In light of the recent news of President Trump dropping out of the Paris Agreement, WDCD’s mandate to inspire solutions to our climate dilemma became even more important. WDCD Live Amsterdam 2017 was an unforgettable experience for me, not least because I saw with my own eyes the role that designers and non-designers can play in shaping the world around us. I was especially moved and inspired by Bruce Mau’s activation session The Manifesto Workshop.
Report by Alain Pescador

Bruce, a fellow Canadian and world-renowned designer, encouraged the audience to develop a manifesto for our own lives – a kind of set of values that we could each use, without having to wait for a government or a corporation to dictate how to move forward.  A manifesto, Bruce said, “is a tool that can guide us to design a life based on principles that ensure the protection of the planet and the well-being of our societies”.


In his introduction, Bruce claimed that we live in a “Designed Life”, an environment that has been designed in its entirety.  Examples? Energy and Movement = automated cars. Sports = surf boards. Health and medical = wheelchairs, walking gadgets. Culture = musical instruments, costumes. You name it!

Still, Bruce went one step further, saying that, “You can design all of life. Nature can be a designed experience.  We can design life in a precise way, and design its DNA”. If Bruce is right, and in fact we can design everything, then we could confidently say that we can design solutions for climate change.  The real question here is how?


As WDCD looked to design to find ways to solve our climate change problematic, Bruce introduced a leadership method that can be the perfect vehicle to make this happen. Using what he calls “Massive Change”, he believes in the constant quest of making things better. If everything around us can be changed or designed, then we need designers to be a vital part of the equation.

We need more designers in leadership positions, and we need current decision-makers to have open conversations and thinking sessions with designers. Design can help us develop the massive change that our climate requires.


After Bruce’s presentation, and learning from his theories and recommendations for change, he tasked us with developing our own Manifesto.  Blank sheets of paper were passed around at the end of the session and we all took 3 minutes to write our own.  And here is what I came up with:

1. Do good with good people

2. Erase any toxic noise/negativity and focus on #1

3. Include the “other” and learn from them

4. Mobilize connections for good

5. Admire the details and don’t stop being surprised

What’s yours?


Top photo: Bruce Mau leading a visualization exercise during the session (photo Leo Veger)

THE MANIFESTO WORKSHOP was one of five Activation Sessions exploring the theme of climate action and media at WDCD Live Amsterdam 2017.

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