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At VISIONINGLab, we help people develop their ideas and aspirations.

Our activities are

  • Generating ideas
  • Stimulating imagining
  • Capturing future visioning
  • Supporting creative journeys
  • Connecting people to their instinctive imagination

If you want to go on an imaginative journey, you’ve come to the right place

VISIONINGLab was founded in response to a strong demand for exploring how to stimulate creativity.

 

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Activities

visioningOur current activities include the following and click here for our previous work:

Stimulating ideas through 1-2-1, small or large group workshops

Running future visioning sessions using an established tried-and-tested method

Performing at events providing guided imagining sessions

Creating imaginative pathways to help define vague ideas into concrete plans

Making creative allegories drawing comparisons with other cultures

Broadcasting visioning sessions on our Visioning Lab YouTube channel

Our approach uses different creative exercises to help gain new perspectives on developing situations. These can work at world/country/city levels, on sector/company/community direction and/or on individual aspirations.

Our structured and experimental processes combine art, technology and social science into a visioning laboratory.

These activities are particularly suitable for organisations who want to increase/develop creativity in their outlook eg cultural/creative industries, tech/digital sector, blue chip, management consultancies and the public sector.

Check out our Previous work

 

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About

VISIONINGLab was set up by Dr Jessica Symons, academic anthropologist in collaboration with Suzie Goodfellow, co-ordinator of games and role play workshops

In developing the idea for VISIONINGLab, Suzie and Jessica produced Future Salford, supported by the School for the Built Environment (SOBE) UPRISE Research Centre’s Excellence Fund.

We run group visioning sessions for clients and have experimented with broadcasting via our YouTube channel. These short visioning clips provide a freshener to open creative minds.

If you would like to find out more about VISIONINGLab, please get in touch.

 

Background

VISIONINGLab activities are informed by research and experience in creative processes, idea development and imaginative engagement.

Firstly, we are very familiar with the tangible realisation of ideas into products and services. Between us, we have over 40 years of commercial experience as a corporate lawyer and law lecturer (Suzie Goodfellow) and digital media consultant (Jessica Symons).  We understand very well the workings of large and small companies and the challenges of bringing creative and fresh thinking into different organisational contexts.

This particular venture builds on Jessica’s PhD research into creative processes and Suzie’s experience as home educator where she learned about the benefits of open play.

Jessica’s academic research has focused on ‘how organisational structures affect people’s ability to realise their ideas. In 2011, she followed the development of Manchester Day Parade over an 18 month period using ethnographic methods. She spent time with the parade organisers Walk the Plank and with the city council, artists and community groups as they collaborated in the production of the parade. Her PhD thesis argues for creativity as an adaptive process in working towards a productive outcome.  She has presented these findings at conferences including CRESC, Connected Communities, the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) and the Association of Social Anthropologists (ASA) . She has also published this research exploring the fluidity in production and the freezing of creative work and what people want when they engage artists in a project (by comparing the parade with Manchester International Festival).

In 2014-6, Jessica worked on a large AHRC Connected Communities project, Cultural Intermediation, leading on the community engagement aspect in Salford.  Through ethnography, she identified a strong desire within the community to develop their own ideas for cultural activities and so established a local creative brand called Ideas4Ordsall. She collaborated with local intermediaries in the area to support the development of over 20 creative ideas ranging from a social history play to establishing an art collective. She is now working at the University of Manchester supporting the development of research ideas.

Meanwhile, Suzie has developed a series of games and engagement activities through her home education networks.  She is a demonstrator at Coderdojo Manchester which brings the principles of computer coding together with physical games to better visualise the programming process. She is particularly keen on the fantastical inventions such as those by Rowland Emett and runs workshops there creating similar elaborate mechanisms. She is currently Commercial Manager at a leading accountancy.

As well as running the Future Salford project, we are also exploring ideas for an outdoor physical game board with Amber Sanchez, a freelance artists working in Salford. We are interested in how to combine the virtual and physical gaming using existing techniques – much like the Pokémon Go phenomenon.

We want to work with organisations and individuals who are similarly intrigued by creative development and who are prepared to experiment with different techniques and processes for stimulating and drawing out ideas. 

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The Lab

“If I see anything vital around me, it is precisely that spirit of adventure, which seems indestructible and is akin to curiosity.” Marie Curie

The stimulation and development of ideas can approached in a structured and methodical manner, using a hypothesis, a set of inputs and outputs, a method and an analytical process. These criteria can vary for each activity, depending on the objective. This is why we run a visioning laboratory – our process is rigorous and experimental.

Our process

  • Preliminaries: we have a chat about how our methods can help you
  • Proposal: we come up with suggestions on how to tailor future visioning and creative idea stimulation for your needs
  • Exploration: we do stuff that delivers on your objectives
  • Output and Analysis: we produce a set of outputs and an analysis of the process

Previous work

For #IfIwereaStag, we were asked to help interpret the anthropological notion of perspectivism into a more accessible conceptual frame for the general public. We proposed the notion of ’empathy for non-humans’. Perspectivism is based on a Native American viewpoint which understands all creatures as being essentially the same but with different ‘coats’ or animal forms. At the art installation event over a weekend in August 2017, we also provided visioning sessions to help visitors imagine themselves as non-humans.

For Future Salford, our objective was to engage residents and decision makers in discussions about the future of Salford as a city. Our hypothesis was that everyone has their own ideas and aspirations for their future city. Our method used a meditative technique to connect people to their instinctive imaginary. We asked them to close their eyes and imagine a clock going forward into the future. The outputs were sketches of future worlds which we displayed in an exhibition, on a website and published in a Future Salford sketchbook. The analysis has produced insights into who gets to make decisions about cities and where their authority comes from.

For Dane Bank Green Space, we were asked to support the development of alternative visions for a green area. We used the same method as with Future Salford but found that this did not necessarily produce positive visions of the area. The analysis identified the visioning exercise as a powerful motivator for action – with some people inspired by aspirational ideas and others by fearful concerns.

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Contact

 

To find out more about the VISIONINGLAB products and services, please get in touch