How it all started


The idea for Designing the Future events arose spontaneously, in the days preceding 2018’s Valentine’s Day. We thought about the huge number of single people who feel left out during the celebrations and looked for a way we could create a meaningful experience for them, hence the topic of our first meeting: The Future of Sex Toys.


When the word has spread, we were contacted by Lovely, a startup producing wearables enhancing sexual experience, which provided help. An idea that started from a real need, and that was supposed to attract just a couple of people, became something much bigger than expected. It inspired us to take action - by collectively discussing and prototyping sex toys, some participants were allowed to present their voice on the shape of the future development for the first time.








Therefore, we decided to check if doing more events on different topics will allow us to engage more people into discussion about the future.



Background


21st century is a time of rapid environmental, societal, technological, and economic changes. Those changes require us to redefine approach we have to business, education, manufacturing, products, and services.



We believe that each of us could be a creator of the future. Therefore we strive to democratize the access to the process of its design. This can be done through education and spreading awareness, both of the possibilities given by technology and dangers that our world will face in times to come. We would like to engage as many people as possible and let them present their voice in a discussion about the future.


However, voicing your opinion is not enough. It is crucial to take action. According to the latest UN Climate Change Report, we only have 12 years to prevent a global disaster from happening. We cannot rely on governments and big companies alone - all of us should take steps to change our behavior and adhere to the principles of Sustainable Development. That is why we promote making, as we believe that it can become a solution to many issues, including the expansion of supply chains, waste management, outsourcing of labor to the developing countries.




Moreover, we have the knowledge about the achievements of technology that could be harnessed to create a better future. Nanotechnology, fungi-based sustainable materials, biodegradable plastic, AI are just some of the topics that we cover during our events. However, breakthrough discoveries will not change the world if they do not leave the lab. Therefore, we need to spread the information about them.


Challenge




We would like to open a dialogue about technologies of the future, present their overviews and show their possible practical uses. Nevertheless, we are aware of the dangers posed by throwing inventions thoughtlessly at every issue, and treating them like miracle solutions. Because of that, we want to discuss them from different points of view and look into both utopian and dystopian visions of the future.


We also aim to promote popular engagement in future shaping by raising awareness of Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN, and Makers Movement. Our goal is to inspire people to implement practices based on principles of sustainability in their companies, but also create their own ideas and products.



It is also important that we all learn to discuss ideas and cooperate in our communities. It might be a truism, but the future concerns all of us, therefore we are ought to work on not leaving any voice out.




Outcome






So far we have held five Designing the Future events at different places, including Google Campus Warsaw, Warsaw’s House of the Journalist, and Warsaw Economic School. We have cooperated with book publishers, startups, researchers, sexologists, representatives of music labels, and musicians.


The themes are divided by industry and include, chronologically: sex toys, music, death, cannabis, and education. The next one to come will cover the future of food, gender and sustainability and brain.


Events consist not only of lectures and discussions but also include workshops and prototyping part. This way we encourage participants to put their ideas into reality by creating physical objects.



They are attended by a range of different people: company representatives, designers, teachers, families, and tech enthusiasts among many more. What they all have in common is curiosity, a hunger for broadening their horizons, and will to participate in shaping the better future.









If you are interested in Designing the Future events, please visit the INSTITUTE page on our website to learn more.

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