Create Your Future ...
Prospect Studio specializes in research-based strategic foresight for mission focused organizations.
"The future is already here– it's just not evenly distributed.”
We love this quote attributed to William Gibson. Our mission is to disrupt that distribution by partnering with organizations to craft their vision of the future, develop workable plans to get there, and share tools and techniques to support it.
Our vision is a world in which everyone has the agency to create their future.
We work with a range of mission-focused organizations. These include educational institutions, (schools and school districts, colleges and state departments), and a variety of non-profits, start-ups, and philanthropies. In addition to education our clients work on a range of social issues including sustainability, nuclear threat reduction, and issues of diversity and equity.
Our primary services include long-term visioning for organizations; short customized seminars exploring particular areas and potential impacts; and coaching for the use of strategic foresight in ongoing leadership development and strategy.
This work aims to help organizations create a rich, aspirational, viable and sustainable picture of the future they want. This includes assessing trends, identifying priorities, and creating vision artifacts that vividly capture the work and prepare organizations for planning and implementing toward that desired future.
COLLABORATIVE VISION CREATION
Our work is inherently collaborative. We believe that diverse groups, embodying a range of perspectives and experience, create more robust and resilient futures, and are better able to address unintended consequences. To that end we work with a variety of diverse design teams from inside the organization and across other stakeholder and community groups
We begin our engagements with a process of listening, based on a combination of ethnographic research and appreciative inquiry. We want to understand the current state and recent history in order to design for the habitual roadblocks, identify the emerging bright spots, and build a coalition of allies.
HORIZON SCANNING AND WEAK SIGNALS
We consider the wider field and interesting analogous field examples. Using trend and demographic research, and physical and virtual learning journeys, we explore and assess the ways in which the field and the local context are changing, including the 'weak signals' of change and emerging ideas.
We create artifacts to capture the spirit of the vision. These often convey much more than words can, and more effectively. They become tangible reminders of work done and changes made.
STRESS TESTING EMERGING IDEAS
We design group processes to vet the draft ideas as they emerge and evolve. This method provides multiple options for feedback, and ensures a more robust end result.
We host seminars that explore topics of interest and facilitate guided discussion about implications. This is an opportunity for professional learning groups or networks to take a deep dive into a particular area, and to take the time to anchor their learning into their current and future work and responsibilities.
Examples of topics include:
Implications of A.I. for Learning
The Future of Neurodiversity
The Future of Social Emotional Learning
We offer leadership coaching for veteran and emerging leaders, either to complement other services, or as a standalone option. Clarifying strategic priorities and then backwards mapping from a desired future helps leaders to make decisions and discern courses of action more easily. Gaining fluency with strategic foresight and design thinking adds practical, forward leaning, skills to a leader’s portfolio.
Prospect Studio was launched at the end of 2017 by Collective Invention co-founder, Fiona Hovenden, to focus more specifically on strategic foresight. The company retains Collective Invention’s emphasis on collaborative design work and is similarly committed to education.
The Prospect Studio team has worked together on SFUSD’s Vision 2025, Pittsburg Unified (CA) Vision 2027 and Professional Development ReDesign with the Florida State Department of Education, as well as numerous other projects. The team is also currently working on a visioning project with Portland Public Schools.
Principal, Strategic Foresight
Using a combination of Futures Thinking, Design Thinking, innovation practices and ethnographic field research, Fiona designs and leads visioning and strategic planning projects for mission-focused organizations. Fiona has led and co-led visioning projects for San Francisco Unified School District, Pittsburg Unified School District (CA), Case Western Reserve University, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), among others. She has a background in Artificial Intelligence, anthropology, and psychology, and works to unlock the capacities for creative problem solving in organizations, groups and individuals. Her interests are focused on the capabilities for creating sustained change, and the role of narrative and a variety of art forms in helping to inspire aspiration, action, and catalyze change.
Fiona has a BA in Philosophy from University College London, an MS in Artificial Intelligence from Kingston University, UK, an MA in Counseling Psychology from JFK University, California, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brunel University, UK.
Fiona specializes in strategic foresight, design thinking, innovation culture, leadership development, facilitation and cultural change processes.
As Design Consultant at Prospect Studio, Myrna Newcomb creates visually compelling reports and publications for clients. Throughout her 18 years of experience, she has developed a thoughtful approach to design, balancing the need to communicate with a desire for design aesthetic.
Myrna has also worked with Gap Inc., the Anchorage Museum’s Discovery Center, Menlo College, Stanford Live, Trips for Kids and Equator Coffees & Teas.
Myrna has a BFA in Graphic Design from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco
Senior Strategist Education Innovation
Over the past 20+ years, Sonya has sharpened her experience in the public education transformation sector, coaching education leaders to develop social justice-oriented outcomes and strategies, providing leadership for human-centered execution of strategies, and building talented teams to sustain improvement over time. She has led or co-led numerous efforts in helping school districts think about the future and make plans to get there. Specifically, Sonya co-led San Francisco USD’s Vision 2025 process, co-led the Pittsburg Unified School District (CA) Vision 2027 process as a Collective Invention team member, and co-led the statewide educator professional development redesign prototypes for the Florida Department of Education.
Sonya earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Santa Clara University.
Sonya specializes in leadership development, data driven decision making, design thinking, facilitation, and organizational development, and cultural change processes.
Julian Wong Nelson is a writer, researcher and educator. Their research interests are focused upon art as a site of resistance and communication for marginalized communities. They work with Prospect Studio on a variety of projects to support research and community engagement work.
They have a BA from UC Santa Cruz and an MA from the San Francisco Art Institute.
Jenny focuses on strategic initiatives, strategic foresight and design strategy. Her background in advertising began with legal research and trademarks, and transitioned to business development, creative strategy, and consumer insights. She has worked with for-profit businesses from start-up stage to Fortune 500 companies, non-profits and social businesses. After being deeply involved with SFUSD’s Vision 2025 project, Jenny joined the school district team for 2 years to help set up the iLab within SFUSD.
Jenny has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School where she focused her studies on social innovation, design thinking, new business models, and sustainable development in emerging markets. Her passion for this work continues through experimentation and development of collaborative processes in the field of social innovation.
Jenny specializes in strategic foresight, design thinking, innovation culture, facilitation and cultural change processes and project management.