as differentiate fake news. While we might joke about the impact of some of these conspiracy theories, the fact of the matter is, we have a huge swath of our population that is absolutely being guided and misguided. It is literally the zombie apocalypse. This is the current manifestation of the Zambie apocalypse.

Frank: I don’t know why he even said that either, but obviously the reason we did this is because we are in a zombie apocalypse. Don’t get ready for the zombie apocalypse. You’re in it right now.

Yvette: You’re in it.

Frank: You are also, by the way, in the global brain. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

Yvette: No. I think we’re at a crossroads for sure of which one we’re going to– Last week we talked about resilient, adaptive and transformative strategies and we just have to be really careful because just doing the resilient strategy of cutting down on screen time, is not going to prevent the zombie apocalypse, like you said, it’s already here. The only way to truly prevent the zombie apocalypse is to embrace the global brain.

Frank: I love the fact that you said a minute ago, we’re at a crossroads because let me reinforce what you just said. Let me, yes and it. It we’re either going to have an all out zombie apocalypse or an all out global brain. There’s nothing in between.

Yvette: It’s a very finite time that we’re in this in-between space and all the signs are there. Do nothing means zombie apocalypse. Let’s just be clear. If we just sit back and allow things to play out as they’ve been playing out, and there’s other things we can be doing that are going to exacerbate the zombie apocalypse.

From a global brain perspective, we have to start instilling in our adults, certainly in our youth, this ability to be digitally literate. I would go as far as to say that we’ll know we were successful in terms of this service offering when it stops being called digital literacy. It’s just literacy, right? It’s just a part of literacy. It’s just a part of being a human on this planet. what we’ve done up until now, it’s the equivalent of giving a three-year-old a set of matches and just leaving them unsupervised, you can burn the house down.

Frank: What would they make with that match book, I wonder?

Yvette: Yes. I’m fond of saying that we weren’t old enough for the internet. It’s too late now, but so how do we catch up because the world that we’re living in now, it’s not necessary for it to be this way? It’s not necessary for us to be creating these tribes of people with misinformation. The misinformation is a weapon. It’s been weaponized, it’s been weaponized. You have literally in my mind, I see a horde of zombies. These people that are well-meaning, but don’t realize they are following and just unconsciously going towards a false narrative.

Frank: Go back to week one and remember that we talked about the witch train. The south African legend of the witch train, the witches gathering people to put them into hard labor. That’s exactly what you’re seeing right now when you said you have people that are putting the rest of the world into, and I’m doing my air quotes again, “hard labor”, or to just manipulate people.

That’s exactly what we have going on and I love this in the quote we’re reading to that says, we need to build global contributors and consumers of online resources, networks. That’s the global brain and that’s how that happens, right? This is how we build these different elements of digital literacy, like media literacy and information literacy and computer literacy and learning skills.

Yvette: I love that. The whole sentence is so powerful. Digital education and leadership is necessary. Digital leadership, I love that. It’s necessary to guide professionals in global contributors and consumers of online resources, networks and platforms. It’s really powerful.

Frank: The last thing we’ll say on this because we need to move on to our last part is, we hear a lot about digital transformation right now, that’s not the answer. That’s not the answer because what we’re doing right now is exactly the way people often use foresight. They’re like, oh, let me use foresight at my organization.

What they meant to say is, let me use this foresight thing that you guys are talking about to enhance by forecasting. It’s like glorified forecasting. Foresight it’s not forecasting. You can go back to some of our old podcasts and here, we talked all about that. Digital transformation is just a way for the old guard to try to use the digital to reinforce the old stuff that you talked about in America. Just like the architects.

Yvette: Is it similar to like, if you and I went on TikTok?

Frank: It definitely would be. You do not want to see that.

Yvette: We’ve talked about a product, the physi-digital integration architecture. We’ve talked about a service, this updated idea around literacy that obviously just includes the digital component and now we want to talk about an experience. What does an experience artifacted out of the global brain future look like, feel like, sound like to you?

Frank: Well, I love this one because we’ve had a lot of client work over the last year and a half where we’ve written a ton of scenarios. We’ve been scenario writing nerds as of the past year and a half. Of course, over the last– That’s not to say that we don’t build scenarios for clients all the time, but man, it’s been doubled down times last year and a half.

The great thing is we can’t share any of those because they’re all, when I say great, I mean sarcastically. I would love to share more of those, but those are for the clients. I will say generally speaking, we’ve built several scenarios where we get to talk about the metaverse or the web or the internet being public use or public lands. Everybody thinks, well, of course, everybody can go on the net, but no.

Yvette: Yes, we know the net right now is not an open, equitable space. It’s controlled by specific media giants. It’s not a safe place from a privacy perspective.

Frank: Not even accessible to everybody even physically or tactically, but even when it is, like you said, you’re being more driven than you are driving it.

Yvette: Your data’s being captured without your consent.

Frank: Now the answer is not let everybody get off the internet.

Yvette: That would be terrible.

Frank: It’s sad because this affords us to build another evolutionary block in humanity’s development. It really was to us to be a space to expand our cognitive ability, our connective ability, our collaborative ability, our cooperative ability. Let’s not let them take that away from us.

Yvette: This idea of the web as public lands, I just want to reinforce what we’re seeing here. Think about what public lands are and what that means. These are protected and preserved open spaces, and everyone has a right to use them. If we used that as our criteria for the internet or for something like what’s started to emerge this idea of the metaverse, if you want to chat for a second or two, about what we mean by the metaverse, we can then talk about why we need an open metaverse.

Frank: Well, the article we actually had for this and one of the things we were looking at, we looked at this article called– and it’s very recent, We need to kick big tech out of the metaverse, awesome. That’s exactly what I was just talking about. You’re thinking, no, we need big tech to build the metaverse. No, we need you to build the metaverse. In this article, the author, Toby Tremaine, says in specific, the convergence of new technologies and our rush to online living have made it possible to aim for an open metaverse.

What do we mean by a metaverse? A metaverse is a collection of all of these right now disparate virtual, digital, social, online places– when I think of that, I often think about paying with my digital wallet and that kind of thing but the reason we don’t have that is our architecture around the city is not consistent. It’s like one uses apple pay and one uses another thing and it’s not consistent, but if we had this consistent convergence of all the virtual and the digital spaces, we have this metaverse. Right now, we have a metaverse it’s just disparate.

That’s what we really mean by the metaverse. We see that every day becoming more real. An open metaverse really is connecting all of that and not only connecting, but allowing for everybody to build it, that we together collectively across cultures with those cultures and tagged across humanity need to be adding to this metaverse space that is going to help us to really advance as a species.

Yvette: Right. The article says, an open metaverse preserves privacy by design, giving us the tools to control the flow of information and make our own choices of what to trust. Properly applied, these advances would usher in the anti platform, a web of spaces, software and users connected by open standards, portable identity, and practices that put the user first.

Frank: I love that.

Yvette: Spaces that use open governance solutions to create fair voting systems, community participation, and digital public services for everyone, no matter their background, may participate safely and with an equal voice.

Frank: That last sentence even hearkens back to, I believe last week when we were really talking about the avatarcracy piece, where we said, what if there was an environment where everybody could add to it and that way, we really know what people are thinking. We really get a sense of [unintelligible 00:32:13] we understand one another better. I think it’s more than just participating. It’s actually opening ourselves to one another in that space. That’s what the metaverse should be.

Right now, we have a lot of talk about non fungible tokens in the metaverse. That’s not the metaverse. As a matter of fact, that’s the big tech getting in the metaverse again. Kick them out. We need to build this space, it’s a spiritual space, it’s a special place, it is a developmental space for humanity.

Yvette: That is the counter to NFTs.

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: This idea that no, we shouldn’t have laid claim and dominance over portions of the internet. We shouldn’t try to attach ourselves and it’s just another example of trying to have dominance over something that should be shared

Frank: So far, the whole idea of NFTs has been, this company has made a coat and this company has made a bet. It’s always about some corporation or organization doing that. Where are the people? It’s like, and this cost $250 million and that cost a billion dollars. That’s not in the realm of real life.

Yvette: It’s false scarcity.

Frank: It seems so cool to people because they’re like, oh, it’s so we made a thing that you could purchase, a non tangible and it’s about, as you are saying, scarcity, not abundance and anytime you start to see scarcity being introduced, somebody’s being served, not everybody.

Yvette: That’s correct. I hope you’ve enjoyed that trip down the artifacting of the global brain. We’ve talked about a product, a service and an experience. Now we want to just leave you with some thoughts around what could be next?

We started this month talking about the history of zombie apocalypse and how pop culture has shown us different visions of the zombie apocalypse and how that’s become part of the zeitgeists. We want to talk just for the last few minutes, as we close out this final week for this month, about what does a future, a hundred years into the future of the global brain look like? How can we explore solarpunk or hopepunk futures around the idea of the global brain? I know, Frank, you have some thoughts around this.

Frank: I do. For those who aren’t really super familiar with these terms, solarpunk, hopepunk these are new terms meant to either add to or replace this old idea of cyberpunk. Back in the late ’70s and ’80s and into the ’90s, we saw more of this rebel anarchist punk sci-fi being written, how do we disrupt the system and a lot of it very being very dystopian, but we live in the cyber world of people who have numbers instead of names and you saw that in Blade Runner, it’s a very cyberpunk a future LA 2049. I think somebody had actually said it was 2020, which would probably be appropriate.

This idea of hopepunk making the world better, sci-fi that makes the world better for people or solarpunk, making the world better for the environment, environmental Sci-fi and actually answers like wicked opportunities instead of the wicked problem.

Sci-fi written about the opportunities that have a problem. What if a hundred years from now, we do have this more, I’m going to throw a big word out there, but if you’ve been reading any of our stuff in the past couple of years, you know we use this word holoptic a lot at the Futures School. Not on day one, we’re doing teaching, but when we do a lot of our research, we start talking about the holoptic environments and it’s a fancy word that means something very simple.

One of the best ways to explain it is a fly, especially a dragonfly has these holoptic eyes or holoptic head, where the eyes are across the entire head. You’ve seen it in a biology textbook and so you can imagine, wow, that fly must really see all kinds of stuff. There actually are some cool videos on YouTube.

We did an article where I [unintelligible 00:36:31] to medium. LinkedIn too, I think, where in the video they showed that they were shooting a pea through a straw near a dragonfly, maybe across the room and the moment that he starts to blow, even before the thing came out of the straw, the dragonfly’s head already starts to react like it sees in time in a way we don’t because it has this holoptic eye.

Humans don’t have a holoptic eye, we have this more dichoptic eye and our vision is not as good in many ways, in some ways as a dragonfly. Some would debate that that’s not true because we see– our eyesight is pretty cool and it’s a different kind of sight. What if collectively, as humanity, we had a global brain that gave us whole sight or holoptic vision? That’s what the global brain would do to us eventually.

It starts to [unintelligible 00:37:25] evolutionarily. I love this phrase, so that we gain a perception of emerging realities as a human trait. Because we often think about the dominant trait being the lizard brain and the fight and flight but the opposite of that is a cooperative trait where we collectively, as humanity, without losing our individuality, but adding to that collective cooperative piece, are able to, like the dragonfly, see the pea being shot out of the straw before it reaches us, before it’s like, oh my god, a pandemic. Nobody told me about that. Oh my goodness, a tidal wave. I didn’t imagine that would come.

Yvette: In a way really understand culturally the past as well as the present and the future. How optimism from a timeline perspective is really powerful. We’ve talked about that over the last few weeks.

Frank: I’m so glad you said that because I was thinking as we were getting ready for this podcast, that, if you want to talk about the global brain, you have to think about people that aren’t alive yet.

Yvette: And who have come before us.

Frank: And who’ve come before us. I was focusing on that, but I love that you threw that in as well. How, and this gets pretty philosophical, do we connect to what came before and what is yet to come as well? If we’re going to build a global brain, we can’t just build it for those who are alive right now. We have to build this for generations past and generations to come, and we have to include them as part of our environment now. You have to treat those who are gone and those who have yet to come as a part of the environment that exists right now. We have to think of them as already being alive. That’s powerful.

Yvette: That’s really powerful. Well, I have really enjoyed this first month of our new collection.

Frank: We vanquished you, zombie. We got you.

Yvette: Yes, we did. The zombies are gone, friends.

Frank: We can come out of the mall now.

Yvette: We can move on, and if you want to come out of the mall and join us on a future space, that’s where you’ll find us in between podcasts, and we can collaborate there. We’ve had a great month and we’re excited about where we go next. Sneak peek, we’re going to tackle some aliens next to month.

Frank: Yes, Roswell. There should be a lot of good stuff.

Yvette: Thank you for joining us. We hope you have enjoyed this zombie apocalypse global brain month theme and stay safe. Stay safe from those zombies and we’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.

[00:39:59] [END OF AUDIO]

Frank Spencer: Last time that we did a in-person, I always say live, but in person program where everybody was gathered together–

Yvette Montero Salvatico: In the before times?

Frank: In the before time, before the pandemic hit was Portland in October of 2019 which is interesting, because our new collection here has a relationship to October seeing that October is the Halloween month. Right?

Yvette: I should have thought of this more thoroughly when we decided on this collection that you will not stop talking about Halloween for this entire seven months– [crosstalk]

Frank: I’m pretty sure that I’m going to try to make sure that every thing that we talk about when we first start off the podcast has some Halloween relation to it. We’ll see how successful I am at that.

Yvette: October 2019 Portland.

Frank: It’s really not just that one, remember all the times that we were in LA in October, or in some other city we always try to find the corn maze or the Halloween festival that’s going on. It just so happened that we were in Portland in 2019. You were like, “Guess what? I’ve got a surprise for you.” I was like, “What is it?” You were like, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to a Halloween patch, a little festival.”

Yvette: Pumpkin patch.

Frank: I was so excited because I knew it was going to be scary with the pumpkins and the skeletons and all of this good stuff and everything. We traveled out to the country, we got an Uber to take us.

Yvette: It was a drive.

Frank: I remember the whole time you were telling me, “Oh, we’re going to this Halloween festival.”

Yvette: It’s famous.

Frank: The driver said, “Yes, Halloween festival.”

Yvette: Super famous.

Frank: He played right along.

Yvette: I don’t understand why the phrase, play along, is being used here.

Frank: Well, the audience will understand in just a moment because we drove up and yes, it was crowded. You could tell that this was like, it looked very much like a Halloween festival except the closer we got to it the more I started to get a sense that this wasn’t your typical Halloween festival.

Yvette: Yes. It was better because it was actually the Roloff farms. This is in Portland, Oregon. For those of you that watch Reality TV, you know Little People, Big World and the Roloffs, and this is their family farm. I was excited to experience it. We got to see the whole family, the children, the grandkids, everybody. There were animals, there was a pumpkin patch and yes, there was a haunted trail.

Frank: Not scary. Kissing a llama and posing with one of the Roloff’s, not scary.

Yvette: It was fun.

Frank: What happened to my scary Los Angeles haunted hills hayride that I’m supposed to get? Instead I get a reality television show, [unintelligible 00:02:51] Yvette’s World. I’m surprised that we didn’t see some of the other guys flipping houses there selling their wares dah, dah, dah.

Yvette: That’s the next year, all my favorites.

Frank: Some other reality teller, everybody was naked and afraid or something.

Yvette: That would be scary. Anyway. No more talk about, how you were disappointed in my surprises while we were on site for the future [unintelligible 00:03:18]

Frank: We bought a Roloff mug.

Yvette: It’s a good mug.

Frank: We have a souvenir forever. Welcome to the Wicked Opportunities Podcast. My name is Frank Spencer.

Yvette: I’m Yvette Montero Salvatico Reality TV show fan.

Frank: Maven.

Yvette: Maven. I like that. Welcome. Welcome. This is as we’ve hinted and said throughout the last few weeks, this is our new collection focused on dystopic tropes. A lot of them are monsters and aliens and things that go bump in the night. We’re working to flip those Wicked Problems on their heads, and really identify the wicked opportunity hidden within. That can be unleashed through the updating of our outdated mindsets. That’s what Wicked Opportunities is all about.

It’s leveraging the increasingly complex landscape for greater opportunity. We do this podcast as we do everything else in our work fueled by Foresight, specifically the Natural Foresight framework. We go through each facet of the Natural Foresight framework applying a tool each week to showcase not only how we can solve these types of problems, but how we can use Foresight effectively to do so. It’s because our mission it’s to democratize the field of Foresight.

Frank: That’s right. In this map week through our Natural Foresight journey, we’re going to be using this tool of ART which stands for adaptive, resilient and transformative. This is actually a tool, is pretty easy to use, it’s just really a set of questions, but that you can apply to any situation or problem or thing that you’re trying to tackle as well. By the way, we like the acronym ART, but you’ll see the order is actually R-A-T and we just don’t think it works as well. Rat doesn’t work as well as ART.

Yvette: Although we talked a lot about RAT last week.

Frank: There we go.

Yvette: Maybe that’s a sign. Maybe we should call it the RAT framework.

Frank: For this collection it’s the RAT framework, you know what? We’re sticking with it.

Yvette: Awesome. We’re running with it. It’s easy to gloss over, but let’s just spend a moment here talking about the map facet within the Natural Foresight framework. We call them facets because they’re not linear steps. We understand that in a complex environment, linear static approaches simply do not work. Our approaches and processes need to be more organic and reflective of the complexity that they’re working within. Within the map facet though we talk about not only scenarios, but this idea of world-building and thinking in simultaneous multiples.

I think the framework of ART really demonstrates this idea of simultaneous multiples. What you’ll find is we’re not playing favorites, although we are a transformational organization in our DNA-

Frank: I’m a transformation geeks.

Yvette: -yes, but we do recognize the importance, to be adaptive, resilient, and transformative as leaders, as organizations, as societies and in developing our strategy.

Frank: We have to look across that spectrum of the future, which is really from the push of the future which is the resilient in all the way to the pull of feature, your transformational and right there in the middle is the adaptive. If you think about that, spectrum from push to pull R-A-T, again, and that allows us to look across that spectrum which is all important. We often leave out the pull in, we know the push-in pretty well, in our businesses and organizations. If we look across that entire spectrum, as Yvette said, we’re not playing favorites, we’ll be very robust and rigorous on our work.

Yvette: Yes, because we want to be ready no matter what future unfolds. Today we’re going to talk specifically about strategies and decisions we can be making today to tackle our current environment of the zombie apocalypse, so that we can hopefully steer ourselves, our organizations and our society towards that global brain future that we could opportunity future. Let me talk just briefly about what we’re focusing on in this month, we always have a theme.

We always have a Wicked Problem. We’re flipping to a wicked opportunity. This month’s theme is the zombie apocalypse. Of course we’ve known about zombies for a long time. They have a lot of a rich historical origins we talked about in week one. They’ve been adopted in pop culture as these brain eating mutants.

Frank: Or in different ways like we talked about last week, the Borg on Star Trek, different kind of zombie but interesting. Anything that becomes this hive mind and absconded in a scary wicked kind of way.

Yvette: We define the zombie apocalypse as the viral and systematic siphoning manipulation and monetization of our attention. The question we’ve been asking the last couple of weeks and we’ll continue this week and next is, what if we reframed zombie apocalypse as the global brain, a mutual consumption of knowledge and ideas that creates a worldwide super organisms. We’re going to continue down that path using that ART framework. Again, as Frank mentioned, we talk about it as ART, but we will walk through it as resilient, adaptive and transformative.

When we’re talking about resilience we’re talking about the ability to bounce back, but also to just try to maintain the official future. Which again is probably leaning more on the push end of the spectrum more on risk management, but still important. We’ll talk about what a resilient response to our environment would be. Then we’ll talk about adaptation and really avoiding disruption. Right?

Frank: Yes. Right there in the middle of our spectrum between the push and the pull, how to be adaptive and what that means in terms of disruption in these kinds of things.

Yvette: Then of course, transformational. We’ll talk about how to be the disruptor, how to think in a more long-term fashion to take advantage of higher order opportunities, so that we can break through and get to that transformational outcome. We’ll talk a little bit about how sometimes we think we’ve got a really transformative solution or strategy, but it’s actually probably resilience. You might find that some of the stuff we talk about when we move into the resilience element here you might say, “Wow, I think these are great ideas and they are.”

We’re going to show you by showing adaptive and transformative responses, how those resilient responses probably don’t go far enough, at least not on their own.

Frank: That’s right. As a matter of fact one of the things that we had talked about in show notes was that our socio-economic status determines what you think is an A or an R or a T response to a situation. Right? what might be super transformative for my country or region might be an adaptive response for somebody else.

Yvette: Yes. I think that it’s very similar to the Gibson quote, “the future’s here it’s just not evenly distributed.” We might be thinking again that something seems really transformative in one region is actually more of a resilient response someplace else. There’s definitely not a one size-all situation but we’ve developed several prompters to help you think about adaptive resilient and transformative responses in your every day.

It’s great for tackling a big huge Wicked Problem like the zombie apocalypse, but it’s also great to just manage your day-to-day calendar, your day-to-day responsibilities to ensure we’re multifaceted in our decision-making, in our strategy making, that we’re going to be successful no matter what future comes. By the way, we have developed this short quiz that tells you what type of leader you are.

Frank: What kind of ART leader you are.

Yvette: Yes. It’s just interesting, cause again, there’s not one that’s better than the other but it’s helpful to be self-aware, so that you can surround yourself with diverse perspectives. As we’re going through this resilient, adaptive, transformative tool, as it relates to zombie apocalypse and the global brain, if there’s one that you lean towards that you’re like, “Ooh, I really like what they’re saying there,” chances are that’s the type of leader that you are.

Frank: Yes, could be, very well.

Yvette: You probably want to surround yourself with the other types, so that you’re well-rounded.

Frank: Some might’ve thought you just surround yourself with people that think like you, but no, you should surround yourself with people that don’t think like you. A good futurist wants to really challenge their assumptions their biases, their constants, their mental models, right?

Yvette: Educated incapacity. Right.

Frank: As a matter of fact when we did scanning last week, and I think you mentioned, the scanning is really more for the scanner. It changes the way you think, it rewires your brain so ART we have to surround ourselves with the A and the R for Ts and the A and the Ts for Rs. Find those people that really challenge you.

Yvette: Awesome. Awesome. Let’s get back to our Wicked Problem of zombie apocalypse and that wicked opportunity of the global brain, and let’s talk about resilience. Let’s talk about this idea of maintaining our baseline or official future. Resilience is typically where most organizations have a mainstay, like whether you’re thinking about your annual operating plan, your forecast, if you do a five-year plan usually it’s in this resilience realm, you might be attaching a growth rate to your historical performance but in reality you’re just trying to sustain and maintain this “official future”.

Frank: That’s right. I was seeing an article from the Center for Engaged Foresight in the Philippines today, and they were just talking about the use of risk tools within the foresight realm. When we’re talking about resilience we’re talking a lot about risk and risk management.

Yvette: Which is again is really important. I think we believe that foresight gives resilience risk management a facelift and that it’s not about being brittle and building up walls, because ultimately something manages to get in, but rather it’s about building our immune system, testing possible outcomes. Foresight really helps us build that resilience in that way. Shall I share the prompter for resilience?

Frank: Yes, absolutely.

Yvette: Here’s a prompter you can use when you’re trying to develop multifaceted strategies or multifaceted decisions around a topic. This is the resilient prompt, and there’ll be one for adaptive and transformative. What we would say to ourselves is given the challenge in our current environment or with our current scenario, whatever you’re tackling in our case it’s, this attention economy zombie apocalypse types situation.

Frank: Being captured by analytics, the screen time.

Yvette: Yes yes. What values and aspects of our society, you could change it with yourself or with your organization, we will need to lean on in order to maintain our baseline or official future as it relates to this issue? What strategies will allow us to maximize our present success? Again what values and aspects of our society, organization, ourselves, we will need to lean on, excuse me, in order to maintain our baseline or official future, and what strategies will allow us to maximize our present success? As it relates to this topic, we took a stab at this and created a little bit of a headline for each of these, right?

Frank: We did, almost like a metaphor but I love the headline. You all know Max Brooks, famous book from I believe it was 2006 a World War Z, which they made into a movie and I think they were supposed to make a second movie. I don’t think that came to pass but Brad Pitt was in the original movie, and I was thinking about the unique aspect of this zombie movie too because they found out that in the movie-

Yvette: Notice how he’s telling me this story because he knows I have not seen this movie, for any of you that have hung around us-

Frank: [laughs] Slipping her a copy right now go and [unintelligible 00:15:20].

Yvette: For any of you that have hang around for any time at all, you know that I have watched the same three minutes of the same five films that we show in clips during our Fci-Fi exercise, but I know them well so tell me about this movie.

Frank: My mother once said to me, she was like, you’re the best person to describe movies and half of your description has no words. It’s just sounds, so you actually make this– I did Star Wars in 1977 for her in 15 minutes with sounds and words.

Yvette: That sounds like that’s it– That’s a time-saver, I like that, so tell me about World War Z.

Frank: Brad Pitt finds out in World War Z that the zombies only attack people who don’t have a disease, isn’t that interesting?

Yvette: Oh, so they don’t want to disease people.

Frank: That’s right, so if you’ve got some disease, any disease.

Yvette: You need hiker all the way for the win. That’s interesting.

Frank: Yes. He notices in the distance they run past this kid at one point, they test the kid’s blood and sure enough he has a curable disease but he’s got a disease and the zombies could sense it immediately. He breaks into the center for disease control, shoots himself up with all of these pathogens to test this theory, walks right to the zombies. They never recognize he’s even there.

Yvette: Then he dies from all the things he injected himself.

Frank: Of course. [laughs] No, he’s Brad Pitt, so he’s got cure.

Yvette: World War Z. got it. Makes sense. What are we talking about in terms of resilience response.

Frank: Well, we might have a world War D our WWD, the World War Digital, so now we’re not fighting the zombies or maybe we are, but we see the zombies as being the digital overload, right? Our kids are on the screens too much. The adults are on the screens too much. We need to detox from screen time. We need to get away from the digital. We need to replug back into nature again et cetera et cetera.

Yvette: The risk response, the resilient response here is about cutting out devices, lowering screen time. It’s that Sunday reminder of how much screen time I’ve had the week prior, which I will not talk about, curtailing it, restriction, trying to limit our consumption.

Frank: There’s so many apps out now that will tell you how long you’ve spent, so that you detox from it. Cut the cord. There’s a great article that came out just a couple of days ago that you all know that in China, really, all over the world, I don’t know why China’s getting picked on about this so much but it’s so blatant. China using facial recognition technology to monitor all kinds of things with citizens. Tencent, the biggest company in China, biggest gaming company at least in China.

One of the biggest companies, period, is instituting a platform where from ten o’clock at night till eight o’clock in the morning, no kids in China, at least on the mobile, can play games. Using facial technology, the game just gets cut off immediately. If you don’t allow your facial recognition, give permission for your face to be used for recognition or quit playing the games, there’s a law– It’s a law. You have to stop playing games at 10 o’clock at night, it’s a law and you’ll be arrested for it.

Yvette: Excuse me for one second. I’m just looking up passport requirements to move to China with my 14 year old, because perhaps this is the solution I’ve been looking for.

Frank: We might’ve joked, your 14 year old is a brilliant individual. We might have joked that she wouldn’t last long in China.

Yvette: Except it doesn’t include PC games, which is her jam.

Frank: In turns out that you can play a League of Legends starting at 10:01 on your PC, as long as you’re off the mobile app.

Yvette: She’s actually probably playing with some of those Chinese kids.

Frank: They showed that some of the kids are like, of course, life will find a way, one of my favorite quotes from Jurassic Park, one of your three movies.

Yvette: That’s the only I’ve seen. I’ve seen that.

Frank: That the kids have been finding ways to get around this by using their parents’ computers or ID on their mobile, but now they’re like, nope, we’re going to find out who’s playing by using facial recognition and confirmation or authentication, that it’s an adult actually or a child playing.

Yvette: This strategy makes sense to me, right? If I’m worried about screen time and the attention economy, I’m going to put stop gaps up to prevent that from happening. This could be in the shape of gaming or my phone. It could be add-ons in terms of algorithms and all of that aspect to be able to do that. This is a very resilient, very smart, I think response to this issue is, I want to do World War Digital.

Frank: Well, like we just said, law in this country and that we mentioned China, law, and it won’t be the last one you see. I’m sure that we’re here in the west and the United States in particular, thinking about what can we do? What policies need to be put in place and the damage that maybe being done to these people, but then there was a great quote from this article two, and we’ll go onto our adaptive piece.

It said that the comments on Tencent’s app, if somebody was over the age of, I think 45 or something and they like, almost 100% of the time commented, this is great, because those darn kids are on the screen too long. Of course, if there were under the age of 40, they were like, this is terrible. Games are good for kids. It’s not a bad thing. There are studies that show that gaming’s not all bad, and screens are not all bad. I think one of the things that we’re going, this is the week where we really get to twist things and show you what we mean by global brain.

Yvette: Yes. It’s interesting because again, the prompter there was values and aspects of our society. Of course, in China, they have different worldviews and perspectives. It’s probably why we’ve seen a resilient response manifested legally. In the US it may not be that case, but we’re still seeing a similar desire to curb things.

