Here are some ideas to get you thinking in the areas of technology, energy, ecology, transportation, creative economies and space. Below that is a chart called the 15 Global Challenges Facing Humanity which could also provide facts to inspire an idea or solution. But remember, these are just tools to guide your creativity. You can propose ANY idea that meets the general Challenge guidelines.


Our everyday lives are filled with interactions with electronics, machines, and other technology. Cell phone towers and satellites are the new trees and clouds. Anyone with a cell phone really owns a small mobile computer. Google and other companies are creating cars that can drive themselves. The divide between the natural and human-created world has nearly vanished.

● Create a machine that does something no machine does today, or make one that does something better.
● Design a park that doubles as a business office.
● Imagine a future where the trees are electronic, food grows from machines, or computers have their own thoughts, feelings, cities, and laws.


Without power lines running to your house or school, how would your day change? Without water lines or local wells, how could water get to your neighborhood? Without gasoline being shipped, piped, and driven to town, where would people get fuel to power their cars?

● Design a city transit system that runs on human power, or one that uses generators on every bus.
● Show an apartment in a neighborhood where 12 homes are powered through a new kind of energy. What would it be?
● Think of one object that requires power to run and design a way for it to work without electricty. Can it be powered by hand, by the wind, or by jumping on it like a trampoline?


As neighborhoods and entire cities expand, the distance between people and wildlife is becoming smaller and smaller. Trails, roads, railways, and airplanes pass under, over, and through habitats where plants and animals have lived far longer than any humans.

● Design a park of the future that protects wildlife within a busy city.
● Make a poster advertising vacation get-aways for wolves, raccoons, or elk who are feeling too crowded by people and houses.
● Create a vehicle that passes across some terrain without disturbing creatures with sound, vibration, light, or exhaust fumes.


Every day, we use different forms of transportation to get around. In the same day, we might bicycle to a bus that takes us to the train that gets us to a taxi headed to the airport. We might just spend a day walking. How will people get from place to place in the future, and where will they be going?

● Imagine a future version of any mode of transportation that you use to get around: skateboard, bicycle, hovercraft, or tank.
● Create a rollercoaster that crosses a neighborhood.
● Make a personal helicopter or airplane that you can fly alone.

Creative Economies

What makes an object or material valuable? Why do we use money to buy things? How does having music, movies, and video games freely available online change the way musicians, actors, and game designers share what they make, and still make money?

● Show how parts of the world would be different if machines could do everything, and no one had to work.
● Watch the Story of Stuff ( and visualize a future where the problems described have been solved--or depict a future where things have only gotten worse.
● Think of something you own that you think is really valuable. Show how you would make it in the future if you had to use other materials to put it together--or show part of a world where your favorite things are used like money.

Space: The future of Sight

Consider the future of the cosmos and how our science, technology, and art will change as we make new discoveries and venture further out into our own solar system and galaxy.

● What tools will we use to stare at the sky?
● Where will we look?
● What, or who, will we see?
● Where will we go to look, and what will we be looking for?

In the future, it is possible that humans will travel and even live away from Earth for extended periods of time--from years to entire lifetimes.

Space: Future Homes

What are the items that people will take to other worlds? How will people spend their time away from Earth?

Consider where you think people will live in the future:
● Design your bedroom of the future.
● Create shelving for zero-gravity.
● Draw the downtown plaza of a base on another planet

Space: Digging in the sky

Precious resources and minerals that we use in Earth exist on asteroids and other bodies in space - watch the following video created by one group that is working to obtain these resources:

Video Link

Imagine what it would be like to have a mining operation in space: Design a ship, elevator, or conveyor belt for transporting minerals from asteroids back to Earth.

● Create a fuel station, housing, or warehouse used by space miners.
● Show how mining materials from space is awesome, harmful, dangerous, silly, important, or unnecessary.

Credit: These creative ideas were developed by Nicholas Chiarrella as part of the STEMArts platform for the ISEA2012 curriculum Tool under the creative commons share-a-like license.

Explore the world

Discover LANL

LANL scientists are working every day to solve local and global problems. Can you imagine what problems they may face 70 years from now?

The Millennium Project’s 15 Global Challenges Facing Humanity (now the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) is a great tool to gain understanding about real-world problems and to inspire you to take action.

Click on each numbered challenge to learn about the most important challenges we face and to find the areas that you would like to explore.