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Nov 23, 2020

'Visionary Futures', with the Planet Life


By Drew Welton

Founder - I help companies hire innovation executives.

We Work. Finsbury Square. A great host to a community of passionate people looking to share ideas, build connections and bring about change. Introducing the The Planet Life, an open source innovation platform, set up by Jan Hellemans, to support a positive change for the planet and society. 

There is no doubt the climate crisis is real, growing and here.

World’s top 500 companies set to miss Paris climate goals

Financial Times

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Facing Change: How business can meet the climate challenge

Paddy Loughman, part strategist part writer & speaker, kicked off the evening with a thought-provoking talk that brought to life the very real challenges (and realities) we face. The message was to keep global heating to 1.5º; our current track could see us hit 2º by 2050, which would have irreversible, catastrophic repercussions…both for our planet and for businesses…from displacement at unprecedented levels caused by more extreme wildfires, floods and drought, to significant disruption to businesses through supply chain breaks and more gruelling government policies.

We can change this. Through education, empowerment and new policies and guidelines, we can transition to net-zero (keeping global heating at 1.5º). This not only affords a greater deal of surety for the existence of our species; it also creates new opportunities for innovation and economic growth. From more efficient energy sources, to new product and service innovations that are designed for the future (not the now). 

We must change. Change brings opportunity and life.

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Reinventing emergency shelter provision in disaster prone cities

Iris Ryu, founder of daruma shared a powerful and moving story. Focusing on displacement caused by climate change and global warming, we learnt about the harsh and horrible realities faced by those who have lost their homes. Whilst there are responses to solve for displacement, we heard some truths about emergency shelter options…they are often overcrowded, not safe or fit for purpose, and unsanitary. If we don’t bring about change, this will only get worse and more severe. Daruma is a stellar example of how we can better react to displacement – the concept revolves around space-sharing, matching those with spare space with those that need it…from host families and homeowners, to hotels and hostels that can provide safe, rapid, local and inclusive refuge. 

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Planet Centric Design

Kwame Ferreira, founder of innovation group and incubator Impossible, delivered an insightful and inspiring talk about how to apply a planet-centric design methodology. What was clear was that the current way of thinking (and consuming) is not helping, but rather causing harm. The premise is simple…restore the balance, and drive change in business and in society…the vision is ambitious. Kwame shared some real world examples (Bond, a touch bracelet that allowed long-distance lovers to stay closer together, whilst cutting down usage of data and resources) and got the community thinking about how can we better design for the future plus hard-wire long-term thinking into the idea development and design phases.

Part two…workshopping

A MASSIVE thank you to the excellent facilitators who helped facilitate and bring out the key themes and ideas…Thank you Paddy, Vanessa, Joseph, Emily and George!


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Splitting into 5 groups, based on the topic selected; the 5 challenges:

Zero Hunger // Clean Water // Affordable & Clean Energy // Sustainable Cities & Communities // Responsible Consumption & Production

We spent the next 30 minutes identifying challenges and opportunity spaces under each of the above, which we followed with looking at two futures: Utopian vs Dystopian. Starting with a dystopian future, we flipped this to create utopia. With utopia in mind, we shared our thinking around how to bring about change through paths to overcome challenges (be that cost, infrastructure, policy, education etc.) and ideas that had the future in mind.

Brilliant ideas and lots of food for thought.

And last but certainly not least…a HUGE thank you to Jasmine and Laura for helping organise and bring the evening to life. 

Connect, Follow, Share

The Planet Life : Website / LinkedIn / Instagram 

Bamboo Crowd: Website / Linkedin / Instagram

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