On Speculative Design and Futures Literacy (FL)

Speculative design is a branch of design that tries to imagine what it would be like to design without the current limitations of technology, culture, politics, or health. It doesn't predict, but imagines all possible futures that could be.

Speculative design uses prototypes as physical manifestations of ideas. It wants to see what can be created, and then explore society's relationship with those creations. It wants to prototype things because it makes ideas shareable. 

Our niche space is “Speculative Optimism”– the best that could happen which is critical and possible.

We think of the speculative design method as a communication tool – when we engage with a physical prototype (speculative objects) we engage with all our senses; inviting others to build on our ideas becomes possible. 

The Cone of Preferable Futures, from Dunne & Raby’s book Speculative Everything, depicts a useful way of making future scenarios guided by what we want the future to be, rather than being limited by what it most likely will be. It reminds us that the most probable development needs a counterweight and a striving towards the preferable. 

What is the structure and form of a time traveling story?

What is created within the realm of speculative design is not meant to be sent back to the present nor to an uncertain future, but rather to support an entirely different future.

In rapid prototyping mode we welcome the purest ideas. We use intuition and spontaneity. We let go of the notion that ideas must have arguments and analyses before involving others. Prototypes don’t need to answer questions but are made to raise new ones.

The Time Travel Agency sells time travel with content 100% created by its travelers, and time happens as following:


Futures Literacy (FL), from UNESCO, is “the skill that allows people to better understand the role of the future in what they see and do. Being futures literate empowers the imagination, enhances our ability to prepare, recover and invent as changes occur. It is a universally accessible skill that builds on the innate human capacity to imagine the future.”

Why is Futures Literacy important?

“The future is uncertain. Climate change, pandemics, economic crisis, social exclusion, racism, the oppression of women, inter-generational conflict, and more, shatter the conventional images of the future that humans use to plan, to feel secure, to be confident enough to invest in tomorrow.

Futures Literacy addresses the urgent need to transform human governance by empowering everyone to use-the-future more effectively and efficiently.

It is about moving beyond a dependency on the illusion of certainty and the fragilities this creates.”