Interview with strategic futures consultancy Greyspace

Luke is the co-founder of Greyspace, a strategic futures consultancy. He helps organisations and institutions to imagine and design new products, services and experiences.  

How do you go about imagining the future?
I firmly believe that when we imagine a future, we’re equally reflecting upon and challenging our own present. This is something I’ve been exploring for several years now and I’m always learning and refining my methods with every new project. My work involves asking difficult questions and being the devil’s advocate, trying to identify what assumptions exist within a decision. I use different design and futures thinking techniques to critically examine these assumptions, their cause and effect, context and broader implications. Ultimately, I ask clients, “How does this decision support your vision of the future?”

How did you get into this career and  where did the idea of Greyspace come from?
Greyspace was formed after several years of collaboration and constant ideas sharing between myself and Angela Oguntala, my co-founder. We both met in Denmark whilst studying at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID). Angela came from business and I came from design. We were looking for our next thing and realised we shared a common point of view on the world; we couldn’t understand why so many people who created change were unaware of that change and its effects on people.

Where do you look for inspiration?
Reading is my primary source of inspiration and a big passion of mine. I struggle to get through an article without having an idea for a studio project, a random scenario or a what-if question, so I take things slow. I like to see patterns and trends over time and I give myself time to reflect and form my own opinions. I’m also extremely lucky to be surrounded by interesting people to discuss books, projects, and concepts we think the other person is exploring subconsciously.

What is your biggest challenge to date? 
The biggest challenge to date has been communicating exactly what we do. We use design as a process but not as an outcome, we see futures thinking as an outcome but more than just a process. We can provide value to clients and our clients perceive value in working with us. The challenge has been articulating that clearly, but the result is partnerships based on trust and a shared point of view. 

How do you benefit the brands you work with?
We feel fortunate to be working with organisations that are responsible for the health, education and well-being of people in different parts of the world. By better understanding the needs, hopes and fears of these people, we can help our clients to create long-term plans that benefit themselves and everyone else who will live in the future they help to create.

A big thank you to Luke Sturgeon from Greyspace for contributing to our series of interviews with industry experts.


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