Tag Archive | Futures thinking

Next era of well-being

Since it was founded 50 years ago, Sitra has been a futures house and they have just updated their megatrends report from a Nordic viewpoint. As Finland’s celebrating its 100 year anniversary Sitra wanted to highlight the megatrends affecting work, democracy and inclusion, and growth and progress that are relevant to the Nordic model as all of these  themes are specifically at the core of the Nordic model’s future. Elina Kiiski-Kataja from Sitra presented these for the Futures Specialist Helsinki group on 4th of December. Here’s my recap of the event – thank you Minna Koskelo & Futures Specialist Helsinki for making this possible and Elina for having us and offering an insightful morning.

What’s the new normal for work?

The first inspected megatrend was about the future of work – what’s the new normal? What’s the role of technology and humans versus robots? Most people are still working in steady paid jobs at this moment but what about in 2040? Sitra states in their updated megatrend report that there are 2 possible scenarios:

  1. Work changes but there is plenty for all
  2. Only a few people have work and even fewer benefit from the results

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The change forces behind this scenario are described in the above slide on the left hand side – automation, robotisation, artificial intelligence and digital platforms are changing all areas of work.

So what can we do? We need new models for life long learning to keep people from dropping off from the work force. Our old model getting educated while you’re in your twenties will not work anymore. And on income distribution – do we aim for more or less equality in our society? The basic income model is just being tested in Finland. The Institute of the Future in California is researching  a universal livelihood model and sees this from the viewpoint of capital and assets, not just work income. Should there be passports to school, healthcare etc. ? If we do not find models to help in this change the price to pay is increasing unrest and upheaveals in our society.

How is democracy doing?

We are no longer members of political parties, just 3% of us belong to a party. There has been a significant change is the culture of communication and discussion – the development of tech and globalization can have a major disruptive influence on the democratic system says Sitra. Everything is connected – well-being, education, trust, economy.

Increase in participation to general discussion can provide a counter power to globalization. Power is in the hands of few people but we can all have an effect on the quality of democracy. In the light of research the people who are participating (voting and getting their voice heard) are more well off than the ones not participating. But even in the US half of the people didn’t vote in the presidential elections – is democracy getting broken? Sanna Aaltonen from the Youth Research Foundation says that social infrastructure has not been built as the focus has been on technology. She also asks where will the trust in future encounters be built. Everything is connected – well-being, education, trust, economy.

The two scenarios for democracy (see slide below) are:

  1. Transparency, innovativeness and inclusion will flourish in democracies
  2. Power concentrates in the hands of the few and exclusion and disruption will increase

A strong local democracy and global decision-making are needed for scenario 1 to happen – to build a common, not divided, future. We need people who want to save the world and combine scientists and decision-makers to find solutions to the wicked problems. As well as lovable technology that understands humans and our behavior and leaves space for humans.  We need to go where people are, not just build new channels. And note the importance of communication and data as in spring 2018 the new data law will widen the gap between US and EU. In SDN conference in Madrid in 2017 it was discussed that service design is one of the enablers for building a bridge between senior citizens, refugees and tech.

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What are we aiming for – economic growth or well-being?

Economic growth based on overconsumption of natural resources is not sustainable. The economy is at crossroads and the two scenarios offered on this are:

  1. Will we seek growth by using all the means available and risk ruining our planet  and wither away OR
  2. Aim for well-being and manage to decouple economic growth and overuse of natural resources resulting in growing well-being even faster than economy

What makes you feel better, what increases your well-being? And can you and I change our values and get from talk to walk as the world changes?

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“Renewal starts with us, people. Even though the megatrends shaping the world extend all the way to Finland, the future is still largely in our own hands – if that is what we decide,” says Mikko Kosonen, head of Sitra. Trends offer a road to development and renewal as Minna Koskelo commented.

The future of the Nordic model is dependent on our reaction to the above presented 3 megatrends.

Link to Sitra’s presentation can be found here Sitra megatrends 2017

Licence to Fail

Design now – a day of discussion on the future of design
Harald Herlin learning centre, Otaniemi, Espoo
2.11.2017

The day packed with talks and discussions was all about defining what design is going to be in the future.

We heard an inspirational speech from Anna Valtonen (Vice President for Art and Creative Practices, Aalto Uni, FI). Valtonen raised questions about design shaping the future as well as renewing the society. In the future we need to have various viewpoints, not just follow our own individual paths as designers. We are also going to need new ways of viewing phenomena. Valtonen’s message is that designers are advocates for the unmeasurable: designers have the means to make the invisible visible and tangible. The world is changing and we (designers) need to keep up with the change.

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Anna Valtonen: Why Design Now?

 

Kalevi “Eetu” Ekman (Design Factory Director & PDP Professor, FI) reminded us in his videotalk that design is always there: it is done either consciously or unconsciously. Ekman underlined that a trained designer can change things dramatically. As an example he named industrial companies that have a lot of engineers working for them. A skilled designer can make a huge impact on thinking in such companies.

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TOMORROW is being made today

Tomorrow conference

Tomorrow conference was held at Helsinki music centre on 10th of June 2015.

I as a student had the privilege to attend to this thought-provoking and networking event with world-class speakers from diverse fields. Thanks to Lauri Ahonen, the event organizer and the front seat guests that made the participation for students possible.

For those of you that where not able to participate, I share some of the messages from few of the speakers.

