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Experimental tools to align speculative and futures design with core values and life-centred thinking

Experimental tools to align speculative and futures design with core values and life-centred thinking

The Future Scouting Toolkit combines speculative and life-centred thinking with new and old tools to empower the design of values-driven futures.

There might never be a better time to include life-centred design than when designing for the future.

The toolkit mixes my own experimental tools with others’ and combines life-centred tools with speculative design tools to form a rudimentary speculative design process. Use the tools and links to experience an experimental, values-driven future design process, or follow your own mix.

The Future Scouting Toolkit combines speculative and life-centred thinking with new and old tools to empower the design of values-driven futures.

There might never be a better time to include life-centred design than when designing for the future.

The toolkit mixes my own experimental tools with others’ and combines life-centred tools with speculative design tools to form a rudimentary speculative design process. Use the tools and links to experience an experimental, values-driven future design process, or follow your own mix.

“But we need to design that future, to experiment and make things that describe what might be possible, and to create the kinds of systems that make our world richer, stranger, and more full of possibility.” - Alexis Lloyd

“But we need to design that future, to experiment and make things that describe what might be possible, and to create the kinds of systems that make our world richer, stranger, and more full of possibility.” - Alexis Lloyd

The tools

Future Scouting Dashboard

Future Scouting aims to maintain the foundation of speculative design by embedding core values within the process.
To prepare yourself for designing values-driven futures, know your own values so you know what to champion in the future. Also, know your assumptions of the future to help empower your own ability to see beyond the probable and your own natural bias.

Future Design Mission and Futuresflip

Warm up your innovative thinking with these prompt-based tools for quick ideation and sketching sessions. Future Design Mission allows you to flip cards to determine a values-based design brief, based on a future technology (nanobots, customisable skin, etc.) and an interaction method (sound, touch, emotion, etc.).

IFTF Signal Tracing Tips & Future Scan

The first step in speculative design is finding a signal of emerging change that you can explore. You can find these through data and research analysis, or by using pre-determined prompts. The tip list from the Institute For The Future is short but succinct. The beautiful Future Scan document from the Board of Innovation offers a list of signals, trends and scenarios for a quick start.

Holistic Futures Wheel

The original Futures Wheel was invented by futurist Jerome C. Glenn in 1971 to give structure to brain-storming (recalling what you know about a topic) and mind-mapping (working out relationships between those points). The Holistic Futures Wheel is an adaption to allow specific variations of emphasis on considerations by separating the original wheel into just two areas: HUMAN Direct/Indirect results and LIFE Direct/Indirect results. You can use the wheel to generate ideas for what might happen if your signal evolves into a trend.

Future Location Snapshot and Invention Blueprint

The Location Snapshot helps you generate setting details and mood for the future world that your signal could be a part of. The Invention Blueprint draws your insights together to help you design one future invention.

Inclusivity cards and Product Lifecycle Impact Cards

The product lifecycle cards consist of six sections that follow the entire lifecycle of a product, and
the Inclusivity Cards prompt consideration for design inclusivity of demographic and sociographic variations. Use both of these card sets as a means of optimising your invention to be more life-centred.

Future Invention Map

Sharing back your finds from the future is an important step in the speculative process. Share your Invention Blueprint by uploading your invention to the Future Invention Map. If we receive enough, we can start assessing how location might affect what we think is possible.

Get the toolkit

You’ll also receive very occasional Designing Futures updates on new tools, projects, games, and books.

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