EP 15: Confidence: A Vital Element - Cath Smith

Cath Smith was already a highly motivated ecologist, organiser and leader in cause-based entities, when she came into contact with the field of Futures and Foresight. Learning and applying the tools and frameworks provided life-changing clarity for understanding what she was already experiencing in the field and boosted her confidence to further develop her impressive career. Confidence has been an ongoing theme in Cath's working life, not only for herself as a practitioner, but as a vital element for any group to find success in actualising a path to a preferred future.

Interviewed by: Mendy Urie

More about Cath


Influences Mentioned

  • Wendy Lowenstein (1927-2006) was "a pioneer in oral history", an Australian historian, author and teacher notable for her recording of people's everyday experiences and her advocacy of social activism. She pioneered oral history in Australia, with Weevils in the Flour in 1978 but she began collecting folklore and oral histories of early Australian working life in the 1960s. She was active in the peace movement and supported and mentored many female community leaders throughout her career.

  • Chong Chau Yan (1956-). A president of the Hong Kong Blind Union, chairman of Carbon Care Asia and founder and chairman of Dialogue in the Dark Hong Kong. Blind since the age of 6, he has paved the way to show Hongkongers that having a disability is no limitation. He joined Oxfam Hong Kong as Director for Fundraising and outreach in 1993, and was appointed Executive Director in 2001, the first person from a non-western background to hold this position. More info.

Foresight Tools and Frameworks

Viable systems model

Futures Triangle
(Using the push of the present, the pull of the future and the weight - and values -of the past)

Theory U
(Open the mind, open the heart and open the will for change)

 Scenarios scenario thinking, planning and forecasting

  • Wright G and Cairns G (2011) Scenario Thinking: Practical Approaches to the future. Springer, 2011.

  • Voros, J. (2003 and 2005) A generic foresight process framework. Foresight. An earlier version of this paper appeared in: Foresight, vol.5, no.3, pp.10-21, 2003.

Three Horizons

Using personas and role plays to bring the other in

  • Design Thinking Rowe, P. (1991) MIT Press.

  • Personas: a simple introduction

  • Numerous articles online explain the connections/differences between foresight and design thinking.

Deliberative dialogue model in use