Historically, our introduction was on the eve of TEDxColumbus 2, at a dinner for the sponsors and presenters. His delivery the following day is slightly dated, as per the local path of progress since 2010, but his thrust about “Translators” holds firm. Although tenured in the History Department at the Ohio State University, he holds courtesy appointments to teach in the department of Educational Studies and also the Design Department. Prior to joining the OSU faculty, he held teaching posts at Marietta College and Heidelberg College, both in Ohio.
David is comfortable describing himself as a “FUTURIST.” “Ya, I use that word; I’m interested in what’s NEXT…when I’m writing professionally about the future, I tend to write in terms of scenarios rather than preferred futures, let me make that distinction between the two, the future that you WANT to have happen, versus the future that’s LIKELY to happen. In his consulting practice to businesses, he provides “strategic foresight.”
“When I think of my PERSONAL VALUES I tend to be more visionary in things I WANT to do.” He frames questions about values as “what can I do to MAKE” a desired goal happen. This is often “an exercise in applied imagination”
On his current project to EFFECT CHANGE: “Making the Humanities more VISABLE, to have more INFLUENCE and to highlight the IMPACT of humanities to the public… that’s my Big Hairy Audacious Goal!”
David’s EARLIEST MEMORY: a life-long hockey fan, he recalls, as a two-year-old, his dad propping him on the living room couch to watch a televised hockey game together.
His FEELING OF HUMAN CONNECTIVITY, what could be called EMOTIVE TEXTURE: “Warmth, the way that sitting by a fire is.”
On the SCARCITY/ABUNDANCE spectrum: He’s on the Abundance side of this continuum per his material comfort, as in his family dynamic, his social & professional relationships. He’s “drawn to the economists who are talking in terms of HAPPINESS as an indicator in terms of GDP.” David continued some thoughts about the future, such as a Universal Basic Income , when “we’re accelerating toward a future with less employment…There will be work, though, for we labor as human beings because we like to labor… The UBI will be necessary to insure social stability.” He’s intrigued that in a utopian, sci-fi world such that Star Trek portrays, without poverty, without want, with the ‘Replicator,’ that there’s a bartender working on the Starship Enterprise. This illustrates his distinction between labor and employment. “If someone wants to tend bar” in a world without need, without employment, “they tend bar.”
NOTE: More on this next week when “CAFFEINE COMMUNION” meets with a local ECONOMIST.
David’s “BOX” that we’re often encouraged to THINK OUTSIDE OF: “Boxes, for me, are disciplines, and when you’re at a research university such as OSU, disciplines are your box. I refer to myself as INTELLECTUALLY PROMISCUOUS…pathologically curious, I don’t like to be defined within a discipline. I like to leap between these disciplines.” He indicates that this has been considered by some as being a dilettante, not encouraged, but he compares this broad interest as similar to being multilingual.
What is David’s MUSE? What is the source of his IDEAS? “Pathological curiosity, I define curiosity as being interested in something because it is interesting.” This affliction helped build his point of pride, his library, containing books with a very, very eclectic range of books. “By keeping myself curious and open to ideas, connecting disparate ideas, that’s the source of my creativity.” He informed me that the futurist, Buckminster Fuller, at airports awaiting boarding, would buy a magazine he’s never read before and consume it on his flight.
On UNCERTAINTY: As a futurist, David is quite comfortable with this concept. “The future cannot be predicted, it doesn’t already exist, it hasn’t been formed yet, so by definition the future is uncertain, and can’t be quantified.” He promotes Uncertainly Management as distinct from risk management.
Henceforth 5-YEARS/2023? David is optimistic about the near future of Columbus. NOTE: On this very day Amazon released their short list to consider for their second headquarter location; Columbus made their Top 20. David is not at all surprised. Columbus has smart talent and is well-situated logistically. Plus our creative clusters. “I’ll be disappointed if we don’t win it.” Having acknowledged this, he’s aware our city has serious problems with income inequality.
On ANCESTORY, how far back can he name his antecedents? “Back to great-grandparents on both sides of my family.”
Much THANKS to you, David.
And THANKS, too, toward all readers of “CAFFEINE COMMUNION.”
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