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California 100 & UC San Diego Design Lab Partner to Bring Top Talent to Design@Large Workshop Series

All Issue Areas


In order to get the future we want, we must take an active hand in designing it. Californians are creating many opportunities to shape the state’s future, including Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide Future of Work Commission, responses to sweeping social changes brought about by COVID-19, exploring shifts in behavior needed to deal with the effects of climate change, and starting crucial conversations around transportation, technology, housing, immigration, education and health. This spring, a first-of-its-kind interactive speaker series addresses all these issues and more – and gives you a chance to participate.

UC San Diego’s Design Lab and California 100 are partnering to convene leading experts from across California for a transformative speaker series called Designing California’s Future. The series, a special edition of UC San Diego Design Lab’s staple Design@Large programming, will take place every Wednesday from April 13 through May 25 and focus on a specific issue area each evening. Unlike typical panel discussions, this series will allow students to interface directly with key civic, elected, academic, and organizational leaders, and brainstorm solutions for the state’s next 15, 20 and 100 years.

“Most California leaders think in terms of two or four-year timeframes, usually aligning with election cycles, but our challenges demand longer-term thinking and solutions,” said Mai Nguyen, Director of the UC San Diego Design Lab. “When we talk about designing California’s future, we’re talking about what our roads and public transportation will look like, figuring out who has access to education so all communities rise, and being thoughtful about the role technology plays in our lives. This partnership with California 100 will delve into these questions while centering UC San Diego design students and bringing San Diego and California leaders to campus to workshop ideas and problem solve.”

California 100, incubated at the University of California and Stanford University, launched last year to strengthen California’s ability to collectively solve problems and shape the state’s long-term future through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and engagement. The initiative works to identify, mobilize and support champions of innovative and equitable solutions to the state’s most pressing challenges. This work is guided by an expert intergenerational commission with support from seasoned advisors. In addition, California 100 is sponsoring future-oriented research to examine where the state’s been, where it is and where it’s headed in thirteen key issue areas, harnessing the leading talent from research centers and institutes across the state. The research will be released in the spring and serve as a foundation for much of the Designing California’s Future speaker series’ topics of discussion.

“California 100 is an ambitious effort harnessing the talent of a diverse array of leaders, and is laser-focused on what we need to do to be better prepared for the future,” said Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, executive director of the California 100 Initiative. “We’re excited to partner with UC San Diego’s Design Lab to bring some of the best and brightest minds throughout the region and state to think and act critically about our collective future.”

This is the first time in the Design@Large program’s history that the series is collaborating with an external partner. The series will include six hybrid experiences on the following topics:

Confirmed expert speakers and panelists include:

The series promises to stretch minds about what is possible in California’s future. It will catalyze discussions about the future that go beyond what is mainstream, like work and climate change, and create a platform to think critically about our state’s challenges and the immense opportunities.