Book Review: The World We Made by Jonathon Porritt

By Lynelle Cameron, Autodesk’s senior director of sustainability and philanthropy

Earlier this month Autodesk hosted the launch of Jonathon Porritt’s new book, The World We Made. I had the honor of introducing Porritt, a world-renowned environmentalist, writer and co-founder of Forum for the Future, to an audience of sustainability pioneers and strategists.


In a field that is often bleak, Porritt offers a refreshingly optimistic perspective on how the next 35 years will unfold.  The book’s narrator, Alex McKay, writes to us from the year 2050, the same year my daughter will turn 50.  The book is written almost as a time capsule sent backwards to her generation, illuminating a path to a future that she and her peers will actually be excited to inhabit.

Building on years of inspiring work by the Forum for the Future, Porritt highlights not only the complex and interconnected epic challenges of our time – from climate change and resource scarcity to unequal access to healthcare, sprawling urban slums, and many others – but also the need for multifaceted epic solutions to emerge.

The roadmap that Porritt eloquently describes is similar to our vision of a better world at Autodesk. The book essentially offers a prototype for designers everywhere to be able to envision a world in which 9 billion people could actually live well, and live within the constraints of the planet.

As a company providing design software to hundreds of millions of designers, we know we have a big opportunity to influence what gets created – or not created on the planet.  To this end, we are committed to providing the very best design software; but we also know it will take far more than software to change the trajectory we are on.

To create the real, lasting change that Porrit illustrates, it will require a new mindset, a new breed of designers who understand the magnitude of the challenges we face and who insist on collaborating across disciplines. At Autodesk, we believe design offers humanity our greatest hope for a brighter future and we are committed to doing what we can to accelerate the design-led revolution that is quietly underway. Breakthrough technologies and revolutionary mindsets are converging, and the result will be the emergence of epic solutions that catapult us to Alex McKay’s world.

The demands of the future are non-negotiable, we know this.  We also know that the future Alex McKay describes is ours to create.