The most recent manifestation of my thinking which links design and foresight is a conceptualization of an Action Research cycle that is specifically tailored to a new generation of social innovators, social entrepreneurs and participatory designers. Reflecting on the often confusing cacophony of my own projects and work, both paid and unpaid, as well as of colleagues, I began to search for commonalities and elements. What I found was an Action Research / Action Learning cycle which was similar to the fast cycle development reminiscent of agile software development and SCRUM, by virtue of the ‘creative’ dynamics typical of entrepreneurial and ‘freelance’ self and semi-self employed people. The context for this entails a number of factors: the emergence of the network form that amplifies idea exchange and opportunities for peer-to-peer collaboration, the experimental dynamics of colliding / integrating fields in science, art and technology which produce hybrid and often chimeric innovations, the precarity of income and need to seed ideas even while maintaining a pragmatic stance toward how one pays the bills. It is a context in which ideas foment quickly and furiously, prototypes are developed and tested, connected with potential users who are expected to teach and lead innovators, and where the enterprise must adapt and evolve or discard ideas and move on to new ones.
At the moment I call this cycle the Co-creation Cycle for Anticipatory Design, and is the core methodology for FuturesLab.