Humanist Future Trends 2020: human works design

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Along with ‘technological innovation’ we need more ‘human innovation’. The combination of many of the trends below is what we call ‘human innovation’ and is where we need to emphasis and focus to create the next level of being human, living in a world surrounded by machines and technology, define the way we will communicate with machines, the way we design our own futures, in a way we are aware of where we’re going and what we design.


Development at an exponential pace, near-total ubiquity, and an increasing integration of human and machine as the defining features of the unfolding technological revolution – a new paradigm that would seem to be redrawing the very boundaries of epistemology. Indeed, while on one hand it was seen as clear that creativity, invention, empathy, ethics, emotions, social connections and intuition remain exclusively human attributes, on the other, fledgling forms of artificial intelligence are emerging that reproduce, after a fashion, the human faculty for anticipating, understanding, and handling events.


As human work design, we are on a mission to bring back human values to every aspect of our lives and businesses. The core philosophy of what we offer are timeless, the reason we call them ‘trends’ is because they are more important than ever, thanks to the power we acquired and unlimited choices we have with technology, with we can create at a seamless level of depth, scale and speed. We are all responsible to surface our ‘human attributes, desires and values’ to our consciousness and apply them to our business models and technology decisions for meaningful futures.


1 – Age of Meaning

The continuous relentless evolution of technology surrounding us will lead to a new awareness for us humans and reflect upon who we really are, what are we here for and what is our purpose in this life now that we created machines that can do nearly anything we used to do and we thought made us happy. The signals of ‘existential crises’ we see is actually an opportunity to embrace of an evolved version of ourselves, and the systems we design.


Value design becomes one of the main trends on top of design thinking. Without knowing our connection to our personal and community values, we cannot build new solid meaningful futures.


Critical thinking and philosophy are not only making its way to the top of the boards of future skills and methodologies but also becoming a necessity to make our everyday decisions including areas from ethics of AI, longevity and happiness of employees to gene editing and neuroscience which allows us to redesign our own biology and future humanity. As we see most disruption happening mainly with the disappearance of unnecessary mediators threatening the role of banks, traditional media, content, telecom, hotel and transportation companies, this is the era we can no longer avoid to ask ‘What is the purpose of our existence?’ and ‘How do we contribute?’ Design and bond with purpose and values.


‘An unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates


2 – Consciousness everywhere

As we become more aware of who we really are we’ll be more conscious in all our decisions: the way we work, make an impact, learn, communicate, live and eat and overall what makes our communities and us really happy.


The existing systems, from social media service designs to content and advertising industry, still the main KPI is engagement. That’s how we are driven to design, decide and consume for dopamine, whereas the real happiness comes from serotonin, which is released with human growth. We see the old paradigms collapsing but we are slow to transform our systems, due to the addiction of our thought systems coming from old industrial era.


With the increasing transparency and abundance of information, companies only focusing on growth and profits, disregarding ethical codes and values of their communities receive a serious backlash from society. Take Silicon Valley’s robotic philosophy, which has created unintended results like growing hate speeches, racist and polarised communications, disempowerment of local economies and singularity of users with algorithms. The damage is high; trust, revenue, customer and employee losses, which are hard to revert. Humanity needs conscious and constructive innovation, not mindless disruption anymore.


One of the growing consciousness movements is veganism. More and more people turn toward becoming vegan (Veganism skyrocketed by 600% in America over 3 years to 6% of population), not only for health reasons but not to kill sentient animals any longer and to reduce the waste of the water, crops releasing carbon emulsions to produce meat on an industrial scale (one of the most polluting items on our planet!). Veganism also helps towards a spiritual awakening of your mind and body, your senses, it is a state of mind to create only good for our communities, our planet and ourselves.


As leaders, investors, designers, coders, decision makers, academicians, entrepreneurs, parents, citizens and users we are all individually and collectively responsible for the everyday decisions we make, and how we adopt to changing tools, needs and new economic models. Change is inevitable and actually this is a great gift for the winners of tomorrow.


“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” – Muhammad Ali


3 – Children first world design

Children are born authentic, creative, curious, intelligent and high capacity to create and dream with totally open minds and hearts. They are emphatic, compassionate, they love to learn, dance, sing and play. They don’t have the perception of ‘failing’, they can fall 30 times and always get up to learn more and move on. These are qualities we seek in ‘innovative human’ role model. Our education system, well meaning but culturally toxicated care givers and fact-based societal systems have taken out most the natural resources we have as humans when born and as a child. It’s time to reverse this trend and start listening to our children, they are wise and smart and know how they want to see and live their future. Children First World Design listens to children and builds new futures based on their values and ideas. It is easier to do things right than trying to fix them later. This compass is the most effective and natural path forward to build sustainable wellbeing for humanity.

‘Play is the exaltation of the possible’ – Martin Buber

‘Every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams under our feet. And we should tread softly.’ – Ken Robinson.

4 – Return to nature

Living in cities isn’t natural for us. If you’re lucky and can get out every weekend you can stay more or less balanced. However more and more people get stuck in the cities and miss the contact with nature. Nature guards us and brings us back to our natural senses and to our core. More and more people choose to live in nature for these reasons and leave the cities behind to look for a more natural pace and connection. Smart cities with greener structures are the rising trend. With the data we can measure, we know exactly how to keep our air cleaner, circulate waste, decrease energy consumption and design cities better.


