Good’19 is coming!

Predictions! 2019 will be the year of yet another reunion of the Reach Network! This time it will be in London, on June 27 (read more here).

As usual, we will try to organize the GOOD’19 as an interesting conference (or perhaps un-conference?) where the participants will be able to learn from the latest projects run by the Reach members, but also share their own achievements and ‘lessonslearns’.

The program is current is currently in the making, but it’s worth to reserve a day already now. Or may be a few – this time our Great Outdoors of Design will be happening in affiliation with the User Research London conference.

We hope to see you all in London!

Future Studies

We do Future Studies: gather opinions and stories about the possible futures, material artifacts and symbolic manifestations of the emerging futures in different cultures and practices. We also help to make sense of all these data by developing creative scenarios and foresights.

Slava Kozlov

SK aka Cea_

Last ten years I worked with the Strategic Future Design Team of Philips Design, where I lead or participated in numerous projects for both Philips and external clients. I was trying to support design and innovation teams by sharing both information and inspiration, my knowledge about possible futures, social and cultural developments in different regions. My other role was to help to (hopefully) better understand people and their living in multiple contexts, and eventually involve people and designers in co-research and co-design. In addition to ‘normal’ business projects, I also participated in R&D programs, including Ambient Intelligence, Experience Design, and future-focused Design Probes. Over these ten years I managed to develop quite a few new tools and methods for people research, futures studies, and innovation design.

During last few years I has been increasingly exploring the potential of digital tools (of all sorts) in supporting the design process. This included multiple social web platforms, virtual worlds, multiplayer online games, and hybrid interactive and experiential environments. Centralasian (later truncated to Cea) is my nick-name in many online realms (and also a name of my first blog, which I started already in 2002. In addition to this more or less private blog, I try to maintain my more professional blog, Playing Futures.

I wrote a number research papers and book chapters [at some point I need to compile a list of those]. I also relatively frequently speak at various conferences and workshops. For three years I was teaching a course on ‘People and Societies Change for Design Process’ at the Department of Industrial Design, Technical University Eindhoven, and currently seek another teaching opportunity with a University or Design School.

Before joining Philips Design I worked with a few research institutions and business consultancies, including OMRI, GfK, Burson-Marsteller, and BRiF, the very first private social research agency in Central Asia (which I was also a co-fonder of). I studied Social Sciences (with a focus on transitional economies), Clinical Psychology and earlier in my life, Mathematics.

I am a very enthusiastic photographer and keep my blog of abstract photography and since recently a web-site.

Atlas Of The Futures starts here. And now!

Atlas Ot The Futures 2009 workshop was conducted as an online game to co-design and co-create the futures.

Wiki-future is a project where we create our futures together, in an ongoing collaboration with each other. Together we try to recognize the weak signals of the coming times, make sense of the new manifestations, and get insights into possible realities of the future.

Nikolay Yaremko (it’s me!) presented Atlas 2009 proceedings during Pecha Kucha on The Next Web 2009, and here are slides for this talk:

On Summ( )n

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.

Why futures?

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 be“. 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.

Magic?

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.