H2045: Ending the Nuclear Weapons Century
As we face a thicket of intertwining existential threats, we need new tools to manage them: new governance models, new norms and standards, and a new framework for human and planetary security.
H2045: Ending the Nuclear Weapons Century
As we face a thicket of intertwining existential threats, we need new tools to manage them: new governance models, new norms and standards, and a new framework for human and planetary security.
Critical Partners
To build the N Square Innovators Network, we established impactful, lasting relationships with partners whose own networks are full of the very people we aimed to attract. In most cases, these relationships involved a grant—or series of grants—to get the flywheel turning, but over time they became less transactional and more reciprocal. A core group, comprising leaders from PopTech, TED, Hollywood, Health & Society, Singularity University, and Games for Change, formed a community of practice that offered mutual guidance, shared resources and made valuable introductions. This community shares a foundation of trust and mutual respect that has led to significant and novel collaborations beyond anything we might have imagined on our own. Many of the most committed and productive members of the N Square Innovators Network came to us through this vital core group of committed colleagues.
Innovation Fellowship
Intelligence. Exuberance. Commitment. These are hallmarks of the N Square Innovation Summit, an annual festival celebrating the work of each new cohort of innovation fellows and welcoming newcomers. This public “parade of prototypes” showcases emerging ideas while building esprit de corps and knitting community.
Cohort 1
As the first snow of 2018 fell in Providence, Rhode Island, nearly 80 members of the N Square Innovators Network assembled to celebrate the public presentation of projects produced by our inaugural cohort of innovation fellows and the launch of ambitious new collaborations.
Cohort 2
How might we provide active experiences and other unique resources that effectively teach about nuclear threats? Or foster the development of artistic work with lasting impact on this issue? Or guard against dangerous disinformation? These were the challenges taken up by the second cohort of innovation fellows in 2019
Cohort 3
Cohort 3 fellows spent roughly nine months in 2020 learning and practicing methods of creative problem-solving and design, ultimately producing solutions that address needs in the nuclear field in new ways. But unlike other cohorts, this one was compelled to do much of this at a distance during a global pandemic.
Cohort 4
By popular demand, Cohort 4 was composed almost entirely of leaders and staff members from NGOs eager to find better ways to communicate, collaborate, and cooperate to improve outcomes in the nuclear field.
Cohort 5
Sometimes fledgling projects need more dedicated mentorship and assistance. With support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, N Square provided both financial and technical assistance to nearly a dozen of the most promising concepts to come out of the first four cohorts of innovation fellows.
Rhode Island School of Design
After seeing Carl Robichaud and Erika Gregory speak at PopTech in 2015, Rhode Island School of Design professor Tom Weis decided to do something about nuclear challenges—and to bring the faculty, students, and administration of the oldest art and design institution in America along with him.
cool mint media
“Artists hold the key to how we view the world…. We believe in the power of collaboration and taking creative risks.” Innovation fellow Cole Jorissen put those tenets to work when he created cool mint media, a Brooklyn-based record label making hip-hop music about global security, nuclear weapons, and existential risks.
Design, Culture, and Global Security
Graduate students in industrial design grapple with the risks posed by nuclear weapons from Professor Tom Weis’s course at RISD. Novel solutions abound.
Faceless
After WWII, the Marshall Islands were entrusted to the US by the United Nations for their protection. Instead, the US used the islands as a nuclear test site. Graduate industrial design students Charlotte McCurdy, Allison Davis, and Erica Efstratoudakis created the chilling exhibit FACELESS—which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in conjunction with the film and music experience the bomb—to confront the public with what happened next.
Altimeter Design
RISD professor and long-time N Square partner Tom Weis faced a welcome challenge: After introducing design methods to the nuclear field, he was so inundated with requests to collaborate with the IAEA, the US Department of State, think tanks, NGOs, the UN, and others that he started a whole new company just to meet demand.
Hollywood, Health & Society
Part of the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, HH&S offers free resources to film and TV writers and producers on a wide range of health, safety, and security topics. Through a partnership with N Square, nuclear experts like former secretary of energy Ernest Moniz and the late Bruce Blair, founder of Global Zero, made on-site visits to writers rooms and consulted on storylines to ensure that nuclear challenges are portrayed accurately and responsibly–and Hollywood creatives started teaching nuclear experts how to tell more compelling stories.
Mainstream Television
In its six-season run on CBS, Madam Secretary reached tens of millions of viewers weekly with stories that mixed international intrigue with Washington politics. In close consultation with nuclear experts, the award-winning episode “Night Watch” tackled the terror of nuclear threats.
Atomic Storytelling
Led by Hollywood TV writer/producer Jennifer Cecil, Atomic Storytelling covers the fundamentals from story arc to character and setting, providing nuclear experts with narrative techniques that bring their messages alive for diverse audiences. Storytellers have come from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Inkstick Media, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Stanford, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative—among others.
Crowdsourcing Solutions
InnoCentive (now part of Wazoku) is a platform for engaging tens of thousands of creative problem-solvers on global challenges like food and water security, space exploration, and global health. We partnered with InnoCentive, the Stimson Center, and ICAN on three nuclear challenges, producing hundreds of novel solutions.
