The FII team have just completed an impressive briefing (I can be complementary since I was not involved…) at the Arup General Annual Meeting (150 of the firms directors). Chris did a brief intro talking about how “change is constant, context is variable – our work is about looking at our future contexts” and how we use an approach the focuses on “gut + heart + head – we think in that order. we have an idea about what is important, we focus on things we believe in, and finally we analyse to understand the implications of our assumptions”.

Jennifer then introduced the DoC 2006 and DoC 2007 research. What i liked was the reminder about the context of the DOC 2006 cards, when you are so close to the project you sometimes forget. It is not a book, not a website but a box of ideas, inspiration and interest. It is being used by corporate R&D labs, schools, associations, product development groups etc and continues to be bought, via word of mouth, from the website. It was also nice to be reminded of what they are “a sifting of the state of research – it allows you to quickly learn the highlights so that you can focus on the issues.” This acted as a nice segue into the introduction of the DoC 2007 cardsets which dive one layer down and focuses on 6 themes waste, demographics, climate change, energy, urbanisation, water.

Below are my notes from each of the overviews of the DoC 2007 cardsets.

Waste Rachel Birch

waste generation tends to align with GDP not population size…

18 tetra packs per person on the planet in 2005 where are they all now?

120 yrs for a modern energy from waste incinerator to generate the same amount of dioxins as londons millenium firework display.

Climate Change Jake Hacker

arup journal article *a more balanced and clear / concise explanation of climate change. beats the stern report hands down* very nice complement from a colleague of one of our board directors.

three years ago thought scientific fact was the most important but actually belief is

carbon disclosure project – companies make a social statement by letting others see what their carbon footprint is

Demographics Francesca Birks

all this stuff about waste, climate change and energy is actually created by people – so what are the trends in demographic changes

in last 50 years population has doubled to 6 billion – if this continues as projected imagine what the tube in london will be like.

aging, migration and growth are all happening – the key is to understand the implications of this.

Energy Simon Roberts

Oil: played visualisation / auralisation of soldier death in iraq as background to presentation – *what are wars really about*

eroei energy return on energy investment – how energy generators work out the efficiency of their systems – oil, coal and gas are so much more efficient than alternatives.

Sweden – going oil import independent by 2020 – because economically they cannot rely on importing it.

the power of community – A film about how Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, faced the potential impact of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever.

I will be starting research on the theme of Convergence for a 2008 cardset (look out for a category on this blog shortly). The brief is to look at the merging of sciences – biotech, genetech, health leisure, physical virtual – what are the trends and how will it impact the built environment…. so where to start, which FTSE 100 companies, which people to interview…. any and all suggestions welcome.