Forecasting is a discipline where practitioners describe long-term outcomes that contrast with the present to enable better decision-making. Visioning is a discipline that involves the creation of a preferred future that imaginatively captures values and ideals. The Strategic Foresight team at Autodesk looks systematically at the future and facilitates forecasting and visioning to help Autodesk determine possible and preferable future directions. Our team works with Autodesk leaders to shape a preferable future that delivers value for our customers and our business.
As part of continuing their studies, two interns joined our team for the summer — Julienne DeVita and Steven Morse — see the other blog article for their bios.
One way to reach a preferable future is to describe it ahead of time and work towards it. Scenarios can serve that purpose. As part of spurring conversations around the company regarding innovation, Julienne and Steven created some scenarios on how architects might work in the future. The thought behind this was rather than present a list of hard-cold facts, it is more compelling to share such information via stories.
Here is one of those scenarios.
Jamie and her team had never designed a structure with an eco-compliance score as high as 96. She leaned back in her chair, hesitant to be proud just yet. A confusion lingered in her focus — had they missed something? She put on a cup of coffee and decided to work late, she enjoyed these last stages of the design process, and it would only take her another hour to run a GreenAI verification on the materials in their design.
From the beginning, the goals of GreenAI were to nudge designers towards more sustainable material choices and building energy efficiencies. When Jamie began working as an engineer for her firm, she never thought the GreenAI software would lead to policy implications. Now, all new buildings in California were required to have an eco-compliance score of over 60 points, and those above 80 were granted various tax breaks.
As the GreenAI software matured, its preferences began to strongly favor certain material choices in various regions, and as a result, the construction landscape began to shift. For example, some of the older suppliers that Jamie's firm used to regularly contract with were slow to adapt to the green materials movement, and they were replaced by other more advanced suppliers. Jamie's firm took pride in choosing alternative materials which would result in higher eco-compliance scores as suggested by their GreenAI software.
Jamie stirred her coffee while opening the material suggestions panel. This panel does more than suggest smarter building material choices, it compiles data to provide a comprehensive view of the environmental variables associated with each material. In one case, the dynamic supply chain pulled a type of wood local to the region, reducing the environmental impact of long-distance material sourcing. As Jamie scrolled through the rest of the material recommendations, she found the material responsible for her great score. GreenAI had selected a different supplier that produced a concrete meeting their design specifications but also integrated carbon sequestration techniques into their concrete production process. On top of that, the supplier was local. No wonder the eco-compliance score was so high.
Jamie leaned back in her office chair with content. She began closing her computer, feeling confident and satisfied with her day's work.
So what are your thoughts? Does it seem plausible?
What if we provided some data?
Is it more convincing with the data? There's compelling evidence that the production of cement contributes to climate change, and people are willing to consider alternatives. The evidence is pretty concrete. What if you just had the data and not the story?
What is in addition to the data, we also provided an example?
Beacon by Arup
Arup has strengthened its global Carbon Advisory services with the launch of a new carbon measurement and management service called Beacon. The tool provides a complete global set of cost-based supply chain metrics that convert financial supply chain activity into a carbon footprint.
Our interns postulated that the combination of a story, some data, and an example is compelling. Are they right?
Feel free to comment or provide feedback to [email protected].
At Autodesk, we help everyone imagine, design, and make a better world. We deliver customers intuitive, powerful, and accessible technology that provides automation and insight for their design and make processes, enabling them to achieve better outcomes for their products, their businesses, and the world. Storytelling as part of forecasting and visioning that can help Autodesk and its customers achieve the best possible future.
Storytelling is alive in the lab.