Future of the Netherlands

Experts: Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
Potential partners: Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Philips Design
How can we anticipate big societal challenges in relation to the development of the Netherland in the upcoming 30-100 years? How do you study these futures, how do you discuss them? What can be the role of design in exploring these futures as well as the implications for the main stakeholders, such as Rijkswaterstaat? In this project we work with different partners the future of the Netherlands. With RWS we run Expedition RWS 2050, where RWS aims to explore a range of possible futures in 2050, so that they are better prepared as an organisation to anticipate and deal with these changing situations in the Netherlands. With WUR, we explore the future in 2120, starting from a more ecological perspective. This project is also connected to design-informed philosophy, more specifically technology in becoming, as well as the future of healthcare, focused on probing emerging futures.


Future of the city

Experts: Jun Hu, Javed Khan, Cindy van den Bremen, Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
Potential partners: ZET, City of Eindhoven, ZET, RISE
The programme ‘Smart Society’ of the city of Eindhoven, is all about quality of life in the city. As a local government, Eindhoven needs to ensure that use of technology and data in public space is visible, transparent, open, secure and respects privacy of individuals and communities. The processes and the results of data collection in public space should be easy to understand and to make use of for everybody: citizens, entrepreneurs, companies, academic and governmental organisations. We see this shift not only in Eindhoven, but also in other cities like Umeå in Sweden. What kind of possibilities can new technology like IoT and sensors bring to the different stakeholders? How can the city engage with inhabitants and entrepreneurs to make them aware of sensors in public space and let them to use the best of it? And how can citizens and entrepreneurs contribute to the community and the city? What can design offer in the transformation of the city?


Future of education

Experts: Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy, Conny Ouwerkerk
Potenital partners: Provence of NB, TU/e Boost, Comenius
What is learning in the future and which educational approach, related pedagogy, methods, environment and tools, do we prefer to educate people, including educating them to design new transformative practices? This means that we have to look at various parameters, including the people that are learning (multi-stakeholder team from different backgrounds, educational levels, phase of learning and professional experience), the scope of the challenge (starting from societal challenges working at a meso level), the place of learning and teaching (in society in a relevant context or at school?), the supporting technology (e.g., knowledge management tools, and reflection tools and data visualisation), and the palette of required competencies (e.g. designing, collaborating, communicating, system thinking and long-term innovating). Within the squad we run various research projects focused on education, including being an experimental environment of the TU/e Boost! project where we develop our own learning environment for the future.


Future of energy

Experts: Cindy van den Bremen, Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy, Cindy van den Bremen
Potential partners: Provence of NB, ZET, Enpuls
The Netherlands aims at a total renewable energy use of 50% by 2030 and close to 100% by 2050 (Ministry of Economic Affairs, 2017). This results in a number of challenges, such as the motivation of people to switch towards renewable energy. It also forms a challenge for well-over half a million Dutch households who experience so-called energy poverty, i.e. they aren’t able to pay the societally-regarded minimum costs of energy (Van Middelkoop et al., 2018). They are financially unable to upgrade their own infrastructure and experience problems regarding their daily survival, participation and social resilience, which hamper their feeling of urgency regarding energy transition (Breukers et al., 2019). Design can support de the development of mediations that support the energy transition. For example, how can design mediation support mutual empathy, self-reflection, effective communication and creativity between local governments, citizens and housing companies to support energy transition? Or, how can people feel more responsibility for energy savings?


Future of design-informed philosophy

Experts: Pierre Lévy, Caroline Hummels, Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
Potential partners: University of Twente, (UT) RISE
Design research is taking a new direction. Not just does design seek to find inspiration in philosophy and psychology, but our main aim is to develop a design-informed philosophy: a branch of philosophy (or a new interdisciplinary subfield) that takes the insights and methods from design research in answering questions about how humans meaningfully relate to their environment. This requires work on specific projects, a conceptual framework as well as work on this novel methodology for philosophy. For example, we try to explore and understand technology in becoming. Building on phenomenological foundations we are interested in understanding all nuances of technologies in becoming, instead of technologies in use at single points in time. This includes both technology-in-the-making (the process of constituting a new technology) and technology-in-appropriation (the process in which users make an existing technology “fit” their own lives). By designing new propositions, we can explore this and other theoretical concepts.


Future of collective data

Experts: Javed Khan, Jun Hu, Caroline Hummels
Potential partners: PON-Telos, University of Utrecht (UU)
Data plays a large role in our currently society. What is the impact and what are the opportunities from a transformation perspective? We explore with different stakeholders the role of data in various ways: to increase the collaboration between government and citizens, as well as well as exploring the technical possibilities, e.g. by developing Massive Data Annotation tools for GIS.
1) Citizens have a growing say in nowadays governance, and local governance are looking for ways to communicate with citizens and include them in their processes. Combining statistic open data gathered by (local) governance with a lively debate with citizens using sensor data and citizen-generated data can boost this collaboration. We explore data-enabled debates between multiple stakeholders, by setting up new forms of embodied data sharing, debating and creating, combining data from different sources and people.
2) Next to this, we design and develop the “FoldIt” for GIS (i.e. the next generation Massive Data Annotation tool for for GIS). Annotated GIS data can enable AI systems which can improve people’s vitality, reduce traffic, assist architects, among numerous other applications of the built environment. Foldit applies the human’s three-dimensional pattern matching and spatial reasoning abilities to help solve the problem of protein structure prediction, in this case applied to GIS.


Future of healthcare

Expert: Caroline Hummels, Laura Nino
Potential partner: Philips Design, Design Academy, Frank Kolkman
Non-native pregnant women in the Netherlands face a comparatively high rate of perinatal and maternal mortality in comparison with other European countries. This case study investigates the complexity of the entire socio-technological mediation system in order to attempt to decrease the mortality rate of these specific women, but also of health ethos and wellbeing in general. We focus on increasing health ethos as well as participatory sensemaking and joint responsibility. The elements we focus on, including e.g. 1) communication means such as intake forms and websites that struggle to deal with language barriers and low levels of social integration, 2) non-aligned technological, organisation and financial systems for primary care midwives and secondary care obstetricians, stimulating hampered communication and cultural divides, 3) the complexity of the dozens of involved stakeholders, and 4) the theoretical and practical implications of health ethos.Next to this specific focus, we also explore the future the healthcare in general on the long run, in collaboration with the Design Academy and Frank Kolkman, which focuses more on future scenarios.