Harald Neidhardt Curator & CEO, Futur/io Institute “We live in times of unprecedented change & opportunity. Together, we can create a new generation of European
Entrepreneur & Creative Evangelist
Learn how to unleash the world's greatest natural resource
Jeremy Abbett is an American designer, advisor and inspirational speaker on a mission to unleash the world’s greatest natural resource: human potential. He does this by elevating creativity and innovation in all its forms through curiosity, inspiration and co-creation .
In 1996, Jeremy founded design agency Fork Unstable Media where he was the creative partner developing work for companies such as Nivea, Lufthansa, Daimler, and Wired Magazine. His work has been internationally recognized and won numerous awards.
Jeremy also spent four years as Google’s Creative Evangelist, co-founded multidisciplinary studio Truth Dare Double Dare, was a founding post-graduate student at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, and was voted as one of the 100 most influential people in the European digital industry. As an important part of Futur/io Faculty, Jeremy facilitates Workshops at Moonshot Thinking Masterclass.
He currently resides in Hamburg, Germany with his family and a pair of retired Persian cats.
Excerpt from Jeremy’s contribution to the Moonshot for Europe Book.
Absolute Beginner – Using Creativity to Capture Education’s Moonshot Moment
It’s a handful of days before Christmas as the sun hangs low in the sky throwing cold shafts of light through a dust encrusted window, deep into the back of my skull. The Hitchcock-like flock of crows, with their incessant chattering, have flown to another part of town to drop their turds on all those that choose to remain stagnant like so many parked cars lining the edge of the street. A pervasive pool of Santa’s helpers, in the form of DHL emblazoned couriers, can be seen lugging around Amazon-branded cardboard boxes going from door-to-door searching for signatures. What is more commonly known as a celebration of Jesus’ birth has been co-opted by Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame as a celebration of algorithmic curation, one-click dopamine hits and same-day gratification.
Jingle bells, the West coast smells,
Bezos laid an egg.
The Euro zone lost a wheel,
And the American Dream got away.
Growing-up in the heartland of America, I subscribed (and still subscribe) to the ethos that is the American Dream; that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. It’s an ethos that is rooted in the 1776 writing of the Declaration of Independence – when thirteen sovereign states declared their independence from Great Britain. In a commitment to patriotism, and the ethos of independence, the Pledge of Allegiance was ritualized by every child growing up in the United States of America. I can still remember how every single morning in elementary school we would stand up, face the American flag and put our right hand over our hearts while reciting, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Fast-forward to just short of a half-century into the present, where America is more divided than ever; the US has a greater number of children living in relative poverty than in Mexico while at the same time has 41% of the world’s millionaires. A place where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the opportunity for prosperity and success is facing the headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the growing debt of college students and the federal government. The great technology optimism that has minted so many millionaires, and wiped out 10x as many businesses, is rapidly descending into the bowels of a potential bear market as the greater public have become weary of seeing their data being misused and abused in the distortion reality field that the West Coast made a reality for the rest of the world.
The singular visions of software engineers have gotten us to where we are today: a world that was built on a solution looking for problem, a world that was constructed by engineers mining our desires, our fears, and our behaviors. As software continues eating the world the engineers that built and run these fiefdoms have become our new kings, ruling over vast data lakes of our personal data to be pawned off to the highest bidder. It’s a system where engineers ascend to the highest ranks of the companies, built with their bias’, their values and their ideals and a singular focus on making the system work. It’s a system that is long overdue for a revolution.
In an age defined by technological innovations, I believe we have to start using the creativity we all inherently have within ourselves to create a world that better reflects the reality of the 7.7 billion diverse group of people inhabiting it. We have to understand that what got us where we are today has served their makers very, very well but have inadvertently excluded the majority of the people that hold different perspectives, different genders, different races, and come from different generations. We need to radically shift the monolithic corporate cultures with their leadership and executive boards consisting of stale, male and pale members, to a diverse group of people that not only question the status quo, but also have the courage think well beyond the next business cycle. We need to redefine success by not just measuring a company’s profit but by also measuring the well-being of its employees and customers. But before we do all these things, we have to have a common understanding of creativity.
Favourite books, movies
Futur/io faculty ask
What was your first touch with the future?
Experiencing the birth of my two children.
This inspired me the most…
my family and friends as well as all those individuals that have the courage to question the status quo.
Pablo Rodriguez Moonshots Ambassador and Advisor at [X], Google [X] Futur/io facultybiography Pablo Rodriguez (PhD Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 2000; MSc King´s College, London)
Pascal Morgan CEO, think.speak.transform. In a world of constant change, what is our compass to help us navigate through complexity, on our journey into an uncertain