Future Probing session at the Design Lab of the University of Twente was one of the examples of Summ()n’s ‘teaching activities’, when we present our tools and methods to students of various universities and schools. In this case it was a ‘very good one’. Unfortunately, we (and the students, too) are often given too little time for these exercises, while the goals are set too high (yet too abstract, too), and the results tend to be so-so.
In this case it was quite opposite: the students were all from a very particular course (Scenario Based Design), and had a number of specific business cases to work with. Knowing these boundaries, we had a chance to prepare a small, but meaningful set of ‘future signals’. Plus, the students had a good deal of time to go through theses signals (ok, it was still pressure-cooker kind of format, but most teams managed to handle the signals from all four domains that we have prepared: Professional Tools, Collaborative Practices, Smart Spaces and Business Models).
We started with a short presentation about the method of Future Probing (the Why’s and the How’s) and then the teams started to work with the ‘future signals’ from these different domains:
Based on their analysis, each group came up with a few emerging future themes, and then tried to imagine the possible future worlds governed by these themes. The atmosphere of the Lab itself was amazingly creative (including plenty of creative materials available), and that really helped the teams to construct interesting ‘future worlds’:
Again and again we see that when people are given less toy-ish and rugged and robust materials, they also build more imaginative yet more believable world! True creativity is a not about a few splashes of bright prime colours.
And in fact these less toyish worlds tend to trigger the creation of more creative ‘future probes’, too.
(or may be it depends on more creative teams?)
All in all, a very good session, well received by both the students and the teachers.