Glimpse the future and meet dreamers and doers from all over the globe who are transforming our world today. Read, view, engage, comment, share.

Oct 11

Looking to the future can lead to fantastical thoughts that move beyond current limitations and create endless possibilities and innovations. Back when we were celebrating Steelcase’s 50th anniversary, a new animated sitcom set in the year 2062 called The Jetsons premiered. The show featured a family who flew their cars, employed robotic maids, and communicated through video conferencing. Now, as The Jetsons celebrates 50 years and Steelcase turns 100, we can reexamine our dream for what the future could look like – and see how far we’ve already come.

In the past century, it’s clear that the world has changed dramatically. Technology is evolving at a rapid rate that has allowed us to remain connected to one another both personally and professionally 24/7. While Mr. Jetson may have thought video conferencing with his boss from his living room was a pain, many employees today appreciate the flexibility similar technologies offers. This is the very reason we’ve introduced new products like media:scape that allow workers to collaborate more seamlessly from the office or on the road.

Fifty years after The Jetsons premiered, we’re finally seeing a previous generation’s vision come to life. As we celebrate our 100-year anniversary, it’s up to us to make sure our vision for the future gets here quicker than the year 2062.

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Sep 27

“One day,” says Cassidy, a 10-year old from Capetown, South Africa, “I’m going to get my medical degree and I’m going to be a doctor. I’m going to have a talking computer that will speak all the languages…it will tell you what kind of sickness you have, what kind of medicine you need.”

When we first meet Cassidy, she is eating breakfast with her parents and excitedly twirling her butter knife as she speaks. It’s not hard to imagine a world where computers aid in the diagnosis and treatment of the ill, but there is still room for amazing growth. Cassidy is one of a handful of several children we meet in the film One Day, developed this year as part of our 100 year anniversary and in collaboration with Genesis Inc. and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Daniel Junge.

Cassidy takes us on a journey through Cape Town from the city just outside her front door, to her classroom, and even to the expansive ocean that stretches off in the distance. There, she shares her feelings about her home: “The first heart transplant was in Cape Town. It makes me feel very proud of my country. Innovation usually comes from overseas, but I hope in the future it will come from Africa.”

Luis Tomatis, 100 Minds Contributor, thinks the next generation of innovations may be closer than we think.  “Most of the present remarkable machines,” Tomatis predicts,”…will become obsolete and, as in the Stars Wars movies, be replaced by equipment that will determine, in one non-invasive pass, the health status of each organ.”

Cassidy’s dream of a “magical medicine machine” may be more realistic than the crayon drawings that bring it to life in One Day. “The world is very big and with lots of people,” Cassidy says.

Who can say where the next great advancement in medical technology will come from? In the next 100 years, we may be pleasantly surprised by these sources of new, innovative thinking.

We encourage you to view the film in its entirety. To join the conversation around global healthcare, please also visit our Nurture by Steelcase Facebook page.

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Aug 10

Jesus, whom we meet in the documentary One Day, said these words as he sat and looked out over the crowded urban landscape of Mexico City. From a rooftop, and scribbling in his notebook with childlike earnest, he let his imagination soar. The film, developed this year as part of our 100 year anniversary celebration in collaboration with Genesis Inc. and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Daniel Junge, opens meaningfully with a quote from Pablo Picasso:

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael and my whole life to paint like a child.”

That feeling of returning to a more impressionable and expansive time in our lives is present as the film follows six children and their dream about the future. When we meet Jesus, one of those six children, he is both ambitious and realistic. “I’d like to somehow leave my mark on the world,” he says. “It takes a lot of effort and work, but if I set a goal maybe I can do it.”

In Jesus’ classroom, we see the focus of his eyes as he illustrates his dream: Flying buildings, floating tables, and a way to overcome gravity. We see his crayon-colored vision come alive as he walks past the developing buildings of Mexico City. In an office building, he swivels curiously in his chair as his father works in the foreground.

“I used to think creativity came from lazy people,” he says. “But I realize it’s not lazy people who invent everything because if they’re too lazy to cut wood then they’d be too lazy to bang their heads against a desk inventing a machine to do it.”

Dale Chihuly, 100 Minds contributor, would agree. His own dream for the future is for “…people [to] enjoy and work with the light and color the world has to offer.” In Chihuly’s vision, the creative work that awaits Jesus’ young generation won’t be so arduous. In fact, it will be a joy to work in an environment that unlocks their potential.

