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FSN Seminar – July 29 at 1 pm EST via Zoom

Please join us on July 29 at 1 pm by registering to the following zoom link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Nothing but a “vague residue”: Synthesizing Ideological Violence and Social Figurations

A vague residue. Is that how humans recollect greater social changes resulting from their social interactions, known as social figurations? According to Norbert Elias, who developed the Civilizing Process, we are so focused on the individual social level that we are oblivious to social processes that influence these figurations, which he likened to a dance:

A dance can be any style – the tango, a waltz, rock ‘n roll – but it remains a dance. Dancers may join in, sit out, re-engage or leave, but the dance continues with unplanned structure and process. While independent of any one dancer, the dance is not independent of the collective – those who come together.

It is the effect of these social figurations that are of interest; I like to describe them as ripples in the water: Throw a handful of pebbles in the water and each creates a ripple that, as it fans out, impacts other proximate ripples. From this, alterations occur that are driven by conditions – the number of pebbles, ripples, and environmental elements, like wind, shoreline or other barriers and interferences. The common elements that create repeat alterations, but in social interactions, are the focus.

Both vivid metaphors emphasize how figurations, floating above and beneath an invisible line between individual and group, result in unplanned, yet structured, social change from the predictability from group behaviour.

But why is answering – or even asking – the above question important in the context of present-day sociology?

Understanding social figurations and their role in forming groups, societies, and nations creating long chain social change can permit us to shift our analytical eye from the individual to social along with environmental conditions surrounding them that may hint at causality. By looking to other areas for answers, novel approaches may be developed as social policy, rather than social programs, to address this social phenomenon that has confounded scholars for centuries.  

Here, ideological violence is the phenomenon of focus. It has woven its way through history for thousands of years and in many nations, and enjoyed substantial debate on whether particular incidents are legitimate acts of violence, state monopolies of violence, violence in colonization and civil conflict, or terror-motivated acts meant to move an ideological agenda. Underscoring the concept of legitimacy, the phrase “One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” rings relevant and the conundrum of social violence persists.

For that reason, modern scholars have struggled to identify root causes of ideological violence, and still after every incident that makes the headlines the first question is, what caused this individual or group to resort to violence? Presumably, if we continue to look in the same place – to the psychology, demographics and environmental impacts of individuals – we will likely continue to arrive at the same answers, or lack thereof. Conceptually, it may be argued that ideological violence develops from alternate social standards that have mutated from the accepted social habitus through an unconscious formulation.

The aim of this webinar is to provide a synthesized overview of social conditions with the incidence of ideological violence in selected nations over specific time periods by using the theoretical concepts of Elias’s processual theory. It is the core of Elias’s process theory that is of particular interest in examining the phenomenon of ideological violence: social life and the world around us are natural reflections of human tendencies, emerging from social interactions, social bonding, and developing social habitus, social codes and group identity. Additionally, the applied goal is to reveal an alternate research area for ideological violence prevention and acknowledge issues embedded in existing Countering/Preventing Violent Extremism (C/PVE) programs and to supplant them with social policy approaches.

Heavily relied upon, these C/PVE programs were hastily developed after the attacks of 9/11 by US and allied nations to identify individuals at risk of extremist violence using characteristics and behaviours that may signal radicalization or may precede a violent act. In recent years, these programs have been found to employ controversial techniques and simple psychological criteria and proxies, such as individual religiosity, political activism and “feelings of alienation/hopelessness/futility”.

Largely rejected by academics, these techniques can have dangerous implications and risk branding innocent individuals as terrorists. Ineffectiveness aside, the misuse of C/PVE programs has also been rampant – surveillance and informant recruiting, charges of racial-bias targeting Muslims, refugees and immigrants and unsophisticated – bringing about human and civil rights criticisms.

Now begs the question: Is the individual level the only viable focal point to reveal elements that influence ideological violence? Considering how ideological violence manifests as a social phenomenon, its sociogenesis alone infers the existence of social conditions that warrant exploration. Just as meteorologists can deduce the probability of specific weather events from certain environmental conditions, the social strata that emerge from social figurations may hold similar, valuable contributions.  


Valarie Findlay is currently in her second year of Royal Roads University’s Doctorate in Social Sciences program. Born in Ottawa, Canada and having spent many years in the US, she has a Master of Terrorism Studies and a Master of Sociology. Her doctoral research area focuses on synthesizing ideological violence and social figurations, guided by Norbert Elias’s Civilizing Process theory.

