The context and the reason for our work.
From unprecedented technological acceleration to climate change and political unrest, we are living in precarious times.
But with uncertainty comes opportunity for positive change. We believe that through understanding, foresight, and creativity we can create tools that not only allow insight into forces at play but help shape democratic, positive, rewarding futures.
The philosophy, approach and methods we apply in our work.
Our work starts by acknowledging the fact that the future is not a fixed destination, but a constantly shifting and unfolding space of diverse potential. Central to reaching this potential is understanding that every individual experiences their world differently, based on their personal, geographic, social, and economic standing in the world.
Because of this, planning for possible futures must be a diverse and inclusive process, rather than a monolithic and presumptive one. Our work understands that there are always multiple histories, presents, and futures.
Based on this position, we focus on creating tools, in the form of visceral experiences, leading to pertinent strategies for understanding both the present and the future. Our aim is to show how everyone – from individuals, communities, to cities, governments and corporations can adapt to radical change, and grow and flourish in this uncertain world.
Over the years, we have developed our own, unique approach to address the complex challenges our clients and partners face. We call it High Fidelity Futures.
What does ‘High Fidelity’ mean? — Our approach to addressing, investigating, and then imagining rapid change uses both theory and hands on investigation. By combining strategies of foresight and speculation with listening, observing, and doing, the outcome is truly high fidelity – not merely on a surface level, but deeply considered with nuance, granularity, experience, and insight.
How does it work? — One part of our approach focuses on horizon scanning and foresight. Like a radio telescope our studio identifies, captures, and amplifies weak signals that emanate from our technological, political and cultural landscape. From these scans, we pick up on not just emerging trends, but our hopes, fears, and possibilities, which we can reconfigure into temporal frames. Such pathways help our clients understand the potential consequences and opportunities of the many possible futures which lay ahead.
Simultaneously, we focus on ground level realities. We zoom into specific signals and trends and bring them to life through design by working hands on, using methods of ethnographic and anthropological research, experience prototyping and storytelling. These rigorous investigations bring ethnographic, material and experiential qualities to our projects: enabling people to place themselves in the frame.
Put simply, we create futures that feel real and relatable, and give a sense of ‘everydayness’ and intimacy alongside the ‘extraordinary’ and uncertain.
The various forms and outcomes of our work.
Our work takes many forms, and spans multiple media. We design questions, stories, scenarios, strategies, prototypes, films, live experiments, super fictions, cautionary tales, and situational interventions to facilitate this engagement with the future.
In the past we have:
— Created a range of immersive experiences around renewable energy futures for Heads of State, and the Govt of UAE, leading to the Government’s new 2050 Energy Strategy.
— Built a fictional fintech company to provoke executive business leaders into considering plausible futures for the asset management industry.
— Presented our work and methods for designing the future to the United Nations Development Programme.
— Generated a series of visions around drones and other autonomous systems, bringing them to numerous public platforms for wider engagement.
— Made films that challenge the industry perceptions around internet of things and remote healthcare.
— Developed visions for the Future of Rail that led to new policies for the UK Cabinet Office’s Policy Lab and the Department for Transport, Govt. of UK.
— Written a paper on how tools from speculative design can enable agile policymaking for the Mayor’s Office, Mexico City.