How we did it

1. Signal Scanning
Signal scanning is the always-on engine that fuels our entire research process. From #ai-algorithms and #media-brands to #aesthetics, #environment and #education, our channels explore broad cultural pillars and specific trends alike. Signal scanning serves as an evolving platform for collective curation, sense-making, and discussion of what’s next; and it all happens at RADAR HQ on Discord.

2. SuperCuration
In this pre-research process, a select group of high-signal members were tasked with sifting through the community’s shared signals to identify ‘trend constellations’. Made up of different behaviors, values, and cultural anomalies that hint at meaningful emerging shifts, trend constellations are an indicator that a coherent story is emerging. Collectively, our SuperCurators brought forward 40 constellations; after several rounds of discussion and community feedback, we anonymously scored them using our Futures Criteria rubric to define a clear path forward. 1500 → 40 → 22 → 10 → 1!

3. Briefing
With our priority constellation defined through the SuperCuration process, the research lead (in this case, @keels223) compiled the information and inspiration gathered into an internal brief. This one page document offered an overview of the constellation along with the necessary background, and set the course for further exploration.

4. Kick-Off
While we defined the path we wanted to explore, we also recruited a rockstar project team. With a brief in hand, we held our first kickoff session: Discussing and aligning on the brief, and distributing tasks across a truly global team of contributors from Chicago, Lisbon, Berlin, New Delhi, Bali, and Melbourne.

5. Research
Over the course of four weeks we dove deep into our possible future. Using both primary and secondary research to explore the underpinnings of what’s happening, we unpacked the consequences and future-forward implications of finding our way to A Future In Sync. We spoke to seven experts and heard from dozens more — a mix of influential voices from fields of interest and friends of the RADAR community from around the globe. We also tapped into the wisdom of the DAO, leveraging conversation threads to crowdsource information and inspiration from within RADAR itself.

And we did it all with our philosophy of vertical and horizontal contextualization in mind: Seeking breadth and depth across time and space to ensure our perspectives were steeped in past, present, and future wisdom, and truly inclusive in nature.

6. Converge
After weeks spent diverging, the project team surfaced the insights they’d gathered to the community in the form of a Miro Map, and an accompanying presentation. This moment of convergence set the stage for our future mapping process, and gave the community both a moment to breathe and an opportunity to get excited about what’s to come.

7. Future Mapping
Using a philosophy of three Ps, our future mapping approach helped us set the path for the incubation and delivery stages — finding the intersection between push and pull in order to plot our path forward. Through a series of collaborative sessions, we gathered critical voices in the community — from the project team to the research and incubate squads and beyond — to bring our map of the future to life.

8. Reporting
Well, here we are! It’s all thanks to an amazing squad of writers, editors, designers, builders, and community members who helped bring this work to life. We hope you’ll feel each and every one of their superpowers at play as you navigate through this report.  

9. Hand-off to Incubate
And what happens now? Well, it’s out of our (the research squad’s) hands. Mostly, at least. We’ll be working closely with the incubate squad to ensure that the research and futures mapping process grounds and inspires the exploration that will be done in this phase (without constricting creativity and wild ideation).

Our regen twist on a hackathon, the FUTURETHON is a series of free online events, hosted over seven days (starting October 17) for non-technical and technical builders alike to create a better future with the RADAR community (with this very report as its foundation for ideation). Find out more and register your interest here by September 30!

If you’re trying to read this RADAR report on mobile, don’t. Just don’t.

Grab a water, grab a seat, and cozy up in front of a bigger screen — because you’re in for a wild ride