Frank: I was going to say it’s a global, I think the globe generally has this, at least, zeitgeist guys or in articles, it’s like, what do we do to curtail screen time?

Yvette: Well, and you could see it again, the future’s here. It’s not evenly distributed. You could definitely see it in situations where face-to-face is now a luxury, and so it’s only rich people that get to really have the benefit of getting away from a screen. If I’m the regular person, I see screens day in and day out, my customer service is delivered via screens. If you ever want to know what a society values and how they perceive things and what the hierarchy is, you can look to different economic statuses to see that.

Frank: Fascinating. Yes, it’s true.

Yvette: Okay. Let’s move on to the adaptive response. We’re not knocking resilience.

Frank: No, we have a World War D.

Yvette: Let’s not be crazy and let’s not stay attached to our screens, but that’s just one response. Let’s talk about how an adaptive and a transformative response might differ. For the adaptive response, let me share with you the prompter. What problems or disruptions are apparent in our current environment, so in our case, zombie apocalypse, and how can these be leveraged for our future success regarding the issue? Interesting. We’re trying to leverage the disruptions and the problems.

Frank: Not reinforce the value necessarily, but sag, hey, can we go with the flow?

Yvette: Yes and how can I take what seems like a negative and use it in my favor? What new platforms, possibilities or partners can ensure that we avoid a breakdown as it relates to an issue? With adaptation, we’re trying to pivot, we’re trying to learn, unlearn, relearn, pivot so that we could avoid disruption. Resilience was trying to maintain the status quo, lock it down. Let’s keep our as much based success as we can official future. With adaptation we’re like, we’re not going to get knocked down, we’re going to avoid that disruption, and so we had a metaphor for this one as well.

Frank: We did. Our metaphor for resilience was World War D. This one’s more about, sort of reminds me of Raccoon City and that whole, like the zombie cure, Can we find a cure for this zombie disease?

Yvette: Yes. Yes. Can we, again, we’re talking about leveraging the environment of the situation. You know what? Instead of taking kids off of screens, what if we just taught them how to code?

Frank: Yes. Obviously, if you become a coder, then your life is in front of that screen to a large degree. If we are teaching kids how to use this kind of technology and the zombification elements of society to their advantage, then we actually open up the world of new job possibilities, new educational possibilities, new economic possibilities, et cetera. You really flip this thing on its head, or you begin to flip this thing on its head, and you’re saying, I’m injecting a cure into this that actually causes there to be a benefit.

Yvette: Right. I’m going to increase STEM education. I’m going to really embrace these technologies as opposed to, in a resilient response, I’m just trying to have that knee jerk reaction, that risk averse reaction here. I am trying to lean into it. I am trying to use it to my advantage. We teach all the kids to code. We bump up STEM knowledge and this is more of an adaptive response.

Frank: Yes. If we do that, then we get this outcome of the next generation recognizing fake news better and misinformation, being able to see that and recognize it for what it is, or how do we actually monetize that attention both ways? So, owning your own data and being able to sell that data and being a part of the discussion, if not, the data only belongs to those who are creating zombies, you become a zombie.

If this is the case, then we actually find a cure by saying, you wanted to make me a zombie, but I can use this process that you were trying to zombify me through to actually own my own data, to sell it, to be a part of the equation, to be a smart consumer.

Yvette: Education is the cure in that adaptation.

Frank: In this broad sense, right?

Yvette: Yes. Yes. Excellent. Excellent. That makes sense. I could see the difference between the resilient and the adaptive response. Both again are good and important. Now, let’s complete the set if you will, and collect our final response, which is the transformative response. Let me go over that prompter. The transformative response is really trying to leverage the core DNA.

Again, usually this is within an organization, but we could talk about it in terms of society-wise wide in our case. That core element or DNA is what we want to protect, that legacy, but how do we transform it to go forward? What is the prompter is, what is the core element of today that can be leveraged for ongoing success in the emerging environment? What new narrative must be imagined to allow society to achieve a breakthrough transformational outcome, in regards to this issue?

Frank: Yes. This is where I said we really get back to the global brain again, which I’m not even sure if we had the beginning of this show, read our definition of global brain, but this is a great place to remind us.

Yvette: I did a short one, but I could do the longer one.

Frank: Yes. The global brain is a planetary information and communications technology network that interconnects all humans becoming increasingly intelligent, and playing the role of a brain for the entirety of humanity. I love that you talked about us as neurons in this bigger brain. If this is the case then in this particular instance, we have a brain-consuming species. We haven’t yet revealed what that metaphor is, but I’m about to do that.

We went through several iterations and we thought at one point a good metaphor for this was like brains as a currency, which I think relates to what we were talking about a minute ago, owning your own data.

Yvette: Yes, the attention currency and the attention–

Frank: Yes, and the adaptive part, but then we came up with something that we thought it was a little bit cooler. If you think about like software as a service, SaaS, what if we had brains as a service BaaS?

Yvette: I see what you did there. Again, our metaphor for resilience was World War D, or World War Digital. Then we had the zombie cure. Let’s just try to cure the zombie thing. Let’s adapt. Then a transformative is brains as a service.

Frank: Yes, forget about curing it. We’re going to lean into it. This is what I was hitting at early on the show. This is probably our part right here in week three through this first idea of the zombie apocalypse, where we’re seeing probably for me, the heaviest thing of all and that is like, no, the answer is not to get rid of screens is to literally lean into it.

Yvette: More screens. Did you predict that that’s what we were going to say?

Frank: Lean in.

Yvette: Probably not, more screen time for all. Obviously, we’re not saying, literally the way that we’re approaching it today, but we’re saying by leveraging the technologies in transformative ways, we actually need to have more technology, more widespread use, more integration.

Frank: Yes. You ended on the word integration. That’s the key, because there’s no way and if you remember last week, if you listened, you heard this article about the hive mind, it’s inevitable. In some ways it’s already happening. There’s no way we’re getting rid of this. There’s no way we’re getting rid of this.

Yvette: We wouldn’t want to.

Frank: We wouldn’t want to if we do it the right way. We can do this the right way and that’s all about that.

Yvette: Right, because we’re talking about full access to human knowledge, globally mindful citizens, sharing, cultural language, connecting to groups that have previously been cut off, really democratizing knowledge across the world. No more silos. We’re receiving knowledge exactly when we need it, exactly what we need. It’s not lost in translation if you will. It’s beyond open access.

Frank: It is. It’s beyond open-access and this idea that the technology serves us, rather than us– because if you think about both of the previous responses, they were both about trying to control or trying to manipulate the technology instead, we need to see it as a servant to us, as a co-evolving service.

Yvette: We have to co-evolve with our technology. We’ve always co-evolved with our technology, but we can now do it more purposefully, more collaboratively and not letting anyone be left behind.

Frank: I think in a way, this is really interesting and it gives us a new take on collaborative consumption, because we always think about the sharing economy. Collaborative consumption is, I’m going to use the leaf blower and you’re going to use the leaf blower, and I’m going to rent the car and you’re going to use the same car, and we’ll have less to use. Here, we’re talking about literally collaborating, we’re consuming one another. We’re consuming the collective knowledge of humanity, which really reframes.

If you want to talk about a post human world, stop thinking about plugging the chip into your head and all of this. This is the most post-human way you could possibly think. What is humanity look like when we get rid of this over abundance of individualism thinking? I’m not saying you’ll never be an individual, that would not be good, but we understand that we are a collective species and everything is about individualism has been completely harmful for us in many ways, and start consuming humanity as a collective technology.

Yvette: Instead of plugging that chip into your head, plug into one another and really connect in a deep way.

Frank: This means knowledge, and we can talk about the internet and all the digital ways we can do that. It’s culture. It’s cultural too. As much as right now, and I agree with this a thousand percent that we need to protect cultures and we need to allow those cultures to self-govern in many ways, instead of, here’s the dominant culture, every other culture has to bend the knee to that. We’re in a time when we’re talking much more about self-indigenous policies or indigenous governance or cultural governance, but learning from it.

Yvette: That’s how you [unintelligible 00:32:01]. That’s how you protect it.

Frank: That’s how you protect it. We haven’t gotten this through our head yet. It’s like, leave my culture alone and I’ll leave your culture alone. No, no, we have to learn from one another’s cultures. That’s how we’re going to respect them. That’s a part of that global brain, is really preserving these cultures to learn from them.

Yvette: That’s the legacy within the DNA that we’re trying to bring forward in our prompter. At least in part and trying to achieve that transformational outcome that some days I feel like we’re super close to, and some days I feel like we’re really far away.

Frank: It all depends on what day of the week it is,. I read an article right before we went to the podcast that said that MIT predicted the collapse of society over 50 years ago, and now here we are. I’m like, great. It’s like, I told you guys get ready for the collapse, but is it? As you’ve heard us talking on the podcast before that there’s a way to look at this, rather than just designing for a good way to go out, what we design for a good way back in?

I think a part of that is crucial is educating for critical thinking, and so different from the, just the adaptive. Here, you’re literally, we’re not going to educate for critical thinking if we don’t learn from one another, because that critical thinking comes across a spectrum. That again, if you’re a transformer thinker, surround yourself with adaptive resilient people, if you’re resilient surround yourself with adaptive and transformative, that’s how you become a critical thinker.

Yvette: Yes. Learning how to learn.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Goes way back to week one with learn, unlearn, relearn, it’s all connected folks. It’s all connected. The scanning we did last week was really helpful in helping to identify resilient, adaptive, and transformative responses. Again, we need to think in simultaneous multiples, we need to build our organizations and our teams with adaptive, resilient, and transformative traits and capabilities. Our strategies should be that way as well.

Hopefully, you’ve gotten some insight into how you could approach a problem like zombie apocalypse or whatever problem you’re dealing with by these prompters, and thinking about resilient, adaptive, and transformative responses, because all three are helpful. You might need to be engaged geographically differently or different periods of time, short, medium, long-term, you probably need a parallel approach to this.

Frank: I was going to say, what is the combination of these approaches look like? Of course, eventually transformation means that we hope to transform as a globe, but what does it look like as we go through this cycle? Because there’s almost a cycle of adaptive, resilient, transformative as well. Right?

Yvette: Excellent. That puts an end to the map week. We’re going to be moving into the create week. Since we’re in a new collection, I’ll share that we’re going to be prototyping a product, a service, and an experience from the Wicked Opportunity Future, The Global Brain.

Frank: You guys, you’re going to love it, this create week during this collection focuses on design fiction, speculative design, hope punk, solar punk, Sci-Fi. We’re going to get super positive about the global brain, about our Wicked Opportunity. This is our week to artifact the future and prototype the future.

Yvette: Yes, and as you’ve probably noticed was we moved from discover, explore to map and create. We’ve moved from originally really speaking a lot about the Wicked Problem all the way now to map and create where we’re focusing more on the Wicked Opportunity. Hopefully we’ve helped to create a map for you on how to achieve your Wicked Opportunity Future. As always Mr. Spencer, it’s been a privilege to spend the last 40 minutes with you talking about this incredible Wicked Opportunity.

Frank: Well, you’re my favorite futurist.

Yvette: Oh, well, that works out really well.

Frank: You’re my favorite futurist. One of the top 50 women futurist in the world.

Yvette: Thanks so much Forbes.

Frank: In my view you’re number one.

Yvette: Oh, very sweet. Even though I took you to the Roloff farm and you thought it was going to be a scary haunt house?

Frank: They’re a very sweet family. There was a tiny, short spooky forest. I got a cute picture from it. I’m going to make sure it’s posted online.

Yvette: Excellent. All right. Well, we’ll see you next time. In the meantime, if you want to collaborate with us on this Wicked Opportunity or anything foresight related, you’ll catch us on futures space. Until next time stay safe and we’ll see you then.

[00:36:25] [END OF AUDIO]

Yvette: Museum of the Weird.

Frank: Austin, Texas.

Yvette: Yes. This fun part of our site visit that we had a few weeks ago.

Frank: If you find yourself in Austin, Texas, especially if you find yourself there this coming fall, there would be a reason for you to be there this fall.

Yvette: I see what you did there.

Frank: Yes, that one’s a little bit of a commercial.

Yvette: A little bit of a plug.

Frank: You should visit the Museum of the Weird. We just did a couple of weeks ago.

Yvette: Reviews on TripAdvisor were mixed, but we took a shot. We took a chance at it.

Frank: I think that’s why we went.

Yvette: I think it was well worth the price of admission, to be honest. If you enjoy the show, like Mysteries of the Deep or whatever.

Frank: Unsolved, something there or another.

Yvette: Unsolved mysteries, yes, this is your jam here. It’s basically like a chronology of all the side show weirdness, which is quite on theme for our new collection and podcast.

Frank: It’s not a huge museum, but quite honestly you could spend a good amount of time in there.

Yvette: There’s a lot to digest. It’s a self-guided-

Frank: Yes, self-guided.

Yvette: -experience.

Frank: There’s just shelves of things. If I were to look at all of them– If I want to see the box of the most nail clippings ever gathered in one place, which is disgusting. The first thing that you’ll see in the museum is the Siamese Twins, the famous Siamese Twins. It’s not really them. It’s just a mannequin.

Yvette: There’s a lot of mannequins, a lot of– It’s like a-

Frank: Thank goodness it’s not really them. Of course, what am I saying?

Yvette: -wax museum meets Ripley’s, meets something. If you live here in Central Florida, you might find on what we call 192. Quite honestly, the Museum of the Weird is not even the scariest part of Austin, to be honest.

Frank: No, it was the street outside of the Museum of the Weird that– I felt safer inside the museum-

Yvette: It was good, it was all good.

Frank: -than I did outside the museum.

Yvette: Welcome to the podcast, everyone.

Frank: Yes, welcome to the podcast. Sorry to drag that on. The reason we mentioned that is because there is a part of the museum where you have to have a secret code.

Yvette: Yes, I forgot about that.

Frank: You go upstairs and you knock on the door, and you tell the guy threw a little peephole, speakeasy peephole, what the code is, and he lets you in. There’s all of these figures of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and zombies and Dracula and all. It takes you about five seconds to go and see them all, and you’re out. I thought it was on theme. We got to do this and then go straight into the podcasts. Here are we.

Yvette: Its very good.

Frank: Podcast of the weird exactly. [chuckles]

Yvette: Yes, exactly. By the way I’m Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: My name is Frank Spencer. Welcome back, everyone. This is week two of our new collection, the first months of our new collection.

Yvette: On The Wicked Opportunities Podcast where we tackle a wicked problem every month, which is really just a situation where we’re probably not using the right tools, the right perspectives to deal with complexity in our current environment, complexity that’s increasing every day. We showcase through foresight our podcast, as everything that we do is fueled with foresight, how you can unravel, unwrap, reframe issues into wicked opportunities. It’s not about necessarily solving the wicked problem, it’s more about how do we reframe it as an actual weakened opportunity. We are at the beginning part of our second collection, which is a super fun collection. If you joined us last week, we are tackling dystopic tropes, yes.

Frank: Tropes. Monsters and boogeymen, and things that go bump in the night, that we of course frame and create to help us to make sense of the evil that we see around us in the world or the problems that we see around us in the world.

Yvette: These things aren’t accidental that we have them and that they’re part of the zeitgeist. They typically are reflective of some deep seated fears that we have as individuals, and certainly as a society. By unpacking what these mean, which is what we did in week one, we can build towards a more optimistic, more preferred future than the one represented by those tropes. This month, it’s all about zombies.

Frank: The zombie apocalypse.

Yvette: Whenever we’ve been preparing for this podcast, I’m always like, “I can’t believe this is my job that I talk about zombies.” Last week it was the origin of zombies. This week we’re going to move into our explore phase. We follow the natural foresight framework: discover, explore, map and create. We’re in the explore week. We’re going to talk about environmental scanning, the lifeblood of strategic foresight.

Frank: That’s right. This is our scanning week. As you said, we want to talk about the importance of scanning for weak signals. What weak signals are out there right now that talk about this zombie apocalypse? Then of course, our wicked opportunity that we talked about last week, where entered the show-

Yvette: The global brain.

Frank: -the global brain. Of course, if you’ve ever been to one of The Future School’s programs, or worked with us in any way, you know that we teach there’s three ways of scanning. We scan around the trends, we scan around values, and we scan around implications. If we’re going to do it justice, we’re going to look at these articles that we found today. We’re going to talk about the trends, the values and the implications of them.

Yvette: Again, the whole idea behind this podcast is really how we run all of our learning programs, all of our consulting engagements, is that we want to teach people how to fish. We really believe in our mission, which is to democratize the field of foresight, and the world would be a better place if everyone thought this way. We’re walking the walk through these podcasts, and showcasing how you can actually apply strategic foresight tools. Last week in discover, we talked about this idea of learn, unlearn, relearn, and unconscious bias modeling. This week it’s all about exploration, environmental scanning, the three ways of environmental scanning.

Before we jump into the weak signals however, I just want to remind our audience about the zombie apocalypse and how we’re framing that, in case you’re just jumping into this month’s podcast here in week two. Obviously, we’ve got images of the undead plaguing pop culture for decades. While fascination with life after death has never wavered, our technology has advanced far beyond the imaginations of the original brain-eating creators. We define the wicked problem of zombie apocalypse as the viral and systematic siphoning, manipulation, and monetization of public attention. Then in terms of global brain, let me get over to how we define that. Clearly, when we’re talking about the global brain, we’re talking about a planetary information and communications technology network that interconnects all humans, becoming increasingly intelligent, and playing the role of a brain for the entirety of humanity.

Frank: Yes. We can continue to scream out brains without brain-dead, right? Obviously, our audience is full of really, really smart people.

Yvette: Yes, they get it.

Frank: They get the play on brains and brains and brains, and more brains

Yvette: We’re going to be talking about brains all the time, this program as well. We’re talking about neuroscience in a lot of these articles.

Frank: It turns out there’s a good bit of that in these articles as well that the neuroscience idea makes a play. What articles did we start to find?

Yvette: I will kick this off–

Frank: Because I actually displayed for the people too.

Yvette: Right. There will be, as part of this week’s reframe, you’ll have access to our Diigo Outliner for this week’s or this month scanning. It’ll include the articles we’re going to discuss in today’s podcast, as well as a few others. We’d love to know what you’re reading that represents weak signals for either a zombie apocalypse in this attention economy, or the global brain, that wicked opportunity. We’d love to hear from you as well what you’re reading but I wanted to kick us off with an article called The Psychology of Faces and the Future of Personalization. This was written by Dr Matt Johnson. It was posted in June of last year. It’s really interesting. We’ll talk a little bit about, as we scan, what the article was about, but also what trends and values we see in each of these articles. As Frank mentioned, we’ll talk at the end about some of the implications from the scanning. This is a really interesting article because I think the term or the trend of personalization comes up in every single client engagement we’ve ever had in the last 10 years. Traditionally, you think of personalization as I see my name and the Coca-Cola can, and–

Frank: Or it was made for me.

Yvette: Absolutely. I’m thinking about, in my childhood, trying to find the license plate with Yvette on it-

Frank: Of course. That was exactly what that was.

Yvette: -spelled the way that I wanted it to spell.

Frank: You go to a downtown Disney into one of the shops, and then you want to look for the Mickey with your name on it.

Yvette: Yes. This article starts with the idea of how powerful it is to see your name or to hear your name, and how personalizing content in that way really fosters a stronger emotional connection. In fact, they’ve showcased that in our brains, in terms of neuroscience, that we can absolutely miss a ton of other stuff. It’s just if our name or our face actually shows up quickly that our brain conserves a portion of processing space to be able to catch that kind of stuff. It’s like you might be, “I’m totally paying attention to you. I’m here at the podcast,” but there’s a part of my brain capacity reserved for listening for my name. It makes me think of the time when we were in Russia and they were all talking Russian, and all we listened for was our names, Frank and Yvette. Then we knew to pay attention.

Frank: I remember that. It would be a slew of Russian words and then Yvette и Frank.

Yvette: You did a better job.

Frank: Then you knew there was something going on. I hear what you’re saying because I’ve seen some of this study too. Even if your face quickly goes by or you see something, it doesn’t matter how fast it goes by, you recognize your face.

Yvette: You don’t even realize you’re recognizing it. That’s the interesting part, is that your brain recognizes your face, even when you consciously don’t. This article talks about this idea of conscious consent, which I think is a term you’re going to hear a lot about coming in the future, because how many of you participated in that face app exercise, where it said, “Hey, look at what your face looks like in 40 to 50 years”?

Frank: How would you look older on Facebook.

Yvette: Guess what that was all about?

Frank: They just want to capture your face.

Yvette: Same with the Apple phone. You don’t really need that technology to safeguard your phone.

Frank: They’re just capturing your face.

Yvette: Obviously, now they have lots of faces captured.

Frank: They want to get faces.

Yvette: The obvious interpretation or interpolation is when– Here’s a quote from the article that I’ll share, and then we could chat about it, “In the crowded attention economy,” so that was definitely a trend that came up in this article, in addition to personalization and facial recognition. “In the crowded attention economy, advertisers on social media apps are in a perpetual arms race to catch your gaze. This technique will be a game changer, an easy differentiator for brands, because remember, you don’t have to consciously see that it’s your face, the mere presence of your face in an image will drive your attention to the ad unconsciously.” I think this article is speaking to how we’re all being zombified, and they’re using our face literally against us to perpetuate this unconscious attention to the screen.

Frank: I was remembering when you were saying that, and I remember being at Duke at one point, and we were trying to get on Facebook. We had it on the screen in front of the room, and we had used particular students. They were like, “You can use my account.” At the time we should’ve never done that. We were thinking that was not good protocol, but we did at the moment. They were like, “I can’t log on.” Then it asked you to recognize all these faces of people. All they’re really wanting to do is they were like, “Here’s your password.” They’re wanting to get to see if you recognize these people and connect names–

Yvette: Right, to let you in. Yes.

Frank: You were telling me a little bit about this earlier. I remember there being this talk about being enlightened at store X.

Yvette: Starbucks.

Frank: Or anywhere that might be. I don’t know if Starbucks does this in particular, or if it was just an example. It’s like before you ever go get your drink, they’re capturing your face somewhere on a camera or whatever. Then there can be monitors up there with your face flashing really quickly next to a caramel macchiato, and sure enough, you’re going to order a caramel macchiato.

Yvette: Subliminal marketing meets facial recognition. I’m telling you, we’re zombified. You don’t even know that you’re choosing that product or that service, and it’s being foistered on you.

Frank: This is that next phase of marketing and really drawing you in. The attention economy or predictive analytics is really you sell yourself, you zombify yourself. They’re like, “We didn’t–” You sold it yourself.

Yvette: There you go.

Frank: That’s heavy.

Yvette: That’s the next stage. That neuroscience component, I thought was really interesting, that psychological perspective. Our face as well, I thought was a really interesting component of that. Questions of privacy definitely come up in this article. Again, of course that personalization element was huge.

Frank: Those values, yes.

Yvette: I could see how this definitely points to that wicked problem of zombie invasion.

Frank: Of the zombie apocalypse.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: That’s heavy. Those are the trends and values from that article. Then potentially we have a couple more articles, right?

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: What are some other kinds of weak signals?

Yvette: We have this one that’s titled How Virtual Reality Unveiled a Unique Brain Wave That Could Boost Learning. This was written by Shelly fan. It’s really recent, just last week, which would make it beginning of July, basically, from when we’re recording this. We all know, or I think many of our listeners would know how virtual reality is being touted as the empathy technology. There’s just so much potential for virtual reality. This article talks about testing virtual reality on rats.

Frank: Little tiny VR headsets on a rat.

Yvette: I was hoping but it specifically says that that’s not what they did.

Frank: Oh, darn.

Yvette: I know. I almost-

Frank: I was excited for a second.

Yvette: -stopped reading it after that. It was really trying to get what are called theta waves. These are critical for memory researchers who are trying to battle things like Alzheimer’s. I love this part about where it talked about basically theta waves which wash over the hippocampus, yes, trigger a state in the brain that’s prone to a flow of ideas. They call it shower thoughts.

Frank: I know this from David Eagleman and stuff, because I love to read about neuroscience, that when you’re really relaxed or you’re in the shower, those theta waves are those creativity ways. This is the place where your free flow thought, and this is when your most creative thoughts come to you. I’m in the shower, I thought of this part when I was in the shower.

Yvette: Theta waves work with other brain waves to help us recall personal memories, something that’s often lost in Alzheimer’s patients. That they did a test using VR and got some interesting results with the rats. It says, “We were blown away when we saw this huge effect of VR experience on theta rhythm enhancement. For one of the first times, it seems that VR caused processing in the hippocampus to occur differently than it does in our everyday lives.” Basically VR is triggering different types of waves. I’m trying to see that they were calling it something different. Eta?

Frank: Eta waves.

Yvette: Eta waves. What eta waves do– Again, in case you’re wondering I’m not a neuroscientist.

Frank: Could have fooled all of us.

Yvette: “The discovering of eta waves could change what we know about the brains learning abilities. Eta waves could parse the activity inside our brain into parallel streams of information processing.” I will finally be able to really successfully multitask, is what I’m getting out of this, using VR to boost my learning and memorization.

Frank: Wait. I’m asking you a question. You’re saying that they found out that when they were showing these rats a virtual environment, that it was spurring not only the theta waves, but it was creating these new types of waves.

Yvette: Correct. What they did to the rats is that they basically wired their brains to be able to measure the neurologic activity, both when they were in the “real world”, real environment, which mimicked that VR space, and when they were in the VR space. They saw a tick in not only those waves that they expected, they saw new waves that they hadn’t ever seen before. Suggesting that again, through VR technology, we would be able to amp up not only our memory, but our learning abilities.

Frank: Whoa. Intense. That’s interesting because your first article really, I think, spoke more to this I’ll be apocalypse piece. This one seems to almost be a weak signal indicator of– Well, it’s interesting because on one hand you can see how this is a scary thing. It’s sounds scary. It sounds pretty scary.

Yvette: It’s not as scary as the first one, because I think it talks about– I don’t know, it’s weird, because I feel like VR is not as intrusive, but also because it speaks to not just curing ailments like Alzheimer’s, but amplifying my own abilities.

Frank: We always love to say, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Yvette: Right. This is a drinking game. Every time you read an article or discuss a trend, take a drink and ask yourself, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Frank: What could possibly go wrong?

Yvette: Usually it’s a lot. If I was tagging this article in Diigo, which we did, I would tag it, obviously virtual reality, neuroscience, learning, creativity, the idea of multiples, simultaneous multiples, and even something like radical life extension, which is a trend we’ve been following for quite some time, because if we can conquer ailments like Alzheimer’s, that’s really a lot of what causes obviously issues at older ages, then we could definitely extend life.

Frank: These zombification, if you would, technologies like digital and like VR seem to be having also a global brain effect on people too. That’s what this article indicates, that it’s not just zombifying us, but it’s allowing us to consume the global brain, so to speak, and amplifying us, and so a good kind of zombie.

Yvette: There’s definitely a learning and creativity element here. I think it remains to be seen where we take these, but that was these two articles. I think you had an article that even takes a step closer to our wicked opportunity of the global brain.

Frank: Well, I did because our researcher, Ashley Powers, she fed this article to me, and I loved it. She gave me a choice, and I picked this one because I felt this was a fantastic article to really, again, a weak signal, but an indicator of more towards the global brain side of things than the the weak single of a zombie apocalypse. By the way, if you didn’t catch it, we’re seeing these weak signals of both. How do we shift from the wicked problem to a wicked opportunity?

Yvette: I think it’s important. Again, a lot of strategic foresight, and specifically scanning, is about assumption and biases. If you’ve been to any of our programs, we talk a lot about this. We talk about unconscious bias. We talk about the ladder of inference. We’re decoding and unpacking these articles, understanding that the person that wrote it, the person that edited it, the publication that published it all have their own biases and assumptions, their own ladders of inference. Not only is it important to recognize those, but these are individuals that are going to potentially have pretty strong voices in the world to set the direction of-

Frank: The zeitgeist, so to speak.

Yvette: -where these technologies go. Whether the average person is fearful of VR and these technologies, whether the average person when they go to vote on legislation or regulation or the representatives, which do have an understanding of the ethical, moral, but also potentially transformational implications of these technologies. Knowing that these articles are out there, whether we agree or not, it doesn’t even matter whether we agree with them or not in their perspective, the fact that they exist and that they’re being shared, and that they’re part of what we’re able to identify and scan for is in itself very important.

Frank: It’s interesting. Again, if you think about your first article, it was about, “Oh no, the ethical concerns about this,” and the second article about “No, these technologies just could be used for a good thing.” You could flip on both articles and say, “How could facial recognition be used for a good thing? VR is scary, and the ethics of behind VR,” and that kind of thing. This particular article that we found is called The Singularity of the Human Hive Mind. It is published in Philosophy Now. I believe this is, online. The author is James Sirois. I’ll get that name wrong for sure, but S-I-R-O-I-S. It’s a fantastic article. It really talks about both the direction and the ability for us to be a hiving species. We look at bees and we look at birds, and we see swarms and we see decentralized mermations and we think about hiving. We look at humans and we think a lot about individuals.

Yvette: The hiving concept, just so I’m clear, this is the idea that when birds fly, there’s not one clear leader. They just to know.