FACING UNCERTAINTY

Pekka Haavisto, a Green member of Finnish Parliament and Member of Committee for Foreign Affairs, opened the conference. He encouraged us to know other continents cultures better by being open minded, exploring the world and stepping into the shoes of foreigners to see the world from the different angles. It was a good message to export field – knowing the culture and its people is the first priority to have successful business abroad.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of The Black Swan and Antifragile, raised issues like how companies that love errors are more likely to gain in the world where uncertainty is reality. When competition is everywhere the least expected happenings, the side-effects, can more often be the ones that lead to new business. Those that concentrate to lowering risks are also lowering their variability which means in the long run that their are dropping they ability to survival. Too centralized big countries, companies or projects are more fragile than the small ones.

For individual point of view I see that being always curious to new things, doing many things you love in life, having many incomes from different fields makes you strong and “antifragile”.

MAKING IDEAS HAPPEN

Write the futureTuuti Piippo, the author of Futuremakers, spread positive energy when describing the hero`s journey.

You do not need to know everything, but you definitely need to have the passion to learn. Everybody can be a hero. You need to have the courage to explore exciting things that you may be little scared off. Ask a lot of questions to learn and be humble to ask help. Then you need to be strong enough to go through the challenges in the journey where you are making failures and standing up again and again. I love her attitude.

I think her message raises a question for all of us: Are you the hero, the pilot, of your own life or just passenger?

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Service Design meets Futures Thinking #4

A research based series of posts discussing the statement “Futures Research supports the Service Design process in multiple ways and throughout the whole process” by Minna Koskelo (LinkedIn) and Anu K. Nousiainen (Linkedin).

Part #4: We are in the Service Innovation business!

Our three (and a half) previous blog entries have been summarizing the purpose of our study initiated in 2012 and the main findings from the study including the synergies between (Service) Design Thinking and Futures Thinking, and our illustration for Futures Research enhanced Service Design process. After some more investigation (selection of 150 books and articles) and integrating the strategic business thinking into the model with Katri Ojasalo (Linkedin), (our Head of Master’s Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design here at Laurea University of Applied Sciences) we are proud to announce our forthcoming chapter in an international Handbook of Service Innovation (to be published by Springer in early 2014). Indeed, we have came into a realization:

What we’ve done so far is not only about Futures enhanced Service Design – instead, this is the next chapter in building unique, synergistic and dynamic capabilities for Service Innovation.

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Take a novel path to create new business opportunities and new value

 It has been clear from the beginning of our study that Design Thinking and Futures Thinking share a strong synergy in their principles and targets. Now it is crystal clear that by combining their unique approaches in innovation process results in bright and viable business opportunities (see process framework A. below). While Futures Thinking concentrates on driving forces in complex evolving systems and alternative contexts, Design Thinking embraces the viewpoint of system constraints and people oriented solutions. Not only this powerful combination gives you options for decision making in strategic and offering creation level but it tackles the two critical challenges in today’s (and tomorrow’s) business: Uncertainty and timing in creating Value Roadmaps in the interconnected and changing world. Here, Futures Thinking helps to make uncertainty easier to approach through providing alternatives for decision making and therefore improving organization’s readiness to act. Design Thinking improves the organization’s agility to seize the change with emphatic, adaptive and deep research approach and through iterative co-designing with customers to provide desirable, feasible and viable options for solutions.

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Foresight is part of Service Innovations

In today’s organization’s strategic or service development projects you hardly hear a word about foresight or futures research. If you do, you are probably dealing with professionals of the field. Typical scene in developing services or company strategies is that we tend to make our decisions based on current normative knowledge – and perhaps worse, with consensus driven mindset. We use too often “I know/I feel” -tool in critical points where instead we should useresearch material and insights about the topic in question. Organizations seem to lack knowledge on how to use foresight as part of development process. It is a powerful tool when used systematically, and when used efficiently it can give you the possibility to spot and develop new business innovations before competitors.

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Foresight vs. Service Design process

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Service Design meets Futures thinking # 3

A research based series of posts discussing the statement “Futures Research supports the Service Design process in multiple ways and throughout the whole process” by Minna Koskelo and Anu K. Nousiainen.

Part #3: The Process Perspective

Our two previous blog entries have been summarizing the purpose of our study and the main findings including the synergies of service design and futures thinking, thus why it is beneficial for the two disciplines utilize approach and methods from one another and learn from each other. This third post introduces Service Design Process that is enhanced by futures thinking. Additionally we illustrate how service design thinking benefits foresight process.

The big picture: Becoming a human-centric innovative trendsetter

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Service Design meets Futures Thinking #2

A research based series of posts discussing the statement “Futures Research supports the Service Design process in multiple ways and throughout the whole process” by Minna Koskelo and Anu K. Nousiainen.

Part #2: Synergistic Principles of Service Design and Futures Research

We start our second blog post with where we left you in the first opening part of the series:

“Service Design and Futures Research ensure sustainable business, because they provide tools and processes for innovation through effective visual and anticipatory stories by means of co-creative research methods and iterative processes that nurture the unthinkable.”

We identified lots of synergies between the two disciplines as well as many areas where the fields supplement each other. While investigating selected literature and talking with experts, we faced also very similar vocabulary when discussing about the approach, principles, processes and tools of both Service Design and Futures Research. We created a table along the way to record our findings (see below). This blog post starts to unwrap the principles of Service Design and Futures Research which both aim at better futures and better business success. Continue reading