Cynthia Selin

Cynthia Selin

Associate Fellow

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Dr Cynthia Selin is an associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University.

Cynthia investigates and invents methodologies for making sense of change and is intrigued by more theoretical questions about anticipation and imagination. By creating new methods, concepts and platforms for confronting uncertainties, her work – as a social scientist and scenario practitioner – stimulates improved strategic capacities and foresight.

She has written numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and peer-reviewed special issues focused on strategy, foresight, innovation and sustainability. She speaks internationally about scenario planning and other cutting-edge foresight and strategy practices.

Cynthia holds a BA in American Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz, a MA in Science and Technology Studies from Roskilde University (Denmark), and a PhD in Knowledge and Management from Copenhagen Business School’s Institute for Politics, Philosophy and Management.



Cynthia's research explores the nature of future-orientation, methods for handling unpredictable uncertainty, and the intersections between sustainability and innovation. 

Her interests and practice are animated by questions about how emerging technologies transform business and society. As the speed of change accelerates and more systemic novelty is generated, on what basis can decisions be made? How is radical uncertainty in the context of innovation best managed?

Cynthia has investigated foresight in relation to the social, ethical and political dimensions of emerging technologies and how the future acts as a resource to make sense of the socio-political uncertainties, ambiguities and complexities surrounding new technologies. 



Cynthia is a strategist who works largely in emerging technology fields. She develops new tools to help diverse communities and organisations prepare for unpredictable futures and better manage innovation. Building on more than 15 years’ experience with scenario planning, she works with an array of clients to help clarify problems, test strategies, identify new opportunities, articulate policy options, all the while enhancing their ability to act with foresight.

Cynthia has consulted with organisations from around the world, across a wide variety of industries, from energy and high technology to legal and financial services. She has conducted scenario and strategic planning for large companies, utilities, non-profits, laboratories and cities.


Cynthia is a member of the team on the award-winning Oxford Scenarios Programme.

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