Dr Colin Russo’s Story

Research stories from around the world

Dr Colin Russo’s Story

Having written my PhD by the age of 48, I can be considered a late career researcher. However, there are many others who have completed research on their PhD with the maturity of their experiences to guide them – and sure, this helps to build an appreciation of purpose and context, yet there are many outcomes possible for PhD journeys. I was lucky to be able to be mentored by USC and QUT. In particular, UNESCO Chair of Futures Studies Professor Sohail Inayatullah and Dr Marcus Bussey at USC.


I was also fortunate to be able to write from my experiences about Gold Coast’s visioning journey and to be able to compare it to three other cities long-term visioning journey’s in South-east Queensland. I had considered local area projects that I had been a part of – it seems I have engaged in a thousand projects over the past twenty years. Major visioning initiatives that require 25 workshops, like Our Bold Future, on the Gold Coast come around infrequently. So the choice was made there. But my influences were from working with the Department of Environment, the Department of Mines and Energy in Queensland, many years before. This stark comparison of environmental protection and pragmatism of mining and energy use are not only considerations for my PhD, but also for cities, as well as State government partners.


This is the conversion between inner thinking, research and application in city projects and initiatives. Transformational narratives are important in the creation of preferred futures, as is the application of futures tools and methods in policy environments. Without appropriate tools for thinking ahead, we are often bound to the past or conducting business as usual. In the workshop sessions that I present today I hope that I bring knowledge from my research, but also values based in sustainable resource futures thinking for cities and States.

After studying, I was able to present my findings in the USA, Taiwan and in Australia, demonstrating but also summarising how futures tools and methods are used in policy settings. More recently I have attended a conference in Thailand that was the basis for meetings with colleagues from countries such as Singapore, France, Malaysia and Canada. It is not surprising that there are similar transformational narratives emerging from all of these countries – people and places trying to develop their thinking about the pace of change and the impact of change on our planet, people and economies. Fundamental paradigm shifts are imagined for all of our possible futures, in light of emerging issues.


What is surprising, is that I can journey home and relax with family who point out that attitudes in some areas are slow to change in line with global change. Our knowledge systems are often based on our values rooted in local to national cultural history. We commune and converse based on the shared language of our earliest experiences together, when not engaged in thinking about our preferred futures. Our cultures change slowly.


My own form of expression is through blogs and articles, facebook posts and messenging. Numerous memes, deeper pokes, lighter jives and jokes help our friends including policy makers to sense change. Having participated in city and State workshops and having delivered workshops with UNESCO Chair of Futures Studies, Professor Sohail Inayatullah, I can see that city transformations take bigger steps with conscious program awareness about preferred futures. So, this keeps my interest in futures thinking going and focused on engaging futures.


Thanks so much,

Colin Russo, PhD

Managing Director

M (+61*) *408 887 751

E drcolinrusso@gmail.com

L.In futuristauthordrcolinrusso <http://www.linkedin.com/in/futuristauthorcolinrusso>

Web www.engagingfutures.com <http://engagingfutures.com/>

*Engaging tomorrow today*


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