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Driving a Cleaner and More Resilient Future

California’s innovation engine has the potential to shift the economy to a cleaner and more resilient future.  Next 10, a nonpartisan nonprofit just released the 2012 California Green Innovation Index. In its fourth edition, this important document illustrates along multiple measures that you can indeed choose both, environmental improvement and economic growth.

The Importance of an Everlasting Sandwich

I have to admit, I kind of scoffed when I read the following headline: “Gas-Flushed Sandwiches Stay Fresh for Two Weeks.” The corresponding article explained that Booker Group, the UK’s largest food and drink wholesaler, is “launching chicken tikka and cheese ploughmans sandwiches, among others, it insists will remain fresh for 14 days.”

Superstructing the Next Decade: 2009 Ten-Year Forecast

We're excited to make the 2009 Ten-Year Forecast materials—Superstructing the Next Decade—available online.


In a blog post the other day, I mentioned FooCamp--which is an annual invitation-only participant driven conference hosted by open source publishing legend Tim O'Reilly (who, interestingly enough, is credited with coining the term "Web 2.0").  On August 6th & 7th, the Institute will be hosting BioBarCamp.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, BarCamps are user-generated conferences—open, participatory workshop-events, during which content is provided by participants.  They are sometimes referred to as unconferences.  My colleague, Alex Pang, has observed, "[T]hese camps . . . at their best are semi-chaotic but intellectually exciting affairs." You can read more about BarCamps here.

IFTF in the news

The Institute's new future of making map got a mention in the New York Times.

As important as tinkering has been to the nation’s past, it could become a much bigger deal before long, said David Pescovitz, a research director at the Institute for the Future, a consultancy in Silicon Valley. A new report from the institute argues that the makers could force enormous changes in the ways that goods and services are designed and manufactured. The renewed urge to tinker, along with flexible manufacturing technologies, could shift production from big companies and stores to communities of makers and consumers, Mr. Pescovitz said.

"It’s about having a deeper connection with the stuff around you, and through that with the people around you," he said. That is why his research group took the slogan from the pins given out at the Futurama pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair — "I have seen the future" — and edited it for the report to "I am making the future."

"If you want something done right, do it yourself. That’s really what it’s about," Mr. Pescovitz said.

Technology Horizons conference

Everyone at the Institute is at the Technology Horizons conference today on "The Future of Making." It's rather different from our usual events. Conference attendees started trickling in yesterday at the Maker Faire, and we put them through a couple exercises that encouraged them to spend some time exploring the Faire and talking to people. Today is more like our usual conferences: we're combining talks and roundtables, with exercises in which conference attedees think through the implications of what we're talking about.

Today's list of guests is also unusually interesting. Joshua Kauffman from Regional talked about DIY in Cuba (here's a video of a similar talk they gave at Stanford recently); Dale Dougherty (founder and editor of Make) and David Pescovitz (who divides his time between IFTF,, and Make) talked about "the Maker mindset." Our panel on the future of open source included Bunny Huang (creator of the Chumby), Dan Morrill (Google Android), and Brian Carver (an IP attoruney at Fenwick & West). After lunch, we got into Citizen R&D with Eric Wilhelm (founder of Instructables), Hugh Rienhoff (founder of, Jeane Frost (founder of, and Gary Wolf (a senior contributor at Wired, and now working on a project on the quantified self). Now, Mark Hatch (COO of TechShop), David ten Have (founder and CEO of New Zealand-based Ponoko), and Liam Casey (founder and CEO of PCH International) are talking about lightweight manufacturing.

The X2 project

For the last 6 months or so, I've been working on a big new project at the Institute. I haven't written that much about it, as we've been... quiet. Now, though, we're starting to take the project public.

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