Tools and methods

A session of radical dreaming about the city

Moonshot thinking

When it is useful

The Radical Dreaming Session brings together multidisciplinary project teams made up of residents, municipal officials, innovators, social scientists, academics and artists. Based on the Moonshot Thinking method, the participants of the session look for a way to radically solve a chosen problem using a breakthrough technology. The first stage of Moonshot Thinking is to select predefined challenges and develop a vision for each of them (dreams). In the next stage, fundamental changes or situations are identified, whose emergence clearly influenced the developed vision of the city/district in the future (shift cards). In Gdańsk, we used this method to develop 37 cards related to different areas of challenges: social, ecological, technological, etc. They are so universal that they can be used to work on the future of neighbourhoods in other cities (you can download theset of cards below together with the Gdańsk of the Future report). The final stage of the radical city dreaming session is to work on methods, solutions and technologies that will make the vision come true – thus generating bold ideas on how to solve important long-term challenges for the city.

A session of radical dreaming about the city

Step by step instruction

  • Invite the following people to the workshop: representatives of the neighbourhood, experts in different fields, officials, artists, activists.
  • If the group has more than 5 people, it is advisable to work in smaller teams, so that each team includes people from different backgrounds.
  • At the beginning of the work, propose exercises that will help participants get to know each other (e.g. choosing a photo that best represents a given person, which becomes an excuse to introduce oneself to the group).
  • As a warm up, try to stimulate the imagination with creative activities: pyramid of associations, creating stories with story cubes, etc.
  • Then present to the group the challenges you have chosen for the neighbourhood (based on your experience and knowledge from the neighbourhood’s DNA mapping). Each subgroup should get a different set of challenges from which they choose one to work on – the most inspiring, motivating one.
  • For the next 15 minutes, you work together to create a vision (dream) of what you will be able to achieve in the future in response to this challenge (choose your own time horizon, in Gdańsk we worked in a 50-year perspective). This can be a dream or nightmare vision.
  • Next, you need to identify what key phenomena and situations have influenced your vision. What is happening now or what will happen in the future that will make your vision come true? This way, you will identify your shift cards.
  • Finally, you will work on radical, bold ideas in response to the future challenges. Think of solutions that would help you bring your ideal future vision to fruition or prevent a catastrophic scenario. Develop each idea by thinking about: • Its purpose/benefits • Its unique value (what makes it different from other solutions) • its key functionalities/characteristics • the technology or method (one or more) that supports your idea
  • Present your ideas to the other groups and consider how your visions differ and which solutions you could start working on together now.

Downloadable materials

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