Futures Workshop: How We Can Use Stories And Objects To Imagine The Future

Futures Workshop: How We Can Use Stories And Objects To Imagine The Future

Austin Design Week is a yearly conference that brings together talent, companies, and communities to share and grow expertise within the city. Each year, there is typically a call for entries for experts to share their knowledge in design. In 2021, we assembled a team that was selected to run a public workshop focused on educating designers on strategic foresight to improve work and strategic activities.

With over 60 attending participants, we ran a three-hour workshop that enabled designers, product professionals, and creatives to understand how to build scenarios for the future.

Our workshop involved 3 methods and exercises. The first was to select a trend and use a tool called the implications wheels to imagine future implications of that trend. The second was to take a series of the implications generated and combine them with Design Fiction methodology (story cards) that allowed teams to build specific objects and people for their story. The final exercise was having each team build a brief narrative of their future, using all of the information provided.

In sum, we created 3-4 transformational future scenarios that spoke to where some of today’s trends might manifest using a series of prompts.

Trends We Explored:

– The Great Resignation
– Remote 2.0
– Decentralized Finance
– Climate Change

“The guides about the (future) personas were very helpful because sometimes you get stuck.. It made the workshop more easy. Very good resource. Thank you.”

– UX Designer & Participant

“A lot of my background is in Design Thinking and I don’t think I realized how complementary futures and foresight can be. I think this is a great tool and will definitely be using it in the future”

– Product Designer & Participant