#TheNewAbnormal podcast (nearly 200,000 downloads…) focuses on understanding today and anticipating the future. Discussing these subjects via the stories and viewpoints of my guests has led to some fascinating conversations with activists, creatives, writers, philosophers, strategists, psychologists, lecturers, futurists, etc. Re: my bio, I'm a strategist, author and public speaker. My first book went to No1 in the business charts, whilst my second was shortlisted for the 'Business Book of the Year' Awards. ('The New Abnormal' is bought to you in partnership with The Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, a global leader in applying futures studies to solve strategic challenges. The Institute’s core offerings inc megatrend analysis, scenario planning, risk assessment, innovation processes, and strategic foresight re: helping clients to be #FuturesReady.) So, we hope you enjoy listening to the series! Please note that the podcast was set up during the early days of Covid, and is divided into Series One [2020-21] Series Two [2021-22] Series Three [2022-23]. All rights reserved. #TheNewAbnormal podcast series © Sean Pillot de Chenecey 2020
Chris Sanderson 'The New Extraordinary: making better futures happen for global businesses'
In this episode of #TheNewAbnormal, I interviewed Chris Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, one of the world's most renowned futures consultancies.
Via their unique blend of trend forecasting, consumer insights, foresight, brand strategy and innovation, they inspire and future-proof organisations. Clients include Louis Vuitton, Google, L'Oreal, Facebook, Diageo, Spotify, Unilever and Nissan.
Chris discusses the practicalities of running a forecasting business, and a range of issues that the Future Lab have identified as of being of direct importance on a social/cultural/business level, as they relate to brand futures and brand strategy.
So we talk about trends such as the 'Pleasure Revolution', 'Cultural Triangulation', the 'Transformation Economy' along with his viewpoints on the focus that this series has taken around 'Hope, Community & Resilience'.
And, of course, Chris acknowledges the ever-present influence of the mighty William Gibson. The Future Laboratory have built a reputation for being incredibly dynamic, and this episode reflects on their success.
Tom Hodgkinson 'Slow Down, Have Fun, Live Well'
In this reposted episode of #TheNewAbnormal, I interview the writer Tom Hodgkinson.
His philosophy is of a relaxed approach to life, enjoying it as it comes rather than toiling for an imagined better future.
After lounging around at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he played bass in the thrash band Chopper, he took the natural step of getting a job in Rough Trade records before moving on to becoming an importer of absinthe.
Later, he and his partner Victoria Hull launched The Idler Academy; which offers courses on subjects such as foraging, singing, grammar, philosophy and astronomy.
In this episode, we discuss a range of issues alongside anecdotes about the people he's interviewed. You'll therefore hear about Damien Hirst, Iggy Pop, Rowan Williams, Brett Anderson, Paul Mason, Communism, Ethics, the Futurists, Aldous Huxley, Colin MacInnes, the Sleaford Mods, Public Enemy, Bob Dylan, Naomi Klein, and the great Sally Phillips.
Plus, a retort to the appallingly non-idling Home Secretary Priti Patel, who accused the British of being "the worst idlers in the world".
By "worst" Tom points out, Patel seems to actually mean "best".
To finish, and as The Idler states so clearly: 'Down with Silicon Valley...Open the Village Hall...Embrace Beauty...We Are Free...Anarchy in the UK!
Sophy Roberts 'The Lost Pianos of Siberia'
In this episode of #TheNewAbnormal, I interview Sophy Roberts, journalist and author of 'The Lost Pianos of Siberia'.
She focuses on travel stories in remote parts of the world, with a special interest in literature, history, culture and conversation.
The ex-Travel Editor of The Economist and a Special Correspondent for Conde Nast Traveller, she shoots articles as well as writing them, including cover features for the Financial Times. Her first non-fiction book, The Lost Pianos of Siberia was named a Times, Sunday Times and Independent ‘Book of the Year’, a ‘Best Travel Book of 2020’ by Smithsonian Magazine, The Spectator, and i paper, and recently shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of 2021.
As she says of the book, which is currently being translated into seven languages, "Siberia's expansive history is traditionally one of exiles, bitter cold and suffering. Yet there is another tale to tell..." (The Wall St Journal commented "these pages sing like a symphony").
Sophy also contributes to radio, podcast and panel events, including the BBC, The Economist, Times Radio, Tortoise and The Royal Geographical Society.
So, we discuss all of the above, along with issues inc the business of tourism vs the serendipity of travel, music as a conduit of hope, the solace of culture, travel as an act of empathy, and the need to 'keep looking outwards' in the age of Covid.
Having been to Siberia myself (before Putin's horrendous attack on Ukraine) I have to say that I found her stories about the people, landscape and history of that extraordinary region to be fascinating.
Tim Stock 'Understand subcultures to understand the future'
This episode of #TheNewAbnormal podcast features Tim Stock, Global Cultural Foresight Leader at ScenarioDNA, who are experts at analysing trends and developing frameworks for understanding how & why culture is changing.
He's also an Associate Teaching Professor at Parsons School of Design - The New School, one of the world's leading art and design schools, committed to inspiring society through inquiry, radical ideas, iterative experimentation and creative collaboration.
We discuss a wide range of suitably catalytic ideas and viewpoints in this interview, including areas such as trend forecasting, consumer anthropology, applied semiotics, design research and risk assessment.
Simon Kreitem 'How to tell emotional stories'
In this episode of #TheNewAbnormal podcast, I interview the filmmaker, photographer and story finder Simon Kreitem.
He's also the CEO at Lonelyleap, a collaborative, transatlantic team of strategists, directors, cinematographers, designers and producers; whose films are based on human truths.
They communicate at a deep level, stimulating intelligence, feeding curiosity and inspiring acton. In this episode, we cover how he approaches the 'story discovery' process, regarding the evaluation of this on the basis of 'what is it that you've found, what did you discover, how does it move you, what insight does it give you'? Those rules are, he says, as true as they've ever been.
Simon also mentions a great truism of storytelling..."that so often it's the little person who says the most profound things". (To which any researcher or journalist listening to this podcast will no doubt agree).
Along the way, he discusses a range of their films, which included subjects ranging from Death Row to Local Communities to Cutting-edge Technology. Incidentally, the film about Death Row is about inspiring a piece of work as you can expect to see. Bet you didn't expect that...
Rachel Lawes 'Demystifying Semiotics - what it is and what it can do for you'
This episode of 'The New Abnormal' features the renowned semiotician Dr Rachel Lawes.
One of the earliest providers of British commercial semiotics, her PhD was in social psychology, hence bringing a unique perspective to semiotics, placing her at the exact intersection of psychology, linguistics and cultural studies.
Rachel has been using semiotics for nearly 20 years to rejuvenate brands, innovate products and services, and steer communication.
As she points out in her excellent book 'Using Semiotics in Marketing', semiotics is big business - most famous for its unique ability to decode visual images - and can provide invaluable insights into understanding people's needs and behaviour.
In this interview, we discuss the communication of codes / signs / symbols, how semiotic research can dovetail with ethnography, the post-modern theorists Jean Baudrillard and Michel Foucault, Western Individuality / Hyper Individualism, and Conceptual Art.