The Anticipatory Experimentation Method (AEM) or ‘Bridge Method’ is a method for bringing the preferred future into the present through experiments that can scale for impact. It is a bridge between a preferred future and real-world experiments that bring that future into being. It combines a visioning approach with an ideation method that can bridge future vision with specific and implementable ideas, which culminate in experiments.
The method focuses on bringing a preferred future into the present, by running experiments that have maximum alignment with the enactment of our preferred futures. Why do an experiment that is not aligned to our preferred futures? This is a waste. Let’s experiment with the ideas that are going to get us where we really want to go! Experiments are a vehicle for enacting new futures because they are “small pieces” of the preferred future brought into the present.
Experiments are also time and resource savers because, rather than commit a whole organization or community to a new path (which is both risky and potentially costly), experiments are small scale and cost effective ways of testing a new direction. If some experiments show promise they can be scaled and invested in, accelerating organizational momentum toward enacting the vision. If experiments don’t work, the investment was limited and the risk was measured, people can still learn a great deal and nonetheless develop confidence in the experimentation process.
How do we respond, indeed create breakthroughs or transformations within a variety of domains of social life, where change is needed? There are many methods for social change, and as a student, practitioner and teacher of futures studies and foresight I have a deep appreciation for the variety of complex ways our societies change. There is no one size fits all. It is my hope that the Anticipatory Experimentation Method (AEM) or ‘Bridge Method’ adds meaningfully to the capacity for us to respond to our shared and emerging challenges, as anticipatory experimentalists, playfully yet purposefully to be in the service of long-term global foresight and the well-being of future generations and life on earth.