Technology and its role in climate action was one of the hottest topics at WDCD Live 2017. In the activation session titled The Pyramid of Technology, participants experimented with a brand new workshop methodology developed by the Next Nature Network (NNN). The toolkit, which saw it’s premiere at the event, visualizes how technology can develop in seven stages until we no longer experience them as such, but as something almost natural (like clothing or cooking).
Report by Anne Reenders

Hendrik-Jan Grievink, art director at NNN, introduced the workshop. The ‘pyramid’ was then spread out on the floor in its seven stages: idea (1), technology becomes operational (2), applied (3), accepted (4), vital for mankind (5), second nature (6), and finally naturalized (7). Seven groups of participants, one for each stage, used questions from a toolkit to discuss and imagine driverless car technology. The findings of the ensuing discussions were then shared with the whole group.

From elementary questions like: Why do we actually travel? Why are we always transporting goods back and forth? Can we change that? To more practical issues such as traffic engineering and the legal aspects of smart cars. And more social issues like: Who owns the smart car? Does this mark the end of our autonomy? And of driving schools and jobs like truck driver? Public transport? Do we need so many motorways and parking spaces? At the tip of the pyramid, the smart car was presented as a technology that has become an extension of ourselves, provoking countless questions and thoughts about how the driverless car will impact our lives.


Next Nature Network developed this method to give engineers, policy-makers, scientists, inventors and designers greater insight into the various life stages of a technology and enable them to approach it in a more holistic manner. NNN expects that this will encourage designers to innovate and explore alternatives and new visions: “It helps us to dream, build and live in our ‘next nature’ – nature produced by man.”

Intrigued? The workshop method is available in a box or can be ‘booked’ through the Next Nature Network website.

Top photo: Participants interacting with The Pyramid of Technology (photo Leo Veger)


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