Experiential Futures: A brief outline

Stuart Candy (@futuryst), an award-winning foresight practitioner, Director of CMU Situation Lab and Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon School of Design, recently wrote a short intro to Experiential Futures (XF) for designers interested in transition-oriented practice. He adds: “XF is a big topic, so other approaches and formats have their place – a plain-language one-pager from The Economist; a book-length treatment in The Futures of Everyday Life; an interview from earlier on in its development – but this post gives a more up-to-date brief encapsulation of the overall concept, and the evolving design space it refers to, with pointers to further reading.”

As a lens, it is an invitation: how might you take your idea –– any idea –– of a future and bring it concretely to life, now? This move may be motivated by a wide diversity of agendas from the exploratory to the evangelical, the entertaining to the educational. Any reason to think or feel into any future is a reason to mediate it, make it experiential. The matter of interest is not the design of artefacts per se, but the design of circumstances for thought (which may manifest as or incorporate artefacts). Less contents than context; less stuff than situations; less the things themselves than the conversations, insights and actions they enable. In each case, the latter implies and includes the former as appropriate.