Look around: We are crafting the future

On Wednesday we hosted our #19 IIAB Talk - this time on Future Craft, asking our speakers, our audience, how we might create a space for businesses and organisations to ensure agency and relevancy in the future by understanding both mega trends that will bring change all around us and fundamental human needs and experiences that will be much more stable. As one of the speakers stated:

“The future is not disconnected from the present; our behaviours, values, norms, and even how we imagine the future will shape how things look tomorrow.”

We hosted a mixed group of nearly 200 future thinkers to share our space, and to reflect on and discuss the craft we use to design the future in a meaningful and purposeful way. We invited four diverse speakers to help us understand the task at hand, and open up to the many ways of working with the future; how to navigate mega trends, how to ensure we are designing for real needs even when doing so for future users, and how to bring perspectives from technology and the broader system to find the best solutions.

Here are our 3 key take aways from the event

  • Innovate outside the vacuum of silo-ed industries. The key to creating meaningful long-term solutions is collaborative and systemic thinking. The ones responsible for thinking proactively and taking responsibility for designing the future are not, and should not be, one company or one industry but a collaborative effort across involved and affected stakeholders. The best ideas probably don’t lie solely within your own bubble. By initiating conversations on this topic, everyone has a role to play in building bridges towards solving the problems we want to solve, and in the best way.
  • The ones who will win understand both people, tech, and the interaction between them. One approach to doing so, is exploring the future through the present by studying the needs and experiences of lead users who already interact with the solutions of tomorrow.  
  • Understanding the future through the present gives agency back to businesses and organisations. The future is neither a blank sheet of paper detached from the wicked problems of today, nor a threat lying out there waiting to hit us if we don’t come prepared. The future is not already ‘out there’ ready to be uncovered. Instead, the future contains a multitude of possibilities which makes it a space for speculation and design. Designing for the future is not about predicting what will happen, but about creating possibilities for meaningful action.