The first day of the backcasting meeting at Corvinus University of Budapest

The feeling, that we should have had this meeting a long time ago, occurred to me right then, at the end of the first day. The team and the ENVIENTA conception, however, have just matured to the level where we were able to make more accurate steps forward.

The event took place between 4th and 5th February, 2019, at Corvinus University of Budapest.

Among the many people attending, there was the founder of ENVIENTA, Gábor Kiss.

In order to have the major part of the group with us, which would otherwise be held up by the distance or the daily chores, we utilised an online web conference room.

On the first day, no smaller task was expecting us than dreaming the future which, like a very strong vision, can be used the following day, at the real backcasting.

The hostess of the event was the adjunct of the university, Dr. Alexandra Köves, who has been specialised in this field for many years.

Unlike the forecasting method, here we start off from a future, suppositional goal that we wish to achieve and work our way back step by step towards the present time. This way, on one hand we can ensure that we are not going to lose sight of the goal, on the other hand it is easier to plan the steps leading to this goal.

It is a unique experience because a group of 15 people have to create a common vision, which includes the conception that all elements of it have to be perceived and accepted by everybody.

So for warmup, instead of boring introductions everybody told about the last 31 years of their lives and also described how they can picture the future in 2050, in 31 years.

The team members’ visions of the future were similar in many ways. Several people said that the rapidly developing technology is going to be only a tool rather than a defining factor in our lives.

At the same time there were members who think that singularity is going to dominate this future. As wild as this conception sounds we could easily identify with it, so it influenced the common vision of the future, as well.

A lifestyle that applies virtual reality (for studying, entertainment, keeping in touch etc.) is much more economical with resources because it significantly reduces the need to travel.

Laszlo Fazekas who is working on the development of our platform thinks there won’t be ENVIENTA in 2050. He quickly added:

“There won’t be ENVIENTA in 2050 because by that time it will have completed its job.”

We started to get down to real work answering to these questions:

  1. In what operational environment will ENVIENTA exist in 2050? (business environment, political/social environment)
  2. In what form will ENVIENTA be operating in 2050? (structural construction, types of cooperation, individual and organizational partners)
  3. In what technological environment will ENVIENTA work in 2050? (usage, development)
  4. What values will ENVIENTA hold in 2050 (commitment to values; measures of creating value; measures of success)
  5. How will ENVIENTA support ecological and social sustainability in 2050?
  6. What will ensure the economic sustainability of ENVIENTA in 2050?

Due to this—instead of clueless daydreaming—we managed to define the future of ENVIENTA and the future of the world created by the organization and in this way to create a long-range goal.

The team was divided into two groups.
Three questions were processed by the offline group assembled on the spot. Another three were answered by online joiners via Zoom application.

Dr. Alexandra Köves said that this was the first occasion to manage the backcasting in this division, partly by the online joining group.

In the next step, the groups made a draft of the commonly agreed image of the future.

The agreement over only one point took a little longer.

According to the original text, just like unconditional basic income (UBI) which is well known and supported by the group, ENVIENTA would provide its users with unconditional basic provision.

And the question came up, how can we undertake this without endangering the liquidity of our organization?

And at that time we didn’t even know that we had come to a crucial point in the meeting. Because later on we made several references to this “argument” or rather the contexture that originated from this.

Several people explained why UBI is useful, at the same time the question why we undertake this risk remained unanswered.

Another question emerged: if free access to resources in the future (pictured by us) lead to abundance, what role would UBI have.

At this point we agreed that we should rephrase the sentence of this future vision referring to this.

But we got the real, reassuring answer on the second day, when we were elaborating the details.

You can read about this in the next article.

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ENVIENTA is an open source hardware-developing platform helping innovators, creators and makerspaces to connect with supporters and consumers in a decentralized cloud-manufacturing framework. At the early stage the project mainly focuses on solutions for sustainable living, home automation, green-energy and food production.


Source: Envienta Open Source Everything

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