For the past seven years she has focused her academic efforts in becoming a “student” of Elias’s main theory by interpreting and applying his concepts from his major texts, Beyond the Civilizing Process. With her prime sociological interest in group behaviour and habitus, she shifted from individual psychological elements that influence violent behaviours to how groups interact and the social conditions around them that may influence conflict and violence, in order to develop more effective social programs and policy to prevent and counter ideological violence.

On her professional side, Valarie has worked in US and Canadian national security and intelligence for over twenty years and has specialized in cybersecurity and technologies as tools in ideological movements and recruitment. She sits on several North American intelligence, cyber and law enforcement committees and has studied various investigative and interviewing disciplines, such as inductive, psychological, physiological and predictive profiling. She is also a past member of the Canadian Association Chiefs of Police/CATA eCrime Council, the American Society for Evidence-Based Policing (ASEBP), AFCEA Cyber Committee (Washington DC) and research fellow with the National Police Foundation, affording her the opportunity to collaborate with some of the brightest academics and experts in applied science.

As a side project, she has developed and commercialized a risk intelligence software solution, TIGIR, that provides comprehensive assessments on government and industry assets and data that includes organizational risk derived social vulnerability and quality of life indices. TIGIR was granted its a US patent last year and is currently in Canadian patent examinations.

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FSN Seminar – June 29th at 1 pm EST via Zoom

Update 2: Attached updated slides

Update: here are the slides

We are pleased to introduce our next talk of the 2022 season, led by Guy Stanley and Stephen Fanjoy, on the authoritarian challenge to US liberalism.

Register in advance for this meeting:
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After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The “Deep Right” Authoritarian Challenge to Contemporary Liberalism: How Secure is US Liberalism?

Since the last FSN meeting about the US post-Trump (2020), here’s where we are: 

War in the Ukraine, an imminent global food crisis, energy crisis exacerbating an already threatening climate crisis, economic uncertainty, and a political crisis challenging the liberal institutions of the West. Is this what a general breakdown of management capacity and world leadership looks like? Is populist authoritarianism the next “normal”?

Consider that the world’s most powerful democracy, the United States, consciously founded its institutions on the explicit if imperfect application of Enlightenment principles to its governance. Yet today powerful political forces have abandoned those principles – especially those of anchoring political speech and policy in  verifiable facts. Instead, power is regularly pursued through the industrial production of lies and distortions, under cover of which powerful domestic and foreign economic and anti-democratic interests pursue their aggrandizement.  

A political force once thought to be marginal  and “extreme” – right wing populism- is manifesting in the US and around the world as a significant electoral force. In the US it is the new heart of the GOP and  its MAGA (Trumpist) segments. Accompanying  this upsurge are important ideological aspects which make it a particularly dangerous threat to institutions of liberal governance. For example, the most recent DHS threat warnings places domestic white supremacy terrorism at the head of its list. 

A fundamental question poses itself: can a system of institutions based on the Enlightenment’s privileging of objective facts and democratic individualism adequately defend itself against technology-driven systems of deception, social division and political corruption?

This session will examine this question, mainly as it pertains to the US,  in light of current trends, events and ideas.


Guy Stanley has been active with the Foresight Synergy Network for many years. Born in Toronto, he holds an MA and Ph.D. in international history (LSE 1974) and a BA (History & Pol. Sci.) from the University of Victoria (1967).  His career combined consulting with Fortune 500 multinational firms and international organizations with university teaching and research in Geneva, New York, Montréal and Ottawa. Guy was Director of the IMBA program at the University of Ottawa (2000-3) and Director of Technology & Innovation at the Conference Board of Canada. (2004-7) He taught international commerce at McGill and HEC, Montréal 1991-2007 and worked with l’Ecole polytechnique de Montréal (2007-8). His latest book, Rebuilding Liberalism, Dundurn Press, was published in July 2019. He lives in Beaconsfield, QC.

Stephen Fanjoy is a member of the Foresight Synergy Network organizing committee and a management consultant specializing in strategy, primarily in the domain of business software, including cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence and medical devices. He is an avid analyst of technology, political history and ethics. Stephen has previously presented to the FSN community, ”Technology and Democracy, Self-correcting or Collision Course?” and co-led a series of workshops on technology, democracy and autocracy. He is a graduate of the Dalhousie University School of Business and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

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FSN Seminar – April 25 at 1 pm via Zoom

Here are the slides –

Link to recording on youtube:

Please register in advance for this meeting:
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After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

TitleHarmonia Universalis: Perennial Wisdom and Future Design

Abstract: This presentation provides a review of the concept of harmony over the past 2,500 years, spanning classical Chinese and Greek civilization and into the modern era. Topics in physics, neuroscience, psychology, computer science and design. Implications are considered for sustainability design and global politics. If we want a harmonious future, we should design for it.

