What is CSF?
The Creative Science Foundation (CSf) is a not-for-profit education organization, dedicated to the exploration and promotion of creative methods for supporting science, engineering, business and sociopolitical innovation through various activities such as organising courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, journals, publications and projects.
Video Introducing the Creative Science Foundation
How does it works?
The core methodology is the use of creative arts (eg writing, films etc) as a means to introduce innovations into science, engineering, business and sociopolitical systems. It differs to foresight activities as it doesn’t aim to be predictive (forecasting the future), rather it focuses on innovation (creating new concepts, schemes, services and products).
The main (but not exclusive) methodology is the use of science-fiction / fantasy stories, grounded in existing practice which are written for the explicit purpose of acting as prototypes for people to explore a wide variety of futures. These ‘prototypes’ (commonly called Science Fiction Prototypes), can be created by scientists, engineers, business or sociopolitical professionals to stretch their work or, for example, by writers, film/stage directors, school children and members of the public to influence the work of professionals. In this way these stories act as a way of involving the widest section of the population to help set the research agenda. and thereby empowering everyone to have a hand in shaping the future.
Science Fiction Prototyping (SFP) is part of a larger family fiction based innovation and ‘future planning’ methodologies which, in addition, include include Design Fiction (the use of narrative scenarios to explore design related issues), Diegetic Innovation Templating (getting inspiration for innovations from pre-existing fiction written for the purpose of entertainment) and Threatcasting (a derivative of Science Fiction Prototyping that allows planners to reason about future risks, and find ways to mitigate them). The differences are explained on our FAQ page.
How to get involved?
The Foundation organises various events where scientists, engineers, researchers, business professionals, politicians, sociologists, writers, artists, and the general public come together and use science-fiction as a common language to explore the futures they want to build which, if you are interested in our work, we encourage you to attend.
- In this March 2018 blog article, Dr Ping Zheng (Canterbury Christ Church Business School) discusses new machine learning technology developed by the Home Office and an artificial intelligence firm to fight propaganda online.
- A January 2018 article, ‘SF and the future of security‘, in Vector (the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association) in which Dr Ping Zheng (Canterbury Christ Church Business School) discusses a UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) meeting involving writers, scientists and defence analysts / policymakers who explored how science fiction might contribute to defence matters.
- If you would like to understand how published fiction (SciFi & Fantasy books and films) can be used to drive innovation then read this paper,.
- Tsinghua University Press launches new science-fiction prototyping book aimed at teaching English and creative-thinking.
- A video that explains a variation of Science Fiction Prototyping called ‘Threatcasting‘ (used to identify and avoid the risks of emerging technologies). The video was not subject to a final edit, so you need to skip forward over the dead-space to the presentation).
- A recent book that addresses one of the most profound technological changes society is facing; The Technological Singularity -Managing The Journey (it addresses the risks and options as humanity approaches the time where the current advances in artificial intelligence produce machines that equal or surpass our own intelligence).
- Will.I.Am and Brian David Johnson launched an imaginative SciFi/Fantasy book called ‘Wizards and Robots‘ aimed at encouraging children to be interested in, and to study, science and engineering. If you are interested, you see reviews of the book here (on the Goodreads website) or you can watch a short video showing extracts of a ‘Conversation Evening and Book Signing‘ that they held on the 7th February 2018 in the London headquarters of the Institute of Engineering Technology.
- If you are interested in reading books that reflect on futures past and to come, check out this list.
- See a timeline showing the main CSf events (from its birth to today).