Eileen Mandir

Design Futuring: Szenarien für Strategie nutzen

2023-06 • design futuring, scenarios, strategy
Cover photo
Workshop space with props, prototyping materials and tools at Dark Horse Academy, Berlin


One thing is clear: we cannot foresee the future! In times of hyper-complex systems, we are surrounded by uncertainties. Many futures are possible – if we make them explicit, we can identify the desirable futures. And what is once conceived then becomes feasible. By making assumptions and building experiential prototypes of the future, possible consequences of strategic decisions are explored and made discussable.

Design Futuring Toolbox

Design Futuring is not about unambiguous forecasts, but about a spectrum of possible future scenarios that encompass areas of our society, our business models, our consumer behaviour and even our lifestyles. The ability to make different future scenarios cpmprehensible and tangible is the basis for negotiating a desirable image of the future. As a result, prototypes of the future emerge to help us derive strategies and concrete actions for a desirable future. As a participatory creative process, Design Futuring offers various thinking tools to systematically engage with scenarios.

Design Futuring was established by the design theorist and philosopher Tony Fry in his book Design futuring: sustainability, ethics and new practice. The field of action goes far beyond mere aestheticisation. For example, he criticises the design of products that are obviously not sustainable (life cycle assessment).

The Design Futuring process and its toolbox are strongly inspired by related fields such as futures research, strategic foresight and various design directions such as Speculative Design and Critical Design, among others. The toolbox and methods help to deal with future-related topics in order to prepare ourselves for possible problems and opportunities that no one has thought of yet. This is especially true for long-term time horizons that are often forgotten in everyday “business as usual”.

Content and take-aways:

The hands-on masterclass is aimed at strategists, innovators, designers, decision-makers, impulse-givers, organisational developers and anyone interested in methods to actively shape the future. Take aways are:

  • Perceive trends and signals of a constantly changing world and explore their significance and interrelationships for one’s own organisation
  • Make scenarios tangible and discover (non-) desirable futures
  • Use experiential prototypes to concretise the assumption about possible future needs and make them discussable
  • Derive concrete options for action and strategies from objectives
Dark Horse Academy
Prof. Benedikt Groß (Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd), Prof. Dr. Eileen Mandir (Fakultät für Design, Hochschule München), Christian Schonert (Dark Horse Innovation)

Masterclass and interview