@LisaSul chats with #SPSM about #Futurology and #Suicide #Prevention, 4/23/17, 9pCT

Lisa Sullivan chats with #SPSM about the role that futurology could play in suicide prevention efforts, 4/23/17, 9pCT.

Watch us LIVE here:

As Wayne Gretsky said (and Steve Jobs and practically everyone else in the tech industry likes to quote: ” “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”  Future studies is a disciple that tries to apply past and present patterns in human society to help us imagine ways that the world might change (or not) in the emerging and also distant future. It’s probably not well known that @DocForeman and Tony Wood were applying future studies techniques as early 2007 in order to strategize about the challenges in mental health and the opportunities for change and innovation in this field. In fact, in many ways this is how SPSM emerged, as a careful and strategic consideration of how to meet needs in mental health using breakthrough technology and science.

Lisa Sullivan, active member of the #SPSM community shared that she has a prior background in future studies and offered to lead an #SPSM chat that introduced futurology and helped our community apply some of these ideas to suicide prevention. We hope you’ll watch us LIVE and be ready to tweet out your ideas and thoughts on some of her notes:

  • The role of imaging in creating the best possible future:
    • Imaging is a vital tool for the creating the potential future. From a futures perspective, people who suffer trauma perceive their “best future” has already happened….in the past. How do we create a positive image of the future to grow into when there’s been trauma.  What futures tools are available to help that process (scenarios, sci-fi etc).
  • The Bucky Fuller Dymaxion Map:  Maybe we are thinking about the problem domain all wrong? https://www.bfi.org/about-fuller/big-ideas/dymaxion-world/dymaxion-map.  I use this concept frequently in my strategy practice.  A while back, in working with a global energy company, we used it to reconfigure operations and locations of their regional offices. By thinking about the physical shape of our world differently, they were able to get different outcomes.  How can we look at a Dymaxion Map of a social construct like suicide prevention in a similar way?
    • What if we “flattened” suicide prevention like Fuller did with the Dymaxion Map?  Is there an analogy here for mental health?
  • The Concept of the Seven Tomorrows
    • This work immediately came to my mind when discussing why music, TV shows,  especially “throw backs” like Dr. Who that are long running or revitalized for current times.  Hawken, Ogilvy, and Schwartz designed seven scenarios that the propose underlie forecasting and futures.  Each of these ( The Official Future, Mature Calm, The Center Holds, Apocalyptic Transformation, Chronic Breakdown, Living Within Our Means,  Beginnings of Sorrow) hold different implications for social systems and social transformations.   Might it also inform suicide prevention?  For instance, during times of throw-back music or television series, that is often indicative of the “Chronic Breakdown” scenario structure.  Can we amplify our suicide prevention approaches by matching it to the current societal framework using a model like this? Is there a piece here that can correlate social structure to corresponding resiliency tools?
  • How Buildings Learn  – Stewart Brand’s work
    • This fascinates me because I believe there’s an anchor that correlates building structures to social structures.  Social systems (like government agencies, for instance) are constructed in advance of actual use of these systems, much like buildings.  However, over time, buildings evolve based on how people who “live” in these buildings use the space.  Oftentimes, our social structures are less flexible and antiquated than our physical structures.   So:  imagine an architect has constructed a building. The architect decides where to put the sidewalks.  (Just like our social structures decide how and where people get mental health care).  Over time and organically, often a pathway is worn into the grass connecting two buildings.  It’s easy to see it’s the shortest path, but when the architect designed it, this shorter pathway wasn’t visible.   Is that true for suicide prevention and intervention?  What is the most efficient and effective path?  What are we learning from our systems feedback mechanisms.
  • There is no “one” future.  How can that philosophy be applied to suicide prevention while still maintaining efficient use of such limited resources?
    • Rather than searching for the perfect answer, how can we better enable a scenario-based model that takes a little bit of each scenario and creates a strategy that works for the majority of the potential situations?
  • The Futures Mantra:  It’s better to be approximately right than precisely wrong
    • Lots of things to tie into this, but when we are focusing more and more on data and precision…..is there a balance we should be striving for between approximation and precision in suicide prevention?


Through her work with @StopTXSuicides, Lisa Sullivan works closely with Texas Suicide Prevention Council, co-coordinating a variety of tasks for this vital community resource for Texas suicide prevention. This network of over 60 local, regional, and statewide partners and coalitions serve to collectively implement the Texas State Suicide Prevention Plan.

Her suicide prevention responsibilities include a wide range of social media, training, app management, program development, and other management activities.  Of particular note, Lisa has coordinated the @StopTXSuicides #TxSP Symposium for five years, bringing together national, state, and local thought leaders, experts, and advocates to elevate and improve suicide prevention initiatives through community partners, education institutions, mental health providers, military and veteran service providers, and others. Widely recognized as a leader in suicide prevention training, education, and development, the #TxSP Symposiums regularly attract audiences in the 800+ range and garner over 10 million social media impressions throughout Texas and beyond.

Lisa also serves as the primary point of contact for the Council’s work in the areas veteran and military initiatives and works to ensure the Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Plan and the VA Suicide Prevention Plan, are incorporated into the community suicide prevention framework within the Texas State Suicide Prevention Plan.

As President of INFUSE Corporation, Lisa has designed and executed a broad range of futures research and strategy projects for clients including: Fortune 100 organizations, industry associations, research consortia and state government. She has been affiliated with the Software Engineering Professional Education Center and the Research Institute for Computing and Information Sciences at the University of Houston. Lisa served as a planning contractor with NASA-Johnson Space Center. She was formerly a senior associate and futurist with Technology Futures, Inc., and has authored or co-authored more than 20 studies on the future in areas such as: aerospace, information technologies, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, energy, consumer values and lifestyles and education.

Lisa holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Elmhurst College and a Masters of Science in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

In addition to her academic degrees, Lisa also holds the following credentials: Certified ASIST Military Trainer, Certified ASK Trainer, Certified Working Minds Trainer, CALM First Responders, FEMA IS-100.b, FEMA IS-200.b and IS-700.a

Lisa is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Austin Council of the Navy League; chaired the Eanes ISD School Health Advisory Committee; is member of the World Futures Studies Federation; and a Founding Member of the Association for Professional Futurists.  Her volunteer work has also included the TeenCERT Program, United States Sea Cadet Corps and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

About spsmchat

Suicide Prevention Social Media: Weekly chats, expert guests. Sundays at 6pm PT/9pm ET. Live-streaming at Twitter.com/spsmchat. Watch past shows on our blog. Hosted by Rudy Caseres. #SPSM
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s