Art Map (from 1936)

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Cover of exhibition catalogue from Cubism and Abstract Art (MoMA, 1936)

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A more comfortable way of being alone

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Just when I thought that all hope had been lost for decent journalistic analysis a small article comes along yesterday in the London Evening Standard about Pokemon. More precisely, the article is about why large parts of the world might be fiddling with Pokemon Go on their mobile phones while large parts of Syria burn and women that are raped in Qatar are accused of having sex outside marriage. People are even trying to catch Pokemon in Auschwitz. OMG.

So what’s it all about then? The article, by Sam Leith, suggests that the obsession could represent a more comfortable way of being alone. The world, which is chaotic and scary, has been turned into an occult map that is, above all else, understandable. “Poundland animism in an age of disenchantment.”

Leith also makes a connection with JG Ballard, who pointed towards “ever-absurder collocations of the brutal and frivolous.” Bread and circuses for those brought up with Call of Duty and Fruit Ninja perhaps.

Article here.

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Global Mega-trends Map


Finally started the new mega-map of global trends & technologies after 2 or more years. I’ve got all the data as a word file, but it now needs to be added to the map and edited on the map and then all physically connected together. Got to love a job where you still get to use kids coloured felt-tip pens aged 50+

If you like mega-trends keep your eye on the blog as I’ll be adding quite a bit of material, including the long list of contenders.


Don’t take it seriously or as final at this stage. Things will move around and be deleted. The lemon? Weighing the paper down in the wind (Bradley)! I was going to invert the image below, but I think it’s symbolic of a world turned upside down.


Posted in 2016 Roadmap for the Future, 2016 trends, Forecasts & forecasting, Foresight, Maps, Mega-trends, Predictions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thinking… about thinking.

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I’m starting to think about my next book and although the illusion of progress is a fairly tempting title there’s the danger of it being mistaken for a negative position (actually the positive impact of negative thinking is interesting theme in itself). So, alternatively, I’ve been thinking again about thinking. What influences it? How can we increase the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of our thinking?

I’ve been thinking about this sitting in my favourite chair, in my greenhouse, drinking red wine and smoking a cigar.

Posted in Thinking, Thinking spaces, Where's Watson | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Google’s revenge

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The World in 2046.

Just spent a couple of days with the Ministry of Defence trying to work out what the world might look like 30 years hence (2046). Lots of really interesting people around. Best bit was probably my science fiction writer friend who said that he really couldn’t deal with it because he couldn’t get his head around such a short time frame.

Posted in 2046, Science fiction writing | 1 Comment

From Future Files (2006)

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EU referendum result

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Identity trumps economics.

Posted in Europe, Fear & anxiety, Identity, Tribalism | Leave a comment

Retail Trends

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In my new book Digital Vs. Human (buy here) I featured a ‘future flash’ about a new kind of store. Seems someone has beaten me to it. Here’s my fictional flash…

1 June 2020
I’ve been thinking about shops, partly because I remembered what Theodore was saying about retailers generally missing the point about why people go shopping. He suggested that people partly shop to get out of the solitude and boredom that is their own home. Shopping is therefore, in varying degrees, social and is often more about the other human beings people meet and interact with than the things they buy.Historically, shopping was once very social. Half of all London shops once took in lodgers and many, if not most, Parisian shops were located beneath flats or inside houses.

So here’s my idea for a new kind of shop. It would be called 5 Things to Change Your Life. Each month the shop would curate 5 items that could change someone’s mind about something. For example, several copies of Dark Side of the Moon on Vinyl, a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem 1976, a dozen well thumbed copies of The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard a pepper grinder that works properly and 48 hours of total silence at a monastic retreat.

But here’s the thing. The shop would openly seek conversations with its customers encouraging them to visit the shop to explain their choices to others. We would explain each item’s history and provenance, even providing the contact details of previous owners. The shop would also host events, including poetry readings, live music, cookery demonstrations and art exhibitions. And it would help people to exchange skills, find jobs and even marriage proposals too?

What do you think? Stick with Amazon?

Best, Nick.

And here’s the fact.

Story is a 2,000 square foot store set on Manhattan’s 10th Avenue that takes it’s point of view from a magazine. Namely, it changes with every ‘issue’ – usually every 6-8 weeks. The store was set up by Rachel Shechtman and follows a particular theme, trend or idea each time it reinvents itself.

Story website and more details here.

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Mind benders

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This is too good not to share. Having had my head scrambled by space-based lasers that can monitor the health of the Earth’s vegetation down to a single plant, I then stumbled into Attosecond physics (lab at Imperial above). What’s an attosecond I hear you ask? Well an attosecond is to a second what a second is the the age of the universe. Get your head around that. More here.

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