Trendsletter #23 - Time 🕔


Since my master's degree, I have been obsessed with the changing perception of time in today's society. The perception of time has evolved greatly over the last few decades, and that’s saying something! From the time and space​ compression, narratives moving from left to right to bottom to top with the scrolling of social networks, shorts, reels, stories, clicks, etc... There is also has this constant pressure that some feel to have a clock above their head in this race against time to reverse the impact of climate change.. . tick tock tick tock...

My recent reading in ​La Presse+ on Slowing down​ also highlights another factor that changes the perception of time, namely age (here elderly & retirement) and this inspired me to talk to you about our best and worst enemy when exploring the future: Time

Past, Present, Future

In foresight, time is a tool for observing what could happen. Several forces change, modify and evolve the perception of time: The age of an individual, Significant & stressful events, Each person's cultural background, Technology, etc. In foresight, there are often time referents used to stimulate conversation. We can do exercise od backcasting (looking back) or observing the future in 5-10-15 years as a time horizon. Unfortunately, even today, time is still very much illustrated in a linear way. Time (referred to as linear), like the very conception of foresight, is rooted in Western colonial traditions.

Time deferentially

However, there are many ways to express time that are not an arrow from left to right. Other time references that can be used:

🕔 Cycles: cycle of moons, cycle of seasons, solar cycle, etc.

🕔 Degrees of ambition: This is the Quentin Ladetto invitation in this post

🕔 Geographic References: Many indigenous peoples use geographical references to find their way in time during seasonal trips, think of the route between a river and the mountain.

🕔Generations: Once again the teachings of indigenous peoples are smarter about observing the future given that every decision is inherently made with 7 generations in mind.

TIP: As a facilitator of foresight workshops, when vagueness (or fog sets in as Noémie Aubron calls it in Futur(s)​), I use people from the participants’ entourage to stimulate imaginations. For example, instead of asking what is the future of XYZ in 15 years, I invite people to write down the age they will be in 15 years or the age of their child + 15 and ask me describe the scene in which these people will live in ‘the future’ based on our previous discussion. *Warning: this method can become very emotional for the participants, especially if the future analyzed is threatening.


In the media

🌎 Clind'oeil - I had the chance to comment on and dissect the EuropeCore movement in the May 2024 edition, pages 69 to 73

I have returned to commenting in the media, journalists be advised. I mainly comment on:

👉 Emerging business models that increase the lifespan of everyday objects (clothing & textiles, furniture, etc.) Alternative economies I Barter I Borrow I Exchange I Second hand & thrift stores 👈

À bientôt

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Marie-Michele Larivée

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