FCCR/CSF Future City Innovation Workshop

10:30 - 18:00
University of Leeds, Liberty Building: Room G28

Exploring Future City Technology, Economic Models and Leading Visionary Change: Implementing the Methodology of Creative Science Prototyping


Jen Wu, National Taiwan University
Prof. Vic Callaghan, University of Essex
Dr. Gary Graham, Leeds University
Eve Coles, Emergency Planning College/Cabinet Office
Dr. Ping Zheng, Canterbury Christ Church University

Speaker biographies

“Science fiction is the playground of the imagination. If you are interested in science or fascinated with the future then science fiction is where you explore new ideas and let your dreams and nightmares duke it out on the safety of the page or screen. But what if we could use science fiction to do more than that? What if we could use science fiction based on science fact to not only imagine our future but develop new technologies and products? What if we could use stories, movies and comics as a kind of tool to explore the real world implications and uses of future technologies today?”
- Brian David Johnson, Futurist at Intel Corporation

“Our culture does not have many cross-disciplinary people. The persistent Anglo-Saxon (English-speaking) problem of the ‘two cultures’ (Science and Technology versus Arts and Humanities) identified by C P Snow will be a deep problem for those planning future cities and new economic models. Science fiction, art and design have a great deal to offer the future cities project, not just technology, architecture and engineering. How do we break the false dichotomy between these two approaches and get them interacting?”
- Gary Graham, Co-founder of FCCR Network

The Future City and Community Resilience Network together with the Creative Science Foundation is pleased to invite you to participate in the Future City Innovation Workshop which will explore how Science Fiction Prototyping can be used to harness an entrepreneurial approach to the design of ‘Future Cities’.

The workshop employs a cutting-edge innovation technique, Science-Fiction Prototyping, that was pioneered by Intel (the world’s most inventive and successful high-tech business) that sets creative processes into an engaging and motivating context involving writing short fictions about the future to generate and explore new technologies, business processes and governance in future cities. The SFP-Lab sessions are presented by a team of international experts, including Intel’s futurist who first proposed the SFP methodology. The SFP-Labs are relevant to scientists, engineers, researchers, entrepreneurs, managers, writers, artists, designers, and the general public who are warmly invited to come along to explore how science fiction prototypes can transform your ability to innovate in your work, personal or community life.

Event format

10.00am - 10.30am: Registration

10.30am - 11.15am: Dr Gary Graham, Future Cities and Community Resilience

Dr. Graham will introduce the aims and objectives of the Future Cities and Community Resilience Network describing past research outcomes and ongoing research. You will gain an understanding of how governments and large enterprises are shaping our city landscape and how it is important for community forces to express their interests and speak out to help society to rethink and find alternative options to improve the life of citizens living in future cities. We will also introduce our new project that will involve the production of short films linked to personal visions of the future inner city.

11.15am - 12.00pm: Prof. Vic Callaghan, Smart City Technology Landscape, University of Essex

What does ‘smart’ mean in terms of technology? What technology is available to make cities smarter? This talk will use the ‘Internet of Things’, together with examples, to illustrate how technology can be a driver for smart-city innovation.

12.00pm - 12.45pm: Dr Ping Zheng, The agency role of entrepreneurs in future city design

How do we achieve the dream of smart cities in the forthcoming future? There are many important actors and driving forces in this evolutionary developmental process, such as governments, businesses, scientists and academia. These organisational and individual actors are embedded in the multi-levels of society which can become active change agents that drive institutional, social and structural change. Among these active agents, I propose that the opportunity-focused entrepreneurs are the most critical actors capable of formulating projects for the future and realizing them. We are living in an information age that is characterised with intensive knowledge development, rapid technological advance and increased degree of destructive creativity.

This requires the need for an integrated society – the actors of different structural environments should interactively respond to the emergent trends posed by changing social, economic and technological situations. In this talk, I attempt to demonstrate how this agency perspective, in analysing the interactive role of different actors and agencies, especially with a focus on the role of entrepreneurs as an important driving force and critical changing agent is facilitating and creating a future of smart cities. As a result of this talk, participants should be able to develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and fully appreciate the role of entrepreneurship in smart future design.

12.45pm - 1.00pm: Q&A

1.00pm - 2.00pm: Lunch and Networking

2.00pm - 3.00pm: Hsuan-Yi Wu (Jen): Introduction to SFP

3.00pm - 3.30pm: SciFi-Prototyping & Future Cities – The 21st Century Robot Project”, Brian David Johnson, Intel Futurist

What kind of future city do you want to live in? How might it be possible for ordinary inhabitants of a city to have a hand in shaping future cities? Brian Johnson starts by introducing himself, explaining how the ever shrinking size and cost of electronics, together with its exponentially increasing power, may radically change our world and lifestyles. He then explains the historical and current relationship of science-fiction to technology development and introduces SciFi-Prototyping (SFP) as a tool that acts as a shared language to facilitate discussion between the differing stakeholders of a city (e.g. government, companies, researchers, students and society at large etc) so as to enable everyone to participate in designing their future city.

The approach he will describe is based on three key concepts, SciFi-Prototyping, open-source platforms and crowd based innovation. Finally, he will exemplify these ideas by introducing the Intel ‘21st Century Robot’ project which concerns a crowd-based, open innovation, design of a domestic robot which Intel believe will become a common feature of future cities. Join Johnson as he explains how it is possible to change the future and discover that it’s simpler than you might think.

3.30pm - 4.00pm: Break

4.00pm - 6.00pm: Hsuan-Yi Wu (Jen), Imagination Workshop (Group SFP Exercise)

Participants will be arranged into groups of 4-5 people. The facilitator will guide you to discuss the desirable and possible cityscape futures. We use STEEPV analysis (Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental/Ecological, Political and Value-based issues) as the foundation of this brainstorming. Participants should choose the city where they live, or a city that you would like to regenerate, as the target of their SFPs. Questions to be addressed might include, what conditions people might face in the future; what lifestyles they should be pursuing to achieve social wellbeing; what technologies might affect their lives the most; what other influences might arise as Intelligent Environments enter into people’s everyday lives? You might also consider whether there are any inspirations from science fiction that you would like to see created in a future city?

In addition to extrapolating current technologies forward, we will also consider the effects of disruptive technologies and events such as those arising from a natural disaster or a revolutionary technology. While we can’t predict the future, SFP provides a tool to reason about the consequences of possible futures and enables us to take a hand in designing them, as this workshop will seek to demonstrate.

The main benefits for those attending this workshop are opportunities to:

  • Network with people who share the same interests in shaping the future and making an impact on the nature of future cities.
  • Participate in an Imagination Workshop to learn and practice the process of creating a science fiction prototype via group brainstorming.
  • Connect with Creative Science Foundation (CSf) and Future City and Community Resilience Network (FCCRN)
  • Develop your innovative ideas (science fiction prototypes) into a scientific or technological research proposal, community action plan, business plan, or prototype development plan etc.

We plan to organize a follow-on workshop (May 2015) to assist the development of your ideas into a fuller prototype and action plan, including connections to business start-up, community engagement and mentoring services. 

If you are interested in attending the initial workshop, please email your detail to either:

Eve at evecoles@aol.com or
Jen at happyjen1107@gmail.com  

We only have availability for 15 people so, to avoid disappointment, please book early. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Cancellation or failure to Attend will incur a fee of £15.

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