What Doctor Who can teach us about strategy
“I don’t know. I can’t tell the future! I just work there.”
– Doctor Who
You might be familiar with the TARDIS, a time machine that plays a prominent role in the science fiction show, Doctor Who. It’s one of the mechanisms by which the Doctor and their crew travel through time, blasting back into the past or launching into the future. Where would you go if you could take TARDIS for a spin?
Would you go back and change something in your past, or revisit your favorite memory? Would you give yourself a head start by jumping into the next year, or propel into the distant future?
Take a minute to reflect on your gut reaction: where did you want to go first? How does it relate to your current strategy or goals? How would they change, given your new timeline?
During one of the episodes, when asked about his plans (or lack thereof), the Doctor quips: “I don’t know. I can’t tell the future! I just work there.”
As innovators and entrepreneurs, we don’t want to just work in the future or be transported into it, we want to help design it—for equity, sustainability, and wellbeing. Great strategy helps us to focus not only on creating a pathway for the future; it also helps us to build an action plan to our desired future. Even though we don’t want to end up like the Doctor, in the future without a plan, transporting ourselves there temporarily will help us to build one.
We don’t have a time machine per se, but we can use speculation to help us imagine forward. That is in a way, what biodesign does. Biodesign is “a growing movement (literally) of scientists, artists, and designers that integrates organic processes and materials into the creation of our buildings, our products, and even our clothing.” Scientists and designers are working together to imagine both the possibilities and implications, especially ethical ones, for new ways of building with biology. The Science Center even worked with a group of 10th graders from Paul Robeson High School in the BioDesign Challenge to imagine a healthier future for people in all corners of the world.
For the month of October, we’ll be using the lens of Biodesign to investigate the future starting with this week’s session: “What is Biodesign and Why is it the Future of Biotech?”
Featured image: Paul Robeson High School Students Nabria Jackson, Anique Parker, Keyanna Nurse, showing off their biodesign project. Photo credit: AULA Future