A Time Traveler’s Suitcase: Building Future Readiness to Navigate the Unknown

Elliott P. Montgomery


For those of us in design and make industries, the future comes at us fast; getting blindsided by unexpected forces can be disastrous. How do foresight experts prepare their organizations to be future ready, seize opportunities and mitigate risks?

Join me at AU for a roundtable discussion where I’ll help participants prepare to confront industry uncertainty. In this discussion, you’ll learn about key industry forces and talk about the drivers affecting design and make industries. We’ll look at some early signals – such as the next steps for machine learning, the financial implications of our aging populations, and knock-on effects of supply chain disruption.

In my role as a time traveler, I’ll share potential impacts of these forces using a collection of props – “objects from our futures” – and we’ll talk about how each object signifies potential impacts on businesses in AEC, product design, manufacturing, and media creation. As a participant, you will uncover ways that speculative objects can reveal technological turning points and tell stories about how industries are changing across social, technological, economic, environmental, and political lines. The objects won’t be revealed until the conference but will include a hypothetical architecture tool that seems like magic, a fictional device used by a freelance 3D data collector, and an imaginary memento belonging to a factory worker from the next decade.

During the roundtable, you’ll be invited to discuss your perspectives on the forces shaping our respective industries over the next 5-10 years. You’ll learn core principles of strategic foresight, including ways to actively track and identify future forces. You’ll also learn how to use speculative objects to amplify your own perception of future impacts. This roundtable will help you do some mental time-travel of your own, and then reverse-engineer your preferred futures into concrete actions that can be taken today. Afterall, we can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it. Join me at AU!


Get in touch

Have we piqued your interest? Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about Autodesk Research, our projects, people, and potential collaboration opportunities

Contact us