I’m a traveling thinker who has always been restless with the categories of knowledge used in academia, business and political spheres and am starting this blog to compose thoughts about politics, technology, health, economics, theory or whatever else I run into in my daily life. Gilles Deleuze coined the term “nomadic thought” to capture the forms of thought for those who do not “belong” in any one physical space, those who refuse to accept the conditions of the State, or for that matter, the categories of political experience and existence imposed on them. Philosophical nomadism for Deleuze and Guattari was an attempt to think outside of established structures of thought, an attempt to make new connections, or to think rhizomatically as they might have it. Trees have caused too much suffering, they cautioned, rhizomes without singular origins were a better metaphor for thinking, for becoming and finding more life affirming forms of existence. While this will not be a blog about philosophy I find these words useful for thinking about contemporary challenges in health, in politics, in what we call “innovation” and “entrepreneurship” as well as for thinking about the possible future(s) we face. Many may find this odd, an engagement with philosophy and business and politics and whatever else. I have no pretensions of being a purist but am excited about the challenges we face in the present and future. Having worked professionally as a “forecaster” in recent years with many business, government and non-profit clients I find the ways that we think about the future flawed, unreflexive and endowed with considerable hubris. Yet, thinking critically about the present and future is growing ever more important for all of us and should not be left to the futurists alone. I’m writing on the day after Barack Obama’s inauguration as president of the United States, a time when “hope” is what carries many of us forward into what feels like a growing socio-economic abyss. Hope can also feel rather utopian at times, untethered from the forms of critical thought that I prefer, yet I personally ‘hope’ that the nightmare of the past eight years can be transcended and fuel something constructive and more life affirming than the discourses that have dominated our existence throughout this period.
My interests range from African politics, health and development to new urbanism(s) and sustainability to anthropology and science and technology studies. Throughout my career I’ve worked on projects as varied as the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (1991-92), to the Rwandan genocide (mid-late 1990s) and more recently in the areas of innovation and futures studies for corporate and non-corporate clients. I have a strong interest in mobile and wireless technologies as well as Islamic economics and finance. I hope this blog will be a place where readers can find unexpected connections from the juxtapositions of these varied interests and, if I’m successful, provoke new conversations leading to new combinations and concepts that capable of changing how we think and act. We’ll see.