We like to experiment and play with concepts from various areas. The globally roving event series diy days is the testbed for a variety of labs that aim at designing with the participants. At the moment we run the following:
• a one-hour Wish for The Future Open Design Challenge experiments with different methods to let 15 to 600 people prototype a wish (it’s connected to www.wishforthefuture.com).
• a StorySprint is a mix of design thinking, storytelling, game mechanics, co-creation management and transmedia production.
• multi-day workshops called Wicked Solutions [WS] that go from design question, to finding a solution it putting it into action with those who are affected. These are testbeds that allow participants to envision, design and enaction a solution to a complex problem.
Wicked Solutions [WS] is a living think-and-do lab that uses storytelling, game mechanics and future scenario design to unleash the imagination of many. It is a think tank meets social hackathon that tackles a wicked problem over the course of three days. A local NGO will be selected as [WS] will work to provide mindshare, people power and open design to help them tackle a wicked problem they are facing.
In 2012 [WS] will run events in different locations, each focusing on a category (health, education, economy, government, sustainability, culture, urbanization humanity). The lab is a partnership between FreedomLab Future Studies and Reboot Stories. The results are shared under a Creative Commons license and archived on www.learndoshare.net to be shared, remixed and expanded
[WS] is designed to tackle a local problem with your help. We invite 40 to 60 participants from mixed sectors, who will prototype a micro agent for change following Buckminster Fuller’s premise: “How can we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?”
Why are these labs useful?
Living in a complex world
Today the world appears to be more complex than we had hoped for decades ago. The standardized processes of the analog world no longer seem to work in the digital age. We need new guiding principles to deal with this complex world as we are running out of resources fast (and not just the natural ones). All we can be really sure of is that things need to change, for life to stay the same. But in what direction should we change? Will the solutions we create for one problem reveal new dimensions and aspects of other problems emerging in the near future?
The interdependencies and interconnectedness of the world have created a complex eco-system of relationships. The challenges we face as a society are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. These challenges are ‘wicked’. Not in the sense of evil but rather because they resist resolution. The efforts to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems as a result of the interconnectedness, feedback loops and the involvement of many stakeholders.
Creative problem solving
The only way to design solutions for those wicked problems is to develop new collaborative and creative methods of problem solving that make our future tangible. It requires us to imagine possible futures and engineer our way back to today. Or in other words we have to imagineer the future. Not as an exercise of fantasies that have no plausibility at all. But rather, we should construct a future vision that’s built on logic and reasoning and is founded in empathy with the problem at hand. Each solution should be an informed design that can be translated into a prototype of the future. A [WS]Lab sets out to do just that.
How does it work?
Day 1: a ThinkLab to define a design question
The first day is focused on uncovering the wicked problem, learning from the insights gained and defining the core design question for the lab. In a closed environment a core group is challenged to take a future perspective and reason for the greater good. In an intensive one-day session, participants will be confronted by high-level thinkers and local experts to allow them to develop creative strategies and vision around the wicked problem. The results will inform the design question that will be formulated at day’s end and that will be the starting point for the next day’s prototyping.
Day 2: a DesignStorm to explore solutions
On the second day, the design question from the previous day’s session is used as a guide to design prototypes that address possible solutions for the identified wicked problem. Utilizing a mix of storytelling, design science and game mechanics teams will collaborate in an open design space that is fun, safe and encourages trying the absurd, leaving the trodden path and returning with a strong focus on action. Our guides will give a succinct presentation of the known resources at hand (financing, manpower, community support, time, partnerships, expertise, technology) along with an achievable target goal in order to focus the ideation on a collective action that is achievable, measurable and scalable. Throughout the day, mentors will join the groups and offer their expertise. Outcomes can be software, applications, programs, strategies or methods. At the end of the day teams will present their prototypes to a panel of experts and a live audience. Together the room will select the prototype that will be turned into a “collaborative action” on the third day.
Day 3: a Bootcamp to take collaborative action
On the last day of [WS] the ideas spread to the public in what will be open innovation bootcamp. Together in a public setting the prototype is turned into reality. Teams work against the clock to build and execute a collaborative action that puts the results of the two previous working sessions to the test. The goal is to develop solutions that can be measured and are scalable. Results of the day are recorded and used to help inform the design of [WS] as it moves to other cities around the world. All the results of [WS] will be released under a creative commons license for anyone to use, remix and share.
Throughout the event – and for immediate release – our knowledge workers will compile a 12-page magazine that harnesses our activities and solutions. It’s a hybrid that documents the process and serves as a toolkit for people to build upon and copy. These practical booklets will help the community keeping track of their process. They will also be disseminated widely to inspire others and can be found on www.learndoshare.net alongside other case studies of our other collaborative social innovation efforts.