Designing tomorrow’s world today

Andrea Fenocchio

Our contributor Andrea read ‘How to thrive in the next economy’ by John Thackara: here is his point of view. Spoiler alert: he liked it a lot.

(Image: John Thackara, Uros Abram)

Book Review

Nowadays it is really hard to grasp how the world is going to change.

We live in an era where entrepreneurs needs to be dwellers armed with disruptive business models and innovative ideas.

As Klaus Schwab wrote: “We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.”


Given the context it is not difficult to imagine how hard it can be for an entrepreneur to succeed and prosper. As a designer and entrepreneur, I try to develop projects that could have a positive impact on the world surrounding myself. I try to ideate ventures that are successful and profitable in the new economic environment.  What really intrigues meabout the definition of Industry 4.0 provided by Schwab is the accent on the necessity of creating connections between different stakeholders with radically opposite interests.

I strongly believe that this idea also resonates with the concept of Social Enterprise.


John Thackara is one of the most prominent voices on topics such as future and sustainability and when I read that he just published a new book I knew I had to read it.

“..The response must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.”

Klaus Schwab

An excellent collection of case studies of social enterprise and 4.0 ventures

|  How to thrive in the next economy, John Thackara 2015

“How to thrive in the next economy” is a list of case studies,which at their core, examine the relationship between apparently opposite stakeholders. The interesting thing about the collection made by Thakara is the fact that he focus on the ideas behind every business, reporting them very quickly and objectively.


Throughout the book, entrepreneurs or “projects owners” found themselves dealing with the need to connect different stakeholders: from London to Mexico City, walking through Bangalore in India. Different people with conflicting interests and motivations benefit from projects that can easily fit the definition of bothsocial enterprise and Industry 4.0.

This book should be kept on the desktop as an encyclopedia or a dictionary: a collection of references for entrepreneurs that are willing to design new projects and companies able to play in the new 4.0 economy. Every chapter has a topic presented in the form of a verb: changing, waterkeeping, dwelling, moving, commoning

In each chapter a list of examples, or quick case studies, is presented rigorously.

At the end of the book there is a section called “notes” with all the references of where the case studies came from: websites, articles, blogs, ecc.


John Thackara’s “How to thrive in the next economy” is an inspiring book full of seeds ready to grow in your mind and develop into challenging ideas and disruptive ventures.



February 2017