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Leverage the process of worldbuilding to imagine new possibilities

Brands like Boeing and Nike are paying sci-fi writers to predict their futures. Science fiction writers have been envisioning the future for a long time, through which a new discipline emerged, which is known as world building. World building was initially the base of fantasy and sci-fi literature through which writers have been developing imaginary settings for their stories to inhabit. This same principle is now leveraged by businesses to spark innovation in policies, business models, industrial technologies and so on…… In other words, businesses are adapting this principle to imagine new possibilities and develop innovative ideas and experiences that tend to step outside of previously established boundaries of possibilities. What is world building and how it works? When we think of the world-building process, the first thing that most probably clicks in ourLeverage the process of worldbuilding to imagine new possibilities - What is world building and how it works - Think Different Nation - Ideation minds is the genre of fantasy and science-fiction, in which writers create something like a quirky and exciting new world structure for the readers to glimpse into. But there are other genres that leverage the process of world-building too. In fantasy and sci-fi writing, the world building process can lead to a completely new, unknown world structure. Other genres rely on a known world setting, though, none of the pieces of writing is complete without a fair amount of fantasizing about possibilities. While pursuing the concept of world-building, writers create an imaginary world structure with its attendant rules, dangers, rewards, magic, religion and political systems – this world structure different from our real world allows a writer to come up with new ideas and explore more themes. Because when a writer creates the characters in an unknown world, he creates rules to assign structure for how the characters will be allowed to operate and what obstacles they may have to overcome. For example, if the world exists underwater, the characters would need rules to define their underwater operations. While this whole process may complicate the story, while at the same time creating for the writer limitless opportunities to add new twists and directions to the storyline. Traditionally, world-building surrounds the aspects of the physical, metaphysical and sociopolitical systems, but when leveraged for innovation ideation, it’s important to leverage key trends taking place that may impact the future world. This same process is now leveraged by famous brands like Boeing, Nike, Ford and many others to build a better future.  In 2016, Ford Motors talked about their expansion to an auto and a mobility company and formed the Ford Smart Mobility LLC under their initiative of ‘Ford’s City of Tomorrow. ’“Ultimately, our vision is to help make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves with world-class vehicles, mobility services and a wider range of transportation solutions.”  “We’re also aggressively developing dynamic routing, digital payments, ride security, fleet services and more. By working together with passionate partners, we will unlock a future that can only be imagined today.” “Even with all the progress we’re making today, it’s always important to have one foot in today and one foot in tomorrow. That’s why we’re spending time on the City of Tomorrow.” Their City of Tomorrow not only imagines how near-term mobility advancements — including autonomous and electric vehicles, ride-sharing and ride-hailing and connected vehicles – will interact with urban infrastructure in order to create a transportation ecosystem. But also imagines long-term advancements far beyond 15-30 years, i.e. How a world concentrated with autonomous vehicles and high-speed public transit would look like and what would be the underlying technological requirements to prepare for this time ahead.  They further state that there could be innovations in this area ahead like drones, advanced transportation operating systems, advanced technologies for flexible traffic management and many new drives for a healthy green environment.  And for all this, ‘they are investing in these emerging opportunities’.   “We’re coming together to develop the City of Tomorrow. We are entering a new era in transportation, and all of us at Ford are thrilled to help build that future.” Similarly, in an article about the Science-Fi industrial complex, the writer Brain Merchant wrote how brands like Boeing and Nike are relying on the world building processes to speculate about possible futures, trends, and advancements in technologies. And this speculation is quite different from traditional ways of forecasting because it involves an element of fiction.  There are a number of consultation companies offering this sci-fi prototyping or world building services to businesses to enable them to see emerging opportunities byLeverage the process of worldbuilding to imagine new possibilities - Sci-fi prototyping or world building Think Different Nation - Ideation speculating their futures. Having diverse teams of creators-participants from a broad range of disciplines (designers, marketers, consultants, architectures, urban planners etc), these companies undertake creative visualization processes for their clients. In other words, they prototype a possible future for their clients against a fee. “For a fee, they’ll prototype a possible future for a client, replete with characters who live in it, at as deep a level as a company can afford.”  They carry out the same process that science fiction has been doing for decades i.e. building rich speculative worlds. Whether in the form of scenario generation, science fiction prototyping, experiential futures, or transition design, these companies serve clients to generate forward-looking fiction to come up with ideas and emerging opportunities. And the brands like Ford, Nike, Intel are availing their services for better speculation of their futures.  The CEO of one such world building consultation services company is Alex McDowell, who produced the famous sci-fi film of 2002 ‘The Minority Report’. “Alex McDowell, the film’s production designer, was tasked with creating a future world—a North American city in the year 2054—before the production team had arrived at a finished script. Spielberg wanted a “future reality” rather than a conventional sci-fi synopsis.” A group of experts from different fields including environmental guru Stewart Brand, virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, novelist Douglas Coup land, and architect William Mitchell, and others was formed by the Global Business Network to analyze cultural and technological trends in order to imagine a set of future technologies. They all worked together and contributed to the “2054 bible,” which presented the concept of autonomous cars, facial and optical recognition, gesture-based computing, portable 3D screens, personalized advertising, and nano-drones, all of which were shown in Minority Report and famously anticipated our present-day technologies. The visual world of Minority Report became a sort of proof-of-concept, a reference point for an entire generation of designers and computer engineers who were inspired to go into the direction of the film’s speculative technologies.  Later on, McDowell gradually diverted his focus from films to worldbuilding for businesses. By 2013, he had completely quitted the film industry and moved fully towards worldbuilding consultation services for brands. His work for Ford resulted in Ford ‘City of Tomorrow’. And his work for Nike enabled them to publish a book named ‘Unlocking 2025’: “A World of Unlimited Human Athletic Potential and an immersive website that allows users to follow athletes through a world beset by climate change, micro sponsors, and health monitoring technologies.” So, worldbuilding allows brands to build a world structure where they can imagine the needs of their inhabitants and their issues. It basically surrounds ‘What if’ questions that help us make an assumption and direct towards an action.  These what-if questions help businesses imagine beyond their immediate reality and bring about new perspectives about their futures. When brands start finding solutions to the problems we confront today by leveraging what-if questions inspired by world-building methods, they can truly see new perspectives on the products and services that can serve as a remedy for these problems. Leverage the process of worldbuilding to imagine new possibilities - Worldbuilding presents a different way of thinking - Think Different Nation - IdeationWorldbuilding presents a different way of thinking that lets us think bigger and anticipate plausible future issues as well as emerging opportunities, and improves our creativity. The worldbuilding process has the power to influence everything and bring innovation in every area of the business, ranging from corporate culture to customer experience. With the help of world building, and asking questions like what-if and what could be, companies could get new perspectives on the customer’s world and improve the overall experience of their products or services for their customers. By leveraging worldbuilding methods, we get insights into our future lives and the possible issues and problems that may come along our way, that helps us come up with new and innovative ideas. If you want to advance your Ideation or innovation journey, join the TDN platform today. Sign up now to come up with a next big idea! Already have a breakthrough idea? Bring it to life Now! Schedule a free consultation. Follow us:  Facebook : Think Different Nation Instagram : Think Different Nation Twitter : @TDN_Podcast