Jesus’ attitude is down to earth, mature, and curious. He has a mix of child-like wiliness to dream and a budding sense of real world wisdom. His part of the One Day film not only gives off an impression of playfulness, but also a great sense of purpose.

We encourage you to view the film it in its entirety and add your dream for the future to our Facebook page.

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Jul 31

I am struck by how much of the children’s dream art seems to illustrate some of the 100 mind contributor ideas. I played a game and chose an adult dream to read and explore and then chose some child images from the 100 dreams. They complimented each other in strange and wonderful ways, as though there is a collective dream language that connects one dream to another in an ongoing mission of change.

Take these three pairs and the common themes of each:

Victoria Redshaw, Managing Director of Scarlet Opus in Yorkshire, United Kingdom says as part of her dream for the future, “We print our food, products and clothing at home. Robots undertake all physical work to allow us time for Free Thinking and Play.”

Put that against the artwork and dream of Sun Hao in Shanghai, China, who states, “What I painted is a food machine. Only put some coins in the hole and the food will come out. Also, there is a free napkin below. The machine is very convenient.”

Artist Dale Chihuly, Seattle, USA, says in his dream, “The idea of taking these huge blocks of crystal from Alaska halfway around the world to Israel was a dream, an idea, and I went for it. It is up to all of us to embrace the crazy ideas we have and make the future bright. In the future, I hope people will enjoy and work with the light and color the world has to offer; go out on a limb and turn dreams and ideas into reality.”

After reading the dream of Teo in Madrid, Spain and viewing his artwork, we hope he will take Chihuly’s advice and turn his dreams into reality. Teo says, In the future there will be magic portals where we can be transported to other worlds, cars and motorbikes will be able to fly, and there will be special schools where the children will learn to be superheroes and have super powers. I will work at Steelcase and in order to arrive on time at the office, I will have special sport shoes to go faster… By the way, I will design the future Real Madrid official shirt.”

Cassandra Treadwell, the Founder and Executive Director of So They Can in Wellington, New Zealand, dreams of a world without poverty. “We dream of a world where children are raised as global citizens and people are not dying from hunger as people are socially aware and emotionally concerned for the welfare of others.”

Maybe Adel in Selangor, Malaysia will help Cassandra achieve her dream. Along with his artwork, Adel says, “I also want a big and modern hospital so I can treat the people with low pay.”

From this generation of great thinkers to next generation’s great thinkers; which dreams do you resonate with?

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Jun 6

Earlier this week I had the privilege of participating in a Twitter Chat as part of Steelcase’s 100 Dreams project, the company’s inspirational year-long anniversary project. We were pleased to see that our conversation reached an audience of more than 80,000.

It was meaningful to share ideas for the next 100 years as part of Steelcase’s anniversary project. But the live online chat yesterday also gave me the opportunity to reflect further on how Steelcase’s values map to my own beliefs on culture and leadership.

Steelcase is committed to scaling its values and being intentional about forging deep connections in this interconnected and interdependent world. Through their innovative use of space and design, Steelcase fosters an environment where employees can express their full character and creativity and meaningfully interact. I know this to be the case since my company LRN is furnished with Steelcase’s office furniture products.

The 6th century Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote that “Character is fate”. What character is to the individual, culture is to the organization. Steelcase creates the freedom from closed doors and walled offices and the freedom to create open spaces and expansive offices where employees have the freedom to dream, innovate and collaborate in pursuit of a shared values and mission.

Steelcase is a unique company. It is a special honor for me therefore to be part of 100 Dreams.

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Jun 1

Just as the 100-year history of our company has been about gaining insights and innovating to help people do their best work in an ever-changing world, our centennial is focused on the future: possibilities visible on the edges of today and laying groundwork for the century ahead.

As a special event in our year-long celebration, you’re invited to join us for a live conversation about the world of work today and dreams for the future hosted by Dov Seidman  (@DovSeidman), CEO of LRN and author of HOW: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything who has been recognized as  a “Top 60 Global Thinkers of the Last Decade” by The Economic Times and recently named “the hottest advisor on the corporate virtue circuit” by Fortune Magazine.

This special event will occur on Tuesday, June 5, at 3 p.m. ET.