Frank: Yes, the mermations.

Yvette: They just know to move in tandem.

Frank: That’s the decentralized operation. It’s like it’s happening– That’s the same thing you see with ant colonies. It looks like chaos, but it’s controlled chaos. Really hiving, like the beehives have a central mind. They’re around the queen and they’re all thinking together. We see that and we think of the Borg on Star Trek. “We are the Borg and we’re coming.” That could have been one of our tropes, by the way.

Yvette: That could’ve been.

Frank: I think it is in zombie apocalypse.

Yvette: It’s a bug niche, but yes.

Frank: In a manner of speaking, there were zombies in Star Trek.

Yvette: There were. You’re right. There are different types of zombies.

Frank: If we think about that, it terrifies us because we think, “No, I want to be an individual.” In this article, there’s really an argument about whether or not we can keep that individuality and is that hiving coming about. There’s some great quotes in this article. He really starts off talking about the internet has become this pervasive thing so much so that we don’t really say, “I’m going to the internet” anymore. We might say like, “Do you have WiFi here?” Or “How do I just get into this digital world?” If that’s the case, then what is it doing to us not just being, but becoming? Who are we becoming? I love this particular quote from the article. It says, “I believe we’re entering an era when the words ‘individual’ and ‘community’ take on new definitions or meanings as we increasingly become interconnected in what I think of as a hive mind. I also believe that a hive-minded process could itself be a transition towards a singularity of consciousness across the entire earth.” AKA global brain.

He really describes the hive mind here as being an awareness form from the communication of all the individual minds that make up the hive, but different from each of its individual minds. Not defined by the separateness of the individual, but by the totality of the entire thing. It goes on in the article to say, there’s technologies like brain-to-brain interfacing, or just in 2019. This article, by the way, is from July of this year. He names in 2019, the first time that a group of people, three or four people ever got together, and without saying anything, all wearing a brain-to-computer, or brain-to-brain headsets were able to play a Tetris-type game together without saying a word or moving their hands or anything. It was just all brain process. A lot of this article is really pointing to the fact that we have this technology, like the net, the digital space, the metaverse.

Yvette: I’ll pause there just because I think we, especially in these first two articles, when we’re thinking about more invasive technologies, and he goes there with the brain-to-brain interface. If you just stop and think about what the internet represents, the sum total of knowledge of so many millions of people across the globe, how can you not view that as an extension of us as individuals and a connection that could itself itself be considered the nervous system of a macroorganism?

Frank: I’m glad you brought that up because he actually talks about the nervous system.

Yvette: Interesting.

Frank: As a matter of fact, he says, “We’re clearly not as hive-minded as bees or birds,” like I said before, “but nevertheless, cooperation has since extended the consciousness of individuals. The mature end of evolution is cooperation.” We always hear about competition when we hear evolution, but societies and the world doesn’t make it without cooperation. Cooperation is actually the more mature end of evolution. He says, “This is evident in our historical evolution all the way up to information technology, and then comparing our online cells to the neurons in your brain. Can our individual minds be rightly called one mind anymore or is it like a hive of many minds in this world of the metaverse and the internet?” When you think about that, it’s an inevitable, this global brain is almost inevitable.

Yvette: So good. You’re skating that article. Share with them the trends that– I heard several obviously, but you just mentioned the metaverse.

Frank: It’d be great to hear the audience. It’s like, write us back and tell us what they heard, but you definitely see a biomimetic thing going on here. We think of this technology, like the two articles you read to us, as being technology versus man, but it’s really this physical, digital interlay. There’s this mimicking of the hive that we see in nature, like you said, the mermations You can see these values of cooperation and collaboration. You mentioned the digital worlds, we talked about brain-to-brain interfacing and the metaverse as well. Those are some of the values and the trends that you could see in an article like this.

Yvette: Fantastic. Three articles really spanning that paradigm between the zombie apocalypse and the global brain. You saw us investigate each and analyze each. This is how we would conduct our environmental scanning for a client or for ourselves, or for our work at the Future School.

Frank: As you mentioned, not only are we going to be providing post, or at the time that you’re listening to this, these articles, but a few other articles as well. Every time we get to week two, it’s always about scanning, and we’re going to give them that Diigo Outliner to look at.

Yvette: Again, if you’re looking for support in your scanning practice and you’re just developing the skillset, or if you’re already an avid scanner and you’re just looking for more sources of data and information, we’re going to provide that to you every month on week two.

Frank: Awesome.

Yvette: Three ways of scanning, we mentioned at the top of the show, trends, values, and implications. Trends is scanning from the point of manifestation. Values is the point of origin. Now, we’re left with the third way of scanning, which is the point of impact. This is very much, I think, the most important way of scanning. You can’t really do it until you do the other two, right?

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: We talk about this in terms of identifying counter trends, weak signals. This type of scanning, this third way of scanning really feeds into our scanning going forward. It helps us identify the next wave of trends.

Frank: I was just having a conversation earlier with somebody that’s a part of the Design Futures Initiative, DFI, one of our partners and they were asking online in the Slack channel, “When I do design and foresight work, should I be more plausible so people don’t feel like they recognize it, or should we get more provocative? Am I trying to be provocative?” The answer is yes.

Yvette: Yes, it’s always been.

Frank: It is interesting to hear Jim Dator say no idea about the future is useful-

Yvette: No useful idea, yes

Frank: -unless it’s ridiculous. You can see [unintelligible 00:30:41] and me talking about constructive is foresight, and really thinking ontologically different. The nature of change is changing. The nature of future is changing. Don and Rabee talking about design ship provoke. I say all that to say that we get to this more provocative part. When we scan from this last way of thinking about the implications, it takes us back to our scanning on the internet or in the world to look for those more provocative things. Because when we first, started scanning we recognized what we already recognize. The known knowns. Here we’re looking for more of the unknown unknowns or the unknown knowns.

Yvette: Again for those of you who’ve been through our training programs or if you’ve been around the field of foresight, you know that there’s lots of different frameworks for scanning. In fact, our three ways of scanning within it has a couple of frameworks as well. When you scan for trends, you often use steep categories, social, technological, environmental, economic, and political. When you scan from the point of impact, we use those five point of impact questions, which you all from the first collection should already know them by heart. The think, frame, connect, produce and use-

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: -questions that we used to go through in I think week three in the last collection. We have created, and I’m so glad if it’s here, I’m so glad we have a new studio to fit this exciting new– I’ve always wanted to be a game show host, secretly.

Frank: This is a long-standing in-house, in-office-

Yvette: This is a dream come true really.

Frank: -discussion, joke, call it what you want. That is an added Price is Right watcher.

Yvette: From when I was a child. How many of you?

Frank: She always wanted to do– I like the mountain climber thing because–

Yvette: Yes, yodelayheehoo.

Frank: You’re a big Plinko fan too.

Yvette: I like the Plinko. I really want to own some large dice, but it’s–

Frank: Anything that requires you to roll dice or maybe to spin a wheel.

Yvette: Yes. We are excited about this collection for a number of reasons. You can see I’m getting more excited now as I’m speaking about it. We have wheels, we have wheels that we’re going to spin and play a different version of some of the futures. We have a couple of versions. This version of some of the futures, I will spin the wheel to identify a steep category, and then I will spin the wheel to identify a point of impact question. We will have a steep category and a point of impact question. I think I’ll do point of impact first. Then based on those two results, you and I will be put on the spot to think about that implication driver category mesh and these articles that we’ve spoken about. I’m about to spin the wheel.

Frank: Let’s see what happens.

Yvette: We’ll figure out what point of impact category we have.

Frank: Spin that wheel.

[background noise]

Yvette: Oh, gosh.

Frank: It’s frame.

Yvette: It’s frame.

Frank: The frame question.

Yvette: That’s great.

Frank: This is the question where we ask what social structures would be changed, how will they change.

Yvette: Would be created or reframed right?

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Great.

Frank: Frame.

Yvette: Frame. Now let’s find out what steep category. Whether it’s social, technological, economic, environmental, political. This is so exciting. All right.

Frank: Awesome.

Yvette: Here we go.

[background noise]

Yvette: Political. All right. No one is as excited about this as we are.

Frank: Feel like I’m right on The Price is Right. Old Bob Barker is there–

Yvette: The budget is low here. The budget is low but it is a cool looking wheel. I wish you could see it. All right. Frame political implications of all these articles. What are your thoughts?

Frank: Frame and policy? You know what immediately comes to mind for me is some years back we were doing a bit of work and this idea of an avatarcracy came up.

Yvette: Oh, yes.

Frank: I guess I’m also stuck on my article that I just read, but I’m also thinking about the rats in the VR world and all this good stuff.

Yvette: Even the personalization component. I can see where you can get there with that, this idea that– We think a lot about the political spectrum over the last few years. I used to not scan around policy, and then few years ago I started to. I’ll let you figure out why. The idea of the avatarcracy was basically moving our voting and our legislation and all of that to the digital sphere. Correct?

Frank: That’s right. It’s something as simple as how do we vote online or digital voting. There was a whole scenario written around this, the avatarcracy, Deimos in the avatarcracy, new forms of digital democracy. Really, the interesting part of the avatarcracy is this idea of thought voting. How do we use something like brain computer interfacing? We talked a few minutes ago about the three people getting together playing Tetris. How do we actually use that collective input for policy development, demographic representation? When you have that technology and you have that global brain taking place or that hiving taking place or that VR, those new kinds of eta waves. I love how this is all playing together. Then you would be able to really understand at a deeper level what people are really thinking, what they’re really believing, what they really mean when they’re saying things instead of getting lost in translation.

Yvette: I was just going to say this idea of conscious consent. I know one of the concerns of one of the articles, or more than one, was this idea that once you integrate technology into my brain, even if I don’t want to share information, it gets shared.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: There’s no way to stop it.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: The flip side of that is yes you get past conspiracy theories and really bad bias and assumption behavior. We get down to the core of who we are and what we think and we can maybe connect at a more of visceral core level.

Frank: Much deeper level. I know the argument is still because people would worry. It’s like, “How do I keep my individualism?” I believe that we could talk about, there’s ways for the zombie horde or the board to not lose that individuality. As a matter of fact, if you watched a lot of Star Trek, that was the question. It’s like, “How does the Borg remain individual and yet still be in the collective?” There was so much talk about when you got disconnected from the collective you could no longer hear the thoughts of everybody, which was really sad. You think on the surface, “Great to be disconnected,” but they actually felt alone when they couldn’t get other thoughts. It’s this interesting idea that how do we consume the information, the knowledge, the wisdom, all this good stuff to eat that brain and to use it in policy for better governance? For better ways of connecting and policy-making at the neighborhood level, at the demographic level, et cetera?

Yvette: Policy that would really reflect everyone’s wishes.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Those that are in power and those that are not. Much more equitable distribution.

Frank: I love that you just said that because the goal here would be don’t let those guys decide for us, but let’s really be able to make these decisions. Right now they’re deciding in a way, flipping me back to your first article of you’ve got these conspiracy theories going on. They’re literally making you think what you think you want to think, but it’s not your thoughts. Those are not your thoughts, and all that conspiracy is not them.

Yvette: Even without the “invasive” neuro technology, VR technology,-

Frank: It’s already being done.

Yvette: -it’s already being done without our awareness.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: How do we build up the capacity? I think future’s thinking has a big piece of that critical thinking, but also how do we leverage the technology to support a deeper, more meaningful emotional connection? Authentic.

Frank: A global brain democracy-

Yvette: I love it.

Frank: -a real one. We might call that the avatarcracy, and that is your new hoard. That’s the hoard that should exist.

Yvette: I love it. That’s your weak signal that you can go ahead and engage and insert into your scanning efforts going forward.

Frank: Is it out there? Find it in articles. It might not say avatarcracy. It won’t-

Yvette: It won’t.

Frank: -on the article, but where do you start to see this kind of policy-making?

Yvette: Excellent. Thank you so much, Frank, for another great week of the Wicked Opportunities Podcast.

Frank: I’m going to, by the way, dress up like Negan next week from The Walking Dead. I’ll get my baseball bat and a leather jacket.

Yvette: Awesome. We’ll be all set. Next week is our mapping phase. Not only will you receive a map of all the month’s podcast, but we’ll be talking about how to deploy resilient, adaptive, and transformative strategies to address the zombie apocalypse global brain worlds that were stuck in-between.

Frank: Excellent.

Yvette: In the meantime, check us out on Future Space. If you’re interested in more learning and development opportunities, of course the Future School is your place. Check us out for lots of great programs both online, live and in person.

Frank: I didn’t give it away at first, but I said you might want to appear at the Museum of the Weird this October in Austin when we have the Future School live.

Yvette: In person.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Excellent. Hope to see you there. Thanks, everyone. Stay safe. See you next time.

Frank: Awesome.

[00:40:07] [END OF AUDIO]

Frank Spencer: Remember early on when we first met and you were still working for the Walt Disney Company and parks and resorts. Of course, people know by now that you were the head futurist at the Walt Disney company.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: At least at parks and resorts.

Frank: At least the parks and resorts. I think there were a lot of people and Imagineers also calling on you on a regular basis. You had access to the famed tunnels in the Magic Kingdom.

Yvette: One thing that I loved about when we first met is that you weren’t a Disneyphile like a crazy Disney person but you love and respected Disney like many people do. As a cast member as I was at the time, one of our greatest joys is to introduce people like friends and family to the secrets, the behind-the-scenes, the backstage magic.

Frank: I will say that for years I had always dreamed of [unintelligible 00:00:59] but, of course, that’s never going to come to pass. Although I do think you can sign up for a tour or something.

Yvette: Yes, I thought I was hot shit– [crosstalk]

Frank: I don’t want the tour. I want to get the real McCoy.

Yvette: I thought I was hot shit and I’m pretty sure they should have gotten me fired. I’m not really sure because as a vendor you– [crosstalk]

Frank: And, those who work with you because I remember we drug one or two other people down into the tunnel [unintelligible 00:01:23].

Yvette: Yes. They shall remain nameless because I think they might still be employed by the mouse but yes, I did take you through the tunnels. I remember you saying, “Oh, it smells,” which it does because there’s a lot of garbage down there.

Frank: Well, that’s where they capture the garbage and then there’s all kinds of amazing things like the breads hanging on the ceiling and all depending on what shop you are, you just open this door to this nondescript hall that all looks the same and with your giant stick grab some bread from the ceiling and drag it down into the [inaudible 00:01:53] [crosstalk].

Yvette: I don’t know about all that but there were nondescript doors.

Frank: I remember this, I noticed bread hanging up. It was so weird.

Yvette: I don’t. You have a different memory than I do.

Frank: All the doors down the hallway just say the name or sometimes don’t say the name of the thing that it’s leading to.

Yvette: You have to know what you’re doing.

Frank: I think right now we’re at the ice cream shop. We should’ve made it that far down. There’s Tigger walking down the hallway with his head off and a cigarette in his hand. No cigarettes, there was no cigarettes. [chuckles]

Yvette: No cigarettes. That was Cinderella smoking.

Frank: The head maybe was off. Tigger looks like a teenage boy.

Yvette: I do remember this particular memory and I have a feeling I know what you’re going to tell the friends about this particular time.

Frank: Well, it’s the most famous part of going down to the tunnels, and I think it’s very apropos for our new collection here all about these monster tropes which I’m excited to actually introduce but we love to start with the Winnie banner part. I was like, “Can we possibly open the door that leads into The Haunted Mansion, [chuckles] one of the most popular rides and my favorite ride.

Yvette: I was like, “Sure. I’m your girl. I will lead you that way.” Never mind that most of my career at Disney was in finance. Never actually worked at the Magic Kingdom.

Frank: No map of the tunnels or anything.

Yvette: No, I felt like, “Hey, I’m going to show my consultant. Shit, I’m going to show you,” and so may have fallen a bit short.

Frank: When we were supposedly going to, and you’ve already heard me say supposedly, you know that there’s a twist here coming, but what do you think the nondescript door into The Haunted Mansion was going to lead to, you just open it and there’s Madame Leota and the crystal ball and now it’s all lit up in there?

Yvette: No, no.

Frank: I was like, “We’re going to ruin somebody’s experience here for sure.”

Yvette: I don’t know. You have to be really careful, but– [crosstalk]

Frank: I can tell you that you do have to be careful because you were like, “I believe this is it.” You and I and those who shall remain nameless got close to the door and you swung it open because you are the brave soul and you swung it open. We were on sort of the stage.

Yvette: We were close.

Frank: We were stage right-

Yvette: We were close.

Frank: -in The Hall of Presidents.

Yvette: Yes, which is really close to The Haunted Mansion.

Frank: It’s across the street from The Haunted Mansion.

Yvette: I wasn’t too far off.

Frank: While I think Abraham Lincoln’s giving his address, everybody’s looking over at Yvette Frank and those who shall remain nameless. We were now one of the animatronics in The Hall of Presidents.

Yvette: It wasn’t the highlight of my Disney career but a memory for the ages.

Frank: That was a good one. Well, welcome everyone back again or welcome us back actually, you didn’t go anywhere, we did. We disappeared. Disappeared.

Yvette: For a couple of months of hiatus, yes, of course.

Frank: Everything now is because we’re in this new collection, there’s something spooky or scary. Like the invisible man, we disappeared. Welcome to this new collection of monster tropes. As you already heard in our introduction we’re going to be covering seven months of these very popular tropes around monsters and boogeymen and things that go bump in the night. Of course, the reason that we have those in the real world is because we have all these awful things, these wicked problems, and we have to personify them to try to make sense of them and therefore creature of the black lagoon.

Yvette: You’ve jumped ahead but of course, your name is Frank Spencer.

Frank: Your name is Yvette Montero Salvatico and we’re glad to be back in this new collection which will, as I said, last seven months, the last one did too. We’re so excited to be rejoining everyone.

Yvette: Yes. Today is week one of the collection.

Frank: Week one.

Yvette: Very much the same as the last collection, we’ll be following the natural foresight framework, discover, explore, map, create. Each week we’ll focus on a different facet of the Natural Foresight Framework. If you’ve been around here for a bit, you’re going to be excited. We have all new tools that we’re highlighting each week. Still the same facet but different assumption and bias tool, different environmental scanning tool, different scenario or mapping world-building tool, and a different tool within that creating action and implementation phase as well.

Frank: That’s right. Of course, in this week one, I know we haven’t really touched on this yet but as you said if you were listening to the podcast before you know that every week covered a different tool like you just said, this week, week one of every one of these podcasts we’re going to be covering the learn, unlearn, and relearn model.

Yvette: We’re going to be talking about how to unpack the origins of an idea, how potentially we could reframe it or unlearn the things that we’ve been mistaught or taught around a dominant narrative, and then maybe relearn a new way forward. We love this idea of learn, unlearn, relearn. We often talk about it in connection with this idea of educated in capacity, knowing so much about what you know that you’re the last to know that things are changing.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: It’s a really important skill within the futurist toolkit to be able to, number one, understand why something is the way that it is, unpack those ideas, and reframe them.

Frank: Well, and to give attribution where attribution is due,-

Yvette: Yes, please.

Frank: -Alvin Toffler was the one who was really famous in future shock for saying, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who can’t read or write. It will be those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Of course, that’s what futurists are supposed to be doing and what we do and what we’re supposed to be democratizing is the ability to not only learn but to unlearn, to see things from different perspectives, different ways of knowing, and relearn, and constantly to do that because life is a transformative experience.

Yvette: Again the reason that we put so much energy into these podcasts, these Wicked Opportunities Podcast where we reframe a wicked problem every month is because we have a mission. Our mission is to democratize the field of foresight.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: We do that through The Futures School, our learning ecosystem where we connect individuals from across the globe who want to learn, unlearn, relearn, who want to develop their skills, hone their abilities around strategic foresight and futures thinking, and we’re really excited. We’re really excited to be launching into this new collection. The last collection took you through the seven shifts, value shifts that we had written about previously. I think this collection, we’re going to be talking about pop culture. It’s a little bit more fun.

Frank: I’m excited.

Yvette: We’re still going to be talking about some really important topics but I think the framing here is going to be a ton of fun and important because I think we all can fall prey to these dominant narratives and just go with the flow and not realize-

Frank: So heavy.

Yvette: -how those ideas are in the zeitgeist. They’re literally shaping unconsciously, unconsciously they’re shaping our actions, and so what we’re trying to do in this week is move the unconscious to the conscious.

Frank: That’s right. One of the places this I think came from is that in that first seven months several times you heard me or you mention the love of Mad Max and we got Mad Max 5 and 6 being filmed simultaneously right now, people love this, it’s this self-fulfilling prophecy that we’re headed towards these tropes. I hope you’re as excited about this as I am. You tuned in so you already know what this week is all about but these tropes we will fulfill them if we don’t challenge them. Did I ever tell you that when I first started working in futures 20 years ago, I wrote this article on the futurist view of Halloween?

Yvette: Frank’s favorite holiday.

Frank: My favorite holiday. That’s why I’m so excited about this collection. Basically, in there, I was saying exactly what you’re going to hear us say for seven months now, it’s like the reason that we have ghosts and vampires and all of this stuff is because they relate to something whether it’s a large something or maybe even specifically something you’re going to hear in each one of these weeks these are specific tropes that actually relate to something with an origin. They come from real places. We turned them into these monsters and boogeymen and things that go bump in the night to be able to personify those-

Yvette: Make sense of the world.

Frank: -evils and those problems that we’re trying to solve, and to make sense of the world as she said. Our first week we’re super excited.

Yvette: Our first month.

Frank: Our first month, week one of month one we are introducing the wicked problem of Zombie Apocalypse. The Zombie Apocalypse. Immediately Brad Pitt comes to mind. I can see him fighting in World War Z.

Yvette: There was universal support in our organization to make this the first month of this collection. I personally don’t have a lot of experience with Sci-fi and horror films but everybody knows about the zombie. Everybody knows about the zombie, this idea of the undead. Really, it’s decades that it’s been in our pop culture.

Frank: Well, right now as we’re talking every listener is thinking about a zombie movie that they’ve seen.

Yvette: Yes, exactly, or a TV show, right?

Frank: Yes, that’s right.

Yvette: What’s interesting is that, whether it’s the idea of brain-eating zombies, when you think about the origins of the concept, and we’ve done a bit of research here to share with the audience, the original brain-eating zombies have really evolved and now you can almost relay it back to our technology and our attention being what is being eaten with our brains. We want to really talk about this problem of Zombie Apocalypse that we define as the viral and systematic siphoning, manipulation, and monetization of public attention.

Frank: Turning you into a zombie.

Yvette: Before we get to that pop culture reference and all of those things that we know, we want to start with learn. Learn, unlearn, relearn.

Frank: Learn, unlearn, relearn, that’s right.

Yvette: Let’s start with learn, which is what is the history of this idea of the zombie? Where does the origins of the idea of the zombie come from? What is the mythology? Obviously, a zombie as we’ve already defined according to pop culture and folklore is usually either a reawakened corpse with a ravenous appetite or someone bitten by another zombie infected-

Frank: Who then turns into a reawakened corpse.

Yvette: -with a zombie brain. I would definitely be zombie me like early on. I would trip. As you know, I trip everywhere we go. I fall all the time.

Frank: You know the old saying, “You don’t have to be faster than the zombie, just you have to be faster than the person that you trip eventually to [unintelligible 00:12:55].”

Yvette: Yes. My friend Don used to say, “I just have to be faster than the wounded hiker.” Just don’t be the wounded hiker-

Frank: [chuckles] Don’t be the wounded hiker.

Yvette: -is the key. Let’s talk a little bit about the origins, Frank, culturally of the idea of the zombie-like creatures. This comes back from South African cultures.

Frank: It does, it comes back from South African cultures. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite things that we did in the research for all of this was this idea of what they might call the witch train in South Africa where it was and maybe in some places still is folklore thought of these trains where these witches are on board and they actually are gathering people and either hypnotizing them or killing them and reawakening them to turn them into labor to use them for the witch’s labor or for just labor for the state or whatever the case might be. You can see how an idea like this really morphs into any time that we feel like we’re being controlled by something we become a zombie.

Yvette: Again we just want to acknowledge here very quickly that there are definitely African and slave-based origins for the idea of zombies. In fact, in– [crosstalk]

Frank: Haiti.

Yvette: Yes, I was just thinking about how as they were toiling away in servitude, these African slaves would contemplate suicide-

Frank: Oh, horrible.

Yvette: -but didn’t want to go that path because according to their religious beliefs they would end up as zombies, as undead. That was a fate worse than just continuing down the slave path.

Frank: Exactly. I think it’s important to note that this part, we’ve talked about this, we obviously can’t mention zombies without people going like, “Hey, do you guys that are doing this podcast know the origin of the word zombie?” We do. We’re purposely not going to go down that route for this reason. We’re acknowledging it but it deserves its own individual talk. It should not be conflated with technology or the attention economy or being made into a zombie today as a consumer and that kind of thing because it’s so important it deserves its own talk. We don’t want to conflate that with this but we do want to acknowledge it because I think we have to.

Yvette: We’re not equating the idea of I’m a “slave to my technology” as being a literal slave. Obviously, we would never make that false equivalence. We did want to acknowledge the origins of the word because it is interesting. The idea of zombie and context of those Haitians slaves meant to be alive but without a soul without a purpose and without a connection to your homeland and likely your family.

Frank: That’s really important.

Yvette: Again we’re acknowledging the origins of the word. We’re not trivializing what it meant to be a slave from Haiti or from Africa, but as Frank mentioned, wanted to note that a deeper, deeper conversation about that aspect would require its own time and space in terms of honoring that conversation.

Frank: Absolutely.

Yvette: We wanted to acknowledge the origins of the word because I do think, obviously, it relates. It’s not a coincidence how zombies have been personified and then represented in media. As individuals trying to reframe this idea of the Zombie Apocalypse I think it’s important to understand the origins of the mythology.

Frank: Oh, it absolutely is. You couldn’t have said all of that better. I hope everybody really along with us honors that background, and there is an actual interesting point here, I think we’re going to see this in all seven months, that you could really link these back to some probably horrific things, but that over time they come to reflect anything that makes us feel like we’re being dehumanized or attacked or the boogeyman is at the end of my bed. This is where we can slide into it now that we’ve done the learn part.

Yvette: I was just going to say that because these narratives are going to be based on the experience, I think in particular the witch and the train rooted in the fact that Africans were fearful of being stolen and put into the slave trade,-

Frank: Yes, that’s right.

Yvette: -and understanding the origins of that narrative as you’re about to transition does carry weight in our collective mythology today and how we interpret that idea of the zombie. I think it was really good. If you want to learn more about the folklore and the history of Zombie and the history of that we can provide all of the links of our research and you could do further reading. I found it to be absolutely so interesting. I had a little bit of knowledge, enough to be dangerous. I only have a little bit more now but I do think it’s really important for us to take that time as consumers, as learners to unpack the origins of things like this.

Frank: Definitely I think what you’re trying to say is honor that space and some horrific things happened, but as we change the subject, it’s a different subject. Anything that dehumanizes us, and you’ve heard me say before it’s like when I’ve read some great articles about and now I’m changing the subject so no offense here, I’m changing the subject. When we think about humans as being consumers, instead of humans, you’re just made to consume, that’s a zombification.

Yvette: Yes. We’re going to draw parallels. What we want to be clear is that we’re not equating the attention economy or anything we’re going to talk about with-

Frank: At all, of course.

Yvette: -slavery. Drawing those parallels I think are interesting, that soulless components and that connection back to family and to our history is going to become important too.

Frank: Very important. It’s funny that you say that because now shifting gears a bit and we’re in this unlearned part where, we’re going to talk about how this did morph into pop culture. I know we’re not hitting on this one in particular but our good friend Richard Ramsey also at Disney [unintelligible 00:19:44] loved early in his futurist

career, he’s a well-worn futurist now but early on in his futurist career he loved this idea that the vampires got popular and popular in media for just a bit. There were Twilight and all of this stuff and books being written and it really represented the economics. There’s studies done on this and research. I’m not doing it justice.

Yvette: It’s like the banker is exemplified.

Frank: Yes, the sucking the blood and all of this. Also eating the brain, it’s like anything that eats our brain. I’m reminded of this movie. You may have never seen this before but for me, one of the scariest movies. Others out there are probably going to be like, “You thought that was scary?” This terrified me. It’s a movie called The Skeleton Key. I can never remember her name but Goldie Hawn’s daughter, she’s become a famous actress in her own right, sorry, I forgot her name.

Yvette: I follow her on Instagram and I can’t remember her name.

Frank: She was in 10 ways to lose a guy or whatever. She’s in this movie The Skeleton Key, does a great job.

Yvette: Everyone is screaming at their radio or their phone right now telling me what the name is [inaudible 00:20:46] [crosstalk].

Frank: Yes, they are like, “You don’t know her name?”

Yvette: It’s [inaudible 00:20:49].

Frank: I don’t have it in my research notes at all.

Yvette: Because you’re going off-script.

Frank: I’m just thinking, by the way, I don’t want to ruin the movie for you.

Yvette: Yes. Don’t do it.

Frank: Spoiler alert.

Yvette: Spoiler alert. If you want to watch The Skeleton Key.

Frank: You know what’s interesting, nobody dies in this movie but they can become a kind of zombie by getting somebody else inside of them-

Yvette: Oh gosh.

Frank: -and it’s super scary. The people that get inside of them are from ancient, way back that knew how to turn somebody into a zombie. They know how to forever do it on and on a new body. Really, really scary. That really brings us to this idea of the zombies and the ideas of them in the movies.

Yvette: Zombies, obviously, are usually portrayed as strong but basically robotic beings, they have rotting flesh, their only mission to feed, and they’re not really talkative folks. They’re not communicating.

Frank: A lot of grunting. [grunts]

Yvette: There’s a lot of grunting in the zombie. Okay, that was actually really good.

Frank: For weeks now, I’ve been thinking, “What will the sound sound like on this collection?”

Yvette: All right, let’s talk about zombies in media.

Frank: So cool, right. Our great researchers at Kedge, and in particular, Ashley Bowers, wrote some of this for us, in the 1932 film The Release of White Zombie which stars one of the great horror stars of all time Bela Lugosi, he played Dracula in all the famous Dracula movies. He was in this movie too where he gets this couple Madeleine and [unintelligible 00:22:26] into getting married on a Haitian plantation by the owner, who is secretly plotting to seduce the bride and turns people into zombies, gives them a zombie potion. This is sort of like The Skeleton Key. They weren’t dead, but they’re turned into mindless beings.

This is where that idea of the voodoo culture in Haiti and turning somebody into a zombie who’s not dead, but has been zombified. Later what happens in most of the movies like 28 Days Later, or a comedy Shaun of the Dead, or World War Z, or the famous movies by George Romero, which is Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead and those famous movies is the zombies are dead people or they were people bitten by a zombie and it kills them but they become the undead.

Yvette: So interesting.

Frank: They always converge at the mall. It’s like, “Go to the mall, run to the mall, then lock yourself in a mall.”

Yvette: I’m pretty sure malls these days are all full of zombies. That’s actually pretty accurate.

Frank: I think there’s actually a thing here because I’m not kidding, there’s a lot of malls in zombie movies and the mall represents the 1980s zombification of society in many ways.

Yvette: In terms of consumption. What’s your favorite zombie movie?

Frank: That’s hard to say. I’m going to say that 28 Days Later is one of the scariest ones, and there’s a scene in the movie where a crow had turned into a zombie but he’s bleeding and the guy looks up and says, “Why is that crow just staring at us?” A drop of blood drops in his eye so now he’s going to be a zombie because he got the blood of the zombie in his eye.

Yvette: Lovely.

Frank: What’s really scary about those particular movies, and I think we’re going to talk about this in a minute, I don’t mean to steal our thunder, is that we moved from the George Romero zombie of the slow wondering, all you have to do is run really fast, to the zombies who can sprint. World War Z the Brad Pitt movie, they’re crawling over one another real fast to get over the wall and they’re faster than a regular human.

Yvette: I can’t believe that you did not mention the classic zombie movie Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. A 1998 classic where– [crosstalk]

Frank: Scooby-Doo always had good zombies, they draw them with the rotting faces but who is that guy, who’s really behind the mask? [chuckles]

Yvette: It’s not just movies. We talk about pop culture. We have talked about other places in the media, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Wow. Didn’t know the CDC would ever be so much a part of our lexicon. This was before the pandemic. So weird.

Frank: Let me just mention really too as segway because people are right now thinking about, “Oh my God, you guys forgot The Walking Dead.” It’s been so popular over the last couple years but that’s the reason the CDC did this is because of the popularity of the TV show The Walking Dead which has some of the craziest zombie makeup artists of all time.

Yvette: The CDC created a zombie preparedness website.

Frank: Oh my goodness.

Yvette: Knowing how, in many ways, the CDC did not do the bestest job, at least at the beginning of our COVID pandemic, maybe perhaps less focus on the zombie website, friends.

Frank: More focus on-

Yvette: The actually pandemic.

Frank: -the actual zombies because it’s interesting that we’re recording this as we’re still somewhat in a pandemic.

Yvette: Oh, we’re definitely in a pandemic.

Frank: Just wondering how much you still wanted to be in [inaudible 00:25:46] [crosstalk].

Yvette: Well, I don’t want to be in it but I just want to acknowledge that globally, there’s definitely– [crosstalk]

Frank: The delta variant, the lamba variant. These are zombie tropes. These themselves are zombie tropes, we’re living in it.

Yvette: Let’s talk about within the unlearn. We’ve talked about how it has been presented in media and pop culture. When we’re talking about the wicked problem of the zombie apocalypse, we want to really focus on the technology component, the screens, the attention component of it. You’ve already mentioned one aspect of it as this idea has begun to transition, zombies used to be slow. [chuckles] I could have probably outrun the original zombies, not so much anymore. Now, they’re really, really fast. The idea of this attention virus and the viral nature of pop culture in general and certainly zombies I think is something that’s really, really interesting, right?

Frank: We’ve already sort of mentioned this but it’s like this idea of today that the zombie is people staring at their screens all the time. If you’re tuning into this, you probably saw the banner. Every month we’re going to have this amazing banner created by-

Yvette: An artist.

Frank: -our new artists. We need to mention, by the way, on the next episode, the artist name, and everything, and you see them, you see all the screens. We can’t escape that imagery today because when you mention zombification in modern times, you cannot escape the digital, the virtual, social media, and all of that. That’s where most of our attention, of course, when we think about attention, we think about brands, we think about marketing and all, but a lot of that’s being done today through the digital and so you can’t escape that imagery.

Yvette: That’s the brain aspect, right?

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: Now that we’re working from home, we’re learning from home, everything is on Zoom, it’s just gotten even more, we’ve got the computers and the algorithms that basically just feed us the information that we want to know, think we want to know, at that moment that we want to know it.

Frank: I hate for this all to be like a going down memory lane of the last year and a half of our lives, but there’s been also a lot of Amazon ordering.

Yvette: I feel a little bit attacked by that.

Frank: No, I wasn’t saying you. I didn’t put you out.

Yvette: All right.

Frank: Both you and I could have been easily like just clicking on the mouse saying, “Brains. Brains.”

Yvette: [unintelligible 00:28:10].

Frank: I love that part because it’s like this craving for something to fill the void and all, and it’s supposed to be human connection. I think in digital media and in social media, it’s meant to be this connection to human connection. We crave that, we want to eat that, we want to consume that-

Yvette: That’s interesting.

Frank: -but is that what’s happening or is that what could happen? We’re going to get into all of that.

Yvette: It’s, in some ways, a modern twist to that original perspective we talked about in the learn section, this idea of being a lost soul, not having purpose, being mindless, or even being brainwashed.

Frank: I love this, there’s so many words that we could use here as a play on words, but this brainwashing that’s taking place is a zombification as well.

Yvette: Especially now with conspiracy theories and QAnon-

Frank: Exactly.

Yvette: -, it is a real, real serious threat.

Frank: It’s a serious threat to democracy, to stabilization. Well, gosh, right here in the very state that we’re living in right now, we have got politicians saying they do not want certain parts of American history to not only be taught but even be available in schools and they’re now saying that we’re going to install cameras in schools to watch what the teachers are teaching and not teaching. A teacher just got fired last week for assigning his class a [unintelligible 00:29:36] who won a Nobel Prize, and he was fired for assigning that article.

Yvette: It’s crazy because we’re in a world where-

Frank: Conspiracy theories.

Yvette: -information is available freely and immediately. There’s definitely downsides to that. I don’t think you could talk about the zombie apocalypse within the context of technology without talking about the idea of the attention economy and the fact that attention is a scarce commodity. It needs to be captured and we’re all victim to this environment where everything wants to have our attention and we’re pulled in a thousand different directions.

Frank: Well, when you say that too, just this image comes to my mind because we’re image-makers as futurists and I almost picture the zombie patient zero being the algorithms. We’ve often talked about it. If you listened to the previous seven months, the previous collection, we talked a lot about racism in algorithms and bias in algorithms. The algorithm’s out to bite you and you’re the next node in the algorithm. You become a part of the algorithm.

Yvette: It’s the old chain mail, send it to six more people but now it’s just so invasive and it’s just embedded in– [crosstalk]

Frank: Escape the algorithm, that’s my next horror movie. [chuckles]

Yvette: You don’t realize that your click of the like, or your watching of that meme or sharing of it, how it propalgates. Is that the word?

Frank: Propagates?

Yvette: Propagates. That’s two words together.

Frank: That’s good.

Yvette: I don’t know, there was an L snuck in there.

Frank: That’s good.

Yvette: If we’ve talked about unlearning, we’ve talked about learning the idea of the origins of the idea of zombie, unlearning is the pop culture framing and really talking about the wicked problem as we’ve defined it. This idea of the viral systemic siphoning, manipulation, and monetization of public attention. I think we’re ready to turn the corner here and talk about relearning.

Fank: Yes, I love it. We’re right on the doorstep now, so to speak of what it is we’re trying to really say because if all of that is what has turned us into zombies or causes us to imagine the zombie apocalypse, you’re watching these zombie movies, we know we’re going there because technology and society and the breaking down, all of this is turning this into literal zombies and so that’s what these movies are representing.

Yvette: It’s why my phone is sending me a message every Sunday telling me what my screen time is and whether it’s up or down. I hate that message.

Frank: Yes. That’s exactly right.

Yvette: I take it very personally.

Frank: Remember in wicked problems to wicked opportunities, we’re not trying to say, “Oh, how do we just overcome the wicked problem?” You’ve often heard me say that you can not defeat a problem inside of the context of the problem. What we really want to do is we want to leverage complexity. That’s what the word wicked stands for in this particular case. It’s complex problems but how do we leverage that complexity for opportunities? How do we actually use this zombie apocalypse as an opportunity for humanity to do the right thing to advance, to be better, et cetera, et cetera?

Yvette: Right. Said another way, a wicked problem we often describe it in shorthand as a problem that is so complex when we try to solve it we create through more problems. What I’m hearing you say is that the answer is not just less screen time. [chuckles] That’s really interesting because I think that would be most people’s responses. It just is.

Frank: There’s tons of articles out there, we’re going to hit some in week two.

Yvette: It’s like we have to knock this off. We have to get rid of the algorithms. We have to put a stop to all the time we’re spending on technology. What I’m hearing you say is that may not be where we’re going with this wicked opportunity.

Frank: That’s right. Literally, let’s think about reframing zombie apocalypse and we can remind you what the definition of zombie apocalypse is, but what if we flip that on its head and instead turn it into the wicked opportunity of the global brain, so brains again.

Yvette: Yes. Yes. Global brains, we’re talking about our global brain, we’re talking about a mutual consumption of knowledge and ideas that creates a worldwide superorganism.

Frank: As a matter of fact, let’s go ahead and give these guys-

Yvette: Formal definition.

Frank: -the formal definition. Just like we gave you a formal definition of zombie apocalypse, the global brain is a planetary information and communications technology network that interconnects all humans becoming increasingly intelligent itself as a whole and playing the role of a brain for the entirety of humanity.

Yvette: What you’re saying is we need more screens. [chuckles]

Frank: Maybe.

Yvette: Maybe.

Frank: What we definitely need to do is to be able to use this technology for all with all through all. It’s not a matter of trying to get rid of the technology, it’s a matter of using it the right way.

Yvette: Yes. We should mention here that we didn’t coin the term global brain.

Frank: Oh, absolutely not.

Yvette: First emerged in the 19th century when scientists began to consider our species as being more than individuals, cities, or nations. Instead began to define it in terms of a superorganism when we had the internet continued to evolve. The idea is could things like transportation networks be our circulatory system, and infrastructure be skeletal. Up until recently, we didn’t have a nervous system and so many are saying that the current and next version of the internet is that nervous system.

Frank: Yes, a superorganism. I had mentioned to you, and I think I’ve even said this on a previous podcast that I love David Eagleman [unintelligible 00:35:17] neuroscientist and he’s written a new book Livewired. He talks about, you can look this up, on a Long Now talk out in California, he talks about civilization and all of the collapses that happen, The Great Libraries of Alexandra, the fires and the floods and all. One of the things that we’ve got over them that they didn’t have if we were using it the right way, if we migrated it correctly, is this digital environment that we have a lot of articles about zombie fineness, but could it global brain us instead.

One of the things that has to happen that David mentions is it has to be free. It has to be democratized. It has to be open. It has to be plurinational, so to speak. That’s the only way that that happens, and in that sense, David’s saying that it actually could be the savior of civilization, not the downfall of it.

Yvette: Right. If we go back to the origins of the word and the mythology, this is how we remain connected as a species and we strengthen our connections.

Frank: Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit priest and he coined the term the noosphere, which is the global brain, that he said there would be a time in history, not sure how this is going to happen, when all of humanity would be able to simultaneously talk to one another and thereby share all this great knowledge and learn from one another and share cultures and become a united race instead of these separated pockets and all. He didn’t see the internet, maybe it isn’t still the internet, but certainly, we’re left with the internet right now. How do we use it, evolve it? How do we evolve this digital virtual augmented environment that we’re in to actually create, not Zombies, not the undead, but the real life? [chuckles]

Yvette: There’s definitely a spirituality aspect of this. Right?

Frank: Huge. I love that you brought that up because if you think about the whole zombie and even all the way back to the history, that’s all spiritual. You even mentioned that-

Yvette: That’s right, of course.

Frank: -African people say, “I don’t want to commit suicide because I won’t go to heaven,” and that kind of thing. It’s one of the monsters, “It’s the most spiritual monster,” but what happened to their soul? Where is the person? Why is the body still alive? Can you imagine what really thinking about a global brain like this does to us spiritually? We’ve already been talking about it, but if we can really use this environment, not for conspiracy, but for a uniting of humanity, that’s a respiritualization of humanity in a way we haven’t seen before.

Yvette: If you could see yourself connected, like literally physiologically, neurologically, spiritually connected to all of humanity, how can that make you think differently about how you act and how you collaborate and how you move forward in the decisions that you make today that will impact everyone’s future? I think it’s a really powerful concept that can be easily dismissed as being crazy or ridiculous but, in fact, does originate, has the same DNA as the idea of zombie apocalypse. It’s just a reframing of that to leverage as opposed to being fearful of the issue of screens and algorithms and technology and trying to shut it down.

Frank: Yes. There you have it basically, in a nutshell, is that we want to take this trope and this monster, our first monster of the zombie, and turn it into a global brain instead of this inevitable zombie apocalypse that we all expect to happen, we see in our popular culture that we have from history. Can we as futurists as feature thinkers, not only learn about that, but unlearn and relearn, reshape, retransform our future to be one of global connection that creates a new type of economy, new types of spirituality, new types of human connection? I can keep going on and on.

Yvette: Governments, policies, cities.

Frank: The way we govern and the way we live in cities,-

Yvette: That’s right, values.

Frank: -values, and all, this global brain.

Yvette: I cannot wait.

Frank: Let’s eat the brain of the global brain.

Yvette: This is week one and so we’ve just begun to scratch the surface on the zombie apocalypse reframe to the global brain. We hope you’ll join us next week when we move into the explore phase. We’ll be talking about some current environmental scanning we’re doing. We’ll share some articles and tease out the trends, values implications. There might even be a game of stump the futurist-

Frank: Stump the futurist.

Yvette: -on hand before we move into map and create the following week. We hope you’ve enjoyed our first week back, we sure have, we’ve missed you all.

Frank: I know I did. This is exciting.

Yvette: We’ve missed you all. In the meantime, if you’d like to collaborate with us, our collaboration platform is Futures Space. We’d love to join you or have you join us there for continued learning in between our podcast recordings. Until then, thank you so much, Mr. Spencer. This was a ton of fun.

Frank: It’s great to be back on with you again and I’m glad that our audience could be back together with us. I hope we get new listeners and we’re excited to explore all of these monsters and defang them.

Yvette: Yes, and I’m really sorry about The Haunted Mansion thing.

Frank: It’s okay. I’ll live. I saw last night on Facebook, somebody said, “We’re past the 4th of July so it’s time to start decorating for Halloween.” [chuckles]

Yvette: Oh, there’s going to be no living with this guy, not that [inaudible 00:40:25] [crosstalk] but you get it.

Frank: For the next seven months.


Frank: Thanks, everybody.

Yvette: Talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Frank: Bye-bye.

[00:40:33] [END OF AUDIO]

Speaker 1: If you’ve ever found yourself thinking there’s got to be a better way to plan, lead, innovate, inspire to change the world, then you embody the spirit of the visionary. While many people are stuck in the way things have always been done. You know the future can only be found by those who were willing to blaze a new trail. To that we say welcome. The Wicked Opportunities podcast follows the rhythm of the natural foresight framework, a unique approach to futurist thinking that embraces our world of ever-increasing complexity for greater opportunities and transformation.

Each month, we will tackle a wicked problem facing humanity, diving deeper each week to discover, explore, map, and create novel opportunities. Our goal is to empower you to discover the future and create it today. The Wicked Opportunities podcast is brought to you by Kedge, a global foresight innovation and strategic design firm serving the world’s most successful organizations. Now, join futurists, Yvette Montero Salvatico and Frank Spencer as they continue your future empowered journey. Your wicked opportunity starts now.

Frank: You hesitated to turn on the recording because I was sipping my hot tea.

Yvette: I don’t like tea, so I can’t appreciate it, but I do wish I had a hot cup of coffee, but I think there’s a Starbucks run in our futures.

Frank: It’s always good when you’re recording a podcast to have a hot drink with you at all times.

Yvette: It’s true. Did you get someone in the catering department to get you that, or–

Frank: I did. It was my 11th self who wears all the hats.

Yvette: All the hats.

Frank: All the hats. When you own your own business, you have to wear every hat. Hi, my name is Frank Spencer. I create scenarios and clean the bathrooms.

Yvette: It’s glamorous.

Frank: Can I tell you about your latest hat that I really appreciate a lot?

Yvette: Sure, go ahead.

Frank: You have now become a DJ. You did not see this coming, but the pandemic fashioned you into a DJ. You haven’t played a wedding yet, [inaudible 00:02:51] wedding or a bar mitzvah yet?

Yvette: It’s really surprising, but for those of you that might not be aware, we have transitioned fully to a complete studio that allows us to facilitate not only our training courses but our consulting gigs as well. Just it’s a lot easier. We have all of the equipment and all the cameras and all the things. One of the things that we had set up for us was like this whole like stream deck. I could basically do my own streaming now, if I wanted to go there.

Frank: You’re full in Twitch now.

Yvette: That might be next. But, so I figured out how to fade music in and out, and I’ve really leaned into this DJ role so much so that in our latest program, I found myself asking if there were any people celebrating weddings or birthdays in the house.

Frank: Are there any requests for the DJ today?

Yvette: I did take requests.

Frank: You were scratching the records.

Yvette: I now do that because of course, it’s all digital, but people were really excited when they heard their requests get played.

Frank: They do get excited about that. It’s like, “Hey, is anybody got any foresight questions,” and then in the chat that comes through, it’s like, “Play Celebration by Kool & The Gang.”

Yvette: Yes, I will say that there’s a lot of pressure. At one point, I started playing the songs and then I couldn’t get it to stop and like they were coming back from break and it needed to stop. I got a little freaked out. Then at one point I thought I was linking a certain song and it ended up being– What was the song from Grease? Beauty School Dropout, which is a good song, but if you haven’t listened to that lyrics recently–

Frank: Always be careful what you’re playing. If you don’t remember, you’re like, that’s a great song from back in the whatever days. Remember all the verses.

Yvette: No, there was a question of a line that I cringed a little bit about, but we’ll see if that shows up in the emails, but, yes, I’m now a DJ. If you guys are interested in booking me, just give me a call or send me an email.

Frank: Let’s be clear that there’s two things here. This is not a pandemic exclusive phenomena.

Yvette: I don’t think so. I feel like this will continue.

Frank: You have to wear all the hats when you own your own business, and Yvette tends to where everybody’s hat regardless.

Yvette: Are you suggesting that I have an issue with control?

Frank: I have a picture of you behind the counter at FedEx, Kinko’s where you were like, you told the cashier to move aside. You felt like you could do your own order.

Yvette: They couldn’t do it. They weren’t doing it right, anyway.

Frank: There’s a couple of things there, but we’ll focus on the positive one that you are such a go-getter and you could learn any task in a moment’s notice.

Yvette: That’s very kind of you, sir.

Frank: You have multiple jobs. What I would ask you [crosstalk] It’s questionable whether I have a full job. You have about 17, I have about half. I would ask the audience right now, what would your request be for that DJ?

Yvette: If you want to share with us, like, maybe we could start incorporating music into our next collection.

Frank: Because this is, by the way, the last podcast in this collection, not the last month, the last week.

Yvette: This is the last podcast of the first collection of The Wicked Opportunities podcast and my name is Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: I already said, my name is Frank Spencer, and welcome to The Wicked Opportunities podcast. Last week of collection number one, we’re excited about going to collection number two, but before we get there, we have an exciting podcast.

Yvette: That’s right. We’re in the Create Week, month seven, and if you’ve been following along this month’s wicked problem has been homogeneous in extinction. I’m not going to miss–

Frank: As your last, and you passed the test.

Yvette: Thank you so much. Don’t jinx me. Don’t jinx me.

Frank: Also a homeschool teacher.

Yvette: That is definitely a hat. I am ready. I’m going to be a retired homeschool teacher come May, and I’m going to have a massive party, by the way, a massive party. That wicked problem we define as the parasitic and genocidal approach to homosapiens dominion over the planet’s life-giving diversity through the homogenizing consumption subsequent depletion of biological ecological and cultural systems.

We’ve been working to reframe that wicked problem, our parasitic relationship with not only the earth from an environmental perspective but from a cultural perspective as well. The wicked opportunity that we’ve unveiled this month has been anthropological regeneration, which is a reframing of humanity’s role in the natural co-design and co-creation of Earth’s complex, interconnected, and bio-diverse ecosystem in which our species transitions from being destroyer to restore.

Frank: That last part is super important. I mentioned that again because we purposely didn’t use the word Anthropocene in this. We went for the homogenous scenes instead, or homogeneous scenes, I guess I’m the one that finally tripped up on the word. That doesn’t work. After all those weeks, I’m the one that jumped up on the word.

Yvette: I can’t wait until the next collection because I think they’re a little bit– Anyway, it’ll be fine.

Frank: It’s going to be a blast.

Yvette: There’s a fine twist in that collection.

Frank: The reason being is because we wanted to end on– We hear that word Anthropocene and it carries with it today. I think largely a negative– it’s supposed to be a neutral word, but it carries a negative connotation. We wanted to end on the fact that, as we’ve said before, this isn’t just about being better stewards of the earth. Yes, on that. Can we view humanity as something more than we are right now? Can we be the actual reason why things get better? Can we move away from being parasites in many ways to being the reason things evolved?

Yvette: If you haven’t, I would definitely check out the first three weeks of this month’s podcast, because obviously, we’re building to this create phase, The Wicked Opportunities podcast is fueled by foresight, more specifically, natural foresight. Week one is discover, week two is explore, week three is map, and now we’re in the create phase where we really talk about integration, implementation, making this wicked opportunity a reality.

What we often do is take on different roles or personas in this final week and imagine how those individuals or groups of individuals might be successful in our wicked opportunity future or it might actually pull that future to today, even sooner. Today we have a bit of a unique framing of these three personas or roles or groups of individuals. We’re going to be talking about voices. We’re going to be talking about the activist voice, the spiritual voice, and the future voice.

Frank: That’s right, and as always, the show is brought to you by Foresight. It’s not just for strategy anymore.

Yvette: It’s not just a profit anymore, how about that.

Frank: That’s our tagline. Foresight’s not just for profit anymore.

Yvette: Or it’s not just for academic curiosity anymore.

Frank: It’s a real thing. I love that we’re tackling these three different voices. We decided just to focus on the voices today. As a matter of fact, that’s really cool, because I sent out a tweet this morning and as all the cool people do. Get up in the morning and send out your tweet as a part of your morning routine. Somebody had responded back and said like, “It’s about the voices.”

Foresight, by its very nature, should, I know that it in some ways has it, just like everything has it but it should be a field that is inclusive because we can’t really do good work. Unless all the voices are included, foresight is about all the voices. It’s super important.

Yvette: Past, present, and future. I think it makes sense to start with the activist voice and I say that because clearly, it’s not a coincidence that we’re in April, Earth month, is when this podcast is first being published and that was a purposeful thought.

When we think about shifting from homogeneous and extinction to anthropological regeneration, an obvious place to think about impact and implementation and having this be a reality is through the voice of the activist. That could take many shapes and sizes, but we know certainly, the activist voice has become increasingly, critical, important, loud, dominant, and predominant in our lives, through social media. Just beyond that, I think just more people being aware of these issues and wanting to have their voice be heard in that conversation, dialogue.

Frank: Yes, activism is nothing new, and it should not ever go away. It’s always needed but I think in recent years, there’s been a lot more big activist movements that are making the news that maybe even just your average person “wouldn’t be aware of usually, but now they are.” When you think about Occupy Wall Street from several years back, the Black Lives Matter movement is in the national conversation now, as it should be. In the global conversation, rebellion, extinction, largely in Europe, but in the global conversation as well but we’ve always had–

Yvette: Conversations, obviously, around climate change. I think what’s interesting, too, is that activism now can take many shapes and forms. I can show my activism by obviously, going out and participating in a rally by taking to social media, by also what I purchase and what I don’t purchase, and how I engage with different organizations and companies in that way.

Frank: We saw it this past week, that’s probably what you’re thinking of where we saw several large organizations. By the way, a couple of weeks ago, we weren’t bothered by voter suppression in the least but as people started to put the elbow on them, put the pressure on them, they’ve suddenly come out with statements that they’re not going to hold their regular All-Star game in a certain city, or they don’t support this, and they’ll pull out of this dates of people don’t change their attitudes about it.

Obviously, we can also vote with our money, and we can be activists with our pocketbooks. I love that you said that there’s many ways that this can happen. The reason I think that we’re sort of approaching this today is largely, and it makes a lot of sense but let me just flip this on its head. Let me just say the first side of the coin first, activism really doesn’t happen unless there’s an issue or a problem, by definition, but how do we become more not optimistic activists?

I’m not talking about blind optimism. I’m talking about solution-oriented. It’s like, what is the transformation that we’re trying to achieve. A lot of times in activism, quite honestly, because we’re just trying to really point out the bad thing taking place or the necessity for change that we point to the wrongdoer or we point to the wrong policy and we just shout it down, “Don’t do this anymore.” But what’s the transformational change?

I think what we’re trying to say today is we move from a homogenocene to anthropological regeneration is how can we have a transformational activist voice that really is pointing to not the parasitic problem but the regenerative solution?

Yvette: Yes, I think it’s very common from an activism perspective to be shouting what needs to stop, what needs to end. In many cases, maybe without even realizing, the narrative is let’s go backwards. Let’s go back to before we had this problem. I’m thinking specifically around environmental issues, but I think it relates to a lot of different topics. All of these activists, I think, have the best of intentions but clearly, it’s not necessarily working, because we’re still grappling with these issues.

In the case of environmentalism, this idea that we all have to give up all of our technology as an example, and I know this is not necessarily what every activist is saying, obviously, but many want us to either abandon all technologies or revert back to a pre-industrial world, which is just not realistic. There’s no way to put that genie back in the bottle.

Frank: Like that’s the only solution. Obviously, the problem is your cup. If I removed the cup from the table, then we won’t have a problem anymore. The problem with that is you’ll no longer have a cup to hold liquid with anymore. My analogy, I don’t know if it was great there but you got my point.

Yvette: I get the idea.

Frank: I could have chosen probably a better analogy but removing something from the situation isn’t necessarily, it could be but it isn’t necessarily the solution. That goes back to our CLA like trying to put systems in place. If I just put move X behind Y then no, it goes down deeper the value in the metaphor level, and it’s really changing this metaphor is about the use of the cup, not getting rid of the cup.

Yvette: I think it’s really interesting because, ultimately, it’s not about necessarily finding common ground, because I don’t know that compromise is always the best solution. Sometimes that leaves both parties feeling like they didn’t get what they wanted. These issues are complex and we’re not trying to oversimplify it.

What we’re suggesting is that, rather than essentially try to remove a problem like the cup, or go back in time to a simpler time, which is also not possible, that the activists voice embrace anthropological regeneration, by understanding what this narrative could mean to everyone how it can improve everyone’s lives and speak to that aspect and that transformational component.

Frank: We talked about it before, because we said in our mapping week last week, what if there was technology that was not even much focused on an environmental or holistic planetary solution, but evolved from a metaphor of holistic thought. It’s like, right now our technology is largely built to, well, two things at least. One to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist. A solution that where there isn’t a problem. Two, like, very siloed. Very siloed.

Technology for technology’s sake, instead of being birthed from a mindset of like, “This is what we’re trying to accomplish as a species and then our technology needs to reflect that and our social systems need to reflect that and our government needs to reflect that.” It’s one of the problems that we have a governmental problems that we have right now. It’s not evolving.

One of the big futurists said to me sometime back, he said, “You really hit on something with this evolutionary piece, because government hasn’t evolved in forever.” Well, the reason it hasn’t is because we don’t even have the perspective that it should. We’re not using governance for a larger holistic platform, we’re using it as a flyswatter and have one specific purpose, instead of really covering this larger, broad purpose.

