By Leigh Cook
World Futures 2016 “Building Brighter Futures” was in Washington DC this summer. As always, it was a full agenda with a very future forward, thought provoking list of speakers from business, research and government. Some of these included Bob Richards from Moon Express, Kimbal Musk from The Kitchen, the CEO of the Humane Society Wayne Pacelle, Techno Philosopher Gray Scott, the CEO of the Millennium Project, Trend Manager from Lowe’s, Cyborg Anthropologists and many many more.
Creating Better Human Experiences
I was impressed again this year at how a lot of Futures talk usually brings us back to how to we can help people become better, more fulfilled versions of themselves in order to grow. If we aren’t doing that with Futures work, then my perspective is “what’s the point of it all?” Futures exploration should always lead us to making better decisions and creating better experiences today.
This was the theme of many speakers such as Kimbal Musk, the CEO of The Kitchen (and Elon Musk’s brother). His organization focuses on bringing learning gardens to elementary schools all over the United States in order to “connect kids with #realfood.” He stated that “trust is the currency of our generation” and that we must help transform people’s lives and make them better versions of themselves.
Observations on Designing Human Interactions
Because I work for an experience design firm, I’m very interested in how we can use Futures to make better experiences for people today based on their changing needs, preferences and values in conjunction with the massive resources and advancements available to all of us.
So as I continued to think about how Sparks Grove designs and builds human experiences and interactions, the themes were very clear at the human interaction level. To design interactions to be human, they should:
- Be transparent
- Be radically simple for the person
- Connect with people’s reason and emotion
- Foster human to human connection and relationships
- Be deeply empathetic so the person feels like “you’ve got their back”
- Build trust
- Serve meaningful higher-level needs such as building community or supporting self-actualization or creativity
- Be transformative or purpose-driven – help people become better, more fulfilled versions of themselves in some big way or by supporting them in the moment
Ultimately these all ladder up to support our greatest needs as humans, and go above and beyond creating just “easy” interactions to actually helping others have purposeful experiences in order to grow.
Kimbal Musk summarized it well, “We invent the future one day at a time. We must help transform people’s lives.”