Analyse your last year, design your next five years.

On January 1st I stopped “holidaying” and started an exercise to design my life for the next five years. It was the best thing I ever did.

One thing that is rarely mentioned is that designers are genuinely optimistic people. We have to be. We never know exactly where we’re going, but we have a vision. We often don’t know how to get there, but we get our hands dirty, and we know that somehow we’re going to get there.

As future-crafters, a possibility is a certainty, just another job to be done (although sometimes not an easy one).

What if we could apply the same principles we use to design products, services and business to our own lives? What if we could unite intention with serendipity? What if we could explore the possibilities of our desirable futures?

We would like to welcome you in 2018 with this exciting, and let me say, not so easy exercise that we learned from Bill Burnett and Dave Evans in the book “Designing Your life”.


What: Design 3 different versions of your next five years.

Why: We often believe that we only have one life ahead of us. Understanding that we have the potential of exploring multiple futures, or multiples lives, can help clarify which path to choose.

Ok, but you might be wondering why the heck do I need to design three versions of my next five years?

The future is only a perception of what might become, a reality that hasn’t happened yet. This enables you to explore different paths, before committing to a single one.

The theory behind future scenarios says that there’s no such thing as a single future, but many possibilities that might unfold. As authors, Bill and Dave, write on the book “There is no one idea for your life. There are many lives you could live happily and productively.” 

How: The Odyssey Plan is a graphic representation of three possible alternative lives you might live over the next five years.

Your first Odyssey plan should be the development of your life that is already in route. A desirable one, but something closer to what you already have in mind.

The second plan is something like a plan B.

The third plan is a wilder alternative for your next five years. For this one, imagine that you have no restrictions, you could have all the money and resources in the world.

Use the template below from the book “Designing your Life” as a guide. You can download it here.

We hope you enjoy this exercise and that you can kick off 2018 designing an amazing life!

“Designers don’t think their way forward. Designers build their way forward.” 
– Design Your Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
You can check the book and all resources here:
Juliana Proserpio

Juliana is the co-founder of Echos, an Innovation Lab, that is the mother company to the School of Design Thinking – a school that puts innovation in practice – and Echos Innovation Projects – a consultancy for service, business and systemic design. Over the last seven years, Juliana has worked to develop an innovation ecosystem in Australia and Brazil to foster the design of desirable futures and design thinking.

She has more than 10.000 hours working closely with clients on facilitation design, leading a diverse range of projects in industries such as healthcare, finance, education, retail, technology and consumer goods.

Juliana speaks on the power of design to create desirable futures. She spoke at events such as the Global Innovation Summit in San Jose, California, TEDxMaua in Sao Paulo, Brazil, What Design Can Do and the Sydney Design Festival. Juliana has been a judge at the first William Drenttel Award for Excellence in Design since 2015.

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