Speculative Design

Thinking about the future. This is the role of speculative designers. The future is unknowable and forever-changing, with billions of perspectives. At Mindfulness Design we use design processes to develop products for the future and speculative narratives to talk about them. Speculative design is growing in popularity in the policy design and development space as a means to talk about sensitive or politically difficult topics. The processes behind speculative design have proven very useful in the development of innovation and divergent thinking.

Speculative design is a branch of concept design that specialising in social and culture changes and their impacts on products, services and architecture. Developing products requires the designer to look at hundreds of different pathways of the future and how they might interact. A simplified example, would be; ‘how might climate change alter the working life of doctors in the NHS?’ From this, a designer would create artefacts, like perception respirators, to represent the potential impacts.

Understand

  • Empathise
  • Define
  • Research
  • Articulate

Innovate

  • Idea creation
  • Sketching
  • Preliminary CAD
  • Idea mapping

Prototype

  • Low-high fidelity
  • Interaction development
  • UI & UX design

Test

  • User trials
  • Focus groups
  • Evaluations
  • Product finalisation

Launch & Adapt

  • Design for production
  • Packaging design
  • Supporting materials
  • Product lifecycle

Inside out empty space

Using the processes of speculative design, we delved into the potential impacts of 3D printing on everyday products. 3D printers have the potential to create forms called ‘impossible geometry’ where they cannot by produced by any other method than the application of 3D printing technologies. We used this understanding to completely change the understand of the simple cup. The point of this project was to pose the question; ‘If this is how 3D printers can change a cup, how might they might change everything else?’

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