Making the Futures Present | Amy Helen Margaret Greyson

Amy Helen Margaret Greyson; Making the Futures Present, report ocadu:1441, Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation; OCAD University; 2016-12 (2017-02-14); 193 pages; CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
About: OCAD U is an art, design and media university in Canada.


This research explores personal experiential futures in the creation of a new technique for helping an individual to envision a preferred future for himself or herself living in complex global futures.

“Making the Futures Present” is the prototype of a proposed personal futures technique that begins by exploring ‘the world out there’ before ‘the inner world’. By the end of a three-phase interview cycle each participant receives a personalized high-fidelity prototype. That artifact or experience intentionally provokes the participant’s perception of the expected future. The proposed technique employs concepts from experiential futures, ethnographic futures research and prototyping processes. This technique is described in this paper step by step with images from every stage of the process. The paper includes a literature review of evolving foresight practices that locating this technique in personal futures, a growing area of interest. The paper refers to comparable narrative therapy practices and other disciplines that can be useful references in the evolution of this technique. Outcomes from this research, by way of participant statements and supporting theory, yield various insights for the development of this technique and why this concept is necessary now.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    • My View of Our Story
    • A New Story about our Future Self
    • From Purpose to Preferred Futures
    • Background to Personal Futures
    • The Intention Behind the Approach
    • A Proposal for Futures Practice
    • The Proposed Technique
    • Conclusion
  2. Locating Making the Futures Present in Time
    • A Futures History Lesson
    • Personal Foresight Frameworks and Methodologies
    • Comparable Practices in Social Science
    • Conclusion
  3. The Emergence of Personal Futures
    • Personal Futures
    • Examples of Personal Futures Projects
    • Conclusion
  4. The Design of Making the Futures Present
    • Ethnographic Futures Research
    • Experiential Futures
    • A Human-centred Approach
    • Characteristics of Making the Futures Present
      • Interactive Interviews
      • Deep listening
      • Language
      • Systems Thinking
      • Prototypes
    • Other Disciplines of Envisioning a Preferred Future
    • Conclusion
  5. The Importance of Making the Futures Present
    • The Importance of Personal Futures for Individuals
    • Three Myths and One Truism
    • The Importance of Personal Futures in Society
    • Conclusion
  6. Making the Futures Present Technique
    • The Research Method
      • Research
    • Approval for the Research
    • The Participant’s Journey
      • 1: Generating Scenarios
      • 2: Generating Prototypes
      • 3: Generating a High-Fidelity Prototype
    • The Process for Designing the Final High-fidelity Prototype
    • The Follow-up Interview07
    • The Evolution of the Interview Protocol09
    • The Experiential Futures Ladder
    • Conclusion
  7. Research Reflections
    • Giving Participants the Fabricated Futures Present
  8. Evaluating Making the Futures Present
    • Might Making the Futures Present help someone to create a new personal future narrative?
    • An Optimal Outcome
    • Indicators of Success
    • Opportunities and Challenges for the Technique
    • Conclusion
  9. From Apathy to Action
    • Implementation Plan
    • Next steps
    • A limitation of the proposed approach
    • Conclusion
  10. Conclusion
    • In Response to the Research Question
    • In Response to the Sub-questions
    • A final summary
  • Appendix A: Formal Steps of the Proposed Technique
  • Appendix B: Three Case Studies
  • Appendix C: Participants
  • Appendix D: Participant Feedback
  • Appendix E: Consent forms
  • Appendix F: Introductory Script at the Start of the First Interview
  • Appendix G: The Creative Warm-up Activity

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