How to design the future

By Pearlfisher.Futures
At V&A Museum for The London Design Festival, September 2013

Based around the four key themes, or 'modes' of taste, body, luxury and connect, the team from Pearlfisher.Futures presented their methods for designing the future within these sectors.

The team discussed how after brainstorming the feelings that change provokes, it was identified that 'change is the only way to progress', and that the sectors of society which drive change, whose opinions are sought by the organisation during the design process, can be summarised as;

The Expert Opinion

From the leaders who are at the forefront of change in their areas of expertise

The Artistic Opinion

From the forces who are free to shape creativity across the arts

The Design Opinion

From the creators who develop the ideas that become intergral to out lives

The Technological Opinion

From the innovators who invent the new processes and materials

The Street Opinion

From the grassroots who are influencing culture in the here and now.

The emphasis was on meaningful change, so looking beyond trends and transience by showing the journey taken by culture in the form of 'shifts', and to create change with positive impact. The aim to be kept in mind with regards to design is to create truth, i.e consistency with the real life situation for which the design is intended, as well as to create design which provokes desire.

Four scenarios solutions were then presented for some of the challenges identified for each of the taste, body, luxury and connect modes. These ranged from a hypothetical brand 'Ripe' which encouraged the use of produce at all stages in its lifecycle with the slogan, 'never off, always ripe', beauty solutions which emphasied on constructing a unique look for the individual based on personal taste, connecting with others by way of databasing one's life to even enable interaction with others after death, and a brand based on what is identified to be the ulitmate luxury beyond material possesions, to make the user a genuis in a field of identified potential.

In summary, the following five steps were identifed by the organisation as guidance for designing the future;

The future should resolve a tension

Our best innovations come from understanding a real deficit and providing an exciting, game-changing answer. Be insightful and be committed to real solutions that make lives better.

The future should be better AND easier

We no longer need to compromise. The future is our opportunity to make things better, for everyone. Be visionary but have clarity and always make it easy.

The future should feel uncomfortable

The future is new which can often feel challenging and unfamiliar but without change there is no future. Be brave and embrace the unknown

The future has got a lot nearer

We now have the ability to each affect and shape real change. The future is in our hands. Explore closer connections. Embrace a more accessible world. See the future sooner.

The future is yours

It's easy to follow trends and competitor change but the future should come from the heart. Lead – don't follow. Be instinctive and independent. Draw your own influences and make your own future.