Practice

Dark Swan Institute is a creative and strategic consultancy built on doubt and uncertainty. We don't know what the future is, and that means we could build a future that isn't the one we're all expecting.

A significant aspect of our insights are that they land about 5-8 years early for market. Sometimes less, occasionally more. But for some reason our 'today' is your tomorrow.  See the past

What we do

There are several parables about elephants.
One asks: How do you eat an elephant?
Another alludes to ‘the elephant in the room’.
The third tells how blindfolded humans might describe an elephant.
The elephant never seems to respond.

The metaphor of the elephant is always benign but impossibly large, a huge opportunity, uncompassable, beyond our appetite, or capacity, all the things you can perceive but cannot articulate. The patterns you don’t want to recognise, or challenges too big to take on. It's a lot, basically.

We see / examine / point at / generally observe Elephants, and make them encompassable. Especially Future Elephants. Elephants are cool.

Dark Swan create safe environments to work on long- and short-term issues, challenges, opportunities, briefs and explore multiple, intersectional, temporal, economic, political and social perspectives from which you can develop your ideas. Safe spaces mean discretion is paramount. 

We talk about elephants. Whatever your elephant is. Even if you can't see it.

Who we work with

Sectors we WORK with

  • Corporations & startups.
  • Creative Industries
  • Politicians & Lobbyists
  • Traditional Media
  • NFP, NGO’s and Third sector

Communities we ENGAGE with

PEOPLE who are | are not

  • first nation | colonist
  • immigrant | citizen
  • refugee | resident
  • non-male | masc / male
  • non-white | caucasian
  • non-heterosexual | heterosexual
  • trans & non-binary | cis (or, normal if offended by 'cis')
  • intersex | normal
  • non-english speaking | speak English
  • non-western | "western"
  • disenfranchised | enfranchised
  • poor | normal
  • homeless | normal
  • mothers | not mothers?
  • veterans | civilian
  • disabled | normal
  • Deaf | normal
  • neurodiverse | neurotypical
  • autistic | allistic / normal
  • mental | sane
  • queer | normal / straight
  • plus-sized | straight-sized [inc. pint-sized]

How we work

  1. You talk to Beth (email)
  2. Coffee with Tea (online or in person) [Approx 20-30 mins]
  3. You talk to Beth again and discuss next steps.
  4. We figure out if we want to do it and make a suggestion.
  • Speaking opportunities are handled by Zoe Vaughan at Claxtons.
  • Our literary agent is xx at Susannah Lee Associates

For example

Talking

  • 1 to 1 conversations
  • Mentoring
  • Strategy coffee

Coaching

  • Internal teams
  • Organisational structure

Writing

  • Articles / Op Eds
  • Community Reports
  • Foundation Insights / Reviews

Creative collaborations

Project-based:

  • Alongside external agencies
  • Embed with internal teams

One-off or Retainers for:

  • Brainstorms
  • Workshops
  • Training / Coaching

Speaking & Panels

  • Internal talks
  • Public events
  • Online content
  • Charitable and NFP
  • Academic residencies

Diversity & Inclusion

  • Board member / advisor
  • Bespoke Think Tank / Brain Trusts - DS form an independent group of thinkers and specialists to collaborate with.
  • Advisor / Expert Roles
  • Community liaison / relationships

Deliverables

You tell us.

Unless you wish to make a recording or request a report we have no specified deliverables. Your “takeaway” will be what you take away.

Presentations and vision movies are just proof of work. Like elaborate illustrated receipts. We prefer you receive what you need, and receipts be sent by email.

Our engagements are not recorded, documented or presented unless specifically requested.

Disclosure: Anything you tell us is immediately confidential and private. We work with communities that live in fear all their lives. We understand non-disclosure and consider any interaction to be bound by that. 

We do not do IP agreements. Any intellectual property shared by Dark Swan is provided to you for unrestricted commercial use in perpetuity however it is non-confidential and non-exclusive . We do not accept equity in lieu nor do we enter into working arrangements that infer exclusive or propriety status regarding our IP. 

We will request permission before communicating shared success stories and would ask that you do the same.

“The future has arrived — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

- William Gibson, like, 35 years ago.           
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