Yvette: Yes, I think you can see the extreme version of what we’re referring to if you look back to our conversation in CLA, where we talked about engineering, an elegant ending, and that being the solution to our problems around homogenocene extinction. That what we need to do as humanity is just sort of engineer an elegant ending that we should step off the rock, if you will, and leave space for other beings, I guess a–

Frank: That was a good metaphor, step off the rock from the sun.

Yvette: In our perspective is, why, and how is that even possible? There’s not a species that’s ever probably been in existence that doesn’t seek to continue to be viable to continue to survive. You’re literally trying to go against evolutionary science and to try to engineer or promote this elegant ending, which I think is more for PR sake, to be honest, to get a rise out of people and get a reaction. We have to move past that those types of stunts, we have to start building a common transformational future that people can really get behind and move forward with.

Frank: I remember what I was going to say now. In our upcoming accelerator, applied foresight accelerator, which is just a few days after the Americas. We have a couple of people coming from it from an organization that’s an activist organization. Good excellent organization, I won’t name the name, and I think they are a couple of the leaders.

If I’m not mistaken, you’re looking at me like you’re like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Yvette: Yes, I’m going to go with you on this one.

Frank: But maybe one of the people that works for Kedge might’ve helped bring them in.

Yvette: Yes, okay, the thought come back to me now.

Frank: It’s interesting because obviously they’re doing good work and they’re really fighting against an issue. I’m just thinking broadly, I’m thinking in general, maybe I’m wrong about this, but this may be the first time and they’re excited about saying, how can we think about futures this way so that our organization is not only fighting against this thing, but actually putting forth a message of transformation about how to see brighter futures?

Yvette: Instead of activating against something solely, activate for something else. That for something else can’t be just anti something else. It has to be something else and that’s hard and that’s not necessarily how we’re built. We just told a group that we were speaking with this past week about how we’re really sort of built to put out fires.

We say that we want to think more long-term and that we hate being reactionary, but we all get an adrenaline rush when we tackle something, complete something, especially if it’s particularly urgent. At least most of us do, I don’t want to speak for everyone.

I think that’s the nature in many ways of activism.

I don’t want to belittle any of these courses because these are critical courses. People are dying, people are literally dying. I understand the urgency. I completely understand the urgency and I think it’s a situation of yes, and yes, we have to come at it with that urgency, but then we have to be ready as well to provide a common transformational vision of that future that we aspire to that is more whole and more holistic.

Frank: This is exactly what I was trying to say. These organizations existence is vital and they’re doing great work, but the next stage is to really use this foresight mindset. It’s really to employ futurist thinking. Where is this going? Is it just if we screamed loud enough, they’ll stop doing X? Or, have we given them a transformative solution, a transformative future pathway?

This is why I hop on transformation all the time. Transformative foresight is better than just trying to give somebody an answer about how they can do more of X or do more of Y. We need transformative thinking in our businesses as well as in planetary or holistic forward thinking.

Yvette: To be clear, when we say have they given them, our point here is not that the activists and activists’ voices have to be beholden to the aggressor who’s maybe creating the wrong– I think we have to be really careful with that because that’s not the case. They don’t exist to speak to anything or teach anybody anything from that manner.

If you are trying to create change, I think it’s those people that are sitting on the sidelines that you’re trying to convince, that you’re trying to, in that way, transform. I just wanted to clarify on that because I don’t want to make it sound like we’re putting more on the activists’ shoulders because that’s certainly not what we’re suggesting.

Frank: I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a system that’s in place. It’s like, “Hey, look, this system doesn’t work for the time we are in. It’s reached us and it’s outdated. It’s outmoded,” and how do we transform it in these systems?

Yvette: Excellent. That’s the first voice we want to talk about. The next voice as we enter this final week of the first collection of The Wicked Opportunities podcast, the Create Week, and we’re looking at different roles and manifestations and personas that can help manifest the anthropological regeneration Wicked Opportunity sooner. We want to talk about spiritual voices.

Frank: Spiritual voices, it’s interesting that we’ve just talked about activist voices, because I think in some sense you can make the bridge here fairly easily. I say that simply from the perspective of, well, I, wasn’t going to say this, but now I’m thinking about in religions and by the way, spirituality and religion aren’t the same thing, but there’s obviously a big Venn diagram overlap, but when we think about spiritual leaders throughout history or ones that exist today, we think about them being a type of activist.

They were saying, “Here’s the kingdom of God,” or “Here’s the way to be spiritual,” or “Here’s the way to think about spirituality and to be an internal spiritual being and a soul being,” or whatever the case might be. I think that there’s a lot more to speak about this too, as well.

What I want to like start off by saying is that to be spiritual is to be more holistic. Maybe you’re hearing me say that and immediately you’re disagreeing with that because I think a lot of times our spirituality is just like what we were talking about, in activism we’re like, “How can I get away from this place?” Maybe a lot of our spirituality has been to design an elegant ending.

Yvette: To just think as we did talk about it going down CLA, there was a lot of religious connotation, worldviews components, “I’m going to a better place.” Those narratives, those underlying narratives really do drive a lot of people’s perspective around our dominion over the earth. We’ve already talked in plenty of podcasts before now about how that also impacts cultural race relations, et cetera. This is a bit of a landmine of conversation in ways, but we felt like we had to tackle it head on because we unpacked– When we unpacked the wicked problem, religion, and those types of worldviews are critical in that conversation, you can’t ignore it.

Frank: I think too that as you were just saying that it made me think, I know spiritual is one of those words that people hear and it becomes very personal. I mean that from their perspective, it probably means a billion different things to a billion different people. It’s this inner realization, consciousness, growth, connection and all of that spirituality and more.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of what spirituality really is. It’s being in touch with myself, being in touch with others, being in touch with something that’s beyond the metaphysical, beyond the physical and the metaphysical. It’s like really there’s more to me than meets the eye, all of that spirituality.

Yvette: Again, I don’t think we could have a valid conversation about anthropological regeneration without a conversation of spirituality and about how we fit into this greater ecosystem and environment.

Frank: Exactly. That’s why I say that because, and you hit the nail on the head because I don’t think we can talk about moving from X to Y without it being a spiritual element. Maybe you never thought of it that way. Maybe after this podcast, you never want to think of it that way again, that’s fine but when we say spiritual, and I think a lot of people in the world would think of it that way, it’s like there’s got to be something more holistic.

Again, the homogenocene is about siloing and anthropological regeneration or regenerative design is about unsiloing, about perceptive thinking. When we think that way, really, quite honestly, that’s spirituality. Again, you might not want to ever use that word again, but that’s basically what we’re talking about, holistic views or holistic practices.

If we look at ourselves more holistically, it’s back to you saying there’s never been a species that really just wants to get rid of itself. When we look at it ourselves that way, we can change the view of our purpose, our meaning, why we’re here and where this all should be going. That totally alters our action and our reaction.

Yvette: I want to touch again on the siloing component, because if you are feeling any type of discomfort in this conversation, I encourage you to lean into that discomfort. I think for far too long we have segregated and siloed our business practices and our organizations from being human centric and being spiritual and we’re starting to see that change. We’re starting to see people feel more comfortable bringing their whole selves to work to their businesses.

Organizations starting to acknowledge that that’s an important component. In reality, if you think about the seven-month journey we’ve been on, there’s no way to tackle any of those wicked problems without having a more spiritual lens on the future, on today, on the world as a whole.

Frank: Yes, bottom line and I think what you’re saying is that we’re not afraid to use that word here and that there’s a lot of people that would probably be happy and they’re clapping right now that we finally used that word, and others would be like, “I didn’t see this going there.”

Just know that, as Yvett said, if that word in any way shape or form is making you uncomfortable, lean into it a little bit, because we’re not talking about you becoming religious. Now if you feel like you are a religious person and that’s what suits you, fine. As a matter of fact, this is a place where I’m going to take a little bit of a segue and I’m going to surprise even probably Yvette, who’s staring at me right now, but a lot of people don’t know this, but for about 15 years, I was a Christian pastor.

Yvette: Plot twist. That would have been the witty banter we should have started with.

Frank: I’m not trying to say by that, therefore I am an expert, but therefore I do have a lot of insider knowledge and experience. That doesn’t encapsulate all spirituality by any stretch of imagination. I’m talking about a very fine sliver of that.

That’s the part I want to lean into for a second because if you’re in form of religion or organized religion, which is great, fantastic, and I hope it’s helping you, is it helping others? Is it helping the more holistic approach? I say that as somebody who used to be a Christian pastor for a long time. I’m speaking from that hat for just a moment. Because I know that there were parts of it where I did feel that way and parts where I didn’t care about that. I just cared about escaping and getting out of here, and who cares about the earth.

I think that if we’re in religious practices, we have to understand things more holistically. We’re going to do a lot better job with our religion if we are thinking more holistically. You even mentioned in the run up, what if I identify myself as an atheist? What if I identify atheists? You have shows that are like the atheist way and all of this and why it’s not good to blah, blah, blah. I’m an atheist, I want to promote that.

I’ve heard a lot of atheists say– I think this is a good viewpoint. It’s like, “Look, I would respect organized religion a lot more if I didn’t feel that it was so siloed and it was really looking more at the whole person and the whole earth and,” I’m going to just use a phrase here that doesn’t apply but, “all of God’s creation.” I’m just using that almost as a metaphor. Why has it become so siloed like that? That’s a good question.

There might be people that would even listen to this like, “You were a pastor for 15 years. You know what the Bible says about some of these issues, everything.” I’m getting, we’ve gotten really crazy here for just a minute and you didn’t see this coming on this show. I’m just addressing that part of spirituality as well, because I think a lot of people hear spirituality, religion, the Venn diagram, the overlap, and it just was hard to not have any mention of that whatsoever for talking about spirituality, because you can’t ignore the religious element.

Yvette: Yes. I just want to throw out there because we did talk about this in the pre-show prep is, I think, for atheists and people that would identify as more spiritual and less in terms of organized religion, one of the struggles that and I identify in that group. One of the struggles we have is that a lot of organized religion seems to be more focused on the subgroup of individuals they feel are going to hell, as opposed to A–

Frank: Or maybe because all religions don’t necessarily believe in hell, but aren’t in the group, aren’t in the tribe, aren’t in the club.

Yvette: Exactly. Yes, aren’t in the club or maybe they are focused on the ones that are in the club but they’re focused more about what’s going to happen to those in the club after their time here.

Frank: What’s the benefits of being in the club? It has nothing to do with Earth and the holistic thing, the cosmos has very little to do with that.

Yvette: Right. Again, we talked about this going down on CLA, and honestly, we’re really not trying to offend anyone’s beliefs. I think I’m just talking about my personal journey and experiences. I would like for people of all different backgrounds and religions and spiritual leanings to be concerned and focused about our time here on Earth as well, and about how we’re living on this earth, how we’re treating the earth, as well as each other. I think that would go a long way to helping pull anthropological regeneration to today for our spiritual and religious voices.

Frank: I know we’re ready to go on to our third one, but I’ll just end with one thought. That is that as you’re probably asking yourself right now, oh, the million-dollar question, how come you’re not still pastoring? It’s been a long time since I was in that boat. Actually, it’s one of the things not the only thing that led me into the field of foresight. That’s not everybody’s journey. It’s probably a very fused journey. It was one of my journeys.

It’s because when it came to the close of that part of my story, it was because I was transitioning away from this siloed perspective of religion to this view of we really need to care about the generations that come in the future and what’s on the horizon. We do a better job of being in this particular religion, if we really have a holistic care and we really extend the focus of our religion to something broader than just like, “I’m in the club, and I’m out. I’m outie,” off the rocker like that. Really understanding that there was a focus that was better for everybody to really understand that.

Then the transition happened for me in particular, and if you’re still in that place, my just call to you is to broaden your perspective of why that’s so important to you and why you’re in this place. I completely understand the dynamics of that particular religion and some others. Of course, what we’re talking about here is much broader than religion and spirituality as a whole, but I love the way you ended that. I just wanted to say, I’m sure there’s people who are thinking, what was your transition to foresight? I really think futurist thinking is an integral part of religion and spirituality.

Yvette: We’ll leave it there. Our final voice of the three voices we wanted to talk about today, we’ve talked obviously, about the activist voice, the spiritual voice and now we want to talk about the future voice.

We thought there would be a great way to end this collection by talking about individuals that aren’t yet on this planet that haven’t yet even been born. Maybe they are 10,000 years into the future from existing and what would their perspective on anthropological regeneration be if we were able to get their perspective, and how can we, as residents of this earth in 2021, how can we best represent those future generations in our decisions and actions today.

Frank: I set it up a little bit in the last one because I said spirituality and generational thinking. This is something we’ve mentioned on the show several times before generational thinking is foresight. In many ways, it’s a part of foresight, it is foresight. You’re right, and it’s like, I love this idea of the future speaking back to us, the future echoing back to us. What did you do? Did you help us? I think, foresight in general does that. We build these scenarios, and these worlds these alternative multiple alternatives, and they’re supposed to be speaking to us.

As we always say, the future is not about technology, the future is not about politics or governance, the future’s about people. Of course, holistically, it’s about more than people, but it’s about the entire system that includes people. We’re speaking to people at the agency that we have to do what we do. I love this idea of those generations speaking back to us and that’s really understanding.

It goes back to that elegant Indian piece that we’ve mentioned on the show several times. 10,000 years from now, 50,000, a million years from now, whatever, you either take one of two perspectives. We’ve become something more or we long ago not existing already, we’re gone.

Yvette: We’re off the rock.

Frank: We’re off the rock. I’m speaking to the fact that off the rock doesn’t have to be inevitable. A million years from now, our species has evolved into whatever it is. Can it look back and see that we took that evolutionary cosmological path to regenerative design? That we didn’t just think, how can I live a healthy cosmic life a healthy planetary life? It’s how are we purposefully and intentionally progressing not just humanity, but everything around us since we had that kind of agency to do that?

I know that the complexity people might at this point beginning to be a little bit of it’s like, “No, we don’t have that kind of power and agency,” but we do have the ability to make those decisions and to be conscious of what’s involved in emerging and to co-create with that, and to flow with that.

Yvette: I think at the end of the day, it goes right back to our favorite tools, CLA, and really thinking about what those new narratives are, that can get us through the next 5, 10, 15,000 years? Because I do think most people would agree that we’re not best suited to think about how we piece out, but rather how we think about our future generations.

Frank: At the same time, we’re not best suited for piece out. I don’t think anybody, you’re going to get the majority of humanity on board with that message.

Yvette: No, of course, not.

Frank: You’re not going to get them there.

Yvette: Right, it’s back to the activist.

Frank: Let’s design an elegant ending, you are going to get very few followers on that.

Yvette: What you’re going to end up doing is alienating people, having people double down on the destruction of parasitic component–

Frank: This is exactly what I was going to say, but at the same time, we’re not very good generational thinkers.

Yvette: No.

Frank: We’re ending this collection by talking about thinking 10,000 to a million years, 10,000 years to a million years in the future. That’s how we’ve ended this. That is long cathedral civilizational thinking, but we need that just as much as if not more than we need what does the next 10 years hold? Because foresight is, for a lot of businesses, become a 10-year game. Civilizational social foresight is a 10,000-year game. You might say, we don’t know what’s going to happen in 10,000 years from now, I’m not asking to know what’s going to happen.

I’m asking you to imagine a pathway that makes sure that 10,000 years from now, we’ve evolved into a regenerative species. Are we taking actions right now and thinking about business and ecology and government in a way that is generational and that has 10,000 years from now, generations speaking back to us again?

Yvette: Yes, we’re not asking you to know what’s going to happen 10,000 years from now.

Frank: I don’t care.

Yvette: We’re asking you to care what happens 10,000 years from now.

Frank: That’s right. That’s super powerful. Then that, we design images, alternative possibilities, and narratives about those generations, what they can be, what they should be. That’s why we landed on anthropological regeneration. We’re not talking about that happening in the next five years. Of course, it needs to be happening this afternoon, but it is a long view.

Anthropological regeneration, that’s something that happens over the next 10,000 years has to begin today and it has to carry on. Can we imagine what that looks like and hear those voices speaking back to us and start designing our technology and our businesses and our governments, et cetera, in ways that are going to lead to that?

Yvette: We should bookmark this podcast. Maybe the being from 10,000 years from now is listening to this in that future state.

Frank: Wouldn’t that’d be interesting? It’s sending out Voyager years ago with Leonardo da Vinci’s guy with the hands and the body looks different ways. They put poems on there and music on there. This what do we often say, the time capsule.

Yvette: It’s better than Elon Musk’s car that’s just–

Frank: Floating around in the space somewhere with this mannequin– It’s so bizarre.


Yvette: That’s the most egotistical obnoxious thing ever. You know what, forget it, we’re never going to get past so much in a scene extinction. We’re sorry. We wasted everyone’s time.

Frank: Exactly. The day that launched, there’s a cool factor to it. No doubt. But it didn’t take me long a couple of days later to think like there’s literally a red Tesla floating past Pluto somewhere right now, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I love that idea of think about what we’re seeing right now. It’s a time capsule.

Imagine that we’re 10,000 years in the future. Have we looked back and had an anthropological better than we found it pathway to the future? That means that we merged and became one with the cosmos, instead of saying we’re separate from it. If you didn’t get anything out of this whole month, stop the separation thinking. Futurist thinking is not separation thinking, futurist thinking is convergence thinking, it’s collision thinking, it’s meshing thinking. That’s what you really should see that we have to become a convergence meshing species.

Yvette: Excellent. Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed this first collection of The Wicked Opportunities podcasts that took you through the seven value shifts through examining seven wicked problems and reframing them as seven wicked opportunities.

In terms of a preview for the next collection, I’ll simply say that we’re going to have some science fiction fun. We’re going to be talking about some different ways that folks believe the world might be coming to an end. It’s the end of the world, as we know it, tongue in cheek. It’s going to be a ton of fun. There’s going to be a lot more visuals that accompany the podcast recordings and a lot more different content. We’ll be using different foresight tools than we’ve been using up until now. Check that out. We hope that you enjoy it.

As always, please join us on futurist space to continue the dialogue there and conversations and hands-on, live online training and discussions on that platform until next time. We hope that you’ve enjoyed this ride toward anthropological regeneration. We’ll talk to you next time.

Frank: I would just say as we close to that, my favorite holiday, I think I’ve mentioned before is Halloween. This next collection is going to be really cool for me from that perspective. I can’t wait for you guys to hear it. As Yvette said, see you next time. Thank you so much for these first seven months. I bet it’s been fun. We’ll see you in the next collection.

Yvette: All right. Bye-bye.

Frank: Bye-bye.


Speaker 1: The Wicked Opportunities podcast has been brought to you by Kedge a global foresight innovation and strategic design firm serving the world’s most successful organizations to learn more visit Interested in more foresight fueled learning? Check out for additional resources, training events, and develop offerings in natural foresight. Join us next week as we continue our journey into a feature of wicked opportunities.

[00:45:05] [END OF AUDIO]


Announcer: If you’ve ever found yourself thinking there’s got to be a better way to plan lead, innovate, inspire to change the world, then you embody the spirit of the visionary. While many people are stuck in the way things have always been done, you know the future can only be found by those who are willing to blaze a new trail. To that, we say welcome. The Wicked Opportunities Podcast follows the rhythm of the natural foresight framework, a unique approach to futures thinking that embraces our world of ever-increasing complexity for greater opportunities and transformation.

Each month, we will tackle a wicked problem facing humanity diving deeper each week to discover, explore, map, and create novel opportunities. Our goal is to empower you to discover the future and create it today. The wicked opportunities podcast is brought to you by Catch a global foresight innovation and strategic design firm serving the world’s most successful organizations. Now join futurists Yvette Montero Salvatiko and Frank Spencer as they continue your future empower journey your wicked opportunity starts now.


Yvette Montero Salvatiko: Something that people might not know about you which actually caught me by surprise early on after meeting you is you actually enjoy a dress-up moment.

Frank Spencer: A dress-up moment?

Yvette: Yes, I guess because the first time I met you, you got in my airport van, long story.

Frank: I think we’ve been through that story before with my van by the way, but just keep going.

Yvette: Not true. Fact-checkers just make sure you go-

Frank: Oh, boy.

Yvette: -back to this timestamp. Know that I saw you in a hoodie or a T-shirt and you do really love that.

Frank: I have a closet with maybe 1000 hoodies that no, how many hoodies are actually in there 50? At least 50.

Yvette: You do love a hoodie moment-

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: -and you were doing that way before other people thought it was cool.

Frank: I was [unintelligible 00:02:46] before hoodie was cool.

Yvette: Remember the whole little Lord Fauntleroy moment [lsughs] that you had where our families went out to dinner together early on and you were dressed to the nines and I was shocked and you were quick to tell me that you actually prefer to dress to the nines.

Frank: People say I clean up pretty well. It was shocking to me that we showed up to a well, given it was a nice restaurant with people dressed down, I was the only one dressed up. I’m like, “What’s going on here”?

Yvette: Yes, and again. You totally were dressed appropriately but the fact that you actually prefer, I don’t know if that’s still the case now one year into quarantine life, whether that’s still the case, but I’ve always been struck that you actually like when there’s an opportunity to get dressed. It must be driving you crazy.

Frank: I look forward very much to going back out on the road again conference speaking and training this client face to face because I do. You know that I also have a closet full of [unintelligible 00:04:00]?

Yvette: I was going to say so you may know him as a hoodie-wearing sci-fi t-shirt loving guy-

Frank: You either know me from that perspective or–

Yvette: -or this coordinated vest that he also-

Frank: The vest guy.

Yvette: -loves to wear.

Frank: I’m the vest futures. Some people call themselves the critical futures, or the uncritical futures, or the anti features. I’m the vest future.

Yvette: That’s nice. I’m sure it’s going to stick anyway. I just thought that was an interesting tidbit that maybe people didn’t know about.

Frank: They might not know through the pandemic, that about me at all.

Yvette: Yes, because let’s be clear, it’s loungewear or nowhere.

Frank: That’s right. I could be dressed up from the waist up. Who knows pajama bottoms is on the bottom.

Yvette: It’s also funny because Frank and I have quarantined in mutual bubbles from the very beginning and this has allowed us to continue to work together. We understand that there’s huge privilege in that and we’re thankful for that opportunity but we’ve worked hard at it too. We’ve been pretty serious about the sequestration involved in that, but like–

Frank: What’s your big word for the day [unintelligible 00:05:06]?

Yvette: When we pop, oh, no, there’s more big words because this is month seven but when we pop up on Zoom calls and we’re in the same room like people lose it. They’re like, “Wait, is that real? You’re together?”

Frank: We were speaking in Costa Rica last night or the night before last.

Yvette: I wish it really wasn’t Costa Rica.

Frank: Not the real Costa Rica, the virtual Costa Rica.

Yvette: Yes, they were in the real Costa Rica.

Frank: They were.

Yvette: We were there virtually. Great group-

Frank: [coughs] Excuse me.

Yvette: -design futures initiative.

Frank: Yes. I was going to say that, we appeared together-

Yvette: [laughs]

Frank: -and they were totally freaking out, “Oh my God, what are you doing on the same? You look like you are the same.” We had to tell them, it was just fake [unintelligible 00:05:47]. [laughs]

Yvette: [laughs] [unintelligible 00:05:48], yes, more [unintelligible 00:05:49].

Frank: It was real. It was real.

Yvette: Anyway, we welcome everyone to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast. My name is Yvette Montero Salvatiko.

Frank: Yes, and my name is Frank Spencer. This is week three of month seven. We only have this and one more week to go before we’re in our new collection.

Yvette: That’s right. This is the end of this collection of podcasts. If you’ve been around since the beginning. Wow. Thank you, thank you so much for keep it on, keep it on but we’re excited this month is been a heady month, we’ve chosen it last on purpose for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that these are airing in April, which is Earth Day month if you will.

Frank: Yes, that’s right.

Yvette: We’re excited to have that synergy. Hopefully, you’ve listened in on the first two weeks of this month’s podcast, where we’re building a wicked opportunity future of anthropological regeneration. This was coming from the wicked problem of homogeneous seen extinction, this idea that we’re parasitic to the earth and all of its contents, and we’re actually damaging it through the homogenizing of consumption not just from an environmental standpoint, from a cultural standpoint. If you’ve been along for the ride, we’ve begun to create this new wicked opportunity future, which we define as anthropological regeneration.

Frank: That’s right. If you’re playing Scrabble, and you need extra words–

Yvette: You know what? We won for you. The way [unintelligible 00:07:25]

Frank: If you’ve never played Scrabble before if you get a big word, or you use letters that aren’t often used, you’ll get more points. Anthropological regeneration will be your Scrabble term for the week. It’s a reframing of humanity’s role in the natural co-design and co-creation of earth’s complex, interconnected and bio-diverse ecosystem in which our species as humans, transitions from being destroyers to being restores. There’s two really important things in there. One is the diversity aspect and the other is the restore aspect.

We can’t be regenerative unless we’re diverse so taking away the diversity, and crops and energy and governance in society and though,t it is all of those things are connected intimately to this extinction that we’re seeing that we largely view as being and rightly so as being climate, conservation, ecological, but it’s just as broad base extinction. We don’t often tie some things to other things, but it’s a big hoop and loop. Yes.

Yvette: The first two weeks, as we always do with The Wicked Opportunities Podcast, we follow the natural foresight framework, our podcasts, and everything we do at Kedge and The Future School is fueled by Foresight. The first week we go through the Discover phase, and we did CLA, to uncover the root causes of the wicked problem and reframe it as the wicked opportunity. Then we did our six degrees game, and we jumped through a few of the many trends that can help us form a bridge from the present to this wicked opportunity future to potentially pull it to today, faster. Here we are, week three, this is our mapping week, we love this week because-

Frank: Always fun.

Yvette: -it comes along with our map that’s drawn by our amazing graphic facilitator, an artist. We are here in the Map phase, we use the point of impact questions to map out the future of this wicked opportunity.

Frank: Yes, and when we use these questions, it’s always a great place to see just like I was talking about with every topic, this one being our seventh month. It really lends itself to capturing the previous six months and pulling it all together, because it’s this big thing of ecological conservation, planetary extinction, or regeneration. What’s really interesting about that is I know that you know Yvette, some of our listeners probably realized this as well, but for others who don’t, things like racism have a profound effect on climate change. You’re thinking at first, “How did those two things connect?” I think this is a lot of what we’re trying to say this month is like, “Don’t just think that climate change is not using to every climate change is not using straws from Starbucks. Always don’t ask for a straw,” [chuckles] it’s much more than that. It’s overcoming racism and poverty, figuring out the migration problem. All those things are so connected. That’s what I love about the map week because we get to deeply explore cultural ideas and new social structures and mediums ways of seeing the world quite differently.

Yvette: Ultimately, it’s often our marginalized communities that are most impacted by climate change, but in terms of this wicked opportunity and the wicked problem, we’re not just talking about environmental factors and impacts those are critical, but also cultural, the homogenization of culture and how we’re not being respectful of differences. This is a common thread throughout this collection, these seven months. Using the point of impact questions, we’ll start as we often do with the think question.

We asked these five questions in relation to our wicked opportunity. You can do this same exercise with trends, with patterns. We do it with the wicked opportunity to further build out this world and make it a little bit easy for us to imagine how we can make this world a reality. The think question is what cultural ideas will emerge to help us make sense of the world. Typically we’re talking about things like economic systems and religion and social values and attitudes and scientific models. As we think about the wicked opportunity of anthropological regeneration, what cultural ideas will emerge to help us make sense of a anthropological regeneration world?

Frank: I’m glad you just slowed down for just a moment on that and explained a little bit more about, “Hey, look,” if you’ve been on this journey with us these five questions by now, but remember you can use these five questions in your foresight work to explore patterns or any question or a trend. They’re like steep for the other end of scanning. If you use S-T-E-E-P Social Technological, Economic, Environmental Political, or maybe you’re a PESTEL person or some other acronym that allows you to scan broadly, then these five questions allow you to continue scanning to look at the human impact and look for this weak fuzzy or as somebody said recently, feeble signals, which I thought was a little strange. When you ask these questions, then you go, “Ah, wow. I thought some really great stuff. Let me go back to my scanning again and see if those are appearing anywhere,” and you start to find these weak signals.

Yvette: Right, so–

Frank: I just thought that was-

Yvette: The ripples of the trend-

Frank: -the ripples of the trend.

Yvette: -that allow us to when we feel like we’ve reached the end of the internet with our scanning, we ask these questions of the materials we’ve already scanned and we can new impacts in potential implications.

Frank: Because we could do a whole pockets on this and get excited about this. You know this is one of my favorite tools. The reason we say human impacts is if you think of all these five questions, they’re asking something very different than STEEP is asking you, because if you’re saying, social, what is this broad social idea or technological? Tell me about the technology. These questions are saying specifically human, human, human, human, human, what is the impact on humanity?

It’s the other end of the spectrum. You should still use STEEP or PESTEL or wherever to scam broadly. Use these after you’ve been scanning for a while to ask, “Am I seeing new weak signals or new ideas?”

