Futures Lab

Futures Lab Champions

Libraries & Sources of Disruption

In 2018 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed an audience of world leaders in Davos, Switzerland famously saying, “The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again.” Since then we’ve experienced even greater acceleration of change, including the remarkable intensification of pandemic and post-pandemic era technological advancement and social upheaval.

Other eras have not been immune from massive technological or social disruption due to paradigm shifts, but the exponential nature of recent change gives many people a sense that it is getting harder to keep up, especially with tech. Many futurists, social scientists, and other academics agree that we are at a critical juncture and we have been driven there by a convergence of discreet but interconnected trends and drivers of change.

These changes are converging on all industries and sectors, and libraries are not immune. The Futures Lab Champions were founded to “ensure that public libraries will have the skills and insights needed to be ready for whatever the future brings.” As part of this effort, the Champions explored signals, trends, and drives of change, utilizing a framework established by New York University strategic foresight professor Amy Webb, titled the Eleven Sources of Macro Disruption. These disruptive forces are broad domains that influence individuals and organizations regardless of their industries, interests, or geographies.

Champions Teams

The Instructors: Develop training tools and resources to help build innovation capabilities and confidence in libraries.


  • Develop survey to assess innovation maturity across libraries and roles
  • Develop training tools and resources for libraries to share with staff and incorporate into development programs


  • Charles Leung, Richmond Public Library (Lead)
  • Susan Hastings, Idea Exchange
  • Sarah Idem, Regina Public Library
  • Dale Liebrecht, Saskatoon Public Library
  • Karla Palichuk, Yellowhead Regional Library System
  • Lilian Pintos, Vancouver Public Library
  • Faith Robinson, Markham Public Libraries
  • Heidi Schiller, Burnaby Public Library

The Influencers: Develop content (speakers, emails, etc) that provides libraries with opportunities to learn about future trends and how they may impact our sector.


  • Develop and deliver “Forward Thinking” speaker series for library staff that builds understanding and awareness about the priority future areas identified by CULC/CBUC Members
  • Creation of a regular e-newsletter


  • Meg Uttangi Matsos, Burlington Public Library, Lead
  • Rahul Sabu Joseph, Brampton Library
  • Marcella Haanstra, St. Catharines Public Library
  • Laura Taylor, Marigold Library System
  • Emily Tyschenko, Guelph Public Library
  • Ab Velasco, Toronto Public Library
The Explorers: Facilitate and encourage the sharing of new initiatives and tests that libraries are working on and the learnings coming out of those projects.


  • Develop a digital portal where libraries can input details of new projects and learnings
  • Develop case studies that can be shared with the library network


  • Shaun McDonough, Richmond Hill Public Library, Lead
  • Claire Badali, Surrey Libraries
  • Daniel Caschera, Oakville Public Library
  • Alison Clarke, Brampton Library
  • Chris Moore, Pickering Public Library
  • Alison Smedley, Ottawa Public Library
  • Tommy Sunthorn, Vaughan Public Libraries

Terms of Reference


  • Be our points of contact to ensure The Futures Lab is tapped in to all of our challenges and opportunities;
  • Form working groups to develop the insights and resources to support the goals of the Future Lab;
  • Support with local on-the-ground awareness, training and momentum-building for the Futures Lab work.


  • Membership of each team is determined by a Steering Committee Sponsor based on volunteer submissions
  • Each team elects a Team Lead, who reports to a Steering Committee Sponsor
  • Microsoft Teams channel available if needed via CULC/CBUC
  • Information on the Futures Lab included in the CULC/CBUC website
  • Administrative support provided CULC/CBUC

Indicators of Success

  • Uptake or adoption of Futures Lab events, tools, and other resources
  • Each Team will have their own projects and deliverables

Working Group “Champions” Teams

  • Three teams:
    1. Innovation Capability (nicknamed The Instructors)
    2. Futures Awareness (nicknamed The Influencers)
    3. Pilot Sharing (nicknamed The Explorers)
  • One year membership; with option to re-commit each year
  • Volunteers recruited through open call to libraries via member CEOs – looking for people with relevant skills and/or enthusiasm for subject matter
  • Meeting frequency and methods of work are determined by each Team Lead
  • Work plans and projects are determined for each Team
  • Create and deliver work, and provide updates to Steering Committee
  • Meetings are held virtually

If you missed the call originally and know someone in your institution who would be a good fit, here is the link for the Futures Champions: