Transforming the Future: An Interesting Day 2016 by the Dutch Future Society

An Interesting Day, an annual gathering of the Dutch Future Society, will be held this year in AmsterdamConnected on November 25th.  The theme of this year is “Transforming the Future” and the event is for (and by) the members of the DFS, but my previous experience says that both the theoretical presentations and practical workshops run during this day can be very valuable for broader audiences.

Summ( )n team will be presenting a demo-version of our Future Probing method during one of the parallel sessions. More information about the program and practicalities can be found here: Interesting Day 2016: Transforming the Future.

On business, design, and futures

Last week we managed to get to a very interesting conference that was situated right on the intersection of our main interests:  futures, design, and business. It was also situated in the newly opened Design Museum in Kerkrade that we visited not so long ago.

The program of the conference is still online and you can read more about its purposes (and the lineup of speakers) – the official title of the event was Business Meets Design.  Below I will share just a few random impressions about different presentations we’ve seen.

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Templates of the future

When someone opens a new Flickr account, but hasn’t uploaded any pictures yet, the service unobtrusively hints on what pictures there are expected from this someone. Such is our future, open and emerging but within an already developed template. Life becomes a coloring book for adults.

 

 

Future of Innovation in Energy: Eneco’s Take

I was invited to an info-session organized in Brainport office by Eneco, one of the largest energy company in the Netherlands. Eneco is traditionally operating in the north of the country (they are based in Rotterdam), but wants to increase its presence in the south (i.e., in Brabant) too, and specifically tap into innovation network centered around Eindhoven.

The team has presented their current vision (they want to move from service to platform provider) and also the actions they are already undertaking. They also invited the participant to brainstorm about possible entry-points to the innovation ecosystem of the region. Interesting.

e-Beer ? Think strategically!

We’ve got a request for proposal from, perhaps, the most distant place were were getting the rfp so far – Chile! And what a request! To help one of the largest brewery to think on their digital strategy (more specifically, prepare their people to think about such a thing properly).

 

The future of beer? Hmm…

We’ve got a very interesting request, a bit far from our usual circle of clients (and a bit far from our personal interests). On the other hand, the project of this sort can be quite revelational. More specifically, a company would like to know more about the future of… beer, and not any beer, but draft beer, the kind of beer that became very popular lately.  It’s not a projects yet, we only submitted a short proposal, more in the area of expression of interest. Let’s see how it will turn out.

Robot’s Revolt & Russian Energy Grid

The conjunction of the two subjects in the title of this post, of the Russian energy grids and revolting robots, does not imply something like ‘against’ or ‘versus’, or even ‘in’. It should rather be read as ‘at’ – and not even at the electric grid itself, but at the annual industry forum held in Moscow.

I was invited to join an expert discussion with a rather intriguing name: “The Internet of Things: Robots’ Revolt or Decent Future of Humanity” (the subtitle was ‘What skills do we need to develop for the future?)

The scope of the discussion is obviously very wide – but the was the expertise of the panel, ranging from engineers to managers, from thinkers about the futures to science-fiction writers. Together we concluded that the revolt of robots is not very likely (though the fears of such may cause harm), but new thinking about the potential of smart, connected technologies is needed very urgently.

 

NeuroWeb: The future of… us?

Not without some hesitations (see my earlier post about the projects in Russia) but I went to Moscow to participate in a panel discussion at the Russian Energy Grid forum. But before that I managed to get into the workshop where people discussed very different kind of grids, or rather nets.

We get used to the web, and even survived web 2.0; we are now surfing through the emerging typhoon of the Internet of Things (it’s even remotely not here yet the buzzing about this ‘web of things’ is already ubiquitous).

What’s next? is a kind of question we love to hate, and yet it is the one that inspired the group of thinkers and doers kindly invited by the Russian Venture Company to brainstorm (sic!) about the future of brain-net. But not the future of *one* neural net we all have in our skulls, but the possibilities to united all the human brains into one giant web – or the neuronet (or the WeBrain, as was proposed by one of the participants).

It was often mind-boggling, but fortunately we had a vey high level of the participants, who didn’t allow the discussion to slide to the banalities and cliches that circulate in the media. Very inspiring and very thought-provoking – but also thought-uniting! Thanks to Pavel Luksha who summoned me to this gathering.