Prototyping 2040 – The FutureS Thinking Book

What is Prototyping 2040

Prototyping 2040 is a vision of four prototypes for western civilisation in 2040. To create the prototypes, the FutureS Thinking team critically analysed thousands of signals of change. The prototypes revolve around issues of social, economic and environmental importance. We looked at such aspects as work, everyday life, mobility, city planning, industry and finance. In addition, we investigated a number of key values that determine each of those aspects. The prototypes were created to inspire organisations, businesses and institutions to think with a longer perspective, and help them prepare for the changes which, in our opinion, are inevitable.  

The scenarios are illustrated with carefully selected quotes and signals of change. Verbal descriptions are accompanied by images that will help you see the possible futures more clearly.  Each prototype ends with a short story presenting a day in the life of someone from the presented future and comes with a few open questions prompted by the presented vision. The questions will help the reader prepare for impending turmoil (or perhaps an unexpected calm?) and create their own future.

The book “Prototyping 2040: The FutureS Thinking Book” opens up to readers a landscape of possible future scenarios, some more desirable, others less so. The publication is a structured collection of non-obvious inspirations for companies’ and institutions’ leaders, making it easier for them to make directional decisions and implement change in their organisations.

Zuzanna Skalska and Rafał Kołodziej’s book “Prototyping 2040: The FutureS Thinking Book” is the result of many months of research and interpretation of signals of change coming from a number of industries worldwide. The intersection of career paths of Zuzanna Skalska and Rafał Kołodziej – who both have over 20 years of business experience – resulted in the creation of a method of working with the future that supports and stimulates strategic thinking in organisations. It is based on the systematic construction of possible future scenarios, the selection of those with the greatest potential and testing them rapidly “here and now”.

“Prototyping 2040” is neither a futurology nor science-fiction book. Its content is based on scenarios of the future that can already be seen on the horizon or have already been happening. The prototypes of the future proposed by the authors are built on constant observation of thousands of signals of change made during various years of professional practice of Zuzanna Skalska and Rafał Kołodziej. The book intends to give change leaders the impetus to think critically. Published in English, it is aimed not only at the Polish market, but also at the global one.

The authors of “Prototyping 2040” do not assess or indicate which variant of the future is optimal. In their opinion, each reader may perceive it differently. The book is, above all, an inspiration for leaders of companies and institutions so that they can better plan their future and introduce appropriate changes in their organisations.

For us, the future is not the goal. It is a tool to change the reality in which we live here and now. We use it as a strong incentive to change the existing mental model of leaders – adds Rafał Kołodziej.

The publisher and partner of the publication is a Sopot-based, technology and finance company Blue Media which has been involved in publishing since 2018. The company supports publishing books that contribute to a better understanding of complex social phenomena and make more accurate diagnoses about the future. Blue Media supported the publication of the three previous books by Zuzanna Skalska’s team: “Trendbook. VUCA times”, “Trendbook. New Normal’, ‘LEGACY. Are you a good ancestor?”.

– Even if we agree on the principles when drawing up a vision of the future, it is difficult to separate the desirable from the unacceptable. Nevertheless – or perhaps because of this – we need a framework to organise the present and the future worlds. We are certain that a good future requires an effort from each of us. An effort which starts with reflection – explains Andrzej Antoń, co-founder of Blue Media, in the book’s afterword.

Each scenario was enriched with a visual layer – Olga Mrozek, the author of the illustrations in the book, defined each future with a different colour. Since there is no single scenario of the future, the books have been printed in different cover colours. When ordering a book, the reader has no influence on the colour their copy will have. The publication will be available for sale from mid-January 2022.

About the authors

Zuzanna Skalska 

For more than 25 years, she has been inspiring leaders, decision makers, and chief growth officers to be forward-thinking in business. She’s brutally direct and emotional. Designer by education. An avid observer of signals of change. She connects people. Loves what she does. Zuzanna lectures at a number of universities, is strongly involved in projects promoting speculative thinking, and participates as a speaker in numerous opinion-forming events dedicated to innovation and economics. She works with clients from various industries around the world. These include many global giants and market leaders. Zuzanna specialises in up-front innovation, signals of change, and strategic forward thinking. She is a partner at Greenhat as well as co-founder of the FutureS Thinking Group and the “Designing the Future” postgraduate program at SWPS University. She has lived in the Netherlands for 30 years.

Rafał Kołodziej 

Strategist and service designer who specializes in the definition of unique customer value. Economist by education, designer of new thinking patterns by choice. He is adept at navigating the world of information overload, synthesizing it, and setting directions based on multiple signals of change, sometimes contradictory. He specialises in implementing projects for companies in the process of transformation. He is fascinated by new ways of solving recurring problems. He constantly improves methods used in business and education. In the past, he was the manager of the “Service Design” postgraduate programme, while now he is the co-founder of the “Designing the Future” programme at SWPS University. He is CEO of Greenhat and co-founder of FutureS Thinking Group.