Speculative Design

Humans are creative problem solvers and natural storytellers…

We have an amazing ability to imagine different possibilities, share our visions with others, and find ways to make our ideas real.

When we tell stories about the future, we allow other people to experience and explore the world we are imagining. It can inspire people to collaborate and take action.

We believe that art and design are critical tools for strategic foresight. They allow us to imagine possible futures and to make them real today, helping other people connect with them.

By moving beyond reports and strategy documents, we make emotional connections and trigger visceral responses to possible futures. These unexpected experiences capture people’s attention and their imagination, opening new space for dialogue, decision making and innovation.

The Futures We Imagine

In mid-2022 we put out a call for young people from around the Red Cross Red Crescent network to join us on a creative journey. The Futures We Imagine was a unique experiment combining futures and foresight with creativity and art.

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These young volunteers and activists were immersed in strategic foresight, learning the skills and tools to create possible futures.

They then engaged with their community – whether that was a physical community, an identity, a shared history or an emotional connection – and asked them for their hopes and fears for the future.

These insights were combined with evidence of emerging trends to create future scenarios.

The participants wrote short stories about these possible futures, using speculative fiction to bring the world to life.

The final assignment was to ‘bring something back from the future’. The participants designed art pieces, artefacts and experiences.

The artwork was used to challenge the IFRC leadership, triggering conversations, connections and questions about the future and the communities we serve.

Find out more

If you are interested in working with the Solferino Academy to run creative strategic foresight sessions using art and design, please contact us.

Strategic foresight training

Learning how to interrogate possible futures sharpens our analysis of a shifting world.We run courses tailored to your needs, from taster sessions to deep dives into emerging challenges using our creative tools and extensive expert network.

Anticipatory governance

We help retool conventional decision-making processes to embed strategic foresight and anticipation.

Our team works with you to develop anticipatory governance, from initial design and implementation, through to testing and iteration of new approaches.

Speculative design

Imagination and storytelling are vital for strategic foresight.We work with change-makers, speculative designers, artists and the IFRC network to explore possible futures and bring back art, fiction, and experiences from the worlds they have created.

Crisis Intelligence

Strategic foresight can directly support humanitarian operations.

We work with communities,  frontline staff  and external experts to develop intelligence on possible futures.These scenarios help shape service delivery and sharpen the options for action.

Share your ideas

We are here to make understanding and acting in a changing world easier for you and your team. We are developing tools, content and connections which will help us all. We want to hear from you. If you are pushing the boundaries, experimenting with new ways of working, or testing ideas which you believe will help people in the future, get in touch. Together, we will create opportunities to learn from each other and develop shared infrastructure that helps everyone.

“All of our knowledge is about past, but all of our decisions are about the future”

Kenneth Boulding, peace activist