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The Story Behind The Future Book

Matevž Kmet

We live in a completely different world from the one in which books were the most important way of sharing knowledge and experience among people and the only way of passing it forward to next generations. We now write blogs instead of diaries; send SMS messages and Tweets instead of postcards; and use a Blackberry instead of a postman to bring us e-mail letters.

Does Challenge:Future (C:F) need a book? The answer is Yes and No. Yes, because in a world where the only constant is change, a printed book is a frozen memory of a moment in time. It holds our thoughts, plans, ideas, and fears from a time that has passed and helps us remember how things once were. A book is something we will dust off one day, browse and remember the “good old days.”

But Challenge:Future is not only about future technologies, it is also about sustainability, ecology, minimum environment impact, and social transformation. Is it not a wrong idea to have a book for which trees will be cut, printing inks synthesized, and energy used? And is it not also true that a printed book is stationary, limited to what can be said and done only in the time before it is printed? Meanwhile, C:F is bustling with innovation, ideas, and further changes. For this reason, perhaps the ever-changing web page is a much better media to support C:F?

Our answer was to unite the two forms. We have published an electronic version of this book and linked it to the C:F website ( Meanwhile, we have also published a printed book, for which we also provide links. Just look for the pages with <WWW>, enter the page number on the C:F website and see how the topic has evolved since the book was published.

To most C:F members, we have sent the electronic version of the book, but to those who contributed extensively to C:F since its birth, and to those we count on in the future, we wanted to offer a printed version as an expression of our thanks and as a memento of your encouragement.

Of course, let us clarify that we wanted to have the printed book be in line with C:F principles. The task for the design team was therefore not only to make the book look good and be functional, but also to make it have a minimum environment impact. The paper used is made by a manufacturer supervised by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The intent of the FSC system is to shift the paper market to eliminate habitat destruction, water pollution, displacement of indigenous peoples and violence against people and wildlife that often accompanies logging. We have chosen a low-weight-high-volume paper to make it look good and be lighter for shipping. The format of the book fits into a regular A4 format envelope.

The C:F book is now in your hands in one form or another, calling out to you, “Read me!” Like Alice, you will enter the Wonderland of the future if you do so.

Organization of the book

You will first meet the future of today – the future that is already here. It is not something unknown: we are already familiar with the problems we will face tomorrow. There will be others, but if we manage to solve the ones we know, a lot will have already been accomplished. Surprisingly, we know how to solve many of the problems we now face. We also know who will challenge the future – we named them “Generation whY.” They are asking the questions and seeking the answers. They need encouragement and cooperation, so one of goals of C:F is to provide exactly that.

Next, you will see how the future is seen by several prominent futurists who liked the idea of C:F from the very beginning and joined us. It is interesting to note how aligned their perceptions of the future are with the visions of C:F members. We continue the journey into the future with the results of the Challenge:Future competition among students that culminated in May 2010 during the first C:F Summit in Bled, Slovenia. The competition showed that it is not SciFi technologies that we need to challenge the future. A tiny shift of thinking is sometimes sufficient to create a big impact on the future using the knowledge and technologies we have today. The challenges for the 2009/2010 competition reveal their complexity when you study the winning ideas in each category, contributed by youth from all over the world. It is stimulating to see how they faced the challenges with innovation and creativity and were able to come up with excellent, fresh, feasible ideas.

In the end, we have learned that C:F is much more than just a competition – it is a global community of youth who care, who are not afraid, who have the will, knowledge and ability to change the world we all live in. There is an open dialogue among them, and an eagerness to address any issue - whether it is natural disasters, mass transportation, or micro loans to help poor parts of the world -with enthusiasm and excitement.

At the end of the book, we turn our attention to our own future – that of Challenge:Future itself. We examine how we might continue, and how we can increase the momentum we have gained in this, our first year.

Hear the future here!

We hope you find these essays to be meaningful and valuable to you, and that C:F helps boost your vision of the future and acts as a match to light fireworks of new ideas in you. If this book makes you pause, think, and decide to help us tackle the challenges it talks about, then we have achieved what we hoped forwhen we started.

Matevž Kmet*


*Matevž Kmet, PhD, is one of editors of The Future Book.

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Metka Ule Novak (Management)

Metka Ule Novak (Management) | C:F staff

This book is truly a pause-maker, even for those who contributed to it. Story behind the scenes is absolutely inspiring for the future to come - and we are ready!

26th August, 2010 @ 2:49 PM CEST

Sayanee Basu

Sayanee Basu | Action team | CF Chapters

it does make me think... to capture our thoughts in a book like this is like a timestamp! I wonder how the Future Book itself will evolve over the years... what shifts in patterns will we see?

26th August, 2010 @ 5:12 PM CEST

Jatin Kataria

Jatin Kataria | Action team | CF Chapters

Wow... its really really fab..
its always good to know the reason behind anything.. I am late in comment but I realise I forgot write @ this...

Generation whY is going to boost themselves and people around them.. All who connect to C:F are awesome n inspiration ... I am happy that I am part of C:F ...

16th September, 2010 @ 10:22 AM CEST

Jude Christoper  Roxas

Jude Christoper Roxas | Action team | CF Chapters

Like what Jatin said, I am also happy that I am also a part of C:F. As a member, i am really much happy for each of the success of the C:F community.

thank you for sharing this too! Looking forward for more things. I know that you guys have many more things up your sleeves ;)

16th September, 2010 @ 12:41 PM CEST

Dharmesh Bhadja

Dharmesh Bhadja | Action team

I truly appreciate the care taken during production of the book. I sincerely inspire by your deep rooted understanding I have now decided to shift for paperless workings through decreasing use of papers in bills, prescriptions, personal notes. Thanks for sharing that awareness to me and all. And as I have already shared the future book is incomplete without start moving with actions... Mr. Jatin already shown the original copy, it was exciting moment. I have seen Jatin working and he truly deserves the symbol of appreciation.

28th October, 2010 @ 7:20 PM CEST

Harshit Kachchhi

Harshit Kachchhi

I can just give an applause after reading the purpose behind the future book....
Go beyond talk policy touches my heart as I firmly believe in it.

Thank you, Mr. Jatin for bringing me in touch with C:F.
Let's hope to fulfill our vision with justice to morality.

13th November, 2010 @ 6:47 AM CEST

Danko Djurisic

Danko Djurisic

I agree that with the development of technology changes and the form of written words, but also the books are and always will be written witnesses of time. In this dusty, old worn-out cover is that our past, present and future, and remains a mute witness of the flow of time. Neither format will not replace or pushed into oblivion most beautiful thoughts, sentences, written works and shaped into a book as long as there are people who feel and think with the heart.

26th February, 2011 @ 8:01 PM CEST

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