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Designing Futures

Designing Futures

Much of the planet’s design thinking is enslaved to the consumer machine, encouraging people to buy stuff and do things that are killing the planet, hurting animals, and exploiting people in poverty.

Designing Futures aims to inspire designers, writers and futurists to experiment and make time for projects that align with their own value-driven interests to design futures they believe in.

Much of the planet’s design thinking is enslaved to the consumer machine, encouraging people to buy stuff and do things that are killing the planet, hurting animals, and exploiting people in poverty.

Designing Futures aims to inspire designers, writers and futurists to experiment and make time for projects that align with their own value-driven interests to design futures they believe in.

“The actual limits of what is achievable depend in part on the beliefs people hold about what sorts of alternatives are viable.”

Eric Olin Wright
American sociologist and educator, specializing in egalitarian alternative futures to capitalism

“The actual limits of what is achievable depend in part on the beliefs people hold about what sorts of alternatives are viable.”

Eric Olin Wright
American sociologist and educator, specializing in egalitarian alternative futures to capitalism

Explore my projects

My Design Futures projects

 

Choose your own adventure

Tools, methods, books and more

 

Learn Speculative Design

Learn how to design for the future

 

Speculative Design projects

Design projects exploring speculative futures to broaden our idea of what might be possible

The Treaty of One Heart

The Treaty of One Heart was a semi-finalist in Futuring Peace 2020——a competition calling for designers and futurists to create speculative artefacts that evoked novel futures of how to better sustain peace—-run by the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) and Design Futures Initiative.

The Maya Lenz

What if every day you could see and interact with a version of the world you preferred— a unique view personalised for you according to what makes you happy—all with a few blinks and eye movements? The Maya Lenz from 2039 will show you more of what you want to see and less of what you don’t.

More projects to come

Choose your own adventure

Tools, methods, books and more

Future Design Mission

Flip cards to mix future technologies, interaction methods, and core values to generate your design mission in alternate futures.

Product Lifecycle Impact Cards

As product creators, we are not just producing an item with a lifecycle defined by human use, but also by its sourcing, manufacturing, repair, life of use, and breakdown.
What non-users and non-humans are affected across all stages, and how do these affected non-humans affect those they come into contact with? Use these cards to dive into the true life-cycle of your product/invention.

Holistic Futures Wheel

To guide the design of new products with consideration of the environment and other lifeforms.

Non-human and non-user personas

Visual characterisations of the stakeholders we usually ignore—the environment and non-users impacted by a product’s lifecycle.

Future Scouting Design Game

My own contribution to speculative design, Future Scouting encourages designers to design with values in mind. Each game will have a Key Value determined at the start of the game (e.g. Kindness, Security, Health, etc.). The players’ mission is to design a future invention that most enables the Key Value. But it is also about the process the players go through that pushes them to conceptualise an experience beyond normal parameters.

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Tools from across the world

The Thing From The Future

The Thing From The Future is an award-winning ideation card game for individuals or teams that challenges players to articulate objects from alternative futures. The deck consists of 108 cards of four suits — the type of future the thing comes from, its thematic context, its basic form, and the emotion the object generates in someone from the present. The many speculative designs produced can be used for further exploration and innovation.

Future scan

Another great tool for inspiring ideation is the beautiful Future Scan map from the Board of Innovation. It offers over 150 potential future scenarios based on next-gen technologies and societal changes. The map can be used either as a simple exercise by choosing a number from the map and brainstorming that scenario, or as one tool in a larger speculative design process.

The Tarot Cards of Tech

The Tarot Cards of Tech inspires product designers to envision alternate futures of their product or idea. From the unseen and negative to the hoped-for and ideal, the process helps creators slow down and consider more deeply the impact of their product beyond the obvious needs of its users. Created by Artefact, a U.S. strategy and design firm.

Science fiction prototyping

Futurist Brian David Johnson developed science fiction prototyping in 2010. Its core methodology involves generating a three-act story as a speculative design prototype.

Act 1: Ideate a future — choose a technology to explore and ideate the future experience

Act 2: Scientific inflection point — introduce a catastrophe and story its repercussions

Act 3: Human inflection point — explore and articulate how a user would remedy the situation

The story is then used for reflection discussions and further product innovation.

Actant Mapping Canvas

Design anthropologist Monika Sznel has designed the Actant Mapping Canvas, a thoughtful tool incorporating more consideration into our design for our fellow lifeforms and the ecosystem we all rely on. That’s thinking about the future! Read more about the tool and environment-centered design here.

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Start learning now

Start learning now with these speculative design books.

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A practical guide to designing the Future with Science Fiction

 

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The essential introduction to specultive design

 

Creating business strategies using the futuring mindset.

 

Designing Futures is a Future Studies project by UX Designer/sci-fi author Damien Lutz.