course speculative design.

Welcome to this crash course in speculative design powered by Studio Hyperspace.

During the upcoming weeks, you are free to follow the process below. Every step you take in the design process is explained in a video. This course is initially made for a group of international students trendwatching, keep that in mind. The assignments are there to help you to translate the theory into practice. Use what you think is valuable for your process. On our Discord server, you can ask questions and find additional materials. That’s optional. We suggest using a miro board.

Have fun!

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#0: Introduction

1.1 Watch the video below (sorry about the horrible synchronization).

1.2 Read the first chapter of ‘Speculative Everything’ by Fiona Raby and Anthony Dunne: PDF. You can also find the pdf of the whole book on our Discord server.

1.3 Answer the following questions:

  • what is, in your own words, speculative design?
  • What’s the difference between the approach in the book and the video?
  • Can you link the essence of speculative design to Marshall McLuhan’s idea of ‘the medium is the message’? (here is the book: PDF, it’s also on our Discord server)
  • How can, according to you, speculative design contribute to your artistic practice?

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There are numerous ways to implement speculative design. We are using Intervention Design as our speculative design approach.

2.1 Watch the video below.

2.2 Answer the following questions:

  • How would you define intervention design?
  • What is its relation with speculative design?
  • How do you think intervention design can be beneficial to your artistic practice?

2.3 Now, decide which subculture you want to explore and fill in the Subculture Map with your first impressions and the information you can easily find. The Subculture Map is here: PDF.

2.4 Watch the video below.

2.5 Fill in the DESTEP to get insights into the transformations your subculture is related to. Only map the relevant ones. The choice is up to you as a team.

2.6 Use the 3Ms to map the meso and micro levels of your subculture: what behaviour and rituals belong to the subculture? What artefacts are used?

2.7 Now dig deeper: do desk and field research:

  • get to know every detail of your subculture by reading about it, watching documentaries, seeing movies,
  • engage in your subculture by becoming part of it or be a fly on the wall,
  • place your subculture on the K-Hole Brand Anxiety Matrix and describe what the position tells you about the subculture (PDF),
  • find pop culture tropes associated with your subculture: what do they tell you?

2.8 Perform step 2.7 repeatedly until you have enough knowledge of your subculture.

2.9 Now, identify what trends in your subculture are the most interesting. Pick max three and make a FRAME.

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Watch this lecture by Amsterdam-based designer Ruben Pater.

According to Ruben Pater, all design is political. 

Answer the following questions according to your FRAME:

  • Focus on the trends you identified: what deeper values are related to them? 
  • What values do you find essential to relate to the trends? 
  • In other words: in what way are those trends ‘political’?

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Watch the video below. 

3.1 Take your FRAME and, if necessary, redefine your trend. Make sure to describe your trend in a way that shows its potential outside of the explored subculture.

3.2 Now, consider a point in the future (or an alternative reality now) when this trend has become mainstream. Describe the trend using the Future Cone in terms of possible and preferable futures.

3.3 Answer the WHY of your trend. What makes it crucial for you as a team to understand what the trend will look like in the future? What values are involved? What value changes will your trend provoke?

3.4 Watch Koert van Mensvoort explain the pyramid of technology.

3.5 Translate your trend to the situation in which it becomes ‘natural’. Describe this situation as detailed as possible. Now, go back to the tipping point. What needs to happen to make your trend go from trend (applied) to normal general behavior (accepted). Again: be as detailed as possible.

3.6 We now have all the material for our fictional world. Watch one episode of Black Mirror and identify the protagonist, antagonist, incentive, complication, and resolution.

3.7 Pick a protagonist and fill in an empathy map. A protagonist can also be non-human. Then, tell the story by using the story scheme.

3.8 Make a moodboard and a storyboard.

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Watch the video below.

4.1 Define the essence of your fictional world and story. What message do you want to bring across to your target audience?

4.2 Define tour target audience and explain why. 

4.3 You want your target audience to step into the shoes of your protagonist. Brainstorm about ways to do this (IDEATE), write them down and choose the, in your opinion, best ones.

4.4 Translate these best ideas into possible products or services and turn them into a lo-fi prototype

4.5 Find people from your target audience and EVALUATE(test) the lof-fi prototype. Then, gather feedback. 

4.6 Use the feedback from your target audience to build a hi-fi prototype. Make sure this prototype works as an intervention.

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