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Introduction to Design Futures

Introduction to Design Futures

A comprehensive exploration of the future-focused design process.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination encircles the world.
—Albert Einstein

Objective & Outcomes

This “Introduction to Design Futures” course is structured as a comprehensive exploration of the future-focused design process, employing a four-step, multidisciplinary approach called Synthesizing Futures. 

The objectives of this course is to equip students with the ability to navigate uncertainty, interpret emergent needs, articulate future-oriented visions and developmental processes, and formulate strategic roadmaps. In the course, students will use foundational methods like ‘Futures Space Mapping’ via the ‘Futurescapes’ to generate scenarios and solutions, deeply considering both positive and negative outcomes for individuals and organizations, thereby enabling the discernment of optimal actions. A key component of the course will be ‘Building Future Worlds’, where learners will craft narratives and contexts around their envisaged futures using storytelling techniques, stepping into the user’s shoes to envision product ideas and communication strategies. Next, in ‘Designing Future Artifacts’, students will create and test concepts, discovering new ideas and opportunities. Finally, we will undertake ‘Creating Future Roadmaps’ or backcasting, where students will chart their paths to their desired futures, by planning backwards from the future to the present. 

Upon completion of the course, students will develop better skills at enhanced strategic foresight, empathic user understanding, rapid prototyping capabilities, and the mastery of crafting comprehensive future-oriented roadmaps.

Typical Schedule

  • Session 1: Introduction
  • Session 2: Research
  • Session 3: Mapping Future Space
  • Session 4: Building Future Worlds
  • Session 5: Designing Future Artifacts
  • Session 6: Backcasting
  • Session 7: Share Out