Zoltar Says Make Your Wish: Futurish.cards Workshop

Interaction Design Education Summit
Published in
4 min readMar 4, 2020

Angelica Fontana, Service Design Lead, Sketchin
Silvio Cioni, Lead Design Director, Sketchin

Group photo at the end of the workshop to whisper the wishes

Over the past decade, the scope of design has gone beyond the product domain towards a more systemic approach. The expansion of the design perspective suggests a new role of designers, who have today the responsibility to make sense of a complex and changing world, designing not just for the present but also for the future.

Speculative design is a practice focused on encouraging people to debate about alternative visions and prototype for the future.

Drawing on the Speculative design practice, during Interaction Design Education Summit 2020, we ran a workshop that aimed at exploring ways for practitioners, educators and designers to expand their toolbox as well as envision new preferable futures.

We facilitated the application of different techniques from design fiction (diegetic prototype) to future studies practice (scenario matrix), through a series of exercises and using futurish cards, a generative card deck we designed, that helps people to play with future scenarios and artefacts, and gain a practical experience of the speculative design process.

Futurish cards deck

To kick off the workshop, we provided a short introduction about speculative design practice and futurish cards composition.

Participants were then divided into three teams to start the workshop activities.

The workshop was structured into three parts.

Part 1: Collaboratively Build a Future Scenario

Participants were provided with a time set 20 years ahead and they used the cards to build the first prompt and define a team brief (e.g., Autonomous Identity in 20 years). Through the first activity, they start discussing their wishes and fears about the theme and building their future scenario.

Idea generation

Part 2: Envision Artefacts From the Future

We encouraged participants to envision new artefacts from the future by using futurish cards to build a new prompt (e.g. Responsible Interface related to Identity) and generate ideas with each other.

Materials and objects provided for the prototyping

Part 3: Detail and Prototype the Artefact Envisioned

Participants were provided with different materials, everyday objects and tools to work with and build their prototype. They were also asked to detail the instructions for use of the artefacts and to present the results to the rest of the teams.

Prototype in process

The workshop and the card deck are suitable for designers and educators who want to play with different formats and techniques to stimulate alternative visions for the future.

More Information About Futurish Cards

Futurish cards (currently under development. For more info please see http://futurish.cards) is gratefully inspired by Near Future Laboratory’s DF-DBCPC 0–7 (Design Fiction — Design Brief Creation Playing Cards Deck) and Situation Lab’s The Thing From The Future (Singularity University Edition).


A. Dunne, F. Raby, Speculative Everything, Design, Fiction and social dreaming, 2013

D. A. Kirby, Future is Now: Diegetic Prototypes and the Role of Popular Films in Generating Real-World Technological Development, 2010

S. Candy, C. Potter, Design and Futures, 2019

Slide Deck


About the Facilitators

Angelica Fontana

Angelica is a service and system designer with special interest in human interaction with technologies. She is currently Design Lead at Sketchin design studio, where she runs user research activities and she facilitates co-design processes to define service and interaction design solutions. She is also a lecturer in Service Design.

Silvio Cioni

Silvio is an IxD/SD Director with over 20 years experience in interactive media design and research. He is currently Executive Design Director at Sketchin, a Swiss strategic design studio. Silvio is also a researcher and teacher in Interaction Design, Service Design, and Speculative Design. He is Adjunct Professor of Interaction Design and Service Design at NABA and Domus Academy Milano. He is the co-organizer of Milan Speculative Futures, the Milan chapter of the Speculative Futures global community.



Interaction Design Education Summit
Editor for

IxDA’s Interaction Design Education Summit is a gathering point for those interested in how we educate ourselves as practitioners and researchers.