Yvette: Back to our wicked opportunity of anthropological regeneration and starting with the think question, which is the broadest question, it’s a great place to start in. The point of impact toolset is to start with the think question, what cultural ideas will emerge to help us make sense of the world. Here in our pre-show pre-work, we really focused on cultural ideas. Specifically, obviously, in the think question, we’re focused on cultural ideas and we talked about the zeitgeists of the human symbiote or symbiorge or-

Frank: Symbiote.

Yvette: -symbiote.

Frank: Symbiote. I was actually just thinking there’s probably five or six ways to say that word but they’re probably all correct in some way.

Yvette: We’re obviously talking about a symbiotic relationship.

Frank: Symbiote, yes.

Yvette: It’s a play on the fact that in the wicked problem, we called ourselves the parasite. [laughs] What if there was a new cultural idea that formed where we saw ourselves as being symbiotic with the ecosystem?

Frank: Yes, because largely we still don’t see ourselves that way. We’ve, in some ways, we live in a great time, and other ways, we live in a scary time that could be said, I guess, at any time in history. I say that because there’s so much social media and better ways to see all the horrors in the world right now. Also if you think about it, we’ve got people questioning humanity’s role in a way it may never have been questioned before in history. Then that way, we live in the greatest of times.

Yvette: Those voices are also amplified. I think we’ve always had people question it, but similarly, they don’t have the megaphone or they didn’t have the megaphone. You have the megaphone on both ends, which can seem like just overwhelming at times.

Frank: [unintelligible 00:15:27] and also gets more people on board, right?

Yvette: Yes, yes.

Frank: We’ve got more capability. You see people connecting around the world and saying, “Let’s form a thing to have a conversation or a discussion,” or whatever the case might be, and creating more symbiotic relationships. We want to really make sure that we focus on this idea of if humans are parasitic or we’ve acted parasitically in many ways, then can we have zeitgeists as the opposite of that and ourselves as being like we are a species that’s here for a reason in time.

We need to fulfill our purpose, whether that’s only for the next 50 to 100 years or whether it’s the next, 500 million years to add to the environment to be regenerative, to be a symbiotic and to work in tandem, hand in hand with the rest of not just our planet, but the cosmos.

Yvette: I like this because I think that sometimes the pendulum swings too far and we either see the world as black or white, meaning we’re either like the most horrible thing that’s ever happened to the earth and we have to stop and we cannot benefit at all. We have to stop using technology. We have to stop doing all these things. The other extreme is obviously, “Hey, we’re here and we rule the world,” and just because we can, we should. In reality, there’s a more nuanced approach that says, “We can benefit, continue benefiting from what the earth has to offer and in turn benefit the earth.”

Frank: As a matter of fact, you can think of this many different ways, but you could say, “The elephant is important to all of creation. The bat is important in all of creation. The water is important and humanity is important to all of creation.” We belong here.

Yvette: Yes, we’re not spurge or whatever the word is.

Frank: We’ve acted like a scourge in many ways, but we shouldn’t be and we belong here, and let’s make use of why we belong here. Instead of acting like we don’t belong here-

Yvette: Again, it–

Frank: -because both of them really are acting like we don’t belong here. Terrible humanity needs to get out of here so the [unintelligible 00:17:42] can rule the earth, we don’t belong here, or I just want to burn up the earth and whatever, we don’t belong here you know?

Yvette: Yes, it is–

Frank: It’s always about, we don’t belong here. I can’t wait to go to, I can’t wait to die and go to the afterlife. We don’t belong here.

Yvette: Or earth too, or Mars.

Frank: Yes, right. That’s exactly right.

Yvette: What if we reframed our thinking and said in actuality, again the earth has can benefit from us being here-

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: -and it doesn’t have to be a negative relationship or an adversarial relationship?

Frank: I’m so glad [unintelligible 00:18:13]. It’s like the earth can benefit. It should benefit from us being here. We should be a help [unintelligible 00:18:18].

Yvette: We should benefit from being here.

Frank: That’s right. It’s a cycle.

Yvette: Yes, absolutely. Hopefully, that’s as powerful sounding to you all as it was to us when we first started thinking about it because that frames the rest of our conversation in terms of these point of impact questions. In terms of the cultural ideas, we’re talking about a more symbiotic relationship or humans as that symbiotic component of the ecosystem and so let’s move on to the frame question.

Frank: The frame question is what social structures will be created or reframe. If we have a new cultural idea that helps us make sense of the world, then what social structures would be created reframed and this could be demographics, family, lifestyles, work, education, government, biz models and habitats and ecosystems, so this is a big place for us to hit on that.

One of the things that came up for us, we’d love to hear our audience add to this though, is that business and government models that are based on circulation on renewal and quite honestly, on evolutionary science. We’re seeing some of that happen now, but we should be seeing our businesses or organizations’ organisms, our governance as being evolutionary. It needs to change more of grow transform because that’s the way that you’re a helpmate. That’s the way you’re symbiotic.

Yvette: Yes, I love this idea if we could substitute every time someone said “agile” with “I want to be evolutionary”, think about a powerful it is. I had a conversation with a very, very, very large social media giant as part of an initial proposal pitch and the term or the word “agile”, they spoke it every 30 seconds in this–

Frank: [coughs]

Yvette: Don’t.

Frank: My space.

Yvette: Don’t, don’t.

Frank: My space.

Yvette: -don’t do it-

Frank: [unintelligible 00:20:11].

Yvette: -don’t do it. Could you imagine if it was my space?

Frank: There was [unintelligible 00:20:13].

Yvette: I want to be in charge of [unintelligible 00:20:15]

Frank: [unintelligible 00:20:17] my space.

Yvette: This idea of like, “We have to be fast, we have to be fast. We have to be agile. We have to be agile,” and they even said like, “Don’t say the word ‘process’. We can’t say the word ‘process’. We know we need process, but we’re not allowed to say the word ‘process’. I think this whole thing is crazy.

Frank: Definitely, definitely.

Yvette: Because we do need processes, we do need re frameworks, but what if we stopped worrying about being fast and instead, realize that it’s about really finding the next evolution, really transforming and growing. You’re fond of saying that the evolutionary arrow is towards collaboration, right?

Frank: Yes. It is. If you read the words of John Stewart, who’s a big evolutionary scientists proponent out of Australia, others are saying very similar. He has a great book called Evolution’s Arrow. I suggest to anybody who wants to know more about this and how does evolution because we often think of it just in terms of biology, but obviously, evolution is social evolution is organizational evolution is governmental and we need all, we need to really think about evolution in terms of all of our entities and the things we form the technology we form, these be evolutionary, we co-evolve with our technology.

You’re right. I love this idea that we get that evolution, speak language, ideas, and processes in those things where they’re not because when we silo businesses and government away from evolutionary processes, we’re selling them away from anthropological regeneration. We’re sticking them right in the basket of homogeneous extinction, and they are becoming tools to add to that extinction.

Yvette: That’s why we talk about so much within The Wicked Opportunities program and philosophy, this idea of meshing the fact that we have to embrace diversity and integrate different voices and ultimately head towards that collaboration, cooperation component that sweet spot in between these different aspects of life, where the solutions to our biggest problems are going to be found. I love the fact that these businesses that embrace evolution and continue to evolve, aren’t just about input and output.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: When we were talking about it in the pre-show really struck a nerve with me because we could talk about valuation in a number of different ways and we have along the way along the journey in this collection of podcasts, but if you just boil it down to our businesses organizations, shouldn’t just be about input and output.

Frank: Yes. As my friend, I love you said something, this is like the new hybrid value chain because we’ve talked about hybrid value chain a lot. I believe that it was probably Deloitte a few years ago who was really focusing on the hybrid value chain. They had some articles about this and it’s like public and private entities coming together-

Yvette: And entreprenuers.

Frank: -and entrepreneurs coming together to have an output. I might be a big organization, but I work hand in hand with the community in a participatory way. Then we have a governmental entity and they all form a value chain to arrive at something. The important component of that value chain is missing is the evolutionary process. Are we lined up with the cosmos on this? We brought everybody to the table except the one important player that should be involved in all this. That is cosmological evolution, biology, the way things are supposed to work, and being aligned with life.

Yvette: Yes. You have to ask yourself, “Is your business evolutionary? Are you being symbiotic?” Those are the two first aspects. Anything else on frame before we move on?

Frank: I mean, stop making the value only something that you can measure. It should be about like, “Did it help people?” It’s like, “We don’t know that it helped people or did helping people help us?” It’s like, “It did.” You might not be able to measure this in a month or three months. It might take a year. It might take five years to measure this. We have got to get away from just being destructive to ourselves.

It’s nonsense if you can’t measure this in 90 days it doesn’t mean it wasn’t helpful. Evolutionary is not going to be measured in seven hours. It’s just not. You’ve got to understand that those valuations had to be measured in longer terms and longer. You need the long now valuation, go back a couple of months and listen to the long [unintelligible 00:24:43].

Yvette: Yes. I also think it’s like it can be little, like really hard and demoralizing for individuals and we know a lot of great practitioners working inside large organizations that can feel frustrated and throw their hands up and say that’s just not, what’s valued. Let’s remember that our organizations are made up of individuals, made up of humans, made up of people and all it will take is for all of us to say, “This is not okay. We need to do things differently. We need to measure things in terms of their impact to humanity, not just in terms of the cents and dollars that I can measure things that I could put an Excel spreadsheet.”

We have to stand up and say that within our organizations and outside of organizations and as investors and as stakeholders, we have to be able to say that.

Frank: You just hit on another huge thing. When you think about siloing or making things homogenous if everything’s about money, then that’s the homogeneity, right?

Yvette: Yes, you reap what you sow.

Frank: It’s like value by money, value by money, value by money and that’s why we have extinction going on-

Yvette: Then why-

Frank: -we have no other valuation, no other evaluations.

Yvette: -why are people homeless and why are we seeing-

Frank: Money.

Yvette: -like, [chuckles] yes, the large discrepancy between the haves and have nots? [laughs]

Frank: Money. I’ll [unintelligible 00:26:00] a little bit here because this is a fun game, actually. It’s like, “Why are we having this-“

Yvette: Money.

Frank: -money? Yes, yes, “Why is this problem?”

Yvette: Money.

Frank: Yes, exactly.

Yvette: I love this. This is the rest of the podcast is just the same.

Frank: This is a fun game. That’s a fun game.

Yvette: We talked about think cultural ideas, the human symbiote, symb, what did we decide? How did we decide?

Frank: Yes, symbiote, symbiote, symbiote.

Yvette: Symbiote. The human symbiote?

Frank: I think symbiote comes from my days of watching Spiderman and Venom got only me with a symbiote from space..

Yvette: See-

Frank: Spiderman.

Yvette: -it was so helpful to you, Spiderman.

Frank: Life is, it’s Spiderman, life is, it’s Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.

Yvette: Human symbiote, evolutionary business. Is your business not agile, but is it evolutionary? That’s what we need to start asking ourselves. Connect the connect question, what technologies, mediums, and arts will be used to connect people, places, and things. This is the next point of impact question that we ask as it relates to anthropological regeneration so we can make this future reality sooner.

Normally, we pick on one of these things, technologies, mediums, or arts and I think this time we were like, “Let’s do it all, let’s do it all.” How do we think about all of these things holistically? This is an interesting idea. We came up with for the connect question.

Frank: Yes, we did and it’s a deep, heavy thing, but I think these last three. We were like, “Hey, let’s go out and let’s set up and go out with a bang.”

Yvette: Go out with a bang.

Frank: Go out with a bang.

Yvette: If they’re still listening, then they, they like it. They like this.

Frank: If anything’s worth doing, it’s worth doing overboard. [laughs]

Yvette: That’s our model. It’s democratized the future in that, and then if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

Frank: Overdoing. In this one, we want to focus on not tech, not arts, not mediums, but all three at the same time. See what we did there? We had this phrase, “neuro imprinting for generational and cultural perception”. We’re suggesting that there’s technology, we are forming technologies like neuro Lacy in these kinds of things, but that’s just scratching the surface. Don’t think that I’m suggesting that neuro lacing will solve this problem. I’m saying that we’re forming these kinds of neurological technologies.

What if we formed them in a way that meets the standards of what we have already said before today about being a symbiote, right? Instead of saying like, “Oh, let’s use it for, I don’t know, data capture so that you can play a video game, which you’re fine, but let’s use this to really be able to understand the perceptions of the perceiving of one another, both culturally, but also generally generationally.” I think you were suggesting earlier, it’s like, “How do we really tap into those generational ideas and really perceive them not know them perceive?”

Yvette: Yes, this is so powerful. Imagine if you will, whether it’s generations or ideology or whatever currently creates chasms between us and differences between us and misunderstandings. Imagine if we did have the technology that unlike the technology and the social platforms of today that create more division, what if there was a way to perceive reality from someone else’s perspective and to have to have them perceive your reality?

This could be powerful, not only generationally like we could really speak to younger generations and older generations, but past generations and future generations, but even in the current day and age, culturally from a race perspective, from just different communities of thought, we can have more clear conversations. I have to imagine this is possible with everything that we’ve done with technology. The problems that we’ve had so far with these types of technologies is that we’ve used them to reinforce the power structures that already exist.

Frank: Right, exactly, because it’s not-

Yvette: Instead of–

Frank: -that those technologies that we’re building right now, aren’t like already doing some crazy stuff. Like, “Oh, you could play a video game from a mile away just using your brain and all that.” Why was that the reason that we made that technology? It’s because– Yvette: Money. [laughs]

Frank: It’s money. It’s money. It’s not about evolutionary science [unintelligible 00:30:16].

Yvette: What’s crazy is that if you truly wanted to create longevity in your business idea, in your business, in your legacy, these are the types of problems that you should be solving, the problems that keep us disconnected. It’s not hard for me to imagine these neuro imprinting technologies that allow us to bridge generations and cultures and ideologies. In fact, that there’s examples from nature that showcase that this is possible.

Frank: There are. As a matter of fact, I was reading an article this week. It was from a few years back and it talks about the tree kingdom because when we were thinking about this, I started thinking about that they found out in recent years, the last decade maybe, that trees don’t just have roots to get water. The roots actually are root system that speak to the rest of the trees in the forest or near them or the other plants to telling them that danger is near, it’s anticipatory science has rosen. That nature always has this.

The root system is like a kingdom, the root kingdom. It speaks to other trees. Conditions are changing. “Make your roots go that way for the water. Not this way, I’ve already checked over here. Don’t come over this way.” The trees speak to one another. As a matter of fact, this article for three years ago was saying that a lot of scientists are now realizing the tree speak and if we learn their language, we can speak back to them and we can have this very symbiotic relationship with them.

It was pointed out in the article that in South America, I think is the Waorani people actually, they’re so in tune with the tree kingdom that they have names for a tree. Let’s say, “This is not a ceiba tree like we would, that’s a poplar, that’s an Oak,” but they have a word for it. “This is a ceiba tree with mushrooms on it, near this type of greenery. There’s a word for that. Literally, English speakers couldn’t translate their language because they were so in tune with the ecological surroundings that they had created a language of ecology that we have no words for.

Yvette: I wish I had known this prior to my latest biology assignment, as many of you know, I’m homeschooling because pandemic and I have an eighth-grader who was in high school biology, super fun. Best year of my life.

Frank: You should have like, when you were dialing up, “Hey, God, please give me more problems than I can deal with during a pandemic.”

Yvette: Please.

Frank: He heard your cry. [laughs]

Yvette: Which parent among us, doesn’t love to teach their teenage child. That is the best thing ever.

Frank: Wack [unintelligible 00:33:01]. Teachers, we love you.

Yvette: We love you. It’s just easier to teach them when you’re not related to them. Anyway, one of the things she had to do as part of her biology assignments is, do the whole classification thing. This is striking me as like, that would be impossible. We have this stratification biological taxonomy that literally is in a chart with lines, all this stuff throw in at this nuance and it’s just fascinating.

Frank: Those people would look at a classification like that and go, “What are you guys doing?

Yvette: Yes. What you doing?

Frank: What are you doing? Because you’re homogenizing it. They literally understand this kingdom. The bigger point being is as a vet saying, we need to create a human root kingdom and we don’t. We’re like, “My roots go down to the water. What are your roots up to?”

Yvette: That’s your problem.

Frank: “I don’t care about your roots.”

Yvette: It’s a race to the, “My roots are racing with your roots.”

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: We hope that this idea doesn’t sound too far-reaching. I don’t feel like it is. I feel like we already have incredible technologies and we’re learning more about the brain every day. What if we channeled that research to language and connection with our environmental elements, but also with one another? I want to ground us back in that. Even if you don’t think you ever want to talk to a tree, I get it. Maybe The Lorax, wasn’t your favorite book like it was ours, but imagine the ability to talk with one another without having those unconscious biases and filters crop up to where you literally don’t hear each other.

Frank: Exactly. If you didn’t get anything else out of what we said for the past five minutes or so, take away that we don’t need to know, we need to perceive. Perceiving is the new knowing. Perceiving is the new knowing and it’s deeper. It’s the sci-fi term grok. It’s being able to like an avatar, “I see you, I really see deep inside”. We need to perceive and the only way that anthropological regeneration is going to happen is through perception, not through knowing.

I just wanted to like, before we close out and go to our last two, the reason we said, “It’s not just tech, but it’s also arts and medium,” is can we start to design our cities or our arts to really reflect that relationship and that perception. We need perceptive art. I think that the very essence of what we’re seeing here is a medium. It’s like the medium of perception.

Yvette Right, and language is a medium. I’m glad that you made that point because I think we did veer off a little bit more focusing on the tech in that conversation, but we were thinking about it much more holistically. Excellent. Fourth question in the five questions of the point of impact framework is produced. What tools and processes will be developed to produce goods and services?

Again, we’re imagining the anthropological regeneration world and in the case of how we’re using point of impact questions here, we’re trying to build that world. We’re trying to almost create a mini scenario and elements of it so that it helps us suspend disbelief and imagine that this world is possible because it is. Then that way, we can pull this future to today, even faster so how we produce in an anthropological regeneration world.

Frank: I had heard a podcast this week talking about biophilic design, and I think that’s the easy end. It’s like we used to live out in nature and then we built buildings where the air can’t even get in. Then we’re like, “Let’s bring some plants inside.” It’s so weird.

Yvette: [laughs] It sounds silly when you say it that way.

Frank: I know. I feel like that is the way it is. I think of every good hotel I’ve been to around the world has a plant wall on it. I’m like, “Why don’t you just open the doors.” I know bugs would get in, I guess. What if we didn’t just have a biophilic design, but as we were saying, this is stemming straight from where we just were on connect. Biophilic technology, that in other words, our tech, our manufacturing, our advancement, our energy, our transportation, our whatever other thing that you can think of as something that sort of drains the resources right now, we’re actually built around in a biophilic way. By the way, biophilia being the lover of nature, love of what is was natural.

How do we design transportation that’s biophilic? How do we design energy that’s biophilic? When we start talking about green energy, we’re getting there a little bit, I think, but there’s so many things that we do that are like, “We’ve made this thing to look very unnatural and be unnatural and disconnected from nature.” That’s why I was joking about that. “Let’s build a box that we live in with no air that can get in at all.” We need to build our world and our technology and our transportation, our cities in a biophilic way.

Yvette: Again, there’s people way smarter than us on this topic. We love to start the conversation in this podcast and spur additional research and conversations elsewhere. All too often, the answer within the sustainability world is less technology because it is so detrimental to the environment. Either it’s less or no technology, or it’s to your point, green technology, where we move into the more sustaining the environment, or at least not causing additional harm.

When we’re talking about anthropological regeneration, we’re talking about leaving the place better than we found it. When we think about biophilic technology, manufacturing, and advancement, we’re saying it’s not a by-product of it. We’re thinking about it in core and central. We think about nature first. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have technology. It means we create technology with an inherent love of nature.

Again, this is only possible if we start all the way up at the think question, and we have that symbiotic manifestation or zeitgeist, and we build our organizations as evolutionary businesses, and we connect with one another in a perceptive way, then you could see how obviously, our production systems would change.

Frank: Absolutely. It’s a by-product of it. That’s why we got on this place and we’re like, “Well, we’ve sort of wrapped it all up now.” I think this is still important to look at this produce and use question at the end, but definitely, this is a by-product of what we said. As Yvette, said, “We will naturally do this if we’re perceiving the world this way.” I love that she pointed out it doesn’t mean getting rid of technology or going backwards.

That’s like, “How I know how to save the earth. Let’s all go back out and live in the forest without any syrup.” No, that’s not the way it’s like growing, building, making more than what existed before. There’ll be some people that will hear me say this and we’ll probably soundly disagree and that’s perfectly fine, I believe that consciousness is telling us that we are here to generate more than what existed before. I don’t think the planet’s confined to only what existed three billion years ago. The fact that the other species are here, and they’ve gone extinct, some of it our fault, but a lot of extinction also is just a natural thing. There are species that come and go and things that come and go, planets change, ecosystems change. Can we be a part of that natural good change, not the bad part, and actually build more to the planet and more to the cosmos than what we found? I think that that’s what consciousness is all about.

Yvette: Powerful. All right, let’s wrap up our point of impact mapping session with the use question. Now that we’ve done the thinking, the framing, the connecting, and the producing, now we ask ourselves this question, what goods and services will we make and how will we consume them? Of course, that includes consumer goods and entertainment, and health care, even natural resources is under the use umbrella. What do we want to talk about here?

Frank: Yes, there’s something that’s pretty straightforward, but I just want to mention there’s a bridge between the produce and use. If you want to read a really great book, go read Lanza’s Biocentrism. Well, they did just create a new book called The Grand Biocentric Design, but there’s a basic one called Biocentrism, I think. The first tenet of Biocentrism is the universe expanding isn’t creating more consciousness. Our consciousness expanding is creating more universe. It sounds crazy on the surface and you’re like, ”What kind of nutty book is this?”

When you go read it, you’ll walk away going like, ”Oh, my gosh, why are we looking at things backwards?” It’s true that it’s like the more consciousness, the more that’s created. That’s what I was really trying to say there, and so I think, in this use, how do we use things, use and produce almost go together hand in hand, and I love this phrase they use for this, ”We need to not be carbon neutral, we need to be carbon negative.” That actually doesn’t mean using less and less, it means creating more and more the right way.

Yvette: That’s right. How do we create processes and use things in a way that actually produces benefit? Again, full circle symbiotic?

Frank: Biocentric, it’s like our consciousness is creating us.

Yvette: The more I use it, the better it grows, the better it evolves, the better it gets, as opposed to having a consumptive resource consumptive angle to it. It’s a very different way of thinking about the world, which is what’s required to like–

Frank: Transformative.

Yvette: Yes, to [unintelligible 00:42:39].

Frank: Welcome to transformational foresight, people, because I just don’t think that foresight going forward is all that useful to us if it’s only about trying to solve problems from the perspective of the problem. In the universe of the problem with the tools of the problem, you never can see transformatively that way, and that’s why I’m no big fan of using foresight just to solve threats. Those threats only get solved when we think transformatively, and so the threat is solved outside of the threat, not within the threat.

Yvette: Well, we’re going to leave you with that thought because it’s very, very powerful. We’ve one more week left on this month, the final month of the first collection of The Wicked Opportunities Podcast.

[background music]

Yvette: We hope that you’ve enjoyed this journey through anthropological regeneration, that mapping week. Next week, we move into the creative phase, and we’re going to be talking about some unique roles, I’m going to say the word roles. They’re not like the normal professional, ”roles” that we typically look at. On week four, we’re going to change it up a little bit, so join us next week for the create week. Until then, we hope to see you on future space. Please reach out if you have any other thoughts around this wicked opportunity or any others that we’ve talked about.

Yvette: Yes, we look forward to hearing from you there. I look forward to seeing you all. Love all of you, and take care until we see you next week.

Yvette: See you next time.


Announcer: The Wicked Opportunities Podcast has been brought to you by Kedge, a global foresight innovation, and strategic design firm, serving the world’s most successful organizations. To learn more, visit Interested in more foresight-fueled learning? Check out for additional resources, training events, and develop an offerings in natural foresight. Join us next week as we continue our journey into a future of wicked opportunities.


[00:45:12] [END OF AUDIO]


Voice-over: If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, there’s got to be a better way to plan, lead, innovate, inspire, to change the world, then you embody the spirit of the visionary. While many people are stuck in the way things have always been done, you know the future can only be found by those who are willing to blaze a new trail, and to that, we say welcome. The Wicked Opportunities Podcast follows the rhythm of the natural foresight framework, a unique approach to futures thinking that embraces our world of ever-increasing complexity for greater opportunities and transformation.

Each month, we will tackle a wicked problem facing humanity, diving deeper each week to discover, explore, map, and create novel opportunities. Our goal is to empower you to discover the future and create it today. The Wicked Opportunities Podcast is brought to you by Kedge, a global foresight innovation and strategic design firm serving the world’s most successful organizations. Now, join futurists Yvette Montero Salvatico and Frank Spencer as they continue your future empowered journey. Your wicked opportunity starts now.


Frank Spencer: Yvette, we often have a bit of a contention or butting heads over our sleep rhythm. I am what they call a night owl.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: Yes.

Frank: They don’t even have a name for what you do. The early bird gets the worm or something?

Yvette: I am an efficient individual that takes part in modern societies.

Frank: That’s a long name.

Yvette: Yes. We have to work on a more catchy thing. I’m just normal. I’m normal because I get up with the sun, and I am very productive. Then when the sun goes down, my day comes to a close.

Frank: Have you ever thought that I’m also getting up with the sun in Asia?

Yvette: [laughs]

Frank: Those of you who are listening from India, China, Japan, and I’m with you.

Yvette: You’re not with them. You’re not physically with them.

Frank: I’m mentally with them.

Yvette: Our clients are not them.

Frank: They could be. If anybody is looking for foresight in the Asia APAC region, I’m your man.

Yvette: It’s actually great because it allows us– The sun never sets on Kedge or The Futures School because the sun never sets on the future.

Frank: Oh, I love this. This is nice. This is a nice take.

Yvette: I’m going to be completely honest that I stole it from my Disney days because we had Disney theme parks across the globe.

Frank: There you go.

Yvette: The sun never set on a Disney theme park until this past year, but let’s not go there. Basically, because we have different biorhythmic clocks, we cover a good amount of the 24 hour day.

Frank: Feel like there was some heavy science in there. You went to biorhythmic clocks.

Yvette: I’m just getting ready to pronounce some of the words in our wicked problem and wicked opportunity.

Frank: I’m not sure that that was the real scientific name, but you got me.

Yvette: No, that’s good.

Frank: Biorhythmic clock

Yvette: You just have to deliver it with–

Frank: Authority, assurity confidence.

Yvette: Yes, confidence.

Frank: Et cetera.

Yvette: Anyway, welcome everyone to The Wicked Opportunities Podcast. My name is Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: I am Night Owl. That’s my superhero name, Night Owl, also known as Frank Spencer. Welcome to the podcast. That’s my Clark Kent identity. Frank Spencer, but at night he’s Night Owl.

Yvette: I actually like that I didn’t know where you were going with that whole witty banter.

Frank: That’s good.

Yvette: But it was good to be surprised. Welcome to– We’re still in month seven. We’re in week two of our journey from homogeneous scene extinction to anthropological regeneration. It’s a mouthful, but we unpacked it last week using our CLA tool. Today, we’re going to be using trend cards in our six degrees of separation game to create a bridge, because I think like previous months when we’ve been working our way through this collection of wicked opportunities, which this is the last of the collection as we said last week, it can seem a little daunting. It could seem like these are, as Frank has said in the past, pie in the sky ideas.

We’re going to demonstrate in today’s podcast how trends in today’s environment are pointing us to the direction of our wicked opportunity. All we have to do is take advantage of those trends and essentially pull that wicked opportunity future to today.

Frank: Absolutely. I think it’s just the mood I’m in today, but I can’t help but think when you say all of that that foresight really is a kissing cousin. Where did that phrase come from? I think I know.

Yvette: Let’s not go there.

Frank: Let’s keep going. Let’s keep going.

Yvette: It’s like that TikToker

Frank: I am from the south of the United States, so I’m pretty sure I know where that came from.

Yvette: It’s like that TikToker that’s little by little unpacking and showing the horrible origins of all the nursery rhymes-

Frank: Yes, exactly.

Yvette: -which some I knew about and many I did not. Basically, there’s no nursery rhyme that doesn’t have some horrific racist, you name it, sort of origins. Just be careful.

Frank: Or something about a horrific historical event like Ring Around the Rosie was the plague. I love the one Do You Know The Muffin Man?

Yvette: Yes. It’s about a serial killer.

Frank: Serial killer. So that’s great.

Yvette: Anyway-

Frank: I was going to say that-

Yvette: -kissing cousins.

Frank: -kissing cousin complexity science and complexity–

Yvette: Foresight and complexity science.

Frank: It really is because foresight is about digging deep. It’s about looking at the collisions. It’s about looking at unintended consequences, systems theory but even far beyond that. You can’t really do good foresight without being a critical thinking systems thinker and at least touching on– Maybe you don’t even know you’re doing this, but you’re touching on complexity theory. The more we have capacity thinking– I’m not saying you need to go get your PhD in it, but the more that we think that way as a society, generally, the better off we’ll be because we won’t make these statements that X equals Y when there’s so many other things to it.