How are our relationships to our environments and each other changing? What’s the real impact of new technologies and globalization? How can businesses create sustainable value in the world ahead? How can we connect with each other and collaborate to bring about a better future? These questions and more will be the focus of what’s sure to be a lively discussion with Dov that you won’t want to miss. To participate, follow the hashtags #Steelcase100 and #100Dreams .

A few lucky participants will win an autographed copy of Dov’s book HOW . Winners will be selected randomly. We hope you’ll join us!

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May 23

Classroom Project

Throughout our 100th anniversary year, we are encouraging people everywhere to share their dreams for the future – including young dreamers among us. Our “100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years” anniversary project began by asking schoolchildren in six different countries around the world to share their dreams for the future by creating artwork and writing about it. The results can be enjoyed by viewing a documentary film called “One Day”.

More than a few years ago, I started my career as a high school English teacher and my passion for students to have educational experiences that will broaden their thinking has never waned. At Steelcase, we believe in the power of learning and insights that it can uncover.

I hope you’ve taken the time to watch the film… and now that you have, you’re probably thinking – I know some brilliant young dreamers, how can we participate? Great news, to make it easy for children everywhere to share their dreams, we’ve created a “100 Dreams Classroom Guide.” Inside the guide, you’ll find complete instructions for a simple project that can help children envision the future — how the world can change and what they hope to accomplish as adults. The guide also provides several options for sharing the children’s work, including uploading it to Steelcase’s anniversary Facebook page.

We designed the guide for teachers to use in their classrooms, but it can just as easily be used by a parent or any other adult who wants to encourage and capture the dreams of a child. We hope you’ll find the guide useful. We encourage you to use it, and please tell teachers you know and your friends about it, too. Our celebration will be continuing all year long so we’d be happy to hear from 2012-2013 classes as well.

Each child’s dream can give insight into his or her promise as a person and what the next generation might accomplish by working together. Thank you for helping a child share a dream, and please also consider sharing your own dreams on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

 

Guest post written by Steelcase, Chief Administrative Officer, Nancy Hickey

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May 11

“I have to go to work now.”

For many of us, that’s a common phrase. We say it routinely, without realizing that the words “have to” cast a shadow on what is in reality a prized part of most of our lives. Particularly for knowledge workers; work is an opportunity to bring out the best in ourselves and others, to uncover our deepest aspirations, to unlock the promise that exists within each of us, to turn ideas into reality, to ultimately move the world forward.

When we asked people of many ages, enterprises and geographies to help commemorate our centennial by imagining the future, work is implicit in most of their dreams as an essential, abiding component of a meaningful life. Susan Szenasy, for example, expresses the vision of a future in which “work and life have come to be valued as a holistic understanding of what it means to be creatures that value connectivity, accomplishment, creativity, and beauty.”

Like Susan, many dreamers expressed the belief that the work is here to stay, but the work of tomorrow can be more fulfilling than the work of today. “I see a peaceful, powerful transformation of how we work and play, educate and amuse. Empowerment of the individual. The sharing of dreams and beliefs, knowledge and creations,” says Donald A. Norman.

Which is not to say dreamers believe work will or should ever become effortless. Ten-year-old Chloe in Denver, USA, has already reached an important realization: “What would life be without challenges? That just wouldn’t be any fun.”

A hemisphere away and several generations removed from young Chloe, Abdulrahman Al-Jeraisy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, shares a similar insight gleaned from a long life and career: “We come to understand there is a struggle in every dream.”

Work is changing rapidly due to advances in technology and globalization, and there has never been a time when insight and innovation were more in demand. At Steelcase, our focus is studying work, workers and workplaces, understanding evolving patterns, and leading with solutions that can effectively stage the drama of unprecedented accomplishment that’s fast unfolding in our ever-more connected world.

There’s a lot to be done. Let’s go to work!

 

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Apr 25

Guest post by Steelcase 100 Mind contributor and Institute of Design professor, Vijay Kumar.

I enjoyed the opportunity to serve as the facilitator of Nurture’s TEDMED 2012 simulcast last week in Chicago. Between the inspiring presentations and interesting conversations that afternoon, it occurred to me that there are a number of strong similarities – I would call them “overlaps and opportunities” between TEDMED and Steelcase’s 100th Anniversary project .

The first — both are built on the concepts of “convergence and connecting.” TEDMED does that well and that is what the “100 Years” is all about – selecting people from different fields (designers, scientists, artists) and making connections between their viewpoints about the next 100 years. There is lots of overlap in that formula – quite similar to what TEDMED is trying to do.

