Week 6 Reflection + Peer Review

What did I learn in this unit?

In this past week in Futures we looked at alternative scenarios and generic futures. Alternate scenarios are ways to explore a variety of futuristic outcomes. In order to be responsible and produce a wholistic future landscape, we must consider alternative scenarios. This encompasses both desirable and undesirable futures. Specifically, we must look at alternate scenarios through generic futures lens. This includes the four different types of generic futures:

1. growth — economic, institutional, and technological growth as a society based on where we are now
2. collapse — lower (or sometimes terminate) the stage of development that a part of human life is currently at (ex. stock market collapse)
3.
discipline — refocus economy and society on survival and fair distribution to preserve our current world over economic growth
4.
transformation — society will undergo complete transformation in technology and humanity, and eventually beyond earth itself

It was enlightening to look at one of my alternate scenarios through these different generic futures. It made me re-think what my future could be, and although each were different, they all had their pros and cons. Its also important to keep in mind that what might seem like a desirable future for you may not be the best for the greater good of society or the world. I may experience a lowered quality of life if our world pursues a disciplined future, however, the planet will profit, as well as those in poverty who would benefit from a distributed wealth.

How can it apply to a design project?

I can apply this to the on-the-go meal experience project that the Junior Products Studio just wrapped up. I spent my weekend reflecting on the project, and even considered it through a futurist view. I created a soft good, which diverged from the class norm (hard goods, mostly box shapes). As I think about my meal bag in terms of the four generic futures, I see it having a place in the growth future. My bag creates an experience for busy students who want a quick, and space efficient way to pack foods like sandwiches and prepackaged snacks. If our world continues in “growth”, students will likely continue to study hard and live on a normal college budget. My meal carrying experience fits into this lifestyle, and also offers its self as an object that looks good with other belongings valued by students (backpacks, laptops, iphones, ~minimalism~). As I continue to create products, using a futurists mindset will help me think about what kind of future a product could thrive in.

How will this apply to my design practice?

I will apply this to my design practice by thinking about my designs in the 4 different generic futures. It will help me to dig deeper into the long-term life my products will have. This includes economically, socially, and environmentally. As I continue to design for larger scales, it will be necessary to consider the roles that products play like how much they cost, what your target user can afford, what it will make their friends think of them, and how the manufacturing and disposed product will effect the earth. When making design decisions it could also be helpful to weigh your options by drawing 2x2’s. This could be a useful tool to debate the different options, and which might be the most appropriate for your design intent.

Reflection 6 — Peer Review

#23
How similar or different is your colleague’s reflection from your own with regards to what he or she learned?
This persons reflection was different than mine because she talked about how she reflected the learnings back to her own upbringing. Instead of repeating what she learned about the four generic futures, she talked about how they applied to her life and what she found surprising throughout the learning process.

How similar or different is your colleague’s reflection from your own with regards to how he or she is applying it to a project?
This was different from mine because this designer talked about what her alternative future might mean in terms of happiness. Instead of looking at the positives of the path she chose, she looked at the positives that would have come from an alternative life scenario.

How similar or different is your colleague’s reflection from your own with regards to how it’s impacting his or her design practice?
This was similar to my response because we both touched on the importance of considering unpredictable futures.

#45
How similar or different is your colleague’s reflection from your own with regards to what he or she learned?
This person gave applicable situations for the concepts we learned about this week. Instead of reiterating what we learned, he talked about how it effects our world. I think I will take this approach next time.

How similar or different is your colleague’s reflection from your own with regards to how he or she is applying it to a project?
This person took a systems approach to this question. Instead of thinking directly about his C project, he thought about how generic futures could be used to improve Pittsburgh as a city at a higher level (environment, social issues, infrastructure).

How similar or different is your colleague’s reflection from your own with regards to how it’s impacting his or her design practice?
This person made an interesting point about design trends. Designing futures should include looking at previous design trends, and assessing how they will repeat/not-repeat in future scenarios. I think clients could benefit from seeing how their product/service would fit into different futures.

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