This is the competency in which—a bit like Voltron—all the others come together in synthesis, to produce big projects with deep scope.
Worldbuilding is a somewhat contentious term in futures work, but like a lot of contentious terms, the contention arises from different definitions coming into conflict.
For my money, the most concise definition of worldbuilding is that it’s what’s being done by anyone imagining futures or telling stories about them: that includes not just foresight practitioners but speculative and critical designers, as well as marketeers, political speechwriters, and even the accounts department in a big firm. What matters isn’t whether we do it or not—because we’re all doing it, all the time, just as a side-effect of being human—but rather that we do it well, and that the worlds we build are open, rather than closed.
If you’d like to know more about worldbuilding, perhaps you should read this essay I wrote for an edited volume produced by the experiential futures collective Time’s Up? Alternatively, drop me a line, we’ll set up a chat or meeting, and I can tell you directly.
Or maybe taking a look at some of the work I consider to be worldbuilding would help? Well, that’s all of my work, in one way or another… so have a browse and see what grabs you.
Redefining the C-Suite: Business the Millennial Way was a report produced for American Express by Kantar Futures.
Two reports for developed in collaboration with Helen Nichol of Blue Chula (UK) for the charitable organisation Local Trust (UK).
A set of short story “vignettes” written to illustrate four scenarios of housing precarity for Shelter (UK).
A short story of techno-economic “disruption” set in Almeria, Spain—commissioned by none other than Chairman Bruce himself!