We want a more beautiful world for more people
So many of us dedicate our lives to this pursuit. But if we’re all working toward better futures, why aren’t we there yet?
- Business continues to prioritize outdated modes of industrial innovation.
- Individual achievement is so celebrated throughout our culture that it promotes toxic and ultimately ineffectual lone-hero myths.
- Too many people trust technology to advance humanity instead of cultivating humanity to harness technology.
- Corporations shoehorn social good concerns into their missions rather than recognizing that their structures aren’t architected to produce widespread social good.
- Government, corporate and nonprofit entities lack the fluidity, risk tolerance and accountability that systems-level challenges demand.
- A cult of KPIs in philanthropy and impact investment obscures our understanding of systemic impact, and the almost ubiquitous notion of triple-bottom-line returns remains vague at best.
- The top 1% are consolidating wealth and not effectively using it to fuel compelling responses — even when they attempt to do so.
- Networks around the world too often masquerade affiliation as cooperation.
- Those on the front lines of social good are hemmed in by funding constraints, stymied by risk, stretched thin by competing demands and weighed down by unnecessary bureaucracy.
- Many who proclaim collaboration to be the new leadership move forward with strategies and structures that hinder rather than promote shared consequences and prosperity.
The power of the intangible
Stemming from the work of Sharon Chang, future architecture applies a new, disciplined approach to the design of better futures. It zeroes in on intangible forms — trust, language and sentiment, among others — to provide pathways to more comprehensive and nuanced impact. By transcending a dominant culture that often ignores or dismisses the power of the intangible, future architecture creates the conditions necessary for humanity to thrive.
It is a vocation: anchored in hope, built on principle, fortified with ritual, learned by action, mastered through commitment and bound to deep collaboration.
Origin StoriesBecoming a future architect
The architect in me moved to deconstruction in order to identify patterns. I explored how I had tried to integrate instinct, self-awareness, common sense, humility, generosity, curiosity and audacity into a cohesive and consistent way to engage the world. What emerged was a practice for making the invisible visible, the intangible tangible and the impossible possible.
Mark de Groh
I clearly remember pausing mid-sentence, taking a deep breath and allowing myself to be honest. “Me. I bring me to the table. All of me.” And with that, I felt an incredible moment of liberation. The discipline resonated so strongly with me that I began to call myself a future architect.
In this tradition, I learned to ask how and why as reflexively as breathing. And, as each answer led to more queries, I came to appreciate the value of questions as a force for deepening our understanding of the world and exploring the nature of our very humanity.
My parents prized the capacity for wayfinding and instilled it into me: When you feel in over your head, don’t panic. Get to work. And so with the determination of a teacher’s kid and the worker-bee grit of “the North” of England you do just that.
I bear a rich and deep legacy of ancestors (biological and kindred) who dedicated their lives to the pursuit of a just, kind, connected and inclusive world. They imagined me into existence, protected me with ferocity so that I could thrive and now call me to do the same for future generations.
I decided to dedicate my life to this grand experiment known as Liberia, and on a larger level, post-colonial Africa. I knew that it was my calling to look forward. I wanted to help create beautiful futures with people facing difficult circumstances and build community around bending the universe’s moral arc closer to justice.