John Thackara is a world renowned speaker, giving inspiring lectures on such topics as climate change, financial crisis, peak oil, and technological innovation. He continues to speak to large businesses, students, and communities who seek an alternative, sustainable future. “I’m a kind of bee,” John explains: “I cross-pollinate ideas, people and place.
Topics for 2010From Doomsday Machine to Clean Growth Economy
Today’s growth-at-all coasts economy is like a doomsday machine: it compels us to launch a new product every three minutes into a biosphere whose carrying capacity is finite. The alternative is to move from an extraction economy to a restoration one and to innovate services that create value without destroying natural and human assets.
The green economy is not a future dream — it exists, at least in embryo. Social innovation is all around us in a million grassroots projects. The better known examples have names like post-carbon cities, or transition towns.Food: A ‘Wicked Problem,’ and Some Promising Approaches
Food systems are in crisis for complex reasons. Neither an individual, nor a single firm can tackle the challenges alone. Food is a ‘wicked problem.’ So what to do? This talk kick-starts conversations about complex issues in sustainable food systems and the economy in general.How to Travel LessWe would probably travel less and telecommunicate more if the sensation of “being there” were more engaging than it is now. Artists, theatre directors, fashion designers, psychologists, game designers and even philosophers could play a role in this developing field.
The Five Percent Solution
Public services are under severe pressure to reduce costs. But trying to deliver the same service for less money pleases nobody. A more radical solution is to change the question to which service is the answer. In Cuba, for example, health expenditure costs per person are five percent of the cost per US citizen — and yet health outcomes (i.e. life expectancy) are comparable. By changing the question, similar efficiency gains are possible in housing, transport and education.
Selected recent keynotes
Food Systems and Cities
Foodprinting the City, Stroom, The Hague, NLClean Growth
T-Mobile, Bonn, DEAnnual Innovation Awards
Cognis, Düsseldorf, DEMetrics for A New Economy
Forum d’Avignon, France
Quality Time At High Speeds
European High Speed Train Network, Breda, NLNew Geographies of Learning
University of Professional Education, Amsterdam, NLLow Entropy Urbanism
Norwegian NAtional Architecture Policy Forum, OsloOff-grid Water Systems (Design Clinic)
Stanford University, Palo Alto, USAInnovation at the Scale of the Bioregion
World Innovation Days, Poznan, PolandFrom Greenwashing to Clean Growth
Four Days, Halifax, Nova ScotiaDesign for Resilience
Design Forum; Zaragoza, SpainSustainable Daily Life Projects Clinic
The Planning Center, Los AngelesFashion, Ethics, and Sustainability
Colombo, Sri LankaCar Design After the Car
Fiat/Ambrosetti: Torino, ItalyResilient Regions: From Mindless Development to Ecological Urbanism
Agor Azur Congress Conseil General des Alpes-Maritimes, Nice, France
From March 2002 to September 2010, John Thackara sent out a monthly email newsletter: Doors of Perception Report. The newsletter contained short, opinionated texts about social innovation and design.ARCHIVES >>
Does the world need a professional development program to support designers, architects and design professors making a fundamental transition to a new kind of design? To explore that question, Doors of Perception has launched an enquiry with the working title xskool
. An xskool encounter took place at West Lexham in the UK last weekend. It was a wonderful experience, but a question remains open: was last weekend's positive energy, attention, and mindfulness a happy fluke? Or could one reproduce the conditions that nurtured them? In which ways might xskool be an intentional part of 'the change we wish to see in the world'? A next discussion is in New York City on the morning [09-12h] of Wednesday 8 June. It's hosted by hosted by Cameron Tonkinwise at Parsons. If you would care to join us, email me at: john at doorsofperception dot com
When Tech In Care Is Evil
I spent the last two weeks in-and-around a care home in England that looks after people with dementia and terminal illness, and their families – including, this time, mine.
In the Bubble: Desiging in a Complex World
The MIT Press, 2005
More books by John Thackara >>
Design Observer Essays
Food As A Commons
People go hungry not because of a shortage of production, but because the food available is too expensive, or they lack the land to grow it on. In California, the prototype of a combined social, political and technical solution has been launched which promises to unlock the food system crisis.
Presence and Encounter — How We Meet Is As Important As Why
I’m not suggesting that we abandon social media — just that we cultivate a hybrid approach so whenever someone says “online” someone else says, “and what about offline?”. Or when we find ourselves inside, someone else says: “and when do we go outside?”
Keep Your Stuff Alive
What would fashion be like if it was more than a an act of consumption with no meaning beyond the point of sale? What kind of system would improve the quality of our fashion experience without increasing the quantity we consume?
A two-year project in Belgium proposes new relationships between people, goods, energy, equipment, spaces, and value. Its design objective: a networked mobility ecosystem.
A ‘Wild Mirror’ For Desk-Bound Workers
A new scheme in England connects office workers with living systems by means of a ‘wild mirror’: each workspace is twinned with an equivalent area of ecosystem regeneration.
DESIGN OBSERVER ESSAY ARCHIVE
Summer Xskool in Sweden
Energy: Thriving On Five Percent?
Caloryville: The Two-Wheeled City
Conflict and Design
Shoe City vs Sole Rebels
A Whole New Cloth: Politics and the Fashion System
The Dementia Care Economy
Ecuador, Open Knowledge, and ‘Buen Vivir’: Interview With Michel Bauwens
Dementia: Care Before Cure
John Thackara on Avatar
Desert of the Real
Designing In A Complex World: Two Talks In Mexico City
Ways of Knowing
Speed? What Speed? Prisoners of Speed, by Ivan Illich
Speed? What Speed? The Belly-Dance Drummer, by Matthias Rieger
Speed? What Speed? The Falcon, by Sebastian Trapp
Connecting With The Other
Between Sorrel And Supertanker