The second overlap is in the area of “dreams.” Steelcase offers dreams of “100 Years” from “100 Minds” – TEMED presentations are the visions, dreams, of what may be possible and what can be done in the areas of health and medicine. TEDMED is all about sharing ideas for the future – very similar and great amount of overlap.

Finally, both are “curated” experiences. The Steelcase 100th Anniversary project is collecting dreams of different people / children and curating them as an experience via a number of mediums to share with each of us. TEDMED is also a curated experience – working to link together the visions of many people doing interesting work and having interesting ideas and then capturing them and presenting them in a way that we can all learn and grow from.

During Nurture’s Chicago simulcast I came away with a very strong sense of the real value of the continuum on which ideas are being shared by both TEDMED and the Steelcase 100th anniversary project.

Some of them are very personal and emotional experiences (such as the mother’s story of her daughter’s ongoing battle with autism). On the other end of the continuum – amazing anatomical visualization database and computer software – is much more analytical and scientific. Exposure to the full continuum gave me a sense of connection beyond what any one of those components could provide. It gave me an appreciation of the interconnectedness of emotions, science, art, technology – and that is the real value.
It’s not just about science, not just about art, and not just about technology either – TEDMED and the Steelcase 100 Years project help us clearly get a sense of the interconnectedness of the world and how important every component is to our whole life.

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Mar 28

Artwork from children around the world.

… that’s what I feel I’m looking at when I page through these images carefully and whimsically crafted by children from all over the world. They are about so many things. Places to work. Flying rooms. Burrowing trains and boats that float up with the clouds. Buildings will be able to do things. Many of these children want to give objects intelligence, or even the full consciousness of barely imaginable robots as their intuitive dream of the future, even as their parents are slowly working to engineer “intelligence” into devices of all kinds in the present.

I remember when I had my very first electro-cardiogram in a doctor’s office decades ago. The tracings sketched out a picture of my future, somehow. They were fascinating to watch and while they were certainly meaningful to my doctor, to me they were a mysterious riddle of my path forward in life. I have the same feeling now looking at these tracings and colorful images from the children here who were asked simply to dream the future and put themselves in it. What would they do? How would they work? The answers flooded forth in the pictures we have gathered here. (Be sure to scroll down.)

There is an excitement here. These children are serious, brave, unconstrained, determined, and passionate about their dreams. Let us make it our goal not to suppress them. If these young people can be brought into adulthood with these feelings and dreams intact, where might they take civilization? Each drawing is a dream from these children, but nurturing them all is a responsibility for us.

What we see here are tracings on a page that may tell the story of the health of humanity itself. Take your vitamins and get started we’ve got some serious dreaming to do!

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Mar 5

Siddesh's 100 Dreams Interview

Siddesh's 100 Dreams Drawing

These are the first words we hear from Siddesh, a 10-year-old boy from Mumbai, India in the documentary One Day. The film, developed by Steelcase in collaboration with Genesis Inc., and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Daniel Junge, follows six children as they dream about the future. What will the world look like in the years to come? What is the world going to have that we don’t have now? These may sound like big, complicated questions for kids but their answers are remarkably profound.

When we meet Siddesh, he proclaims his Indian pride and notes that he hopes India will one day be a great country. As he looks over the city, he talks candidly about the many slums near his house as he begins to talk about the future. He feels confident that he will personally be able to contribute to the betterment of the country as an architect. In his adulthood, he hopes to create “intelligent buildings” that will adapt to environmental conditions. If a tsunami would come toward the city, for example, his structures would rise up on stilts “so everyone can live.”

In addition to caring for the people in Mumbai, Siddesh is also concerned for the natural environment. “A lot of children of my age see the future with flying cars, but they don’t see the negative effect,” he says. “If the flying cars leave black gas, that will leave trees to die. We have to think about the world before making new things.”

Citizens of India are among the happiest people in the world, according to a recent study by global research firm Ipsos. Despite a wide economic gap and civil conflict, 43 percent of Indians say they are very happy. Siddesh’s positive outlook on the future certainly demonstrates this sense of optimism.

We encourage you to view the One Day film in its entirety and share your dream for the future on our Facebook page.

