This is a bit of a brief weeknotes this week. And slightly later than planned (sorry about that). The reason for that is rather boring actually. We only really have one thing that we have been able to reflect on this week. That is the launch of our Future of Mobility Scenario Game on Tuesday.
This is not because we have not been busy. We have been flat out for the rest of the week on proposals for clients and on both of our Discovery Projects. But the game is special to us, as it was the thing that really kick started Mobility Lab itself.
Several years ago, we got our first project with the UK Ministry of Defence. We were asked to research the future of transport for them out to 2050. This was a standard strategy project in many ways - identify the future trends, create scenarios, and develop policy recommendations. When Mobility Lab started out, that was what we intended to do. Be a strategy consultancy. Looking back at it now, it would have been painting strategy by numbers.
Then two chance conversations changed everything. To start with, Lt Col Matthew Sargant of the Ministry of Defence asked us a simple question. Could we come up with a tool that could bring the scenarios we created for them to life, and make them usable by other policy makers? The report we wrote, whilst of good quality, wasn't enough. This ask was outside of our scope, but we thought it was an interesting challenge to take up, and so we said yes.
During that very same week, we travelled to the EU's Policy Lab in Brussels, to learn about the new foresight and future research techniques. It was there, Laurent Bontoux demonstrated to us the Scenario Exploration System. And at that point, a light switched on. This was it, This was the tool we needed to get policy makers more engaged in the scenarios that we created. We discussed the SES further with Laurent, and devised a plan to create and test our own version.
But how did we go from here, to community engagement being a big part of what Mobility Lab does? Simple really. One of the most common comments that we received when playing the game was...
"This will be excellent for public consultation."
After about the 33rd time of hearing it, we decided to investigate this more. And yes, the comments were right. This game would be excellent for public consultation...and there is so much more that we can do here that it would be a foolish thing to pass up. Let's start off some projects to investigate this further.
And here we are now. All from two chance conversations. It's funny how life turns out isn't it?
Before we sign off, we have to thank everyone who attended and helped us run a session. Over 150 people took part in the beta test, and every comment has made the game better. We truly cannot thank you enough.