Bio: As an assistant professor of Human-Centered Design at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), The Netherlands, Derek Lomas researches design for wellbeing, the design of AI systems to support wellbeing and the role of resonance in interaction design. 

He has a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science (YaIe University), a master’s degree in Design (UC San Diego) and a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction (Carnegie Mellon University). He lives in Amsterdam with his family.

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FSN Seminar – March 17 at 1 pm EST via Zoom

We are pleased to introduce our second speaker of the 2022 season, Professor David Wolfe of the University of Toronto’s Innovation Policy Lab.

Recent years have taught us many things but one of them is the importance of successful innovation. The challenges of today and tomorrow are complex and coming fast. While Canadian research is world class, our performance at translating to commercial success through innovation that grows our economy and helps Canadians and the world is much less than we should expect. 

Please join us on March 17th to learn more about Canada’s innovation challenges and opportunities by registering in advance for this meeting:
<Deleted as event has passed>

Link on youtube for recording:

Canada’s Innovation Challenge: Current State of Industrial R&D in Canada

David A. Wolfe, PhD

Professor of Political Science and Co-Director, Innovation Policy Lab

University of Toronto

This presentation will discuss both the extent and the sources of weakness in Canada’s innovation system. The shortcomings of Canada’s innovation system are well documented in a series of recent reports on the state of innovation in the Canadian economy, particularly those from the Council of Canadian Academies, including its most recent report Competing in the Global Innovation Economy. The reports underline Canada’s failure to keep pace with some of its leading competitors. What is less evident is why Canada has failed to improve the performance of its innovation system over the past 40 years. Neither is it clear why Canada’s political institutions have failed to respond to the combined challenge of globalization and rapid technological change with a more effective policy framework to improve the innovative performance of domestic firms. The urgency of both these questions is accentuated by the growing strength of the platform economy and the rise of what the OECD labels ‘superstar firms’, as well as the pressures of climate change. The presentation will include some working hypotheses about why Canada has lagged the other members of the G7 in this respect and present some ideas about what needs to be done.

David A. Wolfe is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Co-Director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. From 1990 to 1993 he served as Executive Coordinator for Economic and Labour Policy in the Cabinet Office of the Government of Ontario. From 2009 to 2014 he was the Royal Bank Chair in Public and Economic Policy at the University of Toronto. He has served on three Expert Panels for the Council of Canadian Academies. He recently completed a six-year SSHRC-funded partnership grant on Creating Digital Opportunity for Canada. He has been a Research Associate for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and is the editor or co-editor of ten books and numerous scholarly articles. He is currently a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Council of Canadian Academies.

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FSN Seminar – March 8 at 1 pm EST

It certainly has been a busy and eventful start to 2022, between Omicron, convoys and upsetting geopolitics! Nonetheless, we hope that you and yours are doing well. 

We are very pleased to introduce our first speaker of the year. While pandemic simulation modeling is a practice that is nearly a century old, Gabriel A. Wainer of Carleton University will introduce us to some latest method innovations and explain how they have been applied to the challenge of understanding the spread of COVID-19. 

We look forward to seeing you on the 8th! See event details below!

FSN Seminar – March 8 at 1 pm EST

Cellular Models to study the spread of COVID-19


Gabriel A. Wainer

Professor, Department of Systems and Computer Engineering

Carleton University

<deleted as event has passed>


Simulation models based on the traditional Susceptible-Infectious-Recovered (SIR) equations have been used to predict the pandemic dynamics. These models are being used at present to predict the spread of the disease in most countries worldwide. Studies of COVID-19 are based on theoretical methods for infectious disease dynamics, which show how the disease spreads. The original model has been used since 1927, and it classifies the individuals involved in the transmission of the disease into those that are Susceptible to the virus, those who are Infectious and finally those who have Recovered. The SIR model was extended and adapted numerous times to study the progression of other diseases and advanced new techniques. For instance, modern models include equations to represent Exposed individuals (SEIR model). More recent advances defined for modeling the SARS epidemics included behavior for the latency of the disease, and the effect of quarantines. Similarly,  studies have investigated the effects of vaccination and isolation. These advanced models use network dynamics, ordinary differential equations, finite equation theory, and other theoretical studies on infectious diseases. Although these theoretical methods are useful to define the theory of disease, sometimes they are difficult to apply in practice.

