GSC13: Bran Ferren

Bran Ferren was the first speaker at the Geodesign Summit Conference 2013 (referred to as GSC13 from here forward). He had a grasp on the advancement of technology, “If you wait around long enough, all of the concepts that you think of today, that you’re sure need a miracle to be possible, they will become a reality tomorrow”.

He explained that there are 3 types of design: 1) Reality Based Design- nature, openess, green space; 2) Fantasy Based Design- whatever you can come up with in your imagination; 3) Bad Design: dominant design; though not on purpose, this is unfortunately the design that’s used the most; it’s difficult to not come up with a bad design.

-It’s hard to change things without a good story. You need a good story to tell in order to make Geodesign happen.

-We live in a short-attention-span world where there is no complex dialog

  • Good News: We get a lot done!
  • Bad News: It’s not a very good quality of life; the values (in nearly everything) is gone.

-Geodesign is a form of story telling. It looks ahead to prevent and share (if one person gets it right, it’s shared in the network); insights of one will be shared everywhere. Forty years ago, when e-mail was first coming out, scientists didn’t even consider Smart phones. Who would’ve thought of having a handheld computer that you can do basically anything from? Online predators weren’t even thought into existence yet, let alone a precautionary against them! (Click image below for larger view).

Here is a diagram of characteristics that make up the best leaders, according to Bran Ferren.

Image 1: A diagram of characteristics that make up the best leaders, according to Bran Ferren.

Bran Ferren’s 250 Year Plan:

  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to be in 250 years?
  • How do you plan to get there?
  • Bill of Rights for the future: a 250 year plan for cities

THE BIG 6: (see link: Bran Ferren’s Innovate or Die (Dying is Easier…))

  1. Visioning: Time to Think
  2. Get the Talent: Be brave in your inventions
  3. Story Telling: Use science to tell your story
  4. Complexity Vs. Simplicity: Create role models, be more simplistic
  5. Speed: Make it happen, or you will never get it done in time
  6. Education: Use Geodesign to educate the educators

It won’t predict the future, but it would provide flexibility to allow for flaws in the plan. Big organizations have teams to do the work; but ideas come from dedicated, annoying, and innovative individuals, not from teams.

-You’re not always awarded for success, but you’re always going to be flagged for failure. The outcome is never where you planned to be.

-Requirements and ideas need to come together to build good cities.


  • Be a custodian of those who can’t protect themselves
  • Understand the consequences of your actions
  • Storytelling is important to teach the world of failures and successes

This was a very inspirational presentation. I would recommend going to his talks any day!

Blog On!

By geodesignsg

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