Futures Meets Design with Lisa Kay Solomon - Stanford d.school Spotlight

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In this seventh episode of the Stanford d.school spotlight; Lisa Kay Solomon gives a peek of the thoughts around her upcoming book about her recent innovative civics exercises with learners.

Are our systems designed for short term rewards and is the design of civics and business at odds with the future?

The conversation features a broad range of topics from design, futures, civics, the importance of agency to extra high-quality civics education. Futures thinking, practices, and mindsets are teachable and learnable. How might we think differently about the image of the future that we could bring to life, to be a shaper as opposed to a reactor. It might seem hard, but we can start small.

Lisa Kay Solomon is a futures and design educator, author, and social entrepreneur focused on helping people develop the leadership skills to become active, compassionate agents of positive change. With nearly over 20 years of design, scenario-planning, and leadership work, Lisa’s work focuses on the question: How do we help leaders and learners of all ages not just prepare for the future, but help them develop the mindsets, skillsets and practices required to shape more sustainable, inclusive, robust futures?

Named to the Thinkers50 2022 Radar List, Lisa co-authored the bestselling books Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change, and Design A Better Business: New Tools, Skills, and Mindset and Strategy for Innovation, which has been translated into over a dozen languages. Lisa created the popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Leading Like a Futurist and Redesigning How We Work for 2021, and has written extensively on helping leaders productively navigate ambiguity through teachable and learnable practices.

Currently a Designer in Residence and Lecturer at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, Lisa teaches a variety of futures-oriented classes, including one of the d.school's most popular courses, Inventing the Future, which exposes students to practices of applied imagination, strategic foresight, immersive world building, and creativity. Lisa’s course design utilizes immersive experiences like participating in 50 year future utopia and dystopia debates on emerging technology in order to move beyond questions of “can we build it?” to "should we build it?” As one student commented after the class, “I used to think that thinking about the future was a gene intrinsic to talent, and now I think I have the skills and tools to shape it myself."

In 2021, she launched The Futures Series at the Stanford d.school, which brought diverse futures thinkers from around the world to share and democratize future-shaping practices. Guests included Dr. Lonny Brooks and Ahmed Best on Afrofutures, Meredith Hutchison and Aisha Bain on Ancestral Intelligence, Leah Zaidi on WorldBuilding, Minister Faust on Science Fiction and Pro-social competitions, and Riel Miller on UNESCO’s Future Literacy, among others. She also initiated experiential professional development programs such as “Afro-Rithms in Classrooms” with the National Writing Project, and workshops focused on building futures literacies such as building empathy for the future and navigating time scales and polarities.

Lisa is passionate about connecting her work between boardrooms to classrooms, bringing her work with executives and leaders at multinational companies to leaders and educators in K12 schools. She recently launched a new podcast called New View EDU, co-hosted with the National Association of Independent Schools, to help school leaders shift their posture and priorities to infuse K12 education with imagination, social and emotional wellbeing, and creative agency for the future.

Named one of ixDA’s Women of Design 2020, Lisa is also the founder and driving force beyond Vote by Design, Building America’s Teammates, and #AllVoteNoPlay, a national initiative which transforms Election Day as a day “off” from official collegiate athletic activities into a day “on” for civic engagement. Working closely with college coaches, civic educational leaders and student leaders, the experiential programs reached tens of thousands of young voters, coaches, and administrators in relevant, accessible, meaningful civic learning and action. Lisa’s work in the civics arena is focused on helping next generation voters grow in their own sense of power and agency over the futures they want to inhabit. Through creating design-driven, agency-oriented programs with a bias toward changemaking action, Lisa aims to empower young people to create a more just and inclusive world.

Hosted by The Learning Future’s very own Louka Parry, indulge your cortex in some modern thinking at the forefront of educational design with our amazing guest.

Transcription upon request - e-mail hello@thelearningfuture.com

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