Triple Access Planning

FUTURES – an introductory podcast

by Glenn Lyons, UWE / Mott MacDonald

Annette and I first started working together in the last century! We were once ‘young professionals’ and part of the Transport Visions Network. Years later we’ve found ourselves taking on the future together again.

I’m delighted to be part of this new podcast from the University of the West of England in which Annette Smith and I reminisce about our shared professional journeys and discuss the creation and use of #FUTURES.

FUTURES is the Future Uncertainty Toolkit for Understanding and Responding to an Evolving Society. Yes folks, a real acronym, not one of those fudged ones for a European project title 😉.

Through my role as Mott MacDonald Professor of Future Mobility, FUTURES was developed to help implement the concept of #decideandprovide. It’s a six stage process for vision-led planning in an uncertain world:

1️⃣ Gearing up – opening minds to the rationale and underlying philosophy of a decide and provide approach

2️⃣ Preferred futures – co-creating an expression of what characterises the preferred future

3️⃣ Opening out – developing a set of plausible scenarios to help expose and embrace uncertainty about the future

4️⃣ Options – generating options (ways) to deliver the preferred future (vision) with cognisance of the uncertainty

5️⃣ Closing down – stress-testing options for their ability to negotiate uncertainty and remain aligned with achieving preferred outcomes

6️⃣ Review – monitoring, reviewing and adapting in an ever-changing world and embedding the approach and underlying philosophy

We launched it in 2019, before COVID-19 plunged us further into deep uncertainty – its relevance has understandably grown since. The FUTURES interactive guide was recently updated and is freely available here.

We use FUTURES and a wide repertoire of futures and foresight techniques to help decision makers in transport and other sectors. It continues to be inspiring to see how people benefit from a ‘thinking and learning together’ approach to the challenges and opportunities we face in this topsy turvy world.

Fancy a listen?

Many thanks to Anna JonesKat Corbett and Roger Morford at UWE for producing the podcast as part of a series to celebrate academia and industry working together.