Deck of Cards Drives Dialogue

June 27, 2009

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Last week I received a box set of Drivers of Change cards from Arup’s Foresight and Innovation team in London. They are part of an on-going research programme exploring those issues most likely to have a major impact upon society. Some time back they had requested an image I had photographed to be included in the publication and its been great to view the entire package which is designed to ignite minds in our transitory times.
 
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The box contains sets of cards on issues that drive change: energy, waste, climate change, water, demographics, urbanisation and poverty which are further divided into categories: social, technological, economic, environmental and political. Each card covers a single driver and presents a provocative question and image appended by a challenging fact and sub-issue. The reverse features further research, figures, maps and supporting detail – all coming together to prompt exploration of emerging trends in brainstorming sessions. The questions were derived from Arup’s own workshops with professionals on what is driving change in their sectors.

The cards have been used in a number of events by Arup to promote dialogue – always encouraging interactivity and often involving a sense of play. At a Tokyo Designers’ Week the cards were circulated round a sushi bar within the shipping container venue where visitors selected cards and wrote their responses to the drivers.
 
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The image I took in Worli, Mumbai from the card featuring the sub-issue Livelihood Opportunity – posing the question “How do you make ends meet?”

Arup is a global engineering consultancy which has a history of employing a holistic multi-disciplined approach in engineering design. With a global staff of over 10, 000 Arup provides an array of services for the built environment sector including engineering, design, project management and consultancy. Notable projects include the Sydney Opera House, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, CCTV headquarters in Beijing, Casa da Música in Porto and 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) in London.

I feel the Drivers of Change cards are a relevant tool for curating conversations as are other sets such as the Method Cards by IDEO. By breaking groups out of linear thinking they engage minds in a participatory manner and are more likely to gather a brainstorm of deep insights than a passing shower of shallow talk.

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Solution Seekers at Play

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