As we have seen in the past few months, these methods, based on differential equations, are useful to predict the number of infected individuals, and to devise different global policies to control the pandemic. Nevertheless, these methods cannot be easily adapted to include newly available information on the disease, or to combine them with real world data on demand. Consequently, large teams of experts need to work together on models of the disease and their simulations, provide results with limited precision. Another major limitation of the theoretical models under use is the inability for mixing the results of the mathematical models with visualization tools and advanced graphical interfaces (including Geographical Information Systems – GIS -, Building Information Models – BIM -, and spatial diagrams). Such visualization tools are normally in high demand for better analysis and decision-making.

We will introduce and explain the main characteristics of a concept called the Cell-DEVS formalism and will show how to model complex cell spaces using Cell-DEVS with application to COVID-19. We will present different examples of application for simulation of the spread of disease and discuss open research issues in this area. We will then focus on simple models of SIR applied to COVID-19 and will show how to include the models of spread of disease at a geographical level, as well as discussing the definition of models for indoor spread using integration of BIM software and GIS.


GABRIEL A. WAINER received the M.Sc. (1993) at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Ph.D. (1998, with highest honors) at UBA/Université d’Aix-Marseille III, France. In July 2000 he joined the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering at Carleton University (Ottawa, ON, Canada), where he is now Full Professor. He is the author of three books and over 450 research articles; he edited four other books, and helped organizing numerous conferences, including being one of the founders of the Symposium on Theory of Modeling and Simulation, SIMUTools and SimAUD. Prof. Wainer is the Editor-in-Chief of SIMULATION, member of the Editorial Board of IEEE Computing in Science and Engineering, Wireless Networks (Elsevier), and Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation (SCS). He is the head of the Advanced Real-Time Simulation lab, located at Carleton University’s Centre for advanced Simulation and Visualization (V-Sim). He is a Fellow of SCS. For more information see:


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FSN Seminar – November 12 at 1 pm EST

The Long View of Science


Gord Deinstadt

Zoom info:

Register in advance for this meeting: <removed as event has passed>

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Update 2: Here is the recoded video –


Update 1: here are the slides


This webinar has as its main objective correcting some common misconceptions, for example: 

  • That religion and science have always been enemies 
  • That “real” science began with Galileo, and 
  • Linked to the above, that science is strictly a product of Western civilization. 

These old views have been disproven by historical research over the last 50 years.  The following examples will be explored in this webinar.

Greek philosophers started by teaching Asian philosophy, and in some cases claimed to be holy men similar to the Indian practice. However, it was a unique aspect of Greek culture that non-philosophers treated philosophy as a sport. Entrepreneurs held prize-fights for philosophers, debates in which the audience decided which philosopher should win the purse. From this competitive aspect arose a desire for arguments that would always convince anyone, what we now call “proof”. In the 6th century BCE Thales invented geometric proof. In the 4th century BCE Aristotle developed what we now call logic, that is proof by verbal argument. Neither of these had been developed anywhere before as far as we know.

Another unique aspect of Greek philosophy was the interest in explaining natural phenomena. Like Hinduism, Greco-Roman Paganism was a form of animism so traditionally everything was explained as the work of a spirit. However, Greeks had practical concerns, so they wanted to know about physical mechanisms that they could take advantage of. Hence Greek philosophy turned to physical mechanisms. For example, in the 5th century BC Anaxagoras of Clazomenae found the correct explanation for eclipses of the Sun and Moon. As far as I can determine he was the first to figure it out.

A third great discovery was the deduction that every substance in the world must consist of minute atoms, and that there must be a finite number of types of atoms.

In the 5th century CE the Western Roman Empire fell, after which Greco-Roman culture continued in the Eastern Empire and in various cities of Northern Italy. But learning was not completely lost in other parts of Latin Europe, rather it was taken over by the Catholic Church. In the 11th century the church established a school system (modelled on Plato’s Republic) with parish schools at the bottom and universities at the top. In the universities scientific research continued, carried out by Dominican friars.

