Designer, entrepreneur, TED Fellow, futurescaper: Anab Jain wears many hats, and brings them all together at her multidisciplinary design studio, Superflux. Based in London and India, Superflux is both a consultancy and a lab, operating in the realm of emerging technologies—think drones to the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence across many categories—for business, cultural, and social purposes. It’s a future-facing company, and it’s making big waves.
Anab Jain imagines and builds future worlds we can experience in the present moment. By creating new ways of seeing, being and acting, she inspires and challenges us to look critically at the decisions and choices we make today. We live in extraordinary times, concurrently breathtaking and deeply precarious. As co-founder of the vanguard laboratory, design, and film studio Superflux with Jon Ardern, Jain parses uncertainties around our shared futures. She creates tangible, provocative experiences that transport people directly into possible future worlds. Through her work, she has discovered a powerful means of affecting change: by confronting and emotionally connecting people with future consequences in the present.
From climate change and growing inequality, to the emergence of artificial intelligence and the future of work, Jain and her team explore some of the biggest challenges of our times—and investigate the potential and unintended consequences of these challenges.
Superflux is currently developing tools and strategies that can enable us to mitigate the shock of food insecurity and climate change. Recently, they produced a series of civilian drones—creating a vision of a near-future city where these intelligent machines begin to display increasing autonomy within civic society.
Jain is also Professor of Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where she is currently curating the “How Will We Work” show for the Vienna Biennale, and she is a TED Fellow. Her work has won awards at UNESCO, Apple Inc., Geneva Human Rights Film Festival, Innovate UK, and exhibited at MoMA New York, V&A London, National Museum of China, Vitra Design Museum and Tate Modern.
Superflux The Future of Design Practice
The business has two parts: the consultancy is client-facing, offering bespoke services, while the lab is a research space where new ideas are developed and tested. Though these two parts function independently, Jain and her team have come to rely on their contrasting rhythms for team sanity, the ‘sweet spot’ of unexpected synergies, and a steady stream of new ideas and provocations. Superflux is particularly interested in the ways emerging technologies interface with the environment and everyday life. Ultimately, Jain and her colleagues strive to embed these explorations in the here-and-now—using rapid prototyping and media sketches to turn them into stimulating concepts, experiences, products and services.
In this talk, Jain reveals the benefits and unexpected outcomes of this new business model, and how it can—and should—be applied elsewhere in the business world. With proven experience in design, strategy and foresight, Superflux is in a unique position to explore the implications of these new interactions—and Jain is in an even more rare, important and timely position to discuss their findings and observations. As the eyes and ears of this futuristic company, Jain’s insights are essential for any business hoping to move more concretely, and creatively, into the twenty-first century.