On the last Thursday of May through to November 2023, the Institute hosted a series of Bursting Bubbles events. The concept of these ‘how-to’ sessions was to expand our thinking and ideas post-COVID lockdowns. Roger Dennis was the first speaker and began the series on Thursday 25 May 2023 with a thought-provoking session on how to run foresight events. 

Roger works globally advising leadership teams on the links between long-term thinking, strategy and innovation, helping organisations to learn from divergent and disparate information to address complex strategic issues. His business, Dennis & Partners, helps leaders identify opportunities and mitigate risk in a fast changing world. As well as this, Roger was previously a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington and an Edmund Hillary Fellow. 

The discussion covered how and why future-thinking is important, with Roger sharing mental models and interesting case studies with relevance for both the public and private sectors. Important takeaways included the difference between a workshop and an event, how to ask the right strategic questions and how to get people involved in futures discussion.

Roger also shared his global learnings on how to break through short attention spans, shifting away from presenting information in the traditional ‘A4 report’ format into more modern and interactive ways of communication.

Some key thinking points included:

  1. Why thinking about the future is more important than ever (hint: polycrisis?)
  2. Communication methods that resonate (and case studies)
  3. How to leverage the scarce attention span of busy leaders

As part of his discussion, Roger spoke about future risks, including the risks of trust and disinformation facing society now and in the future. Roger highly recommended a podcast from the Financial Times, titled Martin Wolf on saving democratic capitalism. Martin Wolf is the chief economics commentator of the Financial Times who focuses on how and why the relationship connecting democracy with capitalism is coming undone and what can be done to reverse this. The podcast is closely connected to Wolf’s book The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism, where Wolf argues that despite its current strains, democratic capitalism needs to be protected as it remains the best system for humankind.

Have a look at the YouTube video for Roger’s full talk on how to run foresight events.

We were delighted with the in-person and zoom turnout, and recommend you follow the Institute on LinkedIn, or sign up to our mailing list, so you are the first to know for future events.