Post by Andrea Rizzo
Does the future just ‘happen,’ or do you believe it is possible to intentionally design the futures in which we want to live?
Imagining a better future is not a utopia.
The future is uncertain. Climate change, pandemics, economic crisis, social exclusion, racism, oppression, conflicts between generations, and many other problems undermine our visions of the future.
However, this should not stop us from imagining what we want for our present, letting go of the past, and creating a vision of what we want for our future.
We can live in the future the things we imagine today.
While sometimes it may seem like things can’t or won’t change, that’s an impression.
Just because many institutions or rules have been around for a long time doesn’t mean they will be around forever. What brought us here is not what will take us from here.
Most of the social structures we live with today were created to solve the problems of 100 years ago, not those of today. These institutions may have been the best solution at the time – or not. But the world has evolved – and so have its problems.
And we need to put ourselves in this same movement.
We all have the right to imagine.
And the duty not to accept what is not acceptable.
Imagining is an ethical necessity. It means having an attitude in the face of a reality that is sometimes contradictory to everything we believe in and desire for us and the world.
Therefore, we must understand that if we want to change our future, we must change the choices we are making now, in our present, and realise that the world is constantly evolving. This impermanence allows us to be bold and dream of what is possible and what may seem impossible!
But how to do this in practice? One possibility is to use a fiction tool applied to the Design of Futures, known as Design Fiction.
That’s what happened with Heloísa.
In 2015, Heloísa was working as a junior designer at an innovation startup and had the dream of working as a behaviour designer on a highly complex project outside Brazil.
She prepared and imagined herself in that future. She went through more than 20 projects since she started to work in this startup until she got the opportunity to work in India for three months, helping design better public policies that inhibit local corruption.
The startup where she worked – a Brazilian business operating only in the national market – saw new opportunities based on trends, intentions, and social needs.
Intentional dreams become realities.
Intentionally defining the future and addressing the real problems of our society means looking for better solutions to transform realities and build possible and desirable futures.
And that’s what Heloísa and the Brazilian startup have been doing and have been teaching us.
Echos imagined Heloísa, who imagined a future that is coming to fruition.
Heloísa was a character created by the Echos team in a Design Fiction workshop in 2015. Find out the full story here, in the video created by the team from this workshop:
Heloísa’s story is fiction, but the story of the Brazilian startup that wanted to build its future to be global was Echos’ reality in 2015. When Heloísa’s video was ready, it was inspiring for those who watched it, but it also resulted in jokes, so distant seemed to be the future that Echos wanted then.
But, we are talking about intending positive futures and not creating prophecies. Echos understands intention as the power of imagination. The design of speculative futures is a method of imagining new possible futures. Not just one, but a range of different scenarios.
Design Fiction is a storytelling artifact that motivates people’s imagination so that they can approach and relate to certain realities through emotion.
Heloísa was the personification of the intention of a team with more than 30 employees. And the beginning of Echos 2025 vision of the future.
Today, in 2022, many intentions in the 2015 video, which seemed so challenging to achieve, have come true.
It’s worth remembering: what you want for the future will map out the first steps of your journey, so use your imagination!
Do you want to learn more about how design fiction works and get the story details of how the Echos 2025 vision was created in 2015 and helped us get here? Download our Free eBook!
At Echos, the futures we envision continue to build our new directions. Soon we will be in 2031.
How about going together?