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A Design Futures project by Damien Lutz

Design Think The Future

Exploring alternate futures using design and sci-fi world-building

Design Think The Future

Exploring alternate futures using design and sci-fi world-building

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.

DTTF aims to create an alternate universe where designers, writes and futurists collaborate on and share projects that align with their own values, free from shareholder and stakeholder needs, budget restrictions, or legacy technology.

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.

DTTF aims to create an alternate universe where designers, writes and futurists collaborate on and share projects that align with their own values, free from shareholder and stakeholder needs, budget restrictions, or legacy technology.

1

Pick your practice to envision

What method will you use to envision a future—Moonshots, Speculative Design, Design Thinking, Transition Design, Environmentally centred design, Pluriversal Design

 

2

Mix your tools to create

How will you create your prototype—Gamification, prototyping, story telling, world-building, dark patterns, irony, research, testing, guerilla installation, UX, UI, sketching.

 

3

Choose your medium to share

Share your prototype in any medium, or mix of, that you can translate into a digital story—comics, videos, audio, writing, etc.

 

“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

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Explore my projects

My Design Futures projects exploring how technologies could evolve

 

Choose your own adventure

Books, methods, tools and games to get you exploring the future

 

Speculative Design projects

My design projects exploring speculative futures

The Treaty of One Heart

Futuring Peace is a collaboration between the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) and Design Futures Initiative. In 2020, they ran a competition calling for designers and futurists to create speculative artefacts that evoke novel futures of how to better sustain peace.

My submission, “The Treaty of One Heart” was set in 2022 and explored syncing the hearts of conflicting leaders and nations via a controlled breathing app. While it didn’t get selected for the Futuring Peace Exhibition, “The Treaty of One Heart” did make the semi-finals.

More projects to come

Explore your own future ideas

Books and Guides

A practical guide to designing the Future with Science Fiction

 

A practical guide to designing the Future with Science Fiction

 

Methods and Tools

Methods, tools and games to get you started on your own exploration into the future

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.

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.

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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