Welcome to Foresight For Development

Werner Schmidt

Futurist Profile

 

Werner Schmidt

Leadership and Creativity Consultant

Chief Chaotic Officer: Werner Creates Stories, Songs and Leadership

Education:
Natural & Universal learning re. Leadership, Story, Music, Philosophy, Poetry, Environmental Sociology, and so on ...
First qualifications: CA (SA), Masters in Commerce, and US-based Leadership Development Facilitation

 

Werner answered a few questions about his perspective and on being a futures thinker.

ABOUT YOU AS A FUTURES THINKER / PRACTITIONER

You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

I tell and sing interactive stories and songs and facilitate / participate in discussions with younger and older people, which:

  • facilitates holistic or bigger picture thinking and development of whole humans,
  • brings about conversation about the current state of nature and culture,
  • invites creativity in my audience,
  • is ultimately aimed at pairing material and scientific development with development of empathy, warm-heartedness and inner human development.

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Approaching nine (9) years, i.e. since 2006.

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Various provinces of South Africa, being the Free State, Gauteng and Limpopo.
Currently preparing for engagement with my network in Cameroon, during the first quarter of 2015.

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?

English, Afrikaans and Sesotho (the latter in partnership with translators, Sesotho-speaking storytellers, etcetera).

What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

I'm naturally very futuristically and strategically inclined, and talented as such, resulting in my storytelling abilities. What excites me greatly is to formulate appropriate actions in the present moment, as present-minded building blocks to a more sustainable future.

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Facilitation of processes where:

  • Individuals take control of and responsibility for their life stories, discovering and building their natural themes of talent, developing themselves as whole human beings,
  • Individuals finding meaning primarily in themselves and their inner value to culture and nature,
  • Increased balance and harmony within culture and between culture and nature

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

Too many influences to mention: my learning expeditions in recent years have taken me through African, Eastern and Western mythology: both ancient and contemporary; philosophy; psychology; spirituality, environmental sociology; global economics...

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

If I have to state one discipline, I will state the discipline of Learning.

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as… weird

I describe myself as… creative

 

YOUR PERSPECTIVE

What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

“If the future is to be our house, the bricks are moments of focused presence, building ... resting ... building ...” - I said this. :)

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

I wouldn't want to put a stamp on African futures thinking, because there's always something new in Africa!

I would like to ask Africa, whether she has identified, and is building on her competitive and comparative advantages, holistically speaking; to achieve culture-nature-balanced development.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

Perhaps a 'comfort zone' created by the free market / capitalist economic system coupled with predominantly Western governance and legal models. I see this as a barrier to the CREATION of African-developed futures knowledge by Africa...

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

Focus on the development of your own creative development, critical thinking, with a clear emphasis on creative problem formulation. My personal view is that we often don't formulate challenges correctly. Search for African competitive and comparative advantage, to allow you to help build from Africa's current strengths.

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

Follow your inner voice when searching for knowledge. Be independent. Embrace Africa, East and West. Read and listen until you are able to see concreate aspects of African competitive and comparative advantage. Investigate techniques such as Appreciative Inquiry and Socratic questioning. Read stories, mythology, both ancient and contemporary...

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?

Ted.com
BBC News
Eckhardt Tolle TV
http://dorianhaarhoffwriter.homestead.com/
http://www.mosaicvoices.org/
,just for starters ... :)

 

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