Crowdsourcing The Future

Crowdsourcing The Future

Deep Transitions Futures is a research project about the transformations needed to achieve environmental sustainability, social justice and ultimately a better future. We have developed three imaginary worlds that display what life in 2050 could be like if we were to take radical action now to tackle global challenges such as climate change and growing inequality.

Which future world can you see yourself living in? With our crowdsourcing initiative, we gathered voices and perspectives, to see beyond our frameworks and blind spots, to make our work more relevant and attuned to the diversity of today’s world. 

Three Future Worlds

Socio-technical system change is the key to making a transition towards sustainability happen. In Deep Transitions thinking, socio-technical systems are systems that our societies are built on to provide for energy, mobility, food, healthcare and communication. Currently, these systems rely largely on fossil fuels and contribute to global inequalities. Deep Transitions Futures research strives to accelerate the transition towards alternative systems that are sustainable and fit for tackling global these two challenges. Our three future worlds present potential alternatives for the food, energy and mobility systems.  The video below takes you on a journey through these worlds. 

A crowdsourcer is a platform that gathers the input from different participants and facilitates building ideas collectively. Our crowdsourcer asked respondents to indicate which of the three worlds they found most desirable and which actions and innovations were needed to achieve their preferred future world. It also inquired about individual action respondents could take to achieve a transition towards a more sustainable future. 

After the Frugal Turn

Imagine a future in which limitless consumption is rejected in favour of living within the earth’s means – a world in which humanity both reduces its global footprint and balances the distribution of goods, allowing all citizens of the world an equal share of our global commons. This world is called “After the Frugal Turn”.

Unenergised #minimal-energy
Societal valuation of frugality along with climatesmart production / storage opportunities allow a shift to minimised consumption patterns and open up the potential for off-grid solutions.
Immobility as Quality of Life #immobility
Stay within reach - 30-cities become the dominant planning concept facilitated by emission-neutral transport modes. Longer distances are bridged through virtual reality and major connectivity advancements and if needed, travel slow. Immobility becomes a quality of life.
Diet For A Small Planet #frugal-food
‘Ethical food for all’ has become the new normal, supported by a network of city-based and community-supported food production systems. Policies on all levels ensure access to nutritious foods for all; technologies support localised food production, food distribution and zero-waste.

Do No Harm

Imagine instead a second world, one in which dramatic biodiversity loss and ecosystem destruction forced us to rediscover our dependence on the natural world. Abandoning our neglect and disregard for the living world around us, we resolve to transform our systems, working ‘with and through nature’, understanding that humans are only one part of a spectacular indivisible web of life. In this world, the fundamental principle is “Do no Harm”.

Long live the prosumer! #prosumers
The energy system undergoes a decentralisation process in which prosumers (consumer/producer) drive more localised markets. Self-sufficiency is the key value.
Mobility as public right #public-mobility
...and public good. Equitable access to servicebased mobility with enhanced networks of transport modes (private-public). New technologies rely solely on renewable energies and transform existing mobility types.
First, do no harm #no-harm
Regenerative agriculture and nature-based solutions have become mainstream. Vegan and vegetarian diets are widespread and aligned with geographical and cultural contexts but meat, fish and dairy production continue on smaller scales and in line with the natural productivity of the earth.


Inspired by the spirit of the 20th Century moon missions, this world resolved to solve the grand challenges of our time through human ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. This imagined world is guided by eco-modernism, circular economies and the adoption of mission-oriented development across all levels of governance, from local to global. Deep commitment to these strategies fuels a boom in truly radical and disruptive innovation. We call this world “Earthshot”.

Grand solutions to grand challenges #grand-solutions
Global coordination of energy production and consumption is facilitated by cross-regional transmission networks and innovation surges in green energy technologies.
Share it, don’t own it #nextgen-cars
Personal mobility opportunities evolve around new modes, technologies and ownership concepts - ACES: Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared
Beyond nature #beyond-nature
Forms of food production ‘detached’ from nature such as urban farming and lab-grown meat become the norm. ‘Nature’ becomes a wild space largely devoid of agricultural activities, concentrating activities in urban and industrial centres, but also opening up new spaces for production.

Deep Transitions Resources

Would you like to learn more about Deep Transitions thinking? The selection of resources below provides an overview of Deep Transitions research including the two founding journal articles by Johan Schot and Laur Kanger. 


The Promise Of Transformative Investment: Mapping The Field Of Sustainability Investing

Jenny Witte

This paper addresses the question: How can private finance be mobilized for sociotechnical sustainability transitions? In answering this question, maps the sustainability investment literature, which leads to four propositions: (1) The literature on sustainability investing coevolved with corporate social responsibility theory and with the practice and events of the field, revealing four distinctive waves of...


Deep transitions: Theorizing the long-term patterns of sociotechnical change

Carlos Virreira

Journal Article | Founding Deep Transitions Paper The contemporary world is confronted by a double challenge: environmental degradation and social inequality. This challenge is linked to the dynamics of the First Deep Transition (Schot, 2016): the creation and expansion of a wide range of socio-technical systems in a similar direction over the past 200–250 years. Extending the...


Deep Transitions: Emergence, acceleration, stabilization and directionality

Carlos Virreira

Journal Article | Founding Deep Transitions Paper Industrial society has not only led to high levels of wealth and welfare in the Western world, but also to increasing global ecological degradation and social inequality. The socio-technical systems that underlay contemporary societies have substantially contributed to these outcomes. This paper proposes that these sociotechnical systems are...