In the 13th century Chinese chemists discovered what we now call gunpowder, but at the time it was used for fireworks. Within a century the knowledge reached Europeans who turned gunpowder into a means for propelling projectiles, (i.e., they invented the gun. That knowledge travelled East, and was soon employed by the Mongol Empire. The bi-continental gunpowder revolution had other consequences; in 1453 Constantinople fell to Turkish cannon but Venice continued as the last outpost of the Eastern Empire and refugee scholars from Constantinople helped to promote the Renaissance.

During Galileo’s life the Renaissance was in full swing. Galileo was himself a university teacher and therefore a Dominican friar. Galileo defended Copernicus’ proposal for geocentrism but he was unable to persuade the Church because it seemed that such a movement would defy known physics. (The same argument had been made in pre-Christian antiquity with the same outcome, so this was not Church prejudice.) Eventually Galileo invented a new physics of motion (later mathematized by Newton) which allowed for geocentrism, and the Church permitted him to publish and teach it. In his text Galileo makes mention of several tough physics puzzles, such as predicting the path of a cannonball fired from a cannon pointed vertically in a smoothly sailing ship. In the 1970s Marshall Claggett proved that these puzzles came from medieval texts, hence there was continuity in physics from antiquity right through to Galileo.

Medicine is another science that continued from antiquity to the modern era. Medical doctors continued circulating scientific literature right through the Middle Ages. Up until WWI medical schools still used textbooks written in antiquity by Celsus and Galen.

Chemistry is a special case. There were scientists doing chemistry right through the Middle Ages, but not in universities. Alchemists were both mystics and practical bench chemists. They were disapproved of by the Church but continued their work in private. Meanwhile the schoolmen did no experiments whatsoever but insisted on the ancient four elements. Finally, in the 18th century mainstream scientists including Newton and Lavoisier combined the praxis of alchemy with modern mathematical analysis to create what we now call chemistry. Although this case excludes the medieval schoolmen it still shows continuity, via private practice, from CE 100 right through to the modern era.

Brief Bio:

Gord Deinstadt has degrees in Classics and Philosophy and has taught Ancient Science and Technology at Carleton University on and off since 2007.  For those interested in the course you can find a profile under this course number TSES2305.

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FSN Seminar – October 22 at 1 pm EDT

Foresighting Government Science and Innovation in the New Normal


Jeff Kinder, Executive Director, Science and Innovation, Institute on Governance


Brian Colton, Research Associate, Institute on Governance


Update 1: here is the video of the presentation –


Update 2: here are the slides

Zoom info:

Register in advance for this meeting: <deleted as event has passed>

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing 
information about joining the meeting.

In the closing months of the Second World War, US President Roosevelt asked his science advisor, Vannevar Bush, how the nation could continue to benefit from research in peacetime as it had during the war. Dr. Bush’s report, Science: The Endless Frontier, outlined a basic compact in which society supports science with public funds and assures the scientific community a great deal of autonomy in exchange for the considerable but unpredictable benefits that can flow from the scientific enterprise.  
Fast forward 75 years, many of the underlying social, economic, cultural, and political assumptions in The Endless Frontier are outdated. The social contract is showing strain under decreasing trust, rising concerns about scientific integrity, and calls for more inclusion and diversity as Canada grapples with systemic racism and meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous people. Science and engineering are still necessary to help address society’s grand challenges and disruptive opportunities, but our approaches to the governance of science and innovation, research funding and performance, and how new knowledge and innovations are put to use must evolve in a ‘post-truth’ / ‘post-trust’ Canadian context.  
In December 2020, the Institute on Governance (IOG) launched Government Science and Innovation in the New Normal (GSINN), as a first phase of a multi-year, collaborative research initiative Beyond Endless Frontiers: Rethinking the Social Contract between Science and Society. GSINN is designed to support medium-term planning for the federal science and innovation departments and agencies, and begin an in-depth examination of the evolving relationship among science, innovation and society. Building on a hindsight exercise and multiple foresight workshops, GSINN is exploring how science and innovation can remain relevant in the new reality.


Jeff Kinder, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Innovation, Institute on Governance

Jeff has over 30 years of experience in government science, technology and innovation policy in the US and Canada.  His US experience includes the National Science Foundation, the National Academies and the Naval Research Laboratory.  