Building a Nuclear Security Innovation Network
The first InnoCentive challenge asked problem-solvers to design a network populated by innovators and influencers in the arts and culture, education, finance, media, and science and technology. The award-winning submissions informed our development of the N Square Innovators Network.
Engaging Civil Society
Geopolitical instability amplifies the risk of both accidental and intentional nuclear disaster, yet the US and other nations continue to invest in next-generation nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, nuclear weapons are barely on most people’s radar. In the second InnoCentive challenge we asked problem-solvers for ideas for getting civil society to take action that will lead to policy change.
Safeguarding Dual-Use Technologies for National Security
The US government and private-sector businesses share an interest in ensuring that bad actors don’t access nuclear knowledge and dual-use goods for nefarious purposes. Our partner in the third InnoCentive challenge, the Stimson Center, asked solvers to design information-sharing platforms whereby private industry could identify and share suspect information to prevent foreign based individuals, corporations, terrorist groups, or governments from acquiring US technologies to build weapons of mass destruction.
Innovation Summits
Intelligence. Exuberance. Commitment. These are hallmarks of the N Square Innovation Summit, an annual festival celebrating the work of each new cohort of innovation fellows and welcoming newcomers. This public “parade of prototypes” showcases emerging ideas while building esprit de corps and knitting community.
Innovation Summits
Intelligence. Exuberance. Commitment. These are hallmarks of the N Square Innovation Summit, an annual festival celebrating the work of each new cohort of innovation fellows and welcoming newcomers. This public “parade of prototypes” showcases emerging ideas while building esprit de corps and knitting community.
Info-Tech for Nonpro and Disarmament
The volume and availability of online information—from satellite data to social media—has grown exponentially. But data scientists and tech developers are introducing ever more sophisticated tools for identifying patterns in the millions of pieces of multimedia, multilingual data generated every second. That’s why we supported the Middlebury Institute for International Studies’s exploration of New Technologies for Information Analysis to Support Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Verification.
Investors for Nonpro and Disarmament
The tools of climate and conservation finance are pretty well-established in the impact investment community. But can they be adapted and applied to other geopolitical problems like nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament? How else might concerned investors screen for and mitigate nuclear risk? We funded Wall Street analyst David Epstein to make the case for investors and the private sector. His paper is here, along with a slide deck that explains his ideas to the rest of us.
Afrofuturism 2.0 and Global Security
The Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) is a global community of artists, futurists, and intellectuals from the African diaspora. In 2020 N Square offered BSAM members a one-week course in strategic foresight focusing on global security. We learned a lot from each other about what it really means to think about the future.
Afrofuturism 2.0 and Global Security
The Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) is a global community of artists, futurists, and intellectuals from the African diaspora. In 2020 N Square offered BSAM members a one-week course in strategic foresight focusing on global security. We learned a lot from each other about what it really means to think about the future.
Five Scenarios for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons by 2045
In 2015, futurist Jamais Cascio and the N Square team created five plausible scenarios, each set in the year 2045, for eliminating nuclear weapons. The scenarios suggest strategies to increase public engagement and innovation. True to life, each scenario hints at a darker possibility: But for key decisions now, the world could slide into a multilateral nuclear arms race.
Five Scenarios for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons by 2045
In 2015, futurist Jamais Cascio and the N Square team created five plausible scenarios, each set in the year 2045, for eliminating nuclear weapons. The scenarios suggest strategies to increase public engagement and innovation. True to life, each scenario hints at a darker possibility: But for key decisions now, the world could slide into a multilateral nuclear arms race.
Identifying Opportunity
We created the Opportunity Field Guide to show creative problem-solvers in fields like technology, media, education, and design how to apply their pioneering minds and considerable networks to solving nuclear challenges.
Changing Systems
Systems thinking is a mindset and a set of tools. It helps us to look more deeply at the complex issues facing society today. Our Systems Frameworks course and the focus on systems thinking in our programming helps surface the deeply interconnected, messy, unpredictable, human and environmental systems we need to influence in order to solve our greatest problems.
A World Without Nuclear Weapons by 2045
Eliminating nuclear weapons by their 100th anniversary will require the kind of single-minded problem-solving that fueled the Manhattan Project. It will require a renaissance of sorts. In 2016, N Square managing director Erika Gregory spoke at TED Women about how we can make that renaissance a reality.
A World Without Nuclear Weapons by 2045
Eliminating nuclear weapons by their 100th anniversary will require the kind of single-minded problem-solving that fueled the Manhattan Project. It will require a renaissance of sorts. In 2016, N Square managing director Erika Gregory spoke at TED Women about how we can make that renaissance a reality.
Visualizing the Nuclear System
The nuclear weapon system is sprawling and secretive, resisting change through a complex set of dynamics. We’ve used causal loop diagramming—a mapping tool that helps visualize complex systems and how different variables within these systems interrelate—to create what we understand to be the first and only map of the behaviors and mental models that underpin the nuclear system.
Visualizing the Nuclear System
The nuclear weapon system is sprawling and secretive, resisting change through a complex set of dynamics. We’ve used causal loop diagramming—a mapping tool that helps visualize complex systems and how different variables within these systems interrelate—to create what we understand to be the first and only map of the behaviors and mental models that underpin the nuclear system.
Join
Us