Have you heard about #veryniceTX? That’s right. Our Austin, TX office is officially up and running— thanks to the newest verynice team member, Jake Dunagan. Jake is joining us as Managing Director [Austin] and Global Foresight Lead, adding a background in futurism and foresight to the verynice skillset.
Like any good first day, Jake’s included a full interview in which we pressed him for information on everything from his background in Future Studies to his Austin-favorites to his fondness for bad puns. See below, and join us in welcoming Jake to verynice!
So, you have a PhD in Future Studies… can you tell us what that is, exactly?
Futures studies is a discipline that attempts to make sense of change so that we can make better choices as individuals, organizations, and as a society. It is a quintessentially modern discipline, and a strange one, in that what we study is inherently ineffable (i.e. alternative futures). But although there are no "future facts," it doesn't mean we can't improve how we understand and navigate change. We use design and tools for prototyping alternative futures to help people experience the otherwise inexperiencable.
The necessity and the stakes of systematically looking ahead have never been greater. Futures studies is one adaption to the chaotic and uncertain futures we are facing, and an approach that, while not predicting a single future, gives us some practical tools for making better futures for all of us.
Wow, fascinating! So how does that translate to your work with verynice?
verynice.co has been at the forefront of design and strategy for quite some time, and has shown how successful a socially-minded enterprise can be. I've been working at the intersection of design and foresight for almost 10 years. It is clear to me that the time has come for future-oriented design and design-oriented foresight to make a bigger and more lasting impact on society, business, and our basic systems. In my role as Global Foresight Lead, with the combined skills and experience we are bringing together, verynice futures is immediately positioned to be a leader in delivering meaningful, impactful and unique work to clients and partners around the world.
Why Austin? Give us three reasons we need to visit the city ASAP.
In Austin, you might talk to someone for an hour about music, or food, or places to go kayaking before you mention your work. And yet, people are doing incredible work here, just like in NY or the Bay area, etc. The focus here seems to skew toward things that are socially inclusive and life affirming. It is right in the heart of Texas, but the "keep Austin weird" slogan rings true. And for a futurist, you want to surround yourself with weirdos, because they are often the harbingers of things to come. And it helps to be weird yourself!
Three reasons to come to Austin:
- to be able to hear good music anywhere, anytime.
- to have good beer anywhere, anytime.
- to have a memorable conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
- (bonus) to come visit our verynice futures office!
Not gonna lie, Austin sounds really cool. Speaking of weirdness, tell us something odd about yourself.
I have an uncontrollable compulsion to make bad puns (which I think are good). My lifelong goal is to make not a double or triple entendre, but the elusive quintuple entendre. So, wordplay is a habit (or disease if you ask my friends and colleagues). But it comes in handy in futures work, because we are often making tomorrow's clichés, today!
Stay tuned for regular updates from Jake and veryniceTX.