Josh Floyd is Energy, Systems and Society Fellow at The Rescope Project. His work particularly involves the application of foresight techniques and practices to addressing sustainability challenges. Prior to studying and working in this area, he worked as a mechanical engineer in the extractive metallurgy industry, designing and commissioning high-temperature base metal processing plants located around the world. He has a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering from Monash University, and a Master of Science degree in strategic foresight from Swinburne University of Technology.
As a foresight practitioner, Josh works with organisations and groups to develop high-quality forward views as the basis for guiding action in the present. His engineering background provides a technically rigorous foundation for this, by connecting the more abstract work of envisaging possible and preferred futures with more concrete questions of real-world feasibility. He has also worked in post-graduate sustainability education since 2004, designing and teaching subjects in sustainability thinking and practice, and energy futures. This has involved introducing students from non-science backgrounds to energetics. His energy teaching is informed by his own experience as a student studying engineering thermodynamics, and the subsequent practical experience of applying this to engineering design practice. This provided an opportunity to look at what energetics deals with more fundamentally, which in turn has informed the ideas investigated in this blog.
Josh’s transition from engineering practice to his current area of work was motivated by an interest that he’d held since childhood (though rarely discussed at that time!) in the relationship between oil and society. Some time in the late 1970s, while still under the age of ten, he recalls “designing” a coal-fired steam car, as a response to hearing about the finite nature of our crude oil endowment. From that time onward, he wondered about, and was concerned for, the long term prospects for humanity. The questions that this raised didn’t seem to recede with time, and eventually led him along his present path. Today he tries with varying degrees of success to live in ways consistent with the encroachment of what appear to be rather serious resource and environmental limits—at least, to the extent that his family will tolerate.
Since the late 1990s, Josh has increasingly adopted a systems orientation to his practice. Initially his preference for thinking in this way seemed to be a personal idiosyncrasy—it was some years before he learned that systems is a recognised field of practice and research, as well as apparently being one possible natural learning response to encountering situations that seem to confound more conventional non-systemic or “linear” thinking. Josh has worked with leading practitioner-researchers in the systems field. Today he regards this as foundational for his foresight and sustainability practice.
Further background on Josh’s foresight practice is available at joshfloyd.com. His professional practice focuses principally on enabling general foresight capacity in organisations and groups, as reflected in that site’s content. The energy focus of this blog reflects his particular area of content specialisation, within a broader concern with foresight as participatory process amongst collectives of people.
Josh’s journal and conference publications are focused mainly in the futures studies and foresight area, but extend also into sustainability thinking and learning. Follow these links for a list of publications and related writing.