I’m a big fan of The Institute for the Future. They’re a research group that studies the future. And more than just study it, they model it. For instance, last year I played an alternate reality game designed by IFTF called Superstruct where 6,000 players solved global crises with social innovations. IFTF used the innovations contributed by players in their 10 year forecast, essentially crowdsourcing what is normally a top down process. Superstruct won an award for best futures work of the year.
So this is a long-winded way of saying that when IFTF has something to say about the future, my ears perk up. I just got this by e-mail from IFTF Executive Director Marina Gorbis, which for me is validation of what we’re up to here at Shareable – encouraging people to redesign their lives, work, and world to be more shareable. Her letter urges us to think the unthinkable:
Can you envision a society without money? Can you conceive of a functioning economic system without corporations or in which corporations as we have come to know them play a much-diminished role? Can you imagine a truly participatory governance system beyond Congress, Parliament, or Duma? The mere prospects seem jarring, if not subversive. And yet, I would argue, if you are not thinking these thoughts, you are not paying attention. Because looking across the landscape of deep global recession, environmental crisis, and ongoing technological transformation, it is clear that we are at the beginning of a large-scale organizational transformation that will impact everything we do—from how we organize production to how we grow our food to how we govern ourselves.
I share Marina’s perspective that now is the time to think big. Not only are big solutions needed to big problems, but more is possible now than ever. The incredible know how, tools, and technologies available today offer endless possibilities. It is indeed time to think the unthinkable.
For more of Marina’s insightful letter, go here.