From Dystopia to Plutopia: Using revolutionary thinking systems to create alternative worldviews

Senseevent.designDerek Woodgate explains the thinking approaches behind TFL’s foresight process.

From Dystopia to Plutopia

Woodgate was brought up on physicist and philosopher David Bohm’s “Thought as a System,” in which he states: “What I mean by ‘thought’ is the whole thing—thought, felt, the body, the whole society sharing thoughts—it’s all one process. It is essential for me not to break that up, because it’s all one process; somebody else’s thoughts become my thoughts, and vice versa.”

This was followed by a strong dose of hierarchical and systems thinking as Woodgate developed as a successful corporate strategist. When in 1996, he founded The Futures Lab, Inc., he soon realized that he needed to develop new thinking techniques and a differentiated system to create the future, given that it meant working with discontinuous change and creating connects from a multitude of disparate disconnects.

At the time, he had been highly involved in post‐modernist philosophy, in particular the works of Gilles Deleuze, Guattari, Derrida, and the post-structuralist approach of Slavoj Žižek, as well the digital cultural work of Arthur Kroker and the cyberpunk narrative of Gibson and Sterling.

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Fur particular quotes drove him to devise a fresh thinking system, specifically relevant and purposeful for creating the future, namely:

Nietzsche: “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
Heinlein: “One man’s “magic” is another man’s engineering.”
Oldenburg: “The art of conversation between the sidewalk and a blind man’s metal stick.”
Ono: “You need a glass key to open the sky.”

Consequently, he decided to create a thinking system that applied elements of Deleuze and Guatarri’s rhizomatic thinking in “A Thousand Plateaus” and remix it with elements of network and nomadic thinking techniques in order to generate the unexpected, even the unthinkable. Such an approach is designed to leverage projected future dystopias and disruptors, in order to create positive future worldviews, which Woodgate terms “plutopias”. Recent developments in the cognitive sciences, imaginal visioning, and emotionally intelligent, optical, and quantum computing are adding additional layers to the process.

The presentation describes the tenets of this new thinking approach and its successful application in creating revolutionary ideation in terms of business models, product innovation, market approaches, and design.

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The Futures Lab, Inc.

391 17th Street NW,
Unit 3011
Atlanta, GA 30363, USA

1-678 595 3302

dwoodgate@futures-lab.com
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