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Permission to Dream, a 100-Year Challenge

Feb 25

I grew up in a house of design, a house of dreamers and the leader of the pack was my father Jack Hockenberry who helped Steelcase onto its path toward becoming a design leader back in the late 1960s. He was the first real director of design and he brought his journey home to us each night. He worked for IBM and Kodak before Steelcase and at each company his job was to imagine where and how people would work in the future. It was his constant focus back in the 60s and 70s and while it was nearly impossible to know a precise answer to this question it didn’t stop dad and his team from dreaming. My siblings and I would ask questions all the time. “Dad, will chairs have motors in the future? Will desks have TVs? Will typewriters become computers?” “Yes, Yes, and Yes,” he would say.

My dad took us along to see dreamers in action, in museums and fairs. He visited the 1964 World’s fair in New York City and brought back books and pictures of the wonders he saw. “Look, he would say, “School will be like this someday.” He showed his kids a picture of a bubble like chair thing called a study-sphere where you could search the world’s computers for information and read books and watch films. I wanted a Studysphere. We all went together in a futuristic VW Bus to visit Expo 67 to see the dreams at the World’s Fair in Montreal. The amazing apartments from Habitat 67 are still there, still lived in, still dreamy.

At work, my dad used terms like “word processing” and they sounded so futuristic. I imagined words in some lab/factory being carved with lasers and electrified with special machines to allow them to speak. Chairs would move from room to room on tracks where people would dial something onto their chair-arm keypad and people would automatically assemble for a meeting.

It all mostly came true but so much more came true that wasn’t dreamed. Good and bad. My father left Steelcase and I got down to starting my own life and stopped dreaming beyond anything farther down the road than the next personal triumph or tragedy. I look back now and see so much that might have been dreamed, might have been anticipated. I wish I had dreamed about more tools to address the challenges we face today.

When I was asked to be a part of this Steelcase 100 minds event, it was an invitation to return to that dreamy moment in the 1970s when nothing seemed impossible and when the paths still seemed fresh and unclear. In the seventies no one believed the Dow Jones Industrial Average would ever climb above 1000. We believed the Cold War would never end or if it did it would be in a mushroom cloud or clouds.

There are similar cautions and warnings about the future today. In these pages and postings you will find many cautions and warnings about the next 100 years. Some of them are from kids worried about the world they are inheriting. Many of them are from adults thinking about those kids. But there are many more flights to the horizon itself. People here pushing themselves to see the changes possible and begin to ask what the world will look like when, for instance, our political system is mobilized so that we argue less and accelerate into consensus and collective change more than we do today.

Will our bodies be networked? Will elections go away in the face of the ability to continuously monitor the state of communities almost like a political polygraph? Will traditional college simply go away as higher education suddenly needs no campus upon which to teach? Will education begin earlier and never end. Will journalism meld into this continuous educational mission? In the future kids won’t learn to read and write, they will learn to publish. Energy will cease to be invisible and mysterious coming from pugs on walls and will become decentralized visible everywhere, and energy use will be a part of every calculation we make about what to do and how we live. These are just some of the dreams on these pages. For me it is a look back and a look forward at the same time. 100 years ago offices had no meaning. They were workspaces created to escape factory floors and retail madness, they were places to drink and plot with financial clients. The Oval Office in the White House 100 years ago was a place for hanging wet laundry. FDR converted the space to what it is today. Originally conceived by President Taft in 1909 to be a central chamber of a beehive of activity for running the day-to-day operations of the Presidency, today the oval office is a historical shrine and a place for ceremony and the most important historical decisions far removed from the day to day operations of the 21st century presidency. Every workspace of today can tell a similar story of transformation, birth or death throughout the last century. Workspaces are just part of the story. As these pages suggest, there is much more to come.

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Feb 24

Image from Tiffany Shlain Film

Take a look at what Tiffany Shlain created and then explore the dream of Jamy Yang. Shlain’s collective power of people linked up across geography and language time and space to make change and embrace a mission coupled with Yang’s technological capacity to transform ideas instantaneously into objects. The boundaries and categories of the last thousand years are breaking down and we can glimpse it all right here. Try your own combinations, they’re all exciting.

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Feb 20

We really didn’t know what to expect; kids from all over the world being asked by some strangers from the U.S.A. to “dream” what the future would be like in 100 years. What would be the reaction? Would we be considered intrusive or worse trivial? We’re the Hollywood music video crew looking for little hip-hoppers to mug for the cameras, right? To our deep surprise and joy, the kids took to the project with gravity and excitement. It was almost as though they were expecting us. The energy of these kids said, “We thought you’d never ask!”

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