Nature provides us all the medicines we need. As human works design cofounders, we are vegans with plant based whole food diet, and we don’t consume top poisons such as alcohol, processed sugar, salt and coffee. Since changing our diet, we have not taken one pill anymore and we never get sick. Using natural medicines, vitamins, minerals bring you back to the core wellbeing and strength of your body. The use of natural healing medicines of ancient tribes will create a new wave of consciousness around the world. The biggest disruption of the pharma industry has already started.


Gifts of nature are also reflected in our design with Biomimicry, now going mainstream. Forward-looking companies are releasing ingenious products that mirror innovations found in nature. They range from sunscreen that replicates hippos’ protective sweat (sans the odour) to hospital wall coatings that emulate sharkskin’s antimicrobial properties. Conscious companies are the ones who also understand and apply the systems of Nature, such as circular design and sustainable ecosystem building, which is based on collaboration instead of competition. Let’s take advantage of the wisdom of Mother Nature built on 3.8 billions of years evolution tested in the lab of a trillion species.


‘Biomimicry is … the conscious emulation of life’s genius.’ – Janine Benyus

“Wildness is the preservation of the World.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walking

5 – Physical Communities

Social media has created a false sense of identity and connection for many people, bringing unhappiness to suicide levels and isolation. Loneliness is also the number 1 reason to burn out problem, which 50% of people are suffering from. Humans need physical contact in order to prosper and be happy. We’re going back to create more physical community building activities through art, dialogue, culture, sports in order to create more physical activity and happiness in our lives.


“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” ― Dorothy Day

6 – Human innovation

Personal transformation is the key towards building better societies. The fear we see around us is only a reflection of the fear people need to search and face within themselves in order to heal the world. Hate is not the answer, loving one is. The transformation needed to get there is not an easy road but a necessary one. There are hundreds of methods out there and people to help you making this happen. Go for it if you want to contribute in being part of a happy future.


For human innovation, designing and applying new learning methodologies is essential. Check out our 9 Principles to Design The Future of Learning.


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“The knowledge of all things is possible” ― Leonardo da Vinci

7 – Plurality

In the greatest age of technological innovation in human history, many people are still not experiencing the benefits of this progress, despite actively seeking to more fully participate in and benefit from new educational, financial, service and work opportunities. We are one tribe of humanity around the river of technology, we are all affected with decisions, actions and events that might occur far from our cities, think of climate change, refugee crises, polarization of politics, social media, innovations for technology…


Including women, senior citizens, children, different races, cultures, ethnic groups, lifestyles into our equations at each step is not only crucial for the survival for our businesses but also enriching. Blockchain has the promise to bring a more equal, a more inclusive, a more transparent and sustainable world.


Let’s make the most out of our plurality before we go for singularity. Open your innovations and services to discover and design with users, let’s give a voice and listen to the members of humanity tribes from all around the world.


“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” ― John Lennon

8 – Quantum Love

Love is the answer to everything; we can always love more, our partner, our children, our family, our friends, our neighbours, our communities and even our enemies. Love is the only answer in creating a better world. Hate doesn’t bring us anywhere.


Given that love particularly encompasses compassion and consideration for other people, it follows that spoiling the world somewhere, or spoiling the world for future generations, is not acceptable and is not a loving thing to do. Love in business and work means making decisions and conducting oneself in a way that cares for people and the world we live in. It is time to carry ‘Love’ to the top of our agendas and back in our businesses, where it deserves to be.


Love flows naturally when you create a space for it. People are naturally inclined to good. It’s the business world that makes us resistant and sceptical. If you are open and accepting, people can feel comfortable around you. People feel better when they are allowed and encouraged to connect on a deeper level with others. An increased sense of humanity and trust positively impacts the bottom line, because as humans we live and work better when we are happy.


Everything starts with a will, and every genuine will comes from love. Then it is reflected into thoughts and gestures. Start with love, make love an integral part of your culture, stick to love in your thoughts and gestures (experiences), you will see deep connections flourishing with your community, employees, students, and clients in a timeless and borderless way.


Love more and love better, we will all see the result of this in the future but also reward of love is instant; it is the greatest gift of being alive.


“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.” – Rumi

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” Zelda Fitzgerald

9 – Art of Co-existence

As we become more conscious human beings, the expression of how we feel, see, hear, touch and sense the changing world around us becomes prime. As individual creators, and in-group dynamics with others, unleashing our creativity is one of the most beautiful human states of being we can ever experience, everyone who ever create a piece of art, performance or music knows.


The tensions build in society in-between science and technology will unleash new forms of imagination and creativity upon us, for example: new architectural forms and structures in buildings due the flexibility and fluidity 3d printing is bringing to the sector, visualisations and new insights in genomics creates new forms of how we look at life and its life forms and how to visualise it, the symbiosis between man and machine will bring great new expression in performances, screens and on stages around the world.


“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” – Miles Davis


Let us know what do you think about our trends and send us your input and feedback.


With love and gratitude.


Canay Atalay and Rudy de Waele, co-founders, human works design.