End of The World As We Know It

May 24, 2017

Technological innovation is rapidly transforming the world as we know it. In this endless-tsunami-reality, it’s as if only those with big wave surfing experience have what it takes to survive. From robotics to block chain and back again, the advice is seemingly consistent: grab a floating device, put on a helmet, hold on, and oh, by the way…




Some robust, creative entrepreneurs are out there selling boards and ‘how to surf’ videos to grommets. Others are actively guiding people toward higher ground. Kieran Murrihy is the latter, a brave, community minded professional committed to helping leaders design new futures amidst disruptive, hard to predict conditions.


Murrihy is the co-founder at Foresight Lane, a Victoria-based futures and social innovation consultancy servicing the education, health and community building sectors. Murrihy works with leadership teams to design and facilitate strategic workshops, innovation labs and implementation coaching so that their ‘crazy ideas’ can be imagined and implemented.


I recently joined Foresight Lane as a co-facilitator for an accelerated innovation process at a Brisbane state high school.  Following a series of strategic workshops, a select number of students, teachers and administrators were invited to participate in an innovation process that included discovering new insights, generating ideas and converting those ideas into experiments. Our role was to create the conditions in which a plethora of crazy ideas could emerge in preparation for a pitch event, where the best of these ideas would be selected for prototyping and pilot testing.


I was impressed with Murrihy’s ability to bring both strategic rigour AND creative thinking to the process. Time spent providing school leaders with a high level view that explored distinctions between current, emergent and radical future paradigms was critical to the program's success. The Foresight Lane process took particular care to value both traditionalists and innovators in the school community. This move happened early on to depolarise the archetypal tension between old AND new, laying foundations for meaningful collaboration amongst selected leader body members moving forward.

 Foresight Lane, 2016


Just like manufacturing, transportation and financial services, leadership in the education sector is being forced to rethink just about everything, from school models to curriculum design and delivery. According to futurist Thomas Frey, in 14 years students will learn from robot teachers over the internet.



Business Insider Australia journalist, Chris Weller, writes about Frey’s vision for 2030, which includes, “a massively enhanced version of today’s open online courses — the kind of instruction you may find with Kahn Academy, Coursera, or MIT OpenCourseWare. Only, the instructors won’t be humans beamed through videos. They will be bots, and they will be smart enough to personalise each lesson plan to the child sitting in front of the screen."



Getting people to think outside the box is critical amidst disruption and change. In the social innovation world, that translates into rapid iterative testing cycles of new ideas. Foresight Lane is leading the way in Australia’s new school model movement by making it possible for leaders to step into emergent paradigms whilst still operating within the parameters of conventional ones.


But what will come next? How will these crazy ideas become compelling stories that bring whole systems along for the ride? How do we, as designers, build a convincing body of evidence to support those experiments that actually work?


One way of storytelling is through metrics. In my view, we value what we measure and we measure what we value. Time spent designing an integral metrics strategy to include both what we intrinsically know is important as well as what we observe to be true is critical to telling a convincing, human-centric story.


Stay tuned as next month’s edition explores these questions further. Until then, buy a board, catch the wave or glimpse the view from higher ground. For more on design and leadership, visit www.susannacarman.com, or contact susanna@susannacarman.com




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