Coming soon: The Heroic Future


Here's the latest info on our upcoming talk series

“Free your mind,” the philosopher George Clinton wrote, “and your ass will follow.”

Wise words, and never wiser than in this time of planetary crisis. Living surrounded as we are by massive climate and environmental problems, struggling to meet the development needs of billions, and bogged down by economic inequality and political corruption, it’s easy to focus on all the ways humanity seems locked in a downwards spiral. When every successful future seems to demand heroic efforts, it’s easy to look ahead and see only darkness and failure.

What if we could see the future in a different light? What if we could unpack the problems around us, in a way that broke down massive change into graspable parts? What if we could discover better solutions scattered all around us? What if we could learn new, disruptive approaches to creating sustainable prosperity that could blow past delay, denial and corruption? What if doing the heroic was not a matter just of power, but of vision? What if seeing the future we want is the key to actually building it?

That’s the premise of The Heroic Future — a three-part series of talks given by planetary futurist Alex Steffen, delivered in San Francisco’s historic Marines’ Memorial Theatre over three nights (September 20th, 21st and 22nd).

The Heroic Future takes us on a journey into the kind of future we need to build — but have not yet imagined.

The first night is all about the big picture. We’ll discover new, empowering insights into the steepening problems we face as billions of people seek to make good lives on a planet of strained limits and growing conflicts. Having strong systems insight, we’ll find, gives us leverage on all the problems we face, from the planetary to local.

The second night, we’ll hear about the heartening capacities (and unexpected limits) of our current tools for building a more sustainable, dynamic, equitable future. Power from the sun, wind and waves; affordable green building; bicycles and transit in pedestrian-focused cities; cleantech, the sharing economy and sustainable design: all point the way towards sustainable prosperity. At the same time, our need to act on a massive scale, very quickly, makes us question the ability of today’s sustainability solutions to measure up.

Most of all, though, Steffen will take us into the future itself. On the third night, we’ll explore a world in which shifting generational politics, worldchanging designs and technologies, radical new models of organizing work and creating value, new mental tools (from design thinking to futurecraft) and a cultural renaissance are combining to give us the power to rapidly remake the world around us — if we’re bold enough to act. To wrap it all up, Steffen will offer a sneak peek into the work he and his team have been doing on a new approach to foresight and storytelling, one that may well be able to help us more easily “free our minds.”

Along the way, Steffen will share his humor, his personal stories and a wealth of insights gleaned from 25 years as a trailblazer in the field of planetary futurism.

These will be exciting, adventurous, mind-blowing talks. You won’t want to miss them.

A few tickets for these talks are still available:

About Alex Steffen

  • Alex Steffen is an award-winning writer, speaker and foresight consultant, “One of the world’s leading voices on sustainability and the future of the planet” (Vancouver Sun).
  • In 2013–2014, he was Planetary Futurist in Residence at the design and innovation firm IDEO. He has also advised some of the world’s most forward-looking institutions, investors, philanthropists and NGOs.
  • His 2012 book Carbon Zero: Imagining cities that can save the planet is an exploration of the kinds of design, technological and policy innovations that can transform our cities into low-carbon engines of prosperity.
  • From 2003–2010, he ran the pioneering sustainability and social innovation project, and edited two best-sellingWorldchanging books, with introductions by Al Gore and Bill McKibben.
  • Alex is a prolific writer and public thinker, having written thousands of pieces, been profiled in numerous media interviews and given hundreds of talks to audiences around the world, including two TED Conference talks.
  • He can be found at, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Medium and through his newsletter.

About The Heroic Future:

  • The Heroic Future is the product of five years of research by Steffen and his team.
  • These talks will be presented at the lovely and historic Marines’ Memorial Theatre.
  • Each of the three nights (September 20th, 21st and 22nd) will cover different content.
  • Each night, doors will open at 6:30pm with curtain at 7:00pm.
  • These talks were made possible by the 575 backers who pledged $77,253 on Kickstarter to fund their creation.

Select media coverage of the project can be found:

For more information, check back at and RSVP on Facebook at

“There are two kinds of futurists. The first explore the variations of what exists and project the future from those tea leaves. The second, and by far the rarer, peer around the curve of time and reimagine the future as much as foresee it. Alex Steffen is the latter!”
–Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism and CEO, OneSun