In Canada, Jeff has worked at Industry Canada, Natural Resources Canada and the Council of Science and Technology Advisors (CSTA), the external board that advised Cabinet on the management of federal S&T from 1998-2007.  With the CSTA, Jeff produced a series of key reports (SAGE, BEST, READ, STEPS, EDGE, SCOPE, LINKS and FOCUS) and held the pen on the Framework for Science and Technology Advice adopted by Cabinet in 2000.  In 2014, he supported the External Advisory Group on Government Science and Technology (the Knox Panel).  From 2015-2017, he led the Federal S&T Secretariat supporting the Minister of Science, the Deputy Minister Champion for Federal S&T and related initiatives, including the Federal S&T Infrastructure Initiative (now Laboratories Canada). 

He is now on interchange with the Institute on Governance where he leads IOG’s area of practice in science and innovation policy and governance. He has co-designed and co-delivers the Leadership Development Program in Science and Innovation (LDPSI) and co-leads the Government Science and Innovation in the New Normal (GSINN) collaborative research initiative.

At the University of Ottawa, Jeff is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP) and an adjunct at the Telfer School of Management where he co-teaches an executive-level course Managing for Innovation.  At Carleton University, Jeff has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in science, technology and innovation policy. Jeff is a member of the board of the Canadian Science Policy Centre, helped launch the Canadian Science Policy Conference and co-leads its Science Policy 101 workshops. He is a past member of the Advisory Council of the Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellows Program and a past co-chair of the Ottawa Science Policy Roundtable. 

He is author and co-editor with Paul Dufour of A Lantern on the Bow: A History of the Science Council of Canada and its Contributions to the Science and Innovation Policy Debate (Invenire, 2018), author of Government Science 2020: Re-thinking Public Science in a Networked Age (self published, 2013) and co-author with Bruce Doern of Strategic Science in the Public Interest: Canada’s Government Laboratories and Science-Based Agencies (U. Toronto Press, 2007). 

Jeff holds a PhD in public policy, a Master’s in science, technology and public policy, and a BS in physics.

Brian Colton

Associate, Institute on Governance

Brian Colton had a successful 32-year career with both the federal government and the government of Ontario, where he was well known and highly regarded for his skills and knowledge, both within and outside of government. He has a strong track record and reputation as a “confident leader and facilitator, a strong team builder, and mentor who can reach across organizational boundaries to get things done”.  He is the recipient of numerous federal government (departmental and national) awards for his teamwork, and project development.

Brian’s federal experience at IC/ISED, HC, and CFIA focussed on S&T/emerging technologies (biotechnology, nanotechnology, and synthetic biology) primarily in the health, and food sectors involving federal and provincial departments and agencies, academia and industry stakeholders. During his federal career, he gas co-led numerous interdepartmental future-focused projects,  a number of them with Jack Smith and Jonathan Calof.  From 2013 to 2019 at the National Research Council (NRC),  he was the Manager/Senior Analyst of the S&T Outlook/Foresight office where he worked on over ten major projects. He retired from the NRC in August 2019.

Brian’s provincial career included providing clinical and community based developmental supports and services to adults and children with developmental disabilities, and autism. He co-led a 7-year research investigation on the future of community-based support services for those with special needs, and long term care health.   

Brian studied at the undergraduate and graduate levels focused on the areas of developmental psychobiology, neuropharmacology, and biochemistry. Brian also studied business administration and supervision management at the Canadian School of Management/Oxford-Brookes University (UK), and Algonquin College. He completed foresight training programs with the University of Ottawa (Telfer), and Houston, and is trained in Advanced Facilitation skills.

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FSN Seminar – October 12 at 1:00 pm EDT

Computer and Network Security: How did we get here and is there a route out?


Peter Chapman

Founder and CEO, Haven Hardware AntiVirus Systems Inc.  


Update 1: here are the slides

Zoom Info.

Register in advance for this meeting: <deleted as event has passed>

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing 
information about joining the meeting.


This webinar will be a slightly technical overview of how we allowed a totally insecure network with insecure computers to be created and on which we depend upon today.  We begin with a description of the basic principles on how computers work, while avoiding the subtleties of today’s performance enhancing features.  This will include a little history on how we got here based on 1940s economics compared to today’s.

We will then turn to discuss operating systems, application software, and browsers, among other examples, by addressing what they are and how they interact.  This will be followed by a discussion on how malicious software is introduced into network and computer systems.

Why did the software industry move from highly functional products necessarily tried and tested, to product development today where speed to market and sloppy functionality and hidden background activity are enabled?  This raises the issue of what software do we really need with a focus on the Internet, the World Wide Web, the Browser and the Search Engine.  All great concepts; but frequently corrupted by money and exploitation interests (e.g., personal data of users).

