23 June 2021
He does, however, fear that we are entering what he refers to as ‘peak futures’, where a certain fatigue about tomorrow has set in at a time when we really do need to be thinking outside the box, or imagining, as he put it in a pre-podcast conversation I had with him, ‘that there are no boxes, only challenges that need solving’.
But his point is clear enough. As he says, if you think about the 20th century, we were already talking about the 21st century, or in the 19th century, talking about 20th-century solutions and so on. But how many of us are talking about the 22nd century now? And yet it is only 80 or so years away, and with all these challenges that we are looking at in a very linear way. Technology, climate, wellbeing – these are subjects, not solutions. To understand them, and to make that 22nd century happen, we need to break them down into questions, into opportunities, but above all, into stories and experiences.
And this is how he believes good forecasting and design innovation work at their most powerful: when they allow a story to be told, a narrative to unfold and experience to be had. ‘By showing rather than telling, people can better understand tomorrow, and by feeling it and experiencing it through different kinds of design – physical, emotional, immersive, virtual – [they can] embrace it and help others to better understand it so that it becomes the future we want.’
You can find Bas Van de Poel’s podcast here, or more about his new venture by clicking on the following link: http://www.modemworks.com/