Session 12 :: A day in the life of

15 mins: OLI questions small group

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What questions do you have on how alternative futures can be used in your studio project?

Your Questions:

1. Do you think using alternative futures is beneficial to design projects?
2. Without sounding too redundant, how do we apply alternative future scenario planning in the communications and products design tracks?
3. How can we connect alternative futures with actionable initiatives?
4. How can alternative futures be used more as a driving force for doing projects than just a “feedback checklist” to tweak the project as needed.

50 mins in class activity :: Place your Personas in Jim Dator’s Generic futures.

  • GROWTH A future that manifests the results of current trends and conditions, extrapolated forward. This includes both positive and negative growth. Continued economic growth is the basis for the “official” view of the future held by most governments and organizations.
  • DISCIPLINE A future in which a core guiding value or purpose is used to organize society and control behavior. For example, if continued economic growth inevitably leads to collapse, then mandating changes to the system and putting limitations on certain kinds of human behavior (discipline) is a proposed solution. China’s one-child policy is an example of a discipline solution to population growth.
  • COLLAPSE A future in which major social systems are strained beyond the breaking point, causing system collapse and social disarray. Human organization returns to basic needs in order to rebuild. Global environmental collapse due to increased atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide levels is one example.
  • TRANSFORMATION A fundamental reorganization of a society or system that signals a break from previous systems. The shift from nomadic hunter-gathering societies to stable, hierarchical agricultural societies was one of the most profound transformations in human history. Greater-than-human machine intelligence, and the revolution this would entail, is a popular transformation scenario.

Eight groups, two groups work on each type of scenario sign up for the scenario you want to work on (Growth, Discipline, Collapse, Transformation). 

10 mins: Step 1.  Use the table to imagine the context for your persona’s day in a life.

Futures ForcesGrowthCollapseDisciplineTransform

Fill out the following form and do a save as: to explain how you define the following terms and provide examples.

10 mins: Group Debrief to the class: Describe the context in one minute. How similar or different are the different groups descriptions of the four scenarios?

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20 mins:  Step 2. Imagine a day in the life of your persona:

Key frames from a day in the life of (add persona name)Word description of activitiesSketch (paste in a stick figure sketch of the activities)
MorningExample: Jane stops by the communal breakfast table and shares breakfast with her building neighbors. She is happy to chat with Sara. Bob eats quickly; he is sad and doesn’t want to talk to anyone. 

Submit homework for grading.

10 mins: Group Debrief to the class: Walk us through the 3 salient moments in your persona’s day (use first person perspective). Enact your persona.

Homework: (a) unit 6 discussion question; (b) OLI page 27 “Mapping futures thinking”

Recap: Today we explored the relationships between a persona set in the future in four specific types of futures articulated by Jim Dator (i.e., growth, collapse, discipline, transformation). You explored how particular aspects of futures forces play out in these generic futures to shape the context for everyday life of your persona.

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