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How do we imagine sustainable futures and radical transformations?

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Room 408, fourth floor

Electrical and Electronic Engineering building

Imperial College London, South Kensington campus

London

SW7 2AZ

United Kingdom

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How do we imagine sustainable futures and radical transformations? An overview of qualitative tools, methods and processes.

Energy Futures Lab hosts Tanja Hichert of the University of Stellenbosch

Abstract

We are entering a new geological epoch - the Anthropocene - where human activity is a dominant force shaping ecosystems at global scales, and the world still gets more than 80 per cent of its energy from oil, gas and coal. Net zero emissions goals now exist, but the scale of the changes needed to make these goals a reality, and the challenges of the Anthropocene, where the wealthiest 20% account for 77% of private consumption, require a fundamental shift in underlying worldviews, assumptions and values that shape individual choices and societies.

These unprecedented challenges will require unprecedented solutions, together with the ability to collectively imagine what sustainable futures and a ‘good’ Anthropocene look like, because visions of positive, hopeful futures can help guide our choices and actions towards creating more just and sustainable futures However, the future is often ‘predicted’ using modelling and scenarios analysis that eschew the role of hopes, fears, intuitions, emotions and imagination. Recognizing and incorporating these aspects, through a variety of qualitative tools, methods and processes has the potential to stimulate transformative action and decision-making that may help create a sustainable future.

Biography

Tanja Hichert is an experienced professional ‘futurist’, also known as a strategic foresight practitioner, who has maintained a link with academic Futures Studies in her career as a practitioner specialising in: scenario planning, horizon scanning, risk management and facilitating strategic conversations that provide clarity and direction for organisations and institutions faced with complexity and uncertainty.

She has fifteen years of in-house strategy and scenario planning experience working for global multi-national corporations, and has spent the last fourteen years running a specialised futures consulting firm. Tanja has a MBA specializing in Strategy and Forecasting, and a M.Phil in Futures Studies (cum laude) from Stellenbosch University.

In addition to running Hichert & Associates, she works as a lecturer at University of Stellenbosch’s Centre for Complex System in Transition, is a fellow at the European School of Governance, and served for six years on the board of the Association of Professional Futurists. She also serves as a director of the South African Node of the Millennium Project where she co-founded the Foresight for Development platform.

Tanja is based in Cape Town and works all over the world, but her passion is expanding and building the practical application of Future Studies on the African continent. Where opportunity allows, she relishes in designing innovative, creative and experimental approaches, and working at the intersection of complex issues.

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Room 408, fourth floor

Electrical and Electronic Engineering building

Imperial College London, South Kensington campus

London

SW7 2AZ

United Kingdom

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