Sunday, November 06, 2016

NYLA2016 : Garry Golden - Tap your inner futurist: Libraries and the future of sustainable communities

Photo of Garry Golden from his web site
Garry Golden
The keynote was given by Garry Golden, @garrygolden.  His presentation is available at along with additional resources.   Below are my notes.

Foresight 101: Foresight is routed the studying social change. We associate thinking about the future with prediction. It is impossible to make predictive statements about the future. Rather futurists use a framework called the cone of plausibility. What is plausible? What are a set of scenarios? What signals of change then make one scenario more plausible than others?

Paying attention to the signals of change is the first task. Not being surprised by the future is your first measure of success.

"Everyday make an effort to move toward what I do not understand." - Yo-Yo Ma

The mechanisms of change to watch:
  • Trends - continuities - they give us our plausible futures 
  • Events - discontinuities - they give us our possibles futures. Events cannot be forecasted. 
  • Choices - discontinuities - they give us our preferred futures. 
Drivers of change for sustainable communities:

Demographic transitions
  • Aging populations is the most significant unprecedented change coming in the world. 
  • This is the biggest sustainable change in terms of demographics. 
  • Sustainability from a personal standpoint is going to include wearable technology. 
  • Wearables are compelling and creepy.
The demographic transition model
  • Some populations are starting to contract, meaning that they have fewer children than adults. 
  • The U.S. Demographic dividend - the impact of the baby boomers 
  • The challenge is the transition from the boomers to the millennial. 
  • Not enough Gen X for them to make a difference. 
  •  And the boomers are still working, so Gen Xers aren't getting the high paying jobs. 
  • Libraries need to take the demographics of their local communities and frame it as a story. 
  • Create a population pyramid (visualization).
What does sustainability mean for an aging population? It is about it a personal sense of resilience. What percentage of your population is aging?

Aging strategies:
  • Aging in place 
  • Active aging 
  • Creative aging 
Universal design: libraries and beyond
  • How do libraries need to design their services for an aging population?
  • MIT has developed a suit that allows you to understand what it like to experience a day as an older person.
Mobility: libraries and beyond
  • Equity and access 
  • Autonomous self driving cars could make a huge difference. 
  • Ollie has created an engaging people mover. 
Substance use disorders
  • Resilience and regeneration 
  • Versus the  "silent epidemic" 
  • Aging populations are particularly vulnerable to this.
Can/should the library be the first stop for aging services?
What does sustainability mean to millennial adults?

Libraries and the reframing of social justice issues: equality and equity
Everyone gets the same things versus everyone gets what they need.
How can we get millennials to see us (libraries) as partners?

Transforming energy:
  • Climate change has its own cone of plausibility. 
  • The Yale Climate Change Conversation Project
  • Policy changes everything in the energy world. 
  • New York has arguably the best framework for transforming energy use.  REV 2030. 
  • How do we integrate energy systems? 
  • Beyond solar: fuel cells as foundations for community micro grids. 
  • Can the library be the central power generator for a local micro grid?
Blockchain + trusted transactions:
  • Hard to describe. 
  • The Internet of trusted transactions. 
  • It rethinks transactions. 
  • It's just a decentralized database plus process automation. 
  • It is a way of verifying who owns what. 
  • It uses math to mediate transactions. 
  • There are public and private blockchain systems. 
  • Smart contracts disperse payments 
  • Distributed marketplace 
  • Peer to peer interactions 
  • A shared economy - the Napster for everything 
  • Dubai and the U.K. are leading the blockchain in the public sector.
Next steps:
  • Start conversations 
  • Ready for urgency graph 
  • Follow smart and informed people. 
  • Follow memes and events. 
  • Use killer questions. These are questions that people have to research in order to answer.

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