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Monday 5 July 2021 09:00 - 10:30

We have entered the global age which is invalidating most of the assumptions upon which our success up till now has depended. For example, in the global planetary society there can be no externalities. Although there is increasing clamour for new ways of thinking, sadly, our attempts to invent such new ways remain trapped in the same historical set of assumptions. The result is that we are faced with three tragedies. Firstly, the tragedy of the commons; secondly, the tragedy of horizons; thirdly, the tragedy of consciousness.

In his talk Anthony Hodgson will concentrate on the tragedy of consciousness, as he believes it is that which seriously exacerbates the other two. He will elaborate on three aspects of this third tragedy. Firstly, the way our brilliance at managing the complicated blinds us from seeing how to manage the complex. Secondly, the way our quest for rationality has blinded us to our real presence in the world and our effect on it. Thirdly the way cultural conditioning is preventing us from releasing the creativity that he believes we have to mitigate and transcend our predicament of which the climate emergency and the pandemic are but symptoms.

The anticipatory governance and global perspective that we need requires us to be present as conscious beings, to develop other ways of knowing to complement our rationality and the creation of reflexive transdisciplinary cultures in which a whole systems inclusive approach is the norm.

Following his presentation, Dr Anthony Hodgson will be joined by Dr Erica Thompson, Senior Policy Fellow at the LSE Data Science Institute and Nico Aspinall, Chief Investment Officer at B&CE for a panel discussion around the themes of the session The panel will be chaired by Tan Suee Chieh.


Dr Anthony Hodgson

Anthony Hodgson is the founding trustee of H3Uni – towards a university of the third horizon. This as an initiative born out of the recognition by a small group of foresight and strategy practitioners that most higher education does not address the huge shift in the skills of collaboration and resilient thinking that are needed to successfully navigate a turbulent world challenged by major issues not previously experienced on a global scale.

Anthony has over forty years of experience of providing consulting and facilitation services in foresight and strategy to international corporations and in the public sector in the UK. It is in this role that he has developed new methods of participative repatterning of shared thinking in groups. As an experienced practitioner of systems thinking and scenario futures methods he is also a founder member of the International Futures Forum think tank, working especially on transformative innovation and new methods of cooperation to match the needs of the Anthropocene.

He has a doctorate is in systems science from the University of Hull and is a Research Fellow with the University of Dundee where he is currently doing original work on integrating foresight methods with systems thinking and modelling through second-order cybernetics, phenomenology of time perception and futures methods. As well as numerous papers he has published a book on some of this work ‘Systems Thinking for Turbulent Times: A Search for new perspectives’ (Routledge, 2020).


Dr Erica Thompson

Dr Erica Thompson is a Senior Policy Fellow in Ethics of Modelling and Simulation at the LSE Data Science Institute.

Erica's research is centred around the use of mathematical and computational models to inform real-world decision-making. She has worked on mathematical and statistical methods for model evaluation and interpretation as well as on fundamental philosophical questions about what model outputs really mean and how we use models in tandem with expert judgement. She has a particular interest in real-world applications of modelling methods, having worked with humanitarian NGOs, insurance practitioners, UK government departments and other partners.

Erica gained a PhD in Physics from Imperial College London on statistical and dynamical modelling of North Atlantic storms under climate change.

Nico Aspinall

Nico Aspinall is the Chief Investment Officer for B&CE which includes The People's Pension, the largest DC Master Trust in the UK. He is the former Chair of the Resource and Environment Board of the IFoA and previously Chaired the Research sub-committee of the Board. His previous roles include Head of Defined Contribution Investment for Willis Towers Watson; Head of DC and Communications for the Barclays UK Retirement Fund; and as an actuarial pensions consultant for Deloitte Total Rewards and Benefits.

Nico received a Masters in Theoretical Physics from the University of Cambridge in 2004.


Event organiser

Contact Niki Park for more information.

020 7632 2152