Landscape of Change

This is a perspective on our rapidly changing world. Think of it like a rough sketch map to help us find our way as we stumble (or run, or slide, or whatever) into the future. It's an image that is developing all the time and helps me to make sense of things. Some other people find it helpful too. More perspectives are welcome.

The initiators

Pamela McLean - and various future-oriented friends and contacts (past and present) whose actions and generous sharing of ideas have influenced my thinking.

Write-up by

Pamela McLean

The backstory

Sometimes we assume that the way we see things is "How it is" - but of course life isn't that simple - and, in times of rapid change, things get even more complicated. We all have different ways of looking at the world, and trying to make sense of it. We all bring different experiences and questions and answers.

Landscape of Change is my personal perspective and starting point. It's currently a miscellany of diagrams, essays, notes, thoughts, and ideas. It's distilled from practical real-life stuff (my own and friends who walk-their-talk) wide reading, deep thought, rich imaginings, and conversations deep into the night.

The catalyst

While I was exploring an idea with Nikki Fishman in 2011 I scribbled a diagram (as I often do). The diagram was explaining an idea about change and how people respond. Creating the diagram was a deja vue experience for me. I'd drawn it - and then forgotton it - in the 1980s to explain the same idea to another colleague, Lesley Young. Back then we were doing innovative work with what were known as "microcomputers".

Nikki made me realise how long I've been involved in practical innovation and observing patterns of change. We discussed the diagram furher and over subsequent months we developed some more diagrams. Later Collage-network emerged - a very practical outcome, applying some of the ideas in Landscape of Change to the world of work.

This Landscape of Change initiative takes the ideas of change in a different direction. I'm sharing it initially with people who are already immersed in the reality of being pioneers of change, then it'll probably go wider.

Timeline (first written in August 2012, covering some of the things that have fed into my perspective on change)

Late 1970's and 1980s

Too much to write in detail, but it was the start of my practical and theoretical interest in systems and deep systemic change, especially related to  relationships between people, computers and information / knowledge / learning. It was a period of rich investigation, innovation, learning and teaching. I got interested through OU (Open University) courses on technology, computers,computing and systems. Tne new technology of the time was microcomputers, which I used for most of my work. I also worked with Prestel. My first computer was a Sorceror which I bought to investigate in practice what "boring routine repetitive work" I could make computers do to benefit me. I programmed it in a mixture of BASIC and machine code. My practical field-work base was the infant classroom where I was orignally working, then with younger children, then teachers, then other adults and adolescents.

2000 to the present

A big shift of emphasis came when I got involved in projects in rural Nigeria. The technology had moved on over here, but my first "home" in rural Nigeria was still in the pre-phone and pre-computer era. Since 2000 the technology I have been inolved with most has been: Cyber cafes, the Internet combined with informal person-to-person information sharing networks, satellite phones, solar power, the Solo (low power consumption computer development), wikis, instant messaging, chatrooms, increasing UK bandwidth, VOIP, video, digital cameras, webinars, open-source software, mobile telephony, online collaboration in real time, cloud computing, web 2.0.

Practical work has been at locations in SE Nigeria, North Central Nigeria, Kenya and, crucially, through online collaboration (low bandwidth with Africa, high bandwidth with Europe, America and some oher locations)

Approx 2003 to 2010

Intense involvement in online groups exploring issues around computer use, community development, education. hardware and sofware development, ICT4Ed&D (Information and Communication Technology for Education and Development), appropriate technologies.

Approx 2007 onwards

This has been a time of increasing involvement in London-based groups connected with aspects of change, and rich experiences of online collaboration. It has been comined with an increasing interest in wider inter-related ecological, financial, technical, social, political and gobal aspects of change - not just education/training and ICT. A different shift in emphasis also emerged regarding human computer interfaces. Originally my emphasis had been on user friendliness at the level of interactions at the screen and keyboard. With cloud computing, web 2.0. online groups, interactions including voice and video etc, the whole thing shifted. I became more aware of the socio-tech issues of online and face-to-face meetings, the nature of collaborations, cross-cultural issues and so on.

August 14th 2012

Saw TEDx by Taichi Fujimoto and wanted to invite him to have a converstaion to explore overlapping ideas. I realised I didn't have a TEDx or anythig to explain why I saw an overlap between his interests and mine - so I wrote this.

The ongoing story

Yet to be discovered


I don't know who will be interested in doing this with me. Perhaps you if you've read this far. Contact me if you are "walking the talk" of pioneering the future in some way and would like to add your perspective, or if you are good at design, multi-media, social media, copywriting or other aspects of sharing / growing / exploring / presenting ideas digitally.

Future vision

I'd love to create a representation of the Landscape fo Change that will help people make sense of things and find their way. I can't do this effectively on my own, and I don't belog to any funded group. Maybe I'll just start to share the resources i've developed. Maybe others will join in. Maybe what I've done so far will attract other people to join in. Maybe we'll get more perspectives and display them in an easy-to-access way. Maybe we'll finish up with some kind of interactive map to help people find their way, or a book, or some video clips on Youtube, or some face-to-face meetings to support each other along the way. It depends who's interested.

Learning issues

I believe we can learn from the present and the past and from the people who are visionaries and are "walking the talk" related to their visions of the future. What we are learning will become visible to others as we rub minds and work on the Landscape of Change.

Update December 2012

My ideas about the Landscape of Change continued to develop in 2012, and in some ways were implemented through Collage-network. I have explained the core ideas to various people, but have not captured them in an easy-to-share form (various reasons, including issues of role, audience, credibility and things like that - and a desire to have visual imagery rather than words).

I shared the ideas formally on two occassions. I ran a session during the John Berger event that Dougald Hine organised at Somerset House. I also did a session for Trade School at Hub Westminster.

I want to find some visual way for people to "place themselves" on the landscape and explain where they have explored and where they are heading etc. I met two possible artisits - one at an Anthony Gormley event on the South Bank, and one at Uncivilsation - who were interested in the idea and in helping me to express it visually. In both casese we planned to meet up soon after, but things happened and as time passed we failed to reschedule. This needs the right collaborator to move forward into a fully shared idea rather than something developing in my head.