On Getting Out Of The Tent
Xskool in Sweden: Design Within Living Systems
How To Use A Fringe-Dwelling Change Agent
Most-Read Stories
Recent Publications

Doors at 20: On getting out of the tent
Nearly twenty years ago, in November 1993, the year the web was invented, the first Doors of Perception conference took place in Amsterdam. Our starter question was: “wow, this Internet thing is amazing – but what is it for?” Two years later, at Doors 3, we proposed an answer: “Info, meet Eco” – and spent the next decade exploring how the internet, plus design, might contribute to sustainability. We concluded, after eight super-cool events in Amsterdam, that darkened conference halls trapped us in the ‘desert of the real’. We needed to get out more. So we left Amsterdam – moving first to India – and evolved a new kind of encounter. An xskool, as we call it, is a curated, context-specific, two-way learning exchange between a host project, or place, and expert but respectful visitors. By re-connecting people with places, and with each other, we believe, xskools can be an early catalyst for system transformation. To do this work well, new ways of knowing, and new ways of meeting, are needed. These are intriguing tasks for design.

Xskool, Sweden, August
Our next xskool is in Sweden, in August, on the island of Grinda in the Stockholm Archepelago. It’s an event within the Future Perfect Festival which runs from 14-18 August. We’ll discuss, with Grinda as our context: What are social-ecological systems? How do you design in them? What new skills do we need to do so?

How To Use A Fringe-Dwelling Change Agent
“Individual actors, and fringe-dwelling change agents, play a far larger role as drivers of system transformation than has been recognized in the past” – or so says the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WGBU). If your organisation is primed to embrace change, one way to start is with a Doors of Perception talk, or workshop. Inspired by the wild-card innovations reported on our blog, our encounters help you identify small actions that can begin changing the bigger picture.

Many of our talks begin life as stories on the Doors of Perception blog. The most-read stories of the last year have been:

What Makes A Change Lab Successful?
How a hand-picked in-house team transformed UK government digital services

Trust is Not An Algorithm: Big Data Are Hot, But There Are Other Ways Of Knowing
umbers reveal opportunities but miss things that matter, but which cannot be counted

Green Tourism: Why It Failed And How It Can Succeed
Could P2P travel repair the tarnished reputation of ecotourism?

The Ecozoic City

Over the ages we’ve invested huge resources to keep cities and nature separate. What would it mean if that were about to change?

Cycle Commerce: The Red Blood Cells of a Smart City
What ingredients are needed to help a cycle commerce ecosystem flourish?

Venice: From Gated Lagoon to Bioregion
From a high-entropy concept of infrastructure, to a focus on living systems

From Autobahn to Bioregion
What happened when Audi challenged cities to re-think mobility.

Healing The Metabolic Rift: Designing In Social-Ecological Systems
In a world of uncertainty, do we plough on regardless – or take a different route?


Disenando para un mundo complejo
My book In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World has been published in Spanish by Editorial Disegnio in Mexico City.

plus chapters contributed to these books:

Ja Natuurlijk/ Yes Naturally – How Art Saves the World
eds Ellen ter Gast et al, Rotterdam, NAI Publishers, 2013. (A chapter on nature in the city)

Architecture and Energy
William Braham et al, eds, (New York) 2013 (forthcoming; my chapter is entitled Design In The Light Of Dark Energy)

Service Design
by Andrew Polaine, Lavrans Lovlie, and Ben Reason. (I contributed the Foreward).

Handbook of Design for Sustainability
Stuart Walker and Jacques Giard, eds, Berg, 2013 (forthcoming; an introduction).

Audi Urban Future Award
ed Stylepark, Frankfurt, Trademark Publishing, 2013. (The book of the Award includes my text about the Ecozoic City).

The Car in 2035: Mobility Planning for the Near Future
Kati Rubinyi, ed, Barcelona, Actar, 2013 (Includes my essay Crossing The Road).

The most-downloaded handouts at the Doors of Perception website are:
– Design and Energy: Thirteen Great Writers
– How To Make Our Own Money: A Reading List
– Vital Signs: 30 Sources of Environmental Reporting
– 83 Alternatives to University and Design School
– Design Grammars for Health and Care


John Thackara, Doors of Perception
Twitter  @johnthackara
Email    john(at) doorsofperception (dot) com