What If Institute
If you can imagine it, you can create it
What If Institute is a non-profit organization with a mission to challenge the usual thinking and doing in society to make the world a better place. We help decision makers, organisations and planners rethink approaches and practices. We believe that the way towards a sustainable future is to unleash the human imagination.
Our philosophy is simple.
If you can imagine it, you can create it.
What might seem utopian at first glance might rock our minds and make us realise new ways to tackle climate change, migration, inequality, security, liveability, biodiversity loss or any other issue. It all starts by thinking out of the box, puncturing biases, being open, and releasing our imagination.
Taking time to imagine is something we as humans do way too rarely. It might not be easy. But it's possible if you let us help you.
We'd love to discuss how the What If approach might create value for your organisation.
How We Work
Consulting & community Engagement
Facilitating ideation, development and imagination processes
kids & School
Engaging kids and schools in creating a more sustainable and liveable world
Our story began 20 years ago then Martin Spang Olsen and his father realised that the only way to solve climate change is to replant the Sahara Desert. Actually, it would not only solve climate change but also migration, poverty, drought, biodiversity loss and more. It may sound like utopia but it's actually possible to replant the Sahara if humanity decided to.
That made Martin engage with scientists and researchers to explore what's actually possible and not - and why issues like climate change, inequality and biodiversity loss are not solved even when the solutions to these problems exist. Years later, Martin shared these thought with Nicolai who for years had been asking himself the same questions.
Martin and Nicolai realised that many of today's problems are not solved simply because of the way we address them. We all tend to move into problem solving mode instead of approach the issues by imagining what kind of world and societies we really want - and from there create it.
Martin and Nicolai decided to establish the What If Institute to challenge the usual thinking and doing in society by including children, organisations, cities, decision makers, scientists and local communities in imagining and co-creating tomorrows sustainable world.
Let's have a coffee
Martin is an artist, musician, philosopher and film maker and always dreamt about reversing the continents and replanting Sahara. Nicolai is an global entrepreneur driven by green transition, social inclusion and global collaboration and worked with projects in more than 40 countries worldwide. With What If Institute they now work with a long list of partners including scientists, cities, schools, organisations and individuals.