It’s really the heart and soul of what we’ve been doing for the last six months, but we’ll continue to do and definitely on what we’re going to be talking about today as we make that bridge and look at these complex issues that can afford us a space of creativity. I was telling our friends at Design Features Institute this past week the phrase creative complexity. They loved it. I’ve heard it for so long that it’s just become commonplace to me, but it’s like creative complexity. We think of complexity as being something that’s non-creative, that’s actually destructive. It’s the opposite, and that’s what foresight does.

When we think, “Oh, this is a pie in the sky idea,” we’re actually saying no, it’s a very complex idea. We have to think this way if we want to arrive at it. That’s what we’re going to do in today’s show.

Yvette: We can’t continue to use the outdated mindsets and thinking that have gotten us into this mess. We have to embrace new types of thinking. As we said in the last podcast, homogeneous scene extinction is the parasitic and genocidal approach to homosapiens dominion over the planets life-giving diversity through homogenizing consumption and subsequent depletion of biological, ecological, and cultural systems. Although we’ve spent quite a bit of time and I think it’s common to think of this as an environmental issue, it’s much broader than that.

Of course, environmental issues do not exist in isolation. They’re not in a silo. They often stem or create more cultural and societal issues as well. When we’re talking about homogeneous scene extinction, recall that we’re really talking about that homogenizing, that simplification, the fact that we can’t deal with the increased complexity. So we revert back to old ways of thinking, old systems to try to make sense of it, but we actually create bigger problems as a result.

Frank: I’m not going to add one word to that because that was so beautifully said.

Yvette: Oh, thanks.

Frank: I was thinking. It’s like, “What’s my next statement? I’m listening to what she’s saying, but she’s going to forget this part or this part.” Just as we all do, but no. You forgot zero.

Yvette: Five stars.

Frank: Five stars. Then I think we do need to say where we’re going because we’re going to build a bridge, so we need to know what the other side looks like.

Yvette: We revealed this last week.

Frank: Already there.

Yvette: This idea of the wicked opportunity of anthropological regeneration.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: This is a reframing of humanity’s role in the natural co-design and co-creation of earth’s complex, interconnected, and biodiverse ecosystem in which our species transitions from being destroyer to restore.

Frank: I love that last phrase that we put in there from destroyer to restore because the trick that we showed last week in CLA was not that we just went back up and said, “We won’t be simplified. We’ll be more diverse.”

Yvette: We won’t be parasites.

Frank: Yes. We won’t be parasites. We’ll be nonparasite. We were saying that, no, it’s not just a matter of baseline or sustaining. It’s a matter of being more leaving things better than we found them, regeneration. Is it possible for humans to actually not just not destroy the environment but also add to it to be the– Our existence is the reason that things are getting better.

Yvette: If you haven’t had a chance to listen to week one, we encourage you to do that. In this week’s podcast, we continue down the natural foresight framework. Again, this is the framework that fuels our work. Our podcast is fueled by foresight. If you’re interested in learning more about the Natural Foresight Framework or any of the tools that we leverage at Kedge or The Futures School, we encourage you to check out some of our learning opportunities. We have quite a few going live in the next few weeks. We have plans for a lot of exciting things in 2021. We have plans for an asynchronous learning opportunity as well as, hopefully, some more advanced learning opportunities.

It’s our mission to democratize foresight. We do that through these podcasts by demonstrating through our conversations how yes, you can unpack an issue, build a better future and do that systematically through a repeatable framework that we call natural foresight. In the explore phase, we use trend cards that are the result of our research. We show through a take on the six degrees of separation game how you can connect any issue to any focal issue, any potential future. In this case, we’re connecting some current articles that we have discovered through a series of trend card connections, all the way to the future of our wicked opportunity, which is anthropological regeneration.

We hope through these connections we help to demonstrate that everything is interconnected, that we can definitely manifest this wicked opportunity future sooner than we thought possible. All of this is within our grasp because these are all trends and ideas that are happening right now.

Frank: Beautifully put. You’re on a roll today.

Yvette: I’m on a roll.

Frank: You’re always good, but you’re exceptional today.

Yvette: That’s good. We’ll see how the rest of this podcast goes.

Frank: I know we’re about to reveal the article, but last time one of our, I think if I’m not mistaken, missing metaphors was the idea of designing a elegant ending.

Yvette: Oh, yes.

Frank: We talked about how– There’s no reason to hide this. It’s a debate anyway. It’s not a slander. That somebody that’s been supporting this as of recent is the brilliant director and curator of MoMA in New York. She’s been going around with a talk that we need to design this elegant ending, which does make a lot of sense. It’s like if it’s just evolutionary–

Yvette: Maybe we should be in the driver’s seat. Maybe we should make it so that it’s not happenstance and we’re not doing this–

Frank: It’s actually the more powerful that you said the driver’s seat because– I think our good friend Nora Bateson would argue too. It’s like we’re not really in the driver’s seat.

Yvette: Exactly.

Frank: Nobody’s in the driver’s seat. Then at the same time, there’s a counterargument to that. It’s like, do we do nothing? I think Nora herself would say like, “Just because I didn’t say we are not in the driver’s seat doesn’t mean we don’t have-

Yvette: Agency.

Frank: -agency and an ability to–” It makes total sense evolutionarily. I don’t think I said that. It just came out in a stumble. If we’re going to pass away, if we’ve done too much damage, we might as well go out with a good message so that whatever comes next can look back on our human history and say, “Oh, humans made a big mistake, but they realized it. They went out elegantly. They’re trying to teach us a lesson.” It makes a lot of sense, except my argument would simply be, if we have that kind of agency, why don’t we flip the script on what our purpose here is? Period. It’s not just to say we were passing through as another species.

I get why that would be a legitimate argument, but I think there’s an equal argument to say, if consciousness is expanding, if our purpose is expanding, if every species that comes along has a greater reason towards an evolutionary arrow, then maybe it’s our purpose not to just as an elegant ending but to design an elegant new beginning and to proceed on. I would argue a thousand years from now we’re probably going to be almost a different species than we are any way today, especially if we’re purposely designing that.

Yvette: Powerful. All right. We’ve a couple of articles. Normally, we start our six degrees conversation with an article just to showcase. We’re starting from today’s landscape. We actually have a couple of articles. I’ll cover the first one, and then Frank you’ll cover the second one. The first one is from I think Scientific American, and it was entitled Global Biodiversity is in Free Fall. This was dated September 15th of 2020, later last year. The subtitle is A UN report reveals that countries worldwide have failed to meet key conservation targets set for 2020.

A little bit more about the article. “Many human activities can shrink biodiversity, including deforestation, pollution, and the introduction of invasive species. The goals to counter losses were equally diverse, but experts say the participating countries have failed in large part because they have struggled to address conservation while focusing on their economies and rising populations.”

Another piece that we wanted to point out just very quickly. “Researchers reviewed international biodiversity and sustainability policies and found that the majority also advocated for economic growth despite substantial evidence that such growth directly contributes to a biodiversity loss. They concluded that inadequate attention is paid to the question of how growth can be decoupled from biodiversity loss.”

A quote from Katherine Farrell, “We have growth for growth’s sake.” She’s an ecological economist at Rosario University in Columbia and a co-author of the study. She goes on to say, “What we need is an economy not based on the accumulation of money, but the living logic of well-being.” I love that, the living logic of wellbeing. She observes, however, that “there are huge vested interests associated with economic productivity that is dependent on ecological destruction.” Again, huge vested interest associated with economic productivity that is dependent on us destroying the ecology. These interests are going to be losers if we shift our economic structures to something based on ecological benefits. So just the tension there.

Again, we wanted to highlight this as obviously a manifestation of this homogeneous scene extinction wicked problem that, again, is not just environmental. It’s economic. It’s biological, and it’s cultural.

Frank: So heavy. My head’s spinning from all of that good quote there in that first article in our one side of the bridge. I was reading on Twitter today, as a matter of fact, a popular Wall Street Journal opinion article that circulated for the last maybe 48 hours, popular in that it’s already gaining a lot of traction. This gentleman who’s a candidate for a PhD is saying lockdowns don’t work. All they really did was destroy the economy, but that’s a view if you believe the economy we now have, this endless growth economy, is even the right way to go anyway.

Yvette: That’s interesting.

Frank: It’s very biased and very opinionated, and it’s really bizarre to not think complex. I wanted to share just a bit of another article. Bonus month, because we don’t usually have two.

Yvette: Bonus.

Frank: Bonus month. The reason I wanted to is multi-fold. One is because it’s written by a collection of futurists who aren’t your normal voices. When I say that, I’m looking in a mirror right now and thinking White male. As a matter of fact, there’s no White males in this article. It’s six or seven different people who are young, brave, amazing, new futurists entering the field like Pupul Bisht and Prateeksha Singh and many others. I’m not naming all the names. I’m sorry if I left your name out, but you guys can go look up the article, Whose Futures Matter. This was just posted on LinkedIn. I think they wrote the article. It’s not in necessarily in any publication.

I just wanted to read one quote from it because it really echoes what you’re saying about it not just being a biodiversity issue. It’s a cultural issues too and these different voices mattering. Again, this dominion piece is not just about man having dominion but mankind. But one particular slice or segment of the human population, the domineering racial part, or the patriarchy. We talked about this on previous episodes.

They say, “There is an over-reliance on data and a tendency to focus on forecasting rather than foresight, which is tied to the worldview that if we follow all the steps in the right order, there’s a way to know, discover, and find the future. This is based on dominant narratives or dominion rooted in the colonial history of our world, which have a desire to precisely define anything that’s unknowable or beyond what we can conceive.” That really talks about the complexity, the biodiverse piece.

“This is a trap, an illusion that needs to be avoided in our work,” which we’re going to do today. “We need to think about how we can expand and shift our view. The future is not a distant place we’re trying to find. It’s a shared space that we’re trying to co-create. This intention can influence the way we practice, who participates in the practice, who designs the future for what outcome.”

Yvette: You just shared that quote, and it’s like all I could think about was the six podcasts or the six months of themes that preceded this one and how literally it’s each thing that we talked about the qualitative component, the long now component, the identity crisis component. This is exactly what we try to embody in our practice and our work. It’s so powerful. It’s refreshing. Unfortunately, we’re facing these challenges, but it’s refreshing to hear people that are starting to have a platform to talk about how we can’t continue to do things the way that we’ve always done them. We can’t try to build futures that look a lot like the past.

Frank: That’s right. I decided really quickly that I did want to shout out the other names of the authors here. The person that posted it and also was one of the coauthors was Joshua Polchar. This was also written by some of the people that are in UNESCO UN working on social foresight issues across Europe, Africa, Asia. Kwamou Eva Feukeu, Sandile Hlatshwayo, Alanna Markle, Ozge Aydogan, and I think I named the rest of them. I probably slaughtered those names, but forgive me. I just wanted to name them anyway even if I didn’t do them the justice they deserve because that shoutout’s important I think.

Yvette: We’ll definitely provide the links to both of these articles. That’s a great kickoff. Let’s get started. If you’ve been around for our week two podcast using our wicked opportunities trend cards is that what we do is we take a card from each of the wicked opportunity domains. These are similar to the steep domains. If you’ve studied foresight or any type of research domain, you know steep stands for social, technological, economic, environmental, and political. Similarly, we have our wicked domains, which are worldview, industrial science, commerce, kedging, environment, and design.

The goal here is to connect to these articles that are representative of the wicked problem in six steps using one card from each domain to arrive at our wicked opportunity of anthropological regeneration. This is the last month, as we’ve said, of this collection. We’ve used a lot of our trend cards already, so we had to select from those remaining. If you’ve played along, you’ve gotten a really good perspective on all of the trends that are in our current sets of trend cards.

Frank: Thanks guys. You made our game really hard.

Yvette: Exactly. There is another set of trend cards hopefully coming up this year, so lots happening. Lots happening. The first trend that we wanted to highlight here in creating this bridge is the trend of urbanization, which I think probably everyone is familiar with, this idea that we’ve never seen more than 50% as we do now of individuals across the globe living in cities. Many of them are mega cities.

Urbanization and the movement to metropolitan areas is cause for concern for a lot of people because cities have long been the source and the origin of a lot of the challenges we’re talking about in this month’s theme, in terms of resource usage and just all of the things get blamed on cities many times because they do use a lot of resources, and sometimes people feel like those environments, those urban environments aren’t the most sustainable. It takes a lot to get food there and et cetera. We thought we’d start with urbanization because it seemed like a really good link, but of course we want to look at urbanization in a different way.

Frank: We do. I know that I’m slowing things down here, but for those of you who follow us for a long time, you know that I could not be more proud to be Yvette Montero Salvatico’s business partner. She’s always fire, but she is double fire today, people. What? What is going on?

Yvette: We have to record all our podcasts on a Sunday afternoon. No, let’s not do that.

Frank: What is going on? She’s got all these fire emojis over her head right now. She’s right. It’s like this urbanization piece, can we create cities not to be our consumptive problem, our wicked problem, but can we create cities to be our wicked solutions, our wicked opportunities? You see this when people creating forest cities. There’s several planned for Mexico right now, cities developed from the get -go around forest.

We were doing some work this past year for a client where we built scenarios around food cities and food being the main service that a city was actually built upon, the foundation. Imagine that. It’s like food resources being the reason you built your city instead of the reason the city was built was on concrete and just a flawed old economic, outdated, antiquated economic reality. Urbanization, drawing all these people together, having these extra-large mega communities instead of the small tribal communities that we once had in history.

Is there a way to build cities so that they are energy problem-solvers, that they’re food problem solvers, that they’re environment problem solvers? The answer is absolutely yes. We just have to change the way we see urbanization.

Yvette: Urbanization is fascinating. We’ve had multiple opportunities to work with clients. Really, every client should have a stake or a concern around urbanization. Clearly, we’re starting to see a movement towards cities as hubs for innovation and as a way to solve some of these pressing problems. That’s our first jump is urbanization. Did you want to add anything to that before we jump to the next one?

Frank: No, I think it’s as you said. A lot of people look to this. We’ve talked about it extensively, and there’s a lot to add, but our next trend in the bridge. We went from those articles. We went to urbanization, and our next stepping stone or plank in our bridge here is what we would call micro movement or the micro movement. This is the idea that people are seeking to scale down, tiny houses, and those kinds of things. It’s like, how can I be less consumptive? Thinking tinier in my living space, my carbon footprint, my digital footprint, et cetera. How do I microize – that’s not a word

Yvette: It is now.

Frank: – my life?

Yvette: It’s more intentional, more purpose driven. There’s a lot of trends and developments that are supporting this, everything from collaborative consumption where I can share things. I don’t have to own as many things because I have access to them. Certainly urban environments lead in a micro– They were micro before micro is cool.

Frank: It’s true. When you think about– My mind went to five different places all in that few seconds. We stumbled there. I was about to say, you go to a city like Japan or something and people are living on top of each other. People living on top of each other in New York but not like they do there. So your living space might be 300 square feet, 200 square feet. There’s some apartments in New York like that, by the way. Then I started thinking about Ready Player One and the stacks where they literally stack these mobile homes on top of each other inside of Columbus, Ohio, I think, or wherever it was in Ohio in the sci-fi book.

Yvette: Did you see that they’ve already advertised the second?

Frank: Ready Player Two. I think it’s going to be good. That’s one way to look at micro, but what if it’s more intentional to really give life because when we’re just talking about, oh, we had to be micro because we’re stacking bodies on top of one another, that doesn’t sound good. But what have we thought of this or more intentional, as I said, in a reduction of our consumptive footprint.

Yvette: I think it’s reframing that consumptive footprint and way that we’re looking at that. Because I think that was a large part of what we talked about with CLA is the landscape as commodity was one of the things that we talked about going down and going up, again, that purpose economy being more purposeful, the circular economy and I think a micro movement where we redesign lifestyles to embrace not endless economic growth, but a new way to have a relationship with still having prosperity but not tying that to a graph. All I can see visually is a graph with an arrow pointing up.

Frank: Endless economic growth, the way that we define it now. I love that you mentioned of course this micro-movement. This is such a rich idea because you can just think it means tiny homes, but it’s really talking about the doughnut economy and reuse and development in that way, the circular economy that you mentioned. I think that’s super important, and that’s our next trend. What is the next plank in our bridge, Yvette?

Yvette: Of course we’ve talked urbanization, now micro movement. We want to move now to authentic experiences. We’re asking ourselves, what does it mean to be part of the larger ecosystem? What is our role? We’ve become more conscious in our economic choices, in our consumption with the micro movement. How do we now embrace more authentic experiences within that realm?

Frank: Of course, this is an important idea in terms of consumption period because we’re seeing what we might call Gen Z or the new generations. We’re not big fans of generational theory here. That’s a whole different podcast. I think you have to get back three or four months for that one, and we talk all about it. Nonetheless, this idea of generation Z, they’re wanting to purchase experiences and not goods and wanting to think in terms of less consumption. When we really think about authentic experiences, they’re saying, am I having an authentic life? Are my purchases, my consuming purchases really leading to an authentic life?

Of course this is directly related to the doughnut economy, circular economy, the micro living environment. So you can see how this idea of a trend of authentic experiences can be stretched to mean that I’m going to line up with a new way of urbanization, a new way of micro living, and that’s going to make my life more authentic. You can easily see, as we’ve reached almost the middle of the bridge here, how authenticity and diversity go hand in hand.

Yvette: I think it’s interesting and it’s a good lesson when you’re conducting environmental scanning across steep or across, in this case, wicked and you’re identifying trends that you’re looking beneath the surface to really understand why this is happening and what the potentiality is of all of these trends. With the micro-movement, the connection to authentic experiences could be at the very surface level to say if we’re going to be more thoughtful about my consumption choices, then I’m also going to want to move into more experiences and not more things, and I want those experiences to be authentic. But as Frank saying, we’re taking that idea and blowing it up and just thinking about it more holistically. What does that mean in terms of my role as a human being within this larger ecosystem, and how am I living more authentically from that regard? Okay. We ready to move on to the next step.

Frank: We are. Like I said, I think we’re about in the middle of the bridge. If you think about our early articles and our wicked problem and then we went through urbanization, we talked about how we expanded that idea. That led us to the micro movement and consumptive footprints and then authentic living. What does it mean to be authentic? It truly must mean at its core to connect to the larger ecosystem, our planet, other people.

Then our next plank would almost naturally be biomimicry. This trend of biomimicry, which is basically us imitating the great examples we have in nature of living organically, ways that allow us to live in harmony and to have maximum use with energy or consumption, or living to do it in a way that nature does it, which is productive and regenerative.

Yvette: My favorite way of describing biomimicry, it’s like millions of years of nature can’t be wrong. If things have evolved in nature to be a certain way, let’s mimic that because there’s obviously something to that. Of course, the classic examples are like, let’s fashion the end of the bullet train like the beak of a bird that travels through the air and doesn’t have a Sonic boom every time it dives.

Frank: It enters the station, and it’s like it blows the station apart. But if you make it like a bird beak, it comes in right, nice and smooth with no sounds.

Yvette: Obviously like Frank was saying, it’s a clear extension from the idea of authentic experiences as well, especially how we’ve framed it, and if you think of biomimicry as redesigning our spaces to reconnect us to and realize we are a part of nature.

Frank: That’s right. I don’t think there needs to be a lot more fanfare on that one. It’s like we need to be more biomimetically fashioned in the way that we do things, biomimic lifestyles. I think that means we can go on to our next plank in the bridge as we go across. Of course we started with that wicked opportunity. We went to urbanization, then to the micro movement.

Yvette: We started with the wicked problem.

Frank: Wicked problem. Did I say wicked opportunity?

Yvette: You did. You want to get there.

Frank: I’m backward. Sorry.

Yvette: No, it’s good.

Frank: Urbanization, micro-movement, authentic experiences. We just did biomimicry. Now our next trend linking this bridge is what we call additive manufacturing. You may have heard it as 3D printing.

Yvette: Right. Which seems like a weird thing to connect to biomimicry.

Frank: Yes, it does.

Yvette: Again, we’re going beneath the surface here and looking at some of the latest advancements around 3D printing or additive manufacturing, which actually allows us to not just use plastics and other artificial materials to build things but rather organic materials.

Frank: That’s right. Using organic materials, of course, the first thought that comes to many of your minds may be us 3D printing human organs, hearts, and livers and lungs and those kinds of things. But it’s much more printing buildings made out of organic material; printing our roads or any almost materials or things that you could think of that we would build or manufacture in different ways but printing them with organic materials that makes it a lot easier to build organic cities and have this connection to nature.

Can we use this technology? I love that this is the bridge because we often think of technology and then, oh, it’s going to make endless economic growth, but it’s also not going to be ethically use. Now we’re saying technology is not the villain. It could be used to actually produce anthropological regeneration.

Yvette: Technology is neither the hero nor the villain. Humans are the future and are the center of the present as well, and how we leverage technological advancements as well as social innovation and everything else is how we’re going to get from here to there. I love that that’s the second to last link on our chain here. That leads us to our final trend card before we emerge in the wicked opportunity future of anthropological regeneration, and what we’re connected to additive manufacturing, again, with that biological twist is this trend, this kedging card trend that we call beyond humanity.

Frank: We just described this trend as designer life or bio machine age. You might’ve heard that term before. It’s not just thinking about beyond humanity that we’ve made our own bodies or the human species and there’s something different. We’re cyborgs now or that kind of thing. It’s used for fuels and the way that we might manufacture or produce medicines. It can be climate solutions, which I think is a lot of what we fit on here. New ways of consuming that are designed purposely to align with nature.

Are there ways that we can actually think beyond what it means to be human or creating humanity in a way that we haven’t really done before both biologically and mentally or thinking wise or socially our patterns of the way we live?

Yvette: I think it’s a really interesting trend to end here. It’s almost like a mini scenario in and of itself because it really ties together the technological component, the biological aspects that we’re talking about and this idea of human agency that you were talking about at the beginning of the podcast and about how we could design for an elegant ending, or we could, again, utilize our agency, our level of consciousness for something more. We’re already seeing elements of this.

Instead of just engineering ourselves to live forever, whether that’s in a physical sense or in a mortality sense, what if we instead channeled those efforts to, as we said at the beginning, leave this world better than we found it and achieve that wicked opportunity that we call anthropological regeneration.

Frank: I feel like with putting that last plank on that we’ve built a pretty sturdy bridge. You may have seen the journey across from one side to the other differently.

Yvette: There’s probably a lot of trends in today’s environment that you can use to build this bridge. We’d love to hear from you. What trends are you seeing that you think could lead us to this wicked opportunity future?

Frank: Absolutely. Wow. We’ve done it. We did it again. I felt this was a really amazing podcast that’s going to be made even more amazing with feedback from all of you, whether it’s you writing us or going over to Future Space, which is our alumni network. Of course, it’s more than just ours. It’s a catch-all for futurists around the world. It’s an amazing place, and so go visit Future Space. If you’re one of our alumni of the Future School or Kedge, there’s a special place for you to go. We always, at the end of every month and throughout I think the month, host different opportunities for people to come and engage with the podcast there as well.

Yvette: We like to release the podcast weekly. Of course, you can get this wherever you listen to your podcasts, but on Future Space, we host discussions asynchronously throughout the month. Then at the end of the month, we host a live online workshop using one of the tools within our strategic foresight toolkit to allow you to participate in creating the wicked opportunity future. This month, it’ll be anthropological regeneration. We hope that you’ll join us on Future Space.

We’ll see you around. We see you next week for the next edition where we’ll be mapping the future of anthropological regeneration. Until then, take care of. Be safe, and we’ll see you next time.

Frank: Bye-bye everyone.


Voice-over: The Wicked Opportunities Podcast has been brought to you by Kedge, a global foresight innovation and strategic design firm serving the world’s most successful organizations. To learn more, visit Interested in more foresight fueled learning, check out for additional resources, training events, and develop an offerings in natural foresight. Join us next week as we continue our journey into a future of wicked opportunities.

[00:39:33] [END OF AUDIO]


Speaker 1: If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “There’s got to be a better way to plan, lead, innovate, inspire to change the world,” then you embody the spirit of the visionary. While many people are stuck in the way things have always been done, you know the future can only be found by those who are willing to blaze a new trail. To that, we say welcome. The Wicked Opportunities podcast follows the rhythm of the Natural Foresight Framework, a unique approach to futures thinking that embraces our world of ever-increasing complexity for greater opportunities and transformation.

Each month, we will tackle a wicked problem facing humanity, diving deeper each week to discover, explore, map, and create novel opportunities. Our goal is to empower you to discover the future and create it today. The Wicked Opportunities podcast is brought to you by Kedge, a global foresight, innovation and strategic design firm serving the world’s most successful organizations. Now, join futurists Yvette Montero Salvatico and Frank Spencer, as they continue your future empowered journey. Your wicked opportunity starts now.


Frank Spencer: I was noticing this past week that, and I think this is something that I probably should have known for a while, but it really dawned on me this past week that you may struggle just a little bit with sayings, like a stitch in time saves nine, those kinds of sayings. That’s not one in particular you struggle with.

Yvette Montero Salvatico: Let’s talk about struggle, all right?

Frank: The struggle is real.

Yvette: No, perhaps I’m carving my own way.

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: My own path.

Frank: It feels like you’re carving your own path to a tick tock comedy special. I particularly like the one this week. It’s like, I’m going to hand your lunch to you, which I thought was great. Hand it right to me. I hope it’s warm already. Which I think is supposed to really be a combination of you’re going to get your beep handed to you and I’m going to eat your lunch. I love how you put the two together.

Yvette: The origins of this have to do with the fact that I am a first-generation American of Cuban immigrants. My mother was, God bless her, 15 years old when she traveled to this country all by herself, and she was responsible for not only herself but for her younger brother, my uncle, who was eight at the time. I say all this because she obviously came here, not obviously, but she did come here all by herself during the Peter Pan flights. I love my mother. She’s incredibly accomplished. She went on to get not only her high school education, but she went on to get her professional degree in accounting, but English is her second language.

I always have, oh my God, so much, I don’t even know what the word is, gratitude and appreciation for people who come through our program where English is not their first language because foresight is a language in and of itself. My mother would say things wrong too. I remember making fun of her and it’s ironic that we’re here now. Yes, sometimes it gets a little tricky when we get down to the myth and metaphor level.

Frank: Look, we all make mistakes. I’m not sure that that’s what this is about. It’s a little bit deeper than we’d say. [laughs]

Yvette: Are we psychoanalyzing my inability to have–

Frank: This might be combined with something like you like to do everything fast.

Yvette: That’s true.

Frank: Boom, boom, boom, let’s get it done fast. Why have three sayings when you could combine them into one?

Yvette: It is more efficient. I’m going to say that it is more efficient and I am making it my own. How did this podcast become an analysis of my psyche?

Frank: There seems like there’s more. I’m going to let you in the next podcast find something.

Yvette: Yes. I’m going to kick off the witty banter next time.

Frank: It just really grates on your nerves.

Yvette: No. Does that grate on your nerves? Is that what you’re saying?

Frank: No, [laughs] that’s good.

Yvette: About my inability to remember sayings?

Frank: Now we are into the psychoanalysis. Oh, fantastic. Well, welcome to month seven of this collection, which is the last month in this collection of the Wicked Opportunities podcast.

Yvette: Yes. We haven’t really let on about this but, in fact, we’ve always known that this collection was going to have seven months. It’s actually based on a piece of work that we authored many years ago called The Seven Shifts of Opportunity. It’s where we really publicly debuted the idea of Wicked Opportunities. What better way to kick off the first collection of the Wicked Opportunities podcast, then to share with you the seven shifts.

Frank: As a matter of fact, I was just going to say that if somebody wants to find that article-

Yvette: I’m sure we can provide it.

Frank: -and read it, we can provide it, but it is in Rotman Management Magazine from several years back, more than several, five or six years.

Yvette: We’ve written upon it and about it quite a bit. It’s really seven value shifts that we have seen rising, as you said, for many years. We’ve been walking through those value shifts, although not specifically spelling them out.

Frank: That’s right. You may not have known it, but each month was based on a different shift.

Yvette: If you do read that article, here’s a fun fact for our scavenger-loving super fans. Find the article Seven Shifts of Wicked Opportunity Age, Rotman Management Magazine, or ask us for it, we’re happy to provide it, and see if you can match up the wicked problem wicked opportunity themes for the seven months with the seven shifts.

Frank: I feel like you just created a contest.

Yvette: It could be. Yes, what if it was a contest?

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: I’m just saying.

Frank: The first person to actually write us at

Yvette: I like it.

Frank: -with the correct answer, to the seven shifts in that article. It means you got to go on a little scavenger hunt. You got to read the article first. You got to find it, you got to read it.

Yvette: Then figure out how to match it. We won’t share which shift we’re on this month, but we are in the last shift, the last month of this collection but don’t worry. There will be a second collection, of course. We’re already busy at work creating that for you and I’m really excited about that one. Let’s stick with month seven. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Frank: We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but I do want to say there will be something. I haven’t figured out what it is yet, but the first person to write gets something.

