I feel enriched, more part of our world and a bit overwhelmed. Having had the opportunity to do the Make the Future workshops for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia, Egypt and Armenia I look back at an intense two months. Preparing and facilitating hands-on workshop days on solving societal challenges by design thinking, prototyping and training of trainers. Lots of travel, adapting and immersing in different cultures, inspiring food for the brain to raise more questions than answers.
How do we take care of our daily living environment? How do we provide our youth with inspiring, motivating and playful education? How can we sketch a hopeful picture for their future with meaningful work, doing what they love and the ability for everyone to make a decent living? Challenges like these seem to be as true and essential for Georgia, Egypt as Armenia. So are they true for the Netherlands, the country where I come from. And we can all come up with creative solutions and learn from each other and the experiments that are done world-wide with new ways of living and building a social, caring and co-operative society.
We are all citizens
How can you make yourself and the people around you really aware that we are all citizens that can make a change. Instead of letting our feelings of urgency for change combined with previous discouragements paralyse us; we can co-design our surroundings, starting today.
In the way we set up the three-day Make the Future workshops we wanted to let people experience, from the start, that these days were going to be a different kind of workshop than they are used to attend. Not sit and listen, but literally hands-on, we’re going to make things.
A striking reaction from one of the participants in Egypt that catches the core of Make the Future:
"What I LIKED about today:
1 - A diverse set of PASSIONATE participants!
2 - Cool activities (starting with robots!)
3 - Presence of a lot of interesting materials to work with!
4 - Videos, photos and examples of stuff done elsewhere
5 - The focus on solving real problems FAST and actually creating solutions not just theorizing about solutions
It was an amazing day! I'm glad I came.
Thanks to ALL the trainers. Sending my love to all the wonderful participants I met during the workshop today!”
In the workshops local citizens develop their own 'design thinking’ capabilities. They learn to transfer emotions and reflections around local problem cases into a structured design process. This new skill enables them to be a valued and active partner with other experts in project teams, to come up with creative solutions for societal challenges. When citizens discover their creative capabilities, they are able to create impact and make a difference.
We are working on a Make-the-Future toolkit with step-by-step instructions for everyone to facilitate innovation workshops like Make the Future. Available soon at the project page.