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    Undesign: practical futures tools for anticipation and conscious design

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    Event description


    Design as a general domain has “legacy” power. What is designed today can have flow-on effects for years or decades and creates lasting impacts. It seems obvious then that design processes need a futures perspective, and will benefit from questioning the deep assumptions that underpin a design project. Design thinking done without questioning the future can create more problems than it solves. However, design that embraces a futures perspective can have profound impacts on our ability to meet our shared challenges, such as the climate emergency. 


    This course is an intermingling of design thinking and futures studies – two fields with great toolkits and potential – that are still just learning about each other. This course will help those in design and related fields to deconstruct design assumptions from the perspective of future change, using ideas and methods from the futures studies field. It will help strengthen any designer’s practice and toolkit.  

    Specific learning outcomes: 

    • Learn how to challenge design assumptions using a futures perspective 
    • Understand how images of the future influence action 
    • Understand the role of alternative futures and scenarios in design processes 
    • Learn how to integrate futures into design and innovation processes 
    • Add three futures-for-design methods to your toolkit 


    The course is introductory and conducted over three 90 min sessions. Each session begins with an experiential exercise, followed by principles and concepts that build on the experience, and a group discussion. The sessions are designed to be a fun and rich learning experience. Extra readings are provided for those who want to delve more deeply.  


    Three consecutive Tuesday afternoons at 4pm (AEDT: Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra). We figure people can end the day with a bang, just in time for dinner. 

    Session details:

    • Session 1: Tuesday 17th November: 4pm to 5:30pm AEDT
    • Session 2: Tuesday 24th November: 4pm to 5:30pm AEDT
    • Session 3: Tuesday 1st December: 4pm to 5:30pm AEDT


    Online... where else? We’ll be using Zoom and Miro, with support from other online tools.  


    Mel Rumble is a Sydney-based futures designer and UX/digital producer. She’s a 2020 NextGen Foresight Practitioner Fellow and holds a Master of Strategic Foresight from Swinburne. Mel is a futures designer at Action Foresight and co-curator of the latest Museum of Futures exhibition, Pandemic Pivots. Mel is also a casual academic for several futures subjects in the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation at UTS.

    José Ramos is a director with Action Foresight, and has been a foresight researcher and practitioner for the last 20 years, is Senior Consulting Editor for the Journal of Futures Studies, and Senior Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He has taught and lectured on futures studies, public policy and social innovation at the National University of Singapore (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy), Swinburne University of Technology (Australia), Leuphana University (Germany), the University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia) and Victoria University (Australia). He has over 60 publications in journals, magazines and books spanning economic, cultural and political change, futures studies, public policy and social innovation.

    Gareth Priday a director with Action Foresight. He has over a decade experience facilitating workshops that provide exploration and activation contexts for long term thinking, leadership, strategy, innovation and organisational dynamics. Gareth is a co-founder of the Australian Living Labs Innovation Network (ALLIN), Living Labs are open innovation platforms that bring together citizens, business, government and academia to co-create new products, services or social change using real life settings.He holds a Masters of Strategic Foresight from Swinburne University and has taught Futures and Design there.

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