Yvette: Yes.

Frank: We’re going to give something away.

Yvette: Something good.

Frank: We’re going to give something good away.

Yvette: Yes. We’ll keep you guys posted on who wins.

Frank: That will be fun.

Yvette: Yes. Remember that the Wicked Opportunities podcast is fueled by Foresight, specifically the Natural Foresight Framework. This is week one of month seven. We’ll be doing the discover phase. Then, of course, week two, we head into explore then map and create. Really, our goal with creating this Wicked Opportunities podcast is to showcase how applying foresight to real-world issues can help flip a complex challenge into a multitude of opportunities. We hope that we’ve been able to demonstrate over these last seven months, how it’s possible to tackle these big, huge problems that seem insurmountable with the right mindset, the right thinking, and the right tools to be able to produce better results.

Frank: That’s right. I feel empty because we didn’t say, hello, my name is Frank Spencer.

Yvette: Oh, that’s right. We skipped right over that. Well, by this point they know who we are. I think that lovely lady introduces us too, so there’s that if they don’t skip over that. My name is Yvette Montero Salvatico.

Frank: I was about to introduce you for yourself.

Yvette: No. We’re all here. You know what? It’s been a year, friends.

Frank: It’s been a year and the last 48 hours have been 48 hours.

Yvette: Yes, also that. Okay, let’s tell them what our wicked problem is for this month.

Frank: Our last wicked problem in this collection is– This is a good one. This is a mouthful. If nothing else it’s a mouthful.

Yvette: Yes, don’t be intimidated. We’re going to unpack it so don’t be scared.

Frank: You’re going to like it though. It’s the homogenocene extinction.

Yvette: Homogenocene extinction. All right, this is what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the parasitic and genocidal approach to Homo sapiens’ dominion over the planet’s life-giving diversity through homogenizing, consumption, and subsequent depletion of biological, ecological, and cultural systems. I feel like I need to take a breath after that.

Frank: Yes.

Yvette: Basically, we’re the parasites, people. That’s what this is saying.

Frank: Yes, and depleting, of course, biological, ecological, cultural systems, like you said, is a very important part of that. It’s our systems that many of them are built to give us energy and pay people and have jobs and feed, but there’s got to be a better way. We say that all the time. There’s got to be a better way because the homogenocene really here is not referring to Homo sapiens, although there’s a great play on that, but it’s the homogenizing piece where we’re making everything into a silo and everything’s got to be the same. We’re killing diversity.

Yvette: Yes, we’re boiling everything down, trying to simplify it, approaching it with mechanistic approaches and leading to this unsustainable relationship with our environment. I know that we had originally, when we discussed framing this wicked problem, we had talked about the Anthropocene. Do you want to just share? They may have heard that term before and its relationship to this.

Frank: Unless you’re probably deep into climate studies and you’re actually somebody who studies climate change for a living–

Yvette: Right, which some of you might be listening.

Frank: I hope. That’s all really awesome because we’d love to hear from you about things that we might get wrong or just didn’t talk about because we can only do so much on one podcast. This term homogenocene actually predates the term anthropocene. That’s probably already wrong, but that’s what I read. That’s what I know. It’s because people were seeing this homogenizing that’s taking place through the systems that we put in place have actually done this destruction and then decades ago, the idea of the Anthropocene came about. Literally, we’re in an Anthropocene now. We’re in a human age where we’re the dominant species on earth who are changing the face of the planet and its ecology, it’s conservation, it’s ecosystem.

Yvette: That’s just an anthropological term. This is not a futurist term. We always have to refer back to my five favorite movies, one of which is Jurassic Park and, of course, there’s the Jurassic era. We are in this era where, obviously, humans have dominion in many ways [crosstalk] and are causing long-lasting effects. Right, wrong or indifferent, it’s just factual.

I just want to repeat the wicked problem. We take on a wicked problem every month and we reframe it using Natural Foresight tools. Homogenocene extinction, the parasitic and genocidal approach to Homo sapiens’ dominion over the planet’s life-giving diversity through homogenizing, consumption, and subsequent depletion of biological, ecological and cultural systems. It’s very easy, I think with this wicked problem to focus just on the ecological parts, which are significant enough to where we could dedicate six podcasts, but we want to make sure that we are framing this broadly enough because there are huge cultural implications of this wicked problem.

Frank: That’s right. One of our very treasured team members at Kedge, Ashley Bowers, who is our sustainability specialist, has had a lot of input to our run of show, our scripts for this month. The reason I mention that is because she said something that I also was thinking, but she was able to put it more in words for me because she studied extensively in her degree programs.

That is when we think of the environment, we think of pollution is going in the air, cutting down trees and then killing off- direct effects but we fail to realize that a lack of education for women, poverty, those things, are all climate issues too. We’re like, “What?” We’re going to cover some of that over the month here and talking about the siloing of these issues and these problems are leading to climate change too. If really want to solve climate change it’s not just about not using straws at Starbucks. It’s about getting women educated. It’s about poverty in communities. It’s about racism, what we talked about last month.

Yvette: Access to food and food deserts all play a role here. It’s our marginalized communities that are most impacted by ecological impacts as well. We’re also homogenizing cultural aspects of our world and diluting them. That’s what fascinates me about this problem. It’s absolutely across all domains and so what better way to tackle that type of problem than through using strategic foresight.

Frank: Seeing that we’re not jumping ahead too much here, I won’t give away the end of today’s podcast. Let me just say that another thing stands out for me too, that where we’re going with this, you gave a clue and a hint to it. I just want everybody to be thinking this as we go down, and that is this idea that we are the dominant species right now but that’s interesting because it’s questionable.

I think we would all argue positively today that we may be the first species on this planet to have the level of consciousness that we have, an evolutionary consciousness. That doesn’t mean we’re the only conscious beings. I think all beings are conscious, but that consciousness is evolving to a place of agency, and we have the agency not to just be dominant but nothing else. That gives a clear hint of where we’re going.

Yvette: Yes, or with great power comes great responsibility.

Frank: A Spiderman reference. That’s good. [crosstalk]

Yvette: In the discover week. This is exciting because this is our last month of this first collection. The next collection, things are going to change. We’re going to be using some different tools. There’s going to be a different modality.

Frank: Very different. You’re going to love it.

Yvette: Yes, this will be our last official month for a while until we change things up again, that we’ll be particularly highlighting causal layered analysis, which is bittersweet because I do love this tool. I hope that through the last several months, you all have become more comfortable with the CLA framework and you could see different uses of it within your personal and professional lives. Of course, the CLA tool is depicted as an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg is the litany, or what we call the wicked problem.

We work our way down the iceberg through several layers, including the systems, the structures and actors, the culture worldviews and values, then lastly, that bedrock narrative, what we call myths and metaphors, before we go back up the CLA tool to reframe those bedrock narratives and work our way up to new culture value, new systems, and then ultimately reframing our wicked problem as a wicked opportunity. Now that we’ve established our wicked problem, homogenocene extinction, let’s talk about some of the systems, structures, and actors that undergird that problem.

Frank: The first one that really stands out to me is monetization. I love this phrase that Ashley gave us to use and it’s ‘landscape as a commodity’ because everything has to be monetized. You get monetized, I get monetized, the air’s monetized, the water’s monetized, everything’s monetized and we’re like, “Well, of course.” No, of course, it should not be. That’s not some obvious thing.

Yvette: The idea that we think that we can do that is really telling in this perspective.

Yvette: I love how we can connect that to previous months because we talked about what if there were universal basic prosperity services before? Everything doesn’t have to be monetized. There’s a different way to see humans and life and the planet and the ecosystem. Yes, we’ve got to stop treating landscape as a commodity because when we do there’s that homogenizing again. Everything’s money, money, money. It’s all a category of money and that kills this idea of a diverse way of doing things too.

Yvette: A related concept staying on the economic front would be something like the fact that we have consumptive economies, which, again, you might think, is there another type of economy? Why, yes, there is. This is the one that we have predominant in our world today but thinking about consumption being the center engine of our economies changes and affects our relationship with the natural world and or each other.

Frank: That’s right. Resource depletion, because that’s the kissing cousin of that idea of consumption. Endless consumption, endless growth is going to lead to resource depletion. I know that you’ve heard us talk probably even in month one about an abundance economy, but it doesn’t mean that we can just suck minerals and the fertilizer and the life out of the soil and all that. There’s a different abundance that actually stops this resource depletion that literally kills a sustainable environment for us to live in.

Yvette: I just want to stay with that resource depletion for just a moment, because this idea of leveraging fossil fuels and mining the earth for its value and now potentially mining asteroids for their value, it’s the way that we’ve in the industrialized world seen things since colonization likely. It’s not the only way to leverage resources. There’s much more symbiotic ways to do that. It doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game or something that I have to zap the energy out of something else in order for me to gain energy, which is the way that we operate today.

Frank: Yes, that’s right. I just had a thought. I hope you can remind me later about where do indigenous communities play a role in this? We’ll talk about it going back up. It’s not like before back in history, there weren’t people already thinking this way. Of course, we have to think about the progress we’ve made in terms of technological exploration discoveries, and those kinds of things, but that doesn’t have to be dichotomous in terms of the way we already knew to protect the land. We’ll talk about it.

Yvette: It doesn’t have to at the expense, but yes, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We talked about resource depletion, even this idea of resource competition, and being organized, for example, in something like nation states, is definitely a system, a structure, a player in this uncovering of the why of homogenocene extinction.

Frank: “We have water. Oh, yes. Well, we have a flag,” as Eddie Izzard might have said. I’m coming to get your water. I lot of futures like to say one day there might be water wars. There’s already been water wars. Of course, that’s what it was over. We may see more of that yet coming. Unless we do something about it.

Yvette: We’ve talked a little bit about economics and resource depletion. I’ll just mention another one that we have, that we had brainstormed this idea of corporatism and the fact that organizations have personhood. That’s a really interesting factor. We could have a podcast just on the system, structures, and actors here. We’re just touching on a few that we thought were interesting to build upon. Certainly, that aspect when you’re not thinking about the earth as having personhood, but you’re giving corporations the ability to have personhood. It’s very, very interesting from that perspective. We also talked about religious systems, structures, and actors here, right?

Frank: We did. This could fall in the worldview category as well, but these different kinds of religious systems that we have, there’s a big fat word for that: teleological. In state mindsets, it goes back to dominion. Many of the world’s biggest religions, and let me just say this as a general statement too, because there’s a lot of people in all the religions that want to take care of the earth.

Yvette: Of course.

Frank: At the same time, it’s hard to deny it’s played a big role on me man, me dominion over earth, new earth coming.

Yvette: The earth was placed here for my–

Frank: For our consumptive purposes. I hate to tell you but the earth was not placed here for your consumptive purposes.

Yvette: Oh, man.

Frank: We are stardust, and we are a blip in the map of the endless galaxy, which by the way, they just found out this past week that the galaxy may be actually infinite, which is a mind blower. They’ve always thought there was a barrier out there somewhere. It’s far away enough for it to be infinite to us. Now they’re like, “There might not be a barrier.” I say that to say our spot even got smaller. Our spec got smaller. It doesn’t mean you don’t matter, that we’re insignificant. What it means is that we’re a part of a much larger system. We’re placed here for it, not the other way around.

Yvette: I like how you had framed it in the pre-show work where we talked about it as religion as a destination. We’ll talk more about what that means from myth and metaphor. It’s hard not to jump ahead with that topic.

Frank: Well, I’m going to die. My ultimate goal, because I don’t want to cease to exist, I’m going to a place where I’m going to live forever. This place is temporary. Just suck it through a straw.


Yvette: Use those plastic bags. It’s only temporary. I think we’ve set a really good systemic framework and level and can just do a reminder. I know you all are CLA experts. This systems level is really interesting, because this is usually where people attempt to make change. They do benchmarking, and they think, “Well, I’m going to swap out some of these systems for other systems,” because they look around the world, and they see other systems that seem to be working. They’re like, “I’m just going to swap these out.” We know that doesn’t work. The reason it doesn’t work is because systems are undergirded by values, worldviews, and culture.

Frank: That’s right.

Yvette: The culture here is not the same as the culture elsewhere in the world. Culture within organizations is different. That’s what drives the systems, structures, and actors that we choose to place in power. For our situation here, we just went through the systems things like landscape as commodity, corporatism, this end goal, tribes, religion as destination, consumptive economies, technological development that’s unfettered, fossil fuels, all of those things. What might be values, worldviews, and culture that undergird those systems? Why do we have those systems, structures, and actors versus others?

Frank: We do because of greed, of course. I had somebody tell me last year capitalism is not the problem. It’s greedy people inside of capitalism. I’ll tell you this much, at least, we’ll get into the lowest common denominator and I’ll try to find some ground with that statement. If you’ve got any greedy people around, capitalism is a great system to exacerbate their greed.

Yvette: It’s going to fuel them.

Frank: Fuels the fire.

Yvette: It rewards them for sure. Greed, fear, protection, security, all of those are values. These values in and of themselves aren’t necessarily bad, neither are necessarily the systems. Combined together, they are partly what’s leading to this wicked problem of homogenocene extinction, this idea that we have a parasitic and genocidal relationship with our planet’s diversity, and we’re homogenizing everything because we feel like we have dominion. We’re trying to unpack this issue. What are some other values that you see?

Frank: Well, exploitation comes to mind. Of course, that’s tied straight in. That comes from the separation mentality. That siloing, and we’ve talked about this throughout the last six months that we silo things away. Well, now you can see why it plays such an important role, because siloing, as I said, on previous podcasts has been shown by research to exacerbate our world’s biggest problems. Now, you really know why. Because when you silo things away, you lack diversity, and then that spills over into every expectation we have in life, corporatism, and competition, exploitation for resources, because there’s only so many of them and we got to fight. This is an endless feedback loop that is creating this homogenocene idea.

Yvette: We want to become more efficient. We want to simplify things. We want to get a short-term payback. Short-termism.

Frank: Short-termism.

Yvette: You mentioned scarcity earlier as well, even this value of individualism, dare I say convenience is a value here.

Frank: You can see how those are almost sub values, powerful in themselves under some of these other ones that we’ve mentioned, and how this all ties together, I shouldn’t use this word for this part but, beautifully. It’s not beautiful. It’s sad.

Yvette: It’s a tapestry. This is why these are wicked problems, because they are complex. It’s not one bad apple. It’s not one group. It’s not one aspect that’s causing this. One more value that I want to throw in here is growth, which is interesting, because, don’t we all want to grow?

Frank: Everything in nature grows. Trees grow. It’s this idea of endless growth, especially unnecessary growth. I know that sounds weird, because I do think there’s a difference between growing for growth’s sake, and the idea of exploration and discovery and that kind of growth. It’s a different thing. When we’re like, “I’m stuck on this path, and everything that I have must just grow, not evolve, just keep growing.


My company is supposed to be a 100-year company. It’s not supposed to evolve into something else. It just grows and grows.”

Yvette: It has to grow at 20% kegger. It doesn’t matter at the expense of what or whom.

Frank: It doesn’t matter if that growth is no longer unhealthy or not relevant to the world anymore. Still needs to grow.

Yvette: Still needs to grow. It needs to grow based on my criteria quantitatively about what growth means. If you were able to, as we’ve talked in other podcasts, reframe your thinking about valuation, and quantification as well as qualification, you can still have growth, but you have growth of wellbeing and you have growth of quality of life, which doesn’t always mean growth of a traditional bottom line.

Frank: Well, tumors grow. Things that have served their season don’t need to grow anymore. Something new needs to grow in its place. That’s that endless growth that we’re talking about.

Yvette: Excellent. We’ve gotten through values, worldviews, and culture. Let’s talk about some of the myths and metaphors. These are those unspoken truths about how the world works that are often expressed as images or sayings. Sometimes we feel like there’s not even any words for it. Why don’t you kick us off? What do you want to touch on here?

Frank: Well, I’m going to touch on a movie metaphor, and then I’ll let you do a movie metaphor. You can give me your favorite movies of all time. You’ve already touched on the podcast today. Mine’s going to be Mad Max.

Yvette: Okay, good one.

Frank: Through four or five different Mad Max movies now, basically, we have a great expectation. Some of us are looking forward to being tied to a front of a Chevy, a GTO, or something, and wearing leather underwear.

Yvette: This podcast definitely took a turn. The last one in the series.

Frank: Are finding the children who are painting on cave walls and they’re looking for the savior Mad Max to come. That’s that expectation in sci-fi that you often see me hitting on that’s so negative today and we have an expectation of going to this place. Look, we’re going to Mad Max. We’re going there. Why not get there in luxury?

Yvette: In style.

Frank: In style.

Yvette: My movie reference, and the joke around the offices that I’ve seen four movies, I will spare you the Dirty Dancing reference at this point and instead go back to my favorite, Jurassic Park. You didn’t stop to think if you should. This whole idea is that we just advanced technologically or however, just because we can. We never stopped to ask if we should. I think that’s a big underlying myth and metaphor.

Frank: It is interesting that there’s two or different sides of the same coin. We can have progress or whatever the word is, because I know progress is a dirty word nowadays, but, we can have that if we do it ethically, morally, and we think about the consequences, we’re doing it for the right reasons and the right way, et cetera. The other side of the coin is, well, end of the world, I have these great metaphors and expectations of that so let’s just go there, as you said, in style. There’s others as well, this idea of Herbert Spencer, survival of the fittest, which encouraged some of Darwin’s thinking, only the strong survive.

Yvette: Yes, top of the food chain, every man for himself. Another movie reference would be Terminator.

Frank: Yes, of course, because the Terminator is finally we’re like, “Look, we’re the top of the food chain. You guys need to die off.” It’s like, we’re going out. The robots are the only thing that will make it. The Matrix.

Yvette: You talked about end goal, tribes and religion as a destination. We could talk about the afterlife here or I’m going to a better place.

Frank: Yes. You can’t take it with you. You might as well use it up now or as your favorite band R.E.M used to say, it’s the end of the world as we know it.

Yvette: “And I feel fine”.

Frank: I feel exactly fine. It’s good. This is fine. It’s the little dog sitting in the fire.

Yvette: There you go. That’s the image for the myth and metaphor. I hope Alice picked that up. We could have the this is fine dog.

Frank: Oh, yes. Can you draw the little dog in the fire for sure?

Yvette: We heard once at a conference, a design conference, someone talking about Anthropocene and our relationship with the environment. The speaker said, “It’s time for humans to design an elegant ending.” That really stuck with us.

Frank: Yes, it really did. Especially because our good friend Natasha got up right after her and didn’t say, “I don’t agree with that,” but gave a speech that definitely didn’t agree with that. She was like, “Look, you guys who are privileged, are all into this end of the world dystopic idea now and others of us are just at a place where we’re like, ‘Hey, you’re emerging from a dystopia. It’s our turn now.'” I think there’s a couple of points to be made here and we need to go back up, but we’ll run out of time on our podcast to do any good here.

This idea that there are many communities that are just fighting for their lives or who are coming out of a dystopia and stop telling them that just when you got out of dystopia, guess what? It’s the end of the white world now. It’s not individuals or certain communities’ responsibility to fix this. It’s all of our responsibility to fix this. For those communities that are just like, “I’m just looking to make better life for my family and get education, or maybe just find food,” those of us who are in a place of power and responsibility, have to be the ones that do it for the rest of us.

Yvette: Yes. That’s part of the reframing here. Let’s jump back into our CLA discussion and now we’re working our way up the tool. We’re sticking with the myth and metaphor level, but we’re going to reframe those myths and metaphors that we just talked about, things like the afterlife and it’s the end of the world as we know it. I don’t think we’ve mentioned cogs in the machine as one. That’s when we had brainstormed. Terminator and Mad Max, survival of the fittest, top of the food chain, you can’t take it with you, you didn’t stop to ask if you should. What will be some of the myths and metaphors that might transform this wicked problem into a wicked opportunity?

Frank: Now going back up, let’s create that wicked opportunity. We’ll start with last month’s podcast. We mentioned Valarie Kaur, the activist lawyer, wrote Revolutionary Love, See No Stranger. I love one of her famous quotes. It says, “What if this darkness that we see coming right now is not the darkness of the tomb, it’s the darkness of the womb? We’re not going into the grave, we’re being born into something new.” That flips the script on maybe if there is an Anthropocene that we could possibly have agency in that Anthropocene to make this not the tomb, but a new beginning.

Yvette: That’s right. Well, that’s very powerful. The idea of new beginnings in and of itself could be a myth and metaphor here. Instead of design an elegant ending, what if we designed an elegant existence?

Frank: Yes, or elegant beginning. I love that. That leads us to this idea of many people used to say the cradle to the grave, like cradle to grave services, but now you hear more people saying cradle to cradle, this generational, generational on and on. I think that’s a better metaphor for are we doing right by the next generation so that the three generations after that are prospering?

Yvette: Instead of the food chain as a linear visual with someone at the top and therefore someone at the bottom, a food web or a food network and understanding the interdependencies of every being within the ecosystem.

Frank: Yes. I think this is a great place to shout out to seeing more veganism come on the scene and people recognizing that our food habits have to change too and that that is super healthy for their diversity. Because a lot of our farming and agriculture and raising cattle in the rainforests and all is very siloed and non-diverse.

Yvette: Right. Another one could be not without a fight. I’m not going to give up without a fight.

Frank: I want to give a shout out to Solarpunk because I’m using it as this overarching metaphor of an idea floating around in your head that we had Cyberpunk and we’d gone through all the sci-fi that’s super dystopic and it’s the end of the world as we know it, and Mad Max and blah, blah, blah. Now we have all these writers saying we can still write stories about problems, but there has to be solutions and positive solutions. We have all of these new Solarpunk writers saying, “Look, we’ve got to change. It’s not pie in the sky optimism. It’s hope. It’s hope theory. I can write about hope. I can write about a better way for mankind to do things that would give us agency or the ability to make a difference or to do the right thing.”

Yvette: Yes. I think we also talked about evolutions arrow.

Frank: Yes, towards cooperation, right? Not so much the competition end, the cooperation end. As we evolved evolutionarily, we’re supposed to be cooperating, not continuing to compete. That’s an endless growth cum competition thing that does that.

Yvette: Right, that leads us right into new values of cooperation, obviously, some others, you already mentioned hope and diversity. Even this idea of legacy and wholism, of course. You briefly mentioned indigenous communities and I know indigenous was something that we wanted to talk about here as we go back up the CLA tool.

Frank: Yes, because I just want to make sure that we pointed it out and I think it already did somewhat that we’ve gotten a chance to work with different indigenous communities. There’s probably some other podcasts that work directly with them or have done more work than we have. It’s always such a humbling experience because they’re like, “We knew all of this before you guys were talking about it on our podcast.” For instance, our Maori friends in New Zealand who are all about taking care of the earth. That’s their entire culture. Most indigenous cultures you can find are like, “Why are we disconnected? What’s the disconnect?” We need to really have those indigenous voices to help us to understand not just that we can do that, but ways to do it. They already know.

Yvette: Yes. I think it is. I think it’s back to that long now conversation we had where it’s not forgetting the heritage and the legacy, but it’s also embracing new advancements and technological as one example, so that we can also take the best ideas that we have in the present to achieve those aspirational visions of tomorrow.

Frank: That’s right. Well, I know it’s going to come up on another podcast, but I remember writing somewhere in one of the runner show notes that technology is not the problem. It’s the way we’re using technology. We could create technologies that enhance our connection to the earth and to one another. I would say some of the technologies we created, or maybe more than most of the technologies created, could be used for that purpose. We’re just using them for the wrong purpose. We use them under this mindset of endless growth and depletion.

Yvette: Or we’re not allowing everyone access to those technologies.

Frank: Huge. Thank you for saying that. A big part of the technology thing is technology has always been with us. We are a technological creature. Pick up a stick, draw in the grass, and, I’m sorry, you just became a part of the technological evolution. Again, it’s not technology is a problem. We can keep creating amazing technology and we can keep discovering. We don’t have to say the only way to fix this is to stop studying technology and go back to magic ways of looking at the earth. That’s not the answer.

Yvette: Consciousness, emergence, some additional values, de-extinction, restoration.

Frank: I love this de-extinction idea too, that we not necessarily need to bring back the wooly mammoth, but that we need to think about how do we add to our environment. Are we just parasites?

Yvette: I hope not. I don’t think we have to be. Stewardship, the sanctity of life, and this idea of generationalism. You should see a lot of intersect between our seven months of podcasts, and that’s on purpose. Foresight and long-term thinking and having those mindsets are really what ultimately will lead to the reframing of all of these wicked problems as wicked opportunities.

Frank: Awesome. Now we can look at some of the systems before we go to our wicked opportunity. Obviously, the circular economy, the doughnut economy, there’s a different way than this capitalistic way we’ve been thinking. As Ashley was saying in the circular economy, the reuse, the circular use of objects and materials and resources.

Yvette: Related to that, of course, green energy, as opposed to not only depleting resources and causing harm to our environment, finding ways that we can source energy that can be replenished and that also doesn’t harm the environment while we’re using it.

Frank: We have a giant ball of gas above our heads.

Yvette: It’s amazing. We talked about long-termism and generational-ism, a system could be anticipatory science.

Frank: Yes. Which has made its way into many more what we’re doing, because we hear things like complexity science, anticipatory science and we think they’re siloed, but they’re used in city development and in medicine development. Also, the more we think in that way, the more our disciplines, domains and systems are going to be founded upon those more life-giving ways of seeing the world.

Yvette: Things like biocentrism or biomimicry, where we’re actually looking to the natural world for inspiration for our elevations.

Frank: The way we build our cities, organizations, like you said, rewilding.

Yvette: Forest cities.

Frank: Yes, that’s right.

Yvette: Then from an economic perspective, what are some other options? You talked about circular economy, but also the purpose economy and then we’ve talked over the last few minutes, quite a bit about social justice reform and initiatives. Those would be systems supported by the values, cultures, and worldviews and the myths and metaphors that we’ve just listed as we built back up.

Frank: That’s right. Passion-based economies because I think in this sense, passion means I have a passion to be useful, helpful, productive, generative, et cetera. That is not only innovation, but it’s a social justice piece as well.

Yvette: We’re almost there. We’re at the tip of the iceberg. [crosstalk] Now we got a little away from ourselves with the wicked problem, but I think it will be great because we have three more weeks to talk about the wicked opportunity-

Frank: It’s good to build that foundation too.

Yvette: -which will we’ll reveal now as anthropological regeneration.

Frank: Let’s see what we did there, because if the original problem was that we’re parasitic in the way that we’re acting and the systems we’re setting up and that’s causing a biodiversity cultural loss, the depletion and dominion, then we’ve shown many ways to look at this differently. It could have been that we went back to them and just said, the wicked opportunity is to not be a parasite.

Yvette: Which would have been a great start. Can I just say that?

Frank: I think a lot of sustainability has focused on, not all, if we could just stop being a parasite.

Yvette: Well, literally, we’re trying to meet people where they are and it’s like, please stop throwing plastic in the water. Could you please stop doing that?

Frank: I don’t want to eat broccoli that’s made up of 50% plastic pellets, but we don’t want to go small, we want to go big.

Yvette: Don’t do plausible. Let’s be big in our thinking.

Frank: We’re talking about provocative futures in here. Wicked opportunity is to be anthropods, to be the Homo sapiens that actually are regenerative in the way we live. We’re not just sustaining, we’re thriving. We’re adding to what already was. We’re making things better than we found them.

Yvette: We’re leaving the world better than we found it. We define anthropological regeneration, our wicked opportunity for month seven, the last month of this collection, as a reframing of humanity’s role in the natural co-design and co-creation of earth’s complex, interconnected and biodiverse ecosystem in which our species transitions from being destroyer to restorer.

Frank: Love that. We transition from being the destroyer to not just the passive, it’s actually restoration as an active thing.

Yvette: We’ve, of course, focused a lot on environmental factors here. We did touch on things like social justice and those elements, because this is a cultural aspect as well and the idea here is not that we believe that everyone carries equal weight in righting these wrongs, but that where there’s privilege and there is power, there’s also huge responsibility. As a species, we need to shift our thinking or there won’t be a planet left for us to debate this about.

Frank: That’s right. We are definitely in that place where we have to be super serious, all depending on the science, as you read some say the game is a little late, others say we’re right there at the door, but I don’t think anybody’s saying we’ve got plenty of time left. We have to deal with this now.

Yvette: No, and this is another reason why we can’t just stop the bleeding. We actually have to make changes in our relationship, in our narrative around the world around us so that we can begin to improve and repair some of the damage that we’ve done, again, not just environmentally but within our social systems as well.

Frank: It looks like month seven, our wicked opportunity is that humans can be an awesome species that the planet actually needs and that’s why we’re here. That’s a great way I think to kickoff month seven of our last collection.

Yvette: Humans as heroes.

Frank: Humans as heroes.

Yvette: We hope you’ve enjoyed this first week of our month seven podcast as we’ve explored the wicked problem of a homogenocene extinction and reframed it as a wicked opportunity of anthropological regeneration. Stay tuned in the following weeks as we explore, map and then ultimately create this wicked opportunity future. Thanks so much for joining us. We’ll see you next time.

Frank: Bye bye, everybody.


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23 and ME Series

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