Freeware, shareware and other good things exist out in the wild, and many are designed and built by good and honest people.  Then there is the “Walled Garden” concept, promoted by numerous high tech firms.  We will explore what it is and consider its drawbacks.  

This will lead to a discussion about who controls the network and our computer architectures; before turning to the topic of who should control them and finally, pose the questions: can we fix the current situation and should we fix it?


Peter Chapman is an engineer who has spent his professional life in the semiconductor and telecommunications industries. He spent many years at Nortel and had responsibility for software security programs. He has worked extensively on network architectures dealing with security and resilience.

After retiring from the corporate world he created a company developing safe network security products that address the problem of malware intrusions across telecommunication networks and in computer systems with solutions that do not depend on software for their security.  

Mr. Chapman is a Chartered Engineer and a member of the IET (UK).  He studied Electrical Engineering at Imperial College, University of London under an industrial scholarship from the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

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FSN Seminar – September 10 at 1 pm EDT

Update #2:

Seminar recording posted on YouTube:

Here are the slides:

Update #1:

Please register to attend at the following link: <Deleted as event has passed>

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Developing & Using Post-Pandemic Scenarios: Opportunities Abound!

by Greg MacGillivray, Arden Brummell & Alan Blue

Scenarios to Strategy Inc. (S2S) can be reached at:  

Introduction: S2S has been using Scenario Planning since 2005 and has applied a Foresight approach in the context of Scenario development to develop post-pandemic scenarios looking out to 2023 and beyond. This webinar will review and discuss the Scenario Planning process and will be followed by a lively discussion of the strategic implications the scenarios raise after this S2S’ presentation.

What: S2S has been working collaboratively with an ever evolving expert team to first build and then share the post-pandemic scenarios. With a focus on Canada and the post-pandemic future, we would like to share the scenarios to: (1) inform strategic decisions; and (2) build back better. Put another way, we want to (a) deliver real strategic value to Canadian organizations trying to make sense of an uncertain future organization; and (b) more broadly, inspire Canadians to embrace a renewed collective ambition of strengthening our social fabric and the communities where we live, work and play.

Who: S2S will be working collaboratively with (1) individual public, private and non-profit organizations; (2) multi-stakeholder groups and associations; and (3) member-based organizations (e.g., chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, chambers of voluntary organizations; etc.) to address these strategic opportunities. Here our aspiration is to help organizations not only survive but thrive post pandemic. More broadly, we will be engaging citizens in what ‘better’ looks like – better municipalities, better provinces (near-term focus on Alberta) and a better Canada. Our early thinking here is to develop a robust vision for each with strategies to achieve them.

How: The broad scenarios provide a head-start in the Scenarios-to-Strategy Process. We start by asking broad questions that explore what each scenario might mean to key stakeholders (e.g., specific public, private or non-profit organizations), specific variables (e.g., GDP, inflation, interest rates and oil prices) or important sectors (e.g., private, public, voluntary, energy, petrochemical, retail, services and travel). We then take a deeper dive into the specific implications for the organization(s) through a series of questions that bridge directly into the organization’s strategy. We deliver collaboratively designed, professionally facilitated online, face-to-face or hybrid sessions. The sessions are: (1) tailored to the specific audience and time they have available; (2) highly interactive and participatory conversations; and (3) designed to build shared understanding. S2S brings its design and facilitation experience and those with whom we collaborate with bring their expertise and knowledge of their focus/business and their community. S2S has a track record of success across a wide range of public, private and not-for-profit organizations and multi-stakeholder groups. Participants not only build a shared understanding of how the future could unfold, they build the ideas, relationships, alignment, engagement and performance that drive success.

You: We look forward to your thoughts, feedback and ideas on our work on August 27th.


Greg MacGillivray is Managing Director of S2S whose ‘why’ is Improving Organizations. After 20 years in the energy sector, where he fell in love with strategy, Greg founded S2S. With 15 associates across Canada, and in collaboration with many partners, S2S has developed effective ways for individuals, groups, organizations, multi-stakeholder groups and even jurisdictions to improve. Simple approaches that help people build the ideas, relationships, alignment, engagement and performance that drives success. Through the course of more than 100 engagements for more than 50 clients since 2005, S2S has earned a Net Promoter Score of 9.4/10 that is supported by generous client testimonials. S2S is also looking to take its practice global in 2021. Strategic conversation. Action. Success!

