Institute for Human Futures - Idea Couture

Fostering more human futures by changing the way we design and implement technology

Recently, the story of technology has changed. Rather than being a tale of optimistic progress, we are now realizing that new technologies like AI and AI-enabled robotics could fundamentally change who we are as a species. Many of these changes may not be so positive given than we are threatening our planet and social selves in the search for ever-advancing technological capacities and economic development. We are also coming to terms with what it means to live in a digital revolution that is rapidly becoming an intelligence explosion.

As our relationship with our technologies changes we have to change the way we see them. But our understanding of technology is stuck in old patterns. We still believe exponential technological progress is the story of human development. It is not. It never has been. But we have minimized non-technological histories of ourselves in favor of a mythology of technological utopias. Also, we are still only designing to solve old problems and not to create new possibilities. Instead of designing solely for simple problems, we need to first ask what we can create that neither machine nor human can do alone.

To do this, we need to change the way we see and build our technological present and our technologicized future in order to guide the development of technologies of all kinds towards more positive outcomes for everyone. Our social, cultural, and economic development depends on it. For companies, this means that there is a strategic advantage to learning to use technology in ways that are not limited by the status quo.

We founded the Institute for Human Futures to reset the way we see our relationship with technology and to help everyone benefit from new approaches to build more ethical, sustainable, and human-centric technologies. Our purpose is to foster creative dialogue between thought leaders in the business world, design labs, and academia, and to develop actionable solutions to the problems inherent in integrating technology into our lives in a more holistic manner.

We are focused on fostering the kind of dialogue needed to determine how design strategies and methods are used to bring new technologies, services, and strategic platforms into being. Our role is to help others change the nature of the conversation and guide the development of more strategically innovative, ethical, sustainable, and human-centric solutions.


About us

The Institute for Human Futures is an independent, global network of scholars and industry thought-leaders incubated by Idris Mootee and Dr Paul Hartley. It is a noncommercial entity solely devoted to innovative approaches for developing a more human-centric futures for us all. We bring bright minds from the social sciences, natural sciences, design, the arts, and business together to provide a strong perspective on how our future should be humanized as much as it is technologicized. We develop human-centric alternatives to outdated models and foster collaboration and debate to create a better future for all.


Research programmes

We currently have two active research programmes.

  1. Transformative Technology – Innovating applications for AI/Human collaboration to help us expand the capacities of both humans and machines while redressing the imbalance that sets AI against human workers.
  2. Humanized Transformation – Providing perspectives on a radically human-centric approach to transformation that uses engages and facilitates the use of design thinking, insight, and foresight in new ways.