I am making a very exciting book this year. It's being designed by Ella Britton and Joana Casaca Lemos, and is part of the Think Act Vote (?!X) project that I started in 2010. It is a radical think tank that explores the new and creative ways we can and are shaping our future lives and communities. We are disrupting the traditional model of a think tank because we believe that every single one of us, no matter what age, background, religion, ethnicity or occupation has personal experiences and ideas to share that can lead us to a brighter future.
It all started from a conversation with friends that presented a simple reality - when you flip an election on its head, it's really just about choosing a future. And with that Think Act Vote (?!X) was founded and immediately set out to playfully ask people that very question: What is the Future You Choose?
We started with a ballet box and asked hundreds of people to think about and vote for the future they choose. The most powerful of these futures have recently been visualised by over 50 amazing illustrators - we are sharing these illustrations every week of 2012 in our online Futures Calendar.
We ran a t-shirt design competition, judged by an esteemed creative panel, including Fashion Designer Katharine Hamnett, Social Entrepreneur Cyndi Rhoades and Stylish Illustrator Daisy de Villeneuve, and the winning design by Jesson Yip was lovingly made into t-shirts by ethical fashion superstars, Komodo.
We then ran an event called ?!X Refashioned that saw leading ethical fashion designers Tara Starlet, Ada Zandtion, Beautiful Soul, Junky Styling and others design a one off piece and customisations for any one to do at home. And, with our travelling photobooth we've travelled to events and festivals across the country, including Vintage Goodwood and Latitude Festival and snapped hundreds of people in the ?!X t-shirts.
In 2011 we launched our Futures Interviews series, asking people to share their chosen futures and some of the ways we can think, act and vote to create them. The Futures Interviews are continuing to fly into our inbox thick and fast, and we're publishing many interviews online every week. Whilst we're super excited about this we really don't want the older stories to be lost in a digital archive. We want to pause for a moment and capture some of the best responses we've had in a book, all about the future.
The final book which also features the work of visual artists, designers, illustrators and photographers, will be published in June 2012 (hopefully launched at Rio+20) and will available to buy in limited edition. We're also planning to present both the project and book to the British prime minister and leading politicians, to raise awareness of a new collaborative and creative future.
The book is going to feature a whole host of known contributors such as Wayne Hemingway, Dan Snow, Kriss Akabusi, Lynne Franks, John Bird and June Sarpong but alongside completely new voices such as Abrar Agil, a 17-year-old third-generation Palestinian refugee living in Machester.
Hosting The Futures Interviews over the past year has been one of my highlights. Every single interview I read, no matter the age, profession or location of the person, has been a lesson and an inspiration.
If I had five minutes with every human being on this planet, these are the questions that I would ask them. I believe that every single one of us has ideas and experiences to share that can lead us to a brighter future.
We spend much of our waking lives limiting ourselves, our beliefs, our power, our dreams, our actions. But when you look though history and the present, we see that people only create change in their lives and in the world by believing that more is possible than meets the eye.
Through the process of taking part in our Futures Interviews, you have the opportunity to figure out what it is that you really believe in, and to think through and vocalise your core values. We all make choices in our lives on how we spend our time, energy and money, and it is these decisions that collectively shape our world.
The Futures Interviews ask you to stop and imagine the world that you wish to live in, and then share the ways that we can Think, Act and Vote to create it. There is no criteria for who can answer these questions and take part. Everyone can, you can.
So make time to do this, and to share this with your friends and family all over the world. There are too many problems with our world and our communities right now, and it can seem impossible to create something different. Yet it's only by thinking differently, acting differently and voting differently that we can create the change that we want. Let's create a world where we have courage to live out our values and learn from each other to create a brighter future for all.
All the interviews received between now and the end of March will be put forward for the edit for the book, so what are you waiting for?
Take Part in the Futures Interviews - www.thinkactvote.org/thefutureichoose
Follow Think Act Vote (?!X) on twitter @thinkactvote