What If …

Speculative Everything

Thomas Wagner
Feb 17, 2017 · 4 min read

Beyond Radical Design

We live in a world with many challenges like climate change, destruction of natural resources and aging population to name a few. For Dunne and Raby the only way to overcome is by “changing our values, beliefs, attitudes and behavior.” (Dunne and Raby, 2013, p. 2) To imagine what could drive these changes, design can be used as a tool to speculate about possible futures and think critically about today and prospective implications of actions.

What if Amazon did housing? A concept by Future Facility at the Design Museum’s NEW OLD show.

Conceptual design

For Dunne and Raby, design today is entirely driven by market forces (2013, p.14). Conceptual design is described as a way to escape from these restrictions, to reflect about things and have a kind of “playground” to think free and open. It deals with unreality and ideals to question our reality and open up a space for exploration of how products and services could be. It pushes boundaries, open space for trying out ideas and explore new ways of doing things.

Design as critique

Critical design is described as a form of critical thinking through design: “not taking things for granted, being skeptical, always questioning what is given” (Dunne and Raby, 2013, p. 35). It does not have to be necessarily negative. Critical design is described as successful when people need to make up their own mind (Dunne and Raby, 2013, p. 40). It pushes boundaries between being real and unreal, seriously and ironic, trivialize and absurdity.

Why speculative design?

Speculative Design is useful in terms of “debate potential ethical, cultural, social and political implications” (Dunne and Raby, 2013, p. 47). In todays world, where through technological innovation everything seams to be possible, it can play an important role in terms of asking key questions about ethics and what it means to be human: In what kind of world will we want to live in? What do we want to achieve? Where do we want to go? It opens up a space to explore a range of ideas in an “safe environment” where we can determine the possible impacts and consequences those concepts might have.


Global Design Futures

Thoughts about Global Design and Future Trends

Thomas Wagner

Written by

Design, Research & Strategy | Service Experience Designer (MA) based in London | Currently Service & Interaction Designer @ Method London | wagnerthomas.org

Global Design Futures

Thoughts about Global Design and Future Trends