ART CENTER DESIGN SUMMIT 2008, DAY 1: DESIGNING 2040
Think Hillary Clinton will get the U.S. ready to face the future? Think Barack Obama will bring the country back into the world? Maybe John McCain is the one to prepare the nation’s defenses for an endless war on Islamofascism?
A bunch of remarkable thinkers in Pasadena are also looking at the cards the future might deal and discussing what the best bets to make might be.
The Art Center Summit 2008: Systems, Cities & Sustainable Mobility is a gathering of an exclusive group of designers, engineers, planners, scientists, product planners, urban planners, industry leaders, government officials and leading educators. It was organized to provide cutting edge information for these folks as they design future transportation within future environments in a sustainable matrix.
What's in the cards for 2040? (click to enlarge)
To that end, Art Center presented Mobility Vision Integration Process (mVIP), a faculty-designed card game for just such gatherings and workshops. After a brief explanation of the game cards, trained leaders and game designers led small groups of these knowledgeable and innovative thinkers through the “vision integration” process. At tables all around the room, players were instantly galvanized at the challenges set out by the cards they were dealt. After 5 to 15 minutes of floundering, the discussions started drawing out creativity. Understanding of the futures their cards described emerged.
Soon the leaders dealt the final 4 cards and the groups launched into problem solving. Solutions ran the gamut, from innovative ways to not consume energy to extraordinary ways to generate zero-emissions, endlessly renewable energies.
Some players pontificated; some debated. Some groups used markers and oversized sketch pads to draw out designs for things nobody ever thought of; some made lists of things the brave new world of 2040 would or would not be able to do without. In an hour, there were more viable and detailed images of tomorrow than everything Hollywood has ever produced.
And that was just the first morning of the Summit. Afternoon presentations covered transportation-and-the-city subjects: Innovations for London’s overburdened streets (Martin Tillman); The dreadful waste created by outdated U.S. urban commuter systems (Scott Bernstein); Transportation pricing strategies to incentivize a transition from suburban to urban living (Martin Wachs); The place of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in new urbanism (William Browning).
After 5-minute pitches for some exciting ideas like fold-up motorbikes in China and wearable motorized transport (is it a shoe or is it a scooter?), Hannah Jones of Nike wowed the innovators with a presentation about corporate responsibility.
The day was capped by a briefing from Department of Energy Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary John Mizroch on U.S. energy and concluded with the Summit’s keynote address from noted author Paul Hawken, who wrote Natural Captialsim, which President Clinton called one of the five most important books about today's world.
The Aptera was in the house. (click to enlarge)
By the way, Aptera brought one of its incredible 3-wheeled all-electric wonders and Fisker-Karma brought its sexy plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Both are about to be unleashed on the car market and both were parked on the floor of the Summit meeting room all day. Talk about eye candy.
The Fisker-Karma. (click to enlarge)
Mobility Vision Integration Process at The
Art Center Summit 2008: System's Cities & Sustainable Mobility
February 6 & 7, 2008 (Art Center College of Design)
Art Center’s Advanced Mobility Research and Graduate Industrial Design Programs (Developers: Lloyd Walker, Geoff Wardle, Andy Ogden, Dave Muyres)
Mobility Vision Integration Process (mVIP): A workshop card game in which players are dealt a set of world circumstances, then assigned a customer and a business and asked to brainstorm a product to serve that customer in those circumstances.
Sorting 2040 into categories of possibilities. (click to enlarge)
The Mobility Vision Integration Process is in beta testing. It was presented publicly for the first time at the Art Center Summit 2008 February 6.
- The game is designed to be workshopped by any kind of group. Its applications and challenges are applied to any number of potential world scenarios.
- The Summit was at Art Center’s Pasadena, CA, campus.
- 109 cards in 11 categories generate a remarkable variety of future circumstances.
- A group is dealt 11 cards. They add up to a scenario for the year 2040. The first 7 describe a future world. The last 4 describe the group’s business situation. The group proceeds to create a plan of action.
- Categories describing the world of 2040: Energy, Society, Technology, Economy, Ecology, Political, Wildcard.
- Describing the challenge: Enterprise, Axiom, Customer, Constraint.
- The Art Center concept creators call it “vision intergration” because it was designed to formalize, make repeatable and deployable “artists’ concepts” in a world short on viable solutions.
- mVIP draws on the finest governmental and independent data and research (ex: Rocky Mountain Institute, Energy Information Administration, etc.; see Links & Resources).
A fascinating exercise in trying to prepare solutions to meet problems instead of waiting for problems without solutions. (click to enlarge)
- Art Center website: “The outcome of mVIP is to enable teams of creative people, charged with designing viable, future mobility solutions to deal with wide-ranging, unpredictable and disparate issues that we usually have no control over and to spot otherwise unforeseen opportunities.”
- Geoff Wardle, Art Center Instructor/codesigner: “…These cards are not going to predict the future but what they can do is alert people to the sorts of things they need to be thinking about…it helps people to understand the complexity of things and to deal with it…
- Wardle, on the mVIP website: When you log on to the website, it will give you a random selection of cards…you can change the world scenario or you can change the design content…You can keep coming up with alternative future scenarios…