Global Launch of BFI Design Lab

Design Science Decade - Design Science Revolution mind map image

Buckminster Fuller was not intimidated by complexity, and he recognized and celebrated living relationships by developing comprehensive anticipatory design science: combining an emphasis on individual initiative and integrity with whole systems thinking, scientific rigor, and faithful reliance on life’s underlying principles. Starting in the 1960s, Fuller issued an urgent call for a design science revolution to make the world work for all. He observed that “in its complexities of design integrity, the Universe is technology. The technology evolved by man is thus far amateurish compared to the elegance of non-humanly contrived regeneration.”

As BFI approaches its 40th Anniversary, we are launching the BFI Design Lab – a non-profit design studio and accelerator – to support design science solutions addressing a wide range of fundamental needs including: biodiversity, climate, food, water, energy, materials, shelter, transportation, health, and education.

Design science is being validated alongside a rich tapestry of approaches – the pluriverse, regenerative design, biomimicry, systems thinking, traditional ecological knowledge, transition design, and many more – even as we face an unprecedented “polycrisis” across multiple global systems.

The BFI Design Lab will “spontaneously cooperate” with project teams developing design solutions that are:

  • Comprehensive: demonstrating whole systems thinking and analysis across scales, contexts, and worldviews;
  • Anticipatory: proactively tracking critical trends and assessing long-term consequences of proposed solutions;
  • Regenerative: working to regenerate and restore living processes into optimal, healthy, thriving relationships;
  • Inclusive: celebrating the resilience of diversity within project teams and the communities they are co-designing with in order to promote system-wide health;
  • Commons-Based: committing to placing some intellectual property (IP) in the commons and exploring commons-based and regenerative economic models;
  • Verifiable: able to withstand rigorous empirical testing;
  • Achievable: likely to be implemented successfully and broadly adapted within diverse cultural and ecological contexts.

The BFI Design Lab will launch its own projects while also engaging in a global crowdsourcing process to surface significant projects meeting the criteria above. The portfolio projects will be chosen to have cascading benefits for each other and for the planet.

The BFI Design Lab will offer multiple types of support:

  • A digital spotlight for projects attracting ongoing community interaction within the BFI global network;
  • Project incubation through non-profit fiscal sponsorship where helpful;
  • Structured design science support and educational materials drawing on decades of global experience;
  • Expert guidance in rapid prototyping to quickly and iteratively advance project concepts, business models, and deliverables;
  • Joint fundraising opportunities that can draw on BFI’s institutional track record;
  • Longer-term connections to aligned forms of capital, including BFI’s planned Syntropy Fund for regenerative investment.

Additional BFI Design Lab details will be available soon on the BFI website. For inquiries, contact [email protected].