Greg believes that connection is the cure to what ails people, organizations, economies and the planet. He supports the shift to capitalism with purpose and his life’s work is creating a world where everyone is enough, has enough and contributes their best. He has supported more than 50 not-for-profits, was an active sports coach for 15 years, started an award-winning corporate volunteer program while at Suncor, and has sat on a variety of boards. He also enjoys outdoor pursuits and spending quality time with his wife Marilyn, son Michael and anyone who believes in better.

Arden Brummell is Managing Director of S2S, a firm that listens, then designs & facilitates strategic conversations that use scenario, strategic planning & facilitation processes to build the ideas, relationships & alignment that drive success.

Arden has over 30 years of experience in strategic management with a primary focus on the use of scenario planning to promote organizational learning and strategy development. After 5 years as a professor of urban economic geography, Arden joined Shell Canada. Arden participated on the original scenario development team at Shell, later became head of scenario and strategic studies and was seconded twice to London to Shell’s global scenario team, where he led studies on the future of the then Soviet Union, Africa and Latin America utilizing highly interactive and intensive learning workshop processes.

In addition to founding Decision Futures Inc. and Global Business Network Canada, Arden joined Greg MacGillivray in establishing Scenarios to Strategy Inc. Arden has helped a variety of large and small organizations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors understand change, focus on their priorities and implement better strategic decisions. He has been an active volunteer for several non-profit community organizations. S

Alan Blue is a Senior Associate of S2S, a firm that listens, then designs & facilitates strategic conversations that use scenario, strategic planning & facilitation processes to build the ideas, relationships & alignment that drive success

Alan has over 50 years’ experience in business. This includes 35 years in the Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies in upstream, downstream, gas and power and heavy oil divisions. His positions included VP in Marketing, the President of a Shell subsidiary and Global Manager of another Shell business. Alan also brings a broad diversity of experience at the senior manager level.

After quickly failing retirement, Alan continues to work as a management consultant. He does so in industry, with various levels of government, and as an aspirational speaker. He also works as the head of North American marketing for the world’s largest air-cooled, industrial heat exchanger manufacturer and for a large Japanese conglomerate. Alan also worked as a consultant to Shell for some 15 years.

This experience has given Alan a passion to assist businesses in driving towards top-quartile performance. He emphasizes the importance of developing a commercial mindset and understanding how to set up teams that get results (e.g., skills needed, team norms, conflict resolution, etc.). He is also focused on building a shared understanding of how people (e.g., individuals, colleagues, third parties, supervisors, etc.) make decisions and how this information can be used to result in better decisions for your company.

Alan graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Economics and from the University of Life with a post-graduate degree in very real practical business experience. He has also served on the Board of Directors for two different enterprises.

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FSN Seminar – July 30, 2021 at 1 pm EDT

FSN Seminar – July 30, 2021 via Zoom from 13:00 – 15:30 EDT

Update #1: Here are the slides

Please register to attend by [deleted as event has passed]

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Part 2 – How to develop the 6G mobile network that people need – Research and Standards

Speaker: Dr. Nigel Jefferies, Chairman, Wireless World Research Forum  




This is Part 2 of a two-part webinar on the topic of ‘next-generation’ wireless communications.  There’s always an assumption that every ten years or so, we need a new mobile generation, driven by significant increase in available bitrates. After the success of a global standard for 5G, currently being rolled out to consumers worldwide, thoughts are now turning to what the next generation should look like. Questions about the viability of the current business model, the demands of sustainability and affordability, the chance to deliver on global coverage, new and emerging technologies (including AI, quantum technologies, new materials and new device technologies) and new markets will all play a part.

Following Part 1, which gave a brief overview of the history of wireless radio communications and in particular the various ‘generations’ over the past 40 some years, Part 2 will discuss the ideas behind the global research efforts for 5G and 6G, with an emphasis on how 6G is being developed to meet the United Nations 2030 Sustainability Goals.   


Nigel, who is based in the United Kingdom, has many years of experience in the wireless communications industry, starting with the development of security technologies in 2G systems. He has worked as researcher and standards expert for Vodafone Group and for Huawei Technologies, and currently chairs the Wireless World Research Forum, which brings together industry and academia to develop the research agenda for future mobile systems. He is a Chartered Mathematician and Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and a Senior Member of the IEEE.