Plenaries & panels

Futuring Together—Shaping spaces for personal responsibility and action in the pursuit of a sustainable future

Format: Plenaries & Panels, RSD12, RSD12 Panels & Plenaries, RSD12-Toronto: Systemic design futuring, Topic: Socioecological Design, Topic: Sociotechnical Systems

Stephen Davies

RSD12-Toronto Closing Plenary Session

To support inter-personal discussion, the session is not livestreamed; however, the resulting brief prepared for RSD12-Washington will be included as part of Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD12 (March 2024).

The context of this closing plenary session acknowledges our present reality first indicated by The Limits to Growth report (Meadows, 1972) and the World Model Standard Run model.  The model predicted our “business as usual” trajectory will result in “overshoot and collapse” before 2070.

Forty years on, a 2014 University of Melbourne research paper confirmed the accuracy of the report’s forecasts, and our “business as usual” trajectory continues to be driven by a political-economic system with an entrenched capitalist ideology that actively ignores the limited resources of a finite planet, and actively degrades the ecological niches necessary for collective survival and flourishing (Turner, 2014).

During RSD12 Toronto, the approach to futuring includes “the acknowledgement and the embrace that I am responsible” (Pangaro) for the futuring processes we run, and as futurists and designers who shape spaces for personal responsibility and action, we must aim to ensure our decisions and innovations contribute to flourishing human and ecological futures.

The purpose of this closing plenary panel session is to ask the five break-out organisers to address the question:

How do the insights from the symposium contribute to the creation of conditions for the emergence of a sustainable way of life on this planet?


Break-out organisers:

  • Provide a short synopsis of their core thesis from their session
  • Describe how their insights contribute to the flourishing human and ecological futures
  • Describe their personal experience as it relates to making their work meaningful in the context of the “overshoot and collapse” scenario

A moderated dialogue follows. Audience members are invited to speak to the similarities and differences they heard across the presenters and to express how it fits with their own inter-subjective experience and personal responsibility.

As we practice futuring in this dialogue, we aim to cultivate hope and personal action for all those involved.


Herrington, G. (2021). Update to Limits to Growth: Comparing the World3 model with empirical data. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 25(3), 614-626.

Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W. (1972). The Limits to Growth. A report for the Club of Rome’s project on the Predicament of Mankind. Geneva: Club of Rome.

Turner, G. (2014). Is Global Collapse Imminent? MSSI Research Paper No. 4. Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, The University of Melbourne.



Stephen Davies is Founder & Managing Director, Transformation by Design, a strategy and design consultancy focused on creating social impact and long-term viability for its clients. He is a Certified Management Consultant with 30+ years of experience and has led strategic planning, business design, and organizational transformation projects across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. His current practice areas include foresight-infused strategy, sustainable business model design, and organizational cultural transformation, and he uses visual modelling and collaborative design processes to create agreement amongst broad groups of stakeholders on their emerging and preferred futures. From 2014—2019, Stephen was an assistant professor at OCADU, teaching MDes courses in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation programme.  He is a Certified Master Designer and Lead Facilitator for the Team Syntegrity process invented by Stafford Beer.


Kathryn Cramer is a graduate student in the Computational StoryLab at the University of Vermont. She holds an MDes in Strategic Foresight & Innovation from OCAD U and a Graduate Certificate in Complex Systems and Data Science. She has also had a career as a science fiction editor. Agent-Based Design & AI Autonomy: Exploring the future of computer-aided systemic design through design fiction and experiential futures

Gryphon Loubier is working on building the next generation of organisations as a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo and associated projects. His work focuses on systems for distributed, regenerative, networked, improvisational, fluid, human-centred, future-oriented, and adaptable organisations.  As the founder of Thero, Gryph has built systems and projects from the ground up for clients in several industries (legal, the arts, social enterprise, startups, and more). He is inclined toward socially minded governance models, such as social purpose organizations and B Corporations. Gryph is also the country leader of Creative Commons. Explaining Systems Changes Learning: Metaphors and translations

Nicole Norris’ career journey has been marked by strategic vision and collaborative leadership, aligning seamlessly with Georgian College’s dedication to fostering lasting social value. She has a track record of leading teams through complex systems to advance the institution’s mission of positively impacting the community, students, faculty and staff. As Manager, Social Innovation at Georgian College, Nicole works alongside a team of talented changemakers to inspire and equip students, faculty and community organizations with the tools and attitudes they might need to co-design social impact networks and systems transitions. Their work explores dominant social and economic narratives and spaces for radical conversations on inclusive futures of belonging and regeneration. TBA

Cassie Robinson is a creative, strategic and practical leader who brings integrity, vitality, courage and care to all she does. Her superpower is in removing barriers, holding space for alternatives to emerge, mobilising people around shared missions and demonstrating what’s possible in building a better future for everyone. Stewarding Loss—For Hopeful Futures

Perin Ruttonsha is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural manager, systems-oriented designer, and complex social-ecological systems researcher, specialising in the facilitation of processes for transformative systems change. Ruttonsha has designed curriculum for, and taught on, subjects of visual arts, design, sustainability, and research methodologies, at elementary, undergraduate, and graduate levels, through the University of Waterloo, the Institute without Boundaries, George Brown College, and artist-in-the-classroom programmes. She is currently pursuing a PhD with the University of Waterloo, School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability (SERS), where she studies complex systems thinking as a foundation for a regenerative paradigm in global transition. Connecting the Dots through Complex Systems Thinking: Staging pathways for global transition

Natalija Vojno is a peace innovator who has worked on freshwater policy for the past decade. As a former speechwriter to Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and environmentalist, she led campaigns to curb plastic and nutrient pollution in the Great Lakes. A founding member of the Water Youth Network (WYN), she designed spaces for youth collaboration in water governance and has published on the roles of young leaders in water diplomacy. Leaving present-day Bosnia & Herzegovina at a young age, she grew up in Canada and returned as the founder of Our Future First to co-deliver peacebuilding initiatives such as the Water Innovation Lab Danube+ and the Balkan Youth Environmental Assembly on behalf of UNEP MGCY. Natalija is trained in Soliya’s cross-cultural online dialogue facilitation methodology and in negotiation from the Clingendael Institute in the Hague. Natalija holds a BA from the University of Toronto, an MSc from UNESCO-IHE, and an MA from ICU, where she attended as a Rotary Peace Fellow. Casting Ripples: The potential of watershed-based citizen assemblies

RSD12-Toronto and RSD12-ONLINE

Citation Data

Author(s): Stephen Davies
Year: 2023
Title: Futuring Together—Shaping spaces for personal responsibility and action in the pursuit of a sustainable future
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Toronto, CAN | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 13 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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