summ( )n helps people to imagine and construct more diverse and more interesting possible futures. We help people to experience and ‘play’ with these futures, try and probe them in realistic yet risk-free environments. Most importantly, we help people to prepare for these new futures, by changing and transforming themselves.
These words by the famous French poet are quoted quite frequently in the context of future studies. But very few people remember the full quote, that says: “The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to beâ€œ. For some reasons Paul Valery didn’t quite like the changes, coming so rapidly and ruthlessly, and considered them troublesome. (It’s worth noting that these words had been said in 1931; and what did he know about the ‘different futures’ by then?)
We live in the age of much more complex, more turbulent futures, that approach us with ever increasing speed. Some people say ‘stop!’, ‘slow down!’, ‘ctrl-z!’ Some other people (and we belong to them at Summ( )n) think that there is no ctrl-z anymore, and that we will have to live in this rapidly changing, chaotic and unpredictable world.
But ‘unpredictable’ doesn’t have to be bad! Thinking about future has never been an easy task, but the new, exponentially complex human conditions require us to re-think the way we deal with the future possibilities. Instead of colonizing the future with our old ideas and practices we need to to learn to quickly explore and probe possible futures.
We believe that the human capacity of imagining and enacting multiple possible futures is what makes us, well, humans. We also believe that by practicing these futures, even if imaginary, we eventually become better prepared for them. We become more complex ourselves, thus better prepared for the complex future landscapes around us.
Co-creating and co-exploring futures
Therefore instead of ‘predicting the future’, instead of prophesying yet another set of ‘future trends’ we help our clients to imagine and co-create new possible futures, more interesting and more promising. We explore these possible futures through an active dialogue and collaboration of many agencies: businesses, organizations, institutions and of course people. We make sure that this dialogue is serious but also engaging and enticing.
Playing with the futures
To help people to suspend their current assumptions and believes, we develop various playful situations and interactive environments, construct immersive spaces where people can experience new qualities, new facets and features of the possible futures, rather than just talking about them.
To achieve this immersion into possible futures, Summ()n applies a wide range of tools, from online platforms and virtual worlds to entirely ‘analogue’ physical environments. And everything in between – hybrid spaces, interactive installations, multimedia performances end so on.
For every client we the construct a customized flows of ‘future experiences’, consisting of iterative provocations, reactions and reflections, designed to ‘feel the futures’ and discover new skills and qualities that people have to develop now. We use the developments of game design and specially developed gameplays that allow people to suspend their disbelieves and judgements and let them explore the new realities with open eyes (and other senses). The choice of the tool is defined by a thorough analysis of the current assumptions and believes in the futures, both expressed explicitly and more shadow ones.
And yes, we use some magic too. The word ‘summon’ means to call, or to conjure. In the past it referred to a skill of the (alleged) mages allowing them to carry objects through space and time. But even the most skilled mages are not able to summon the objects alone, and always needed other people to help them. Summoning is always a collective, collaborative process. At the end, we need you to summon your own futures!
What’s in it for me?
“Be ‘better prepared for future’ sounds nice, but exactly what can I expect from working with Summ( )n?”
Readiness for the futures has different meaning for different organizations, companies and people. For some it means a range of new innovative, ‘future-proof’ products and solutions they start developing after our workshops. For others it is a new robust and resilient decision-making process or a list of actions for their company. And for some others it is the new skills and new mindsets of people in the team.
Let’s talk. We believe that together we can summon better futures for you.