Assignments and Activities

Week 1:

Narrative Planning, Masdar Notes, and Narrative Drawings

Narrative PlanningNotes on MasdarNarrative From Home to Work

Moodboard from Bladerunner (Assignment 1, Week 1)


Week 2 In-Class Activity

Comparing our Masdar city interpretation to the theories and philosophies of Cascio…


Week 2 In-Class Activity (Friday Sep. 10)

For my reworked scenarios I tried to consider some of Cascio’s philosophies and beliefs on good and bad design futurism. I tried to consider social impacts of my designs, such as the addition of gender neutral bathrooms. I also tried to combine both technology and human nature/intuition into my scenarios; the first scenario expl0res the concept of using projection navigation technology with bicycle sharing programs that encourage human activity and fitness.


Week 3 In-Class Activity (Wednesday Sep. 14)

While completing the revised Masdar scenario exercise I think I made lots of assumptions that were established based on how I viewed the world. While I critiqued many of the videos we watched, that were done by Microsoft and Apple regarding the future, I challenged them to create something that was accessible not to just the people who could afford this innovative technology. Looking back at my completion of this assignment, I too made this assumption in some of my revised scenarios. For example, in the scenario B that I created I envisioned a smart wall installed in someone’s home that could allow them to more easily keep track of events and obligations in their lives as well as other interests, work schedules, etc. While this is a useful device to have, it is currently not very accessible to people without a decent income or source of money. Similarly, scenario A that described a biking system that allowed people to easily navigate to different locations and exercise assumed that the government had both the resources and the motivation to install these stations throughout the city. As we saw in Schwartz’ talks, in many developing nations the governments have not really progressed and so they don’t have a clear vision of what the future may look like for them. I also made assumptions about the values of the people living in the area I envisioned by suggesting gender neutral bathrooms, as many conservative cultures are not at all open to this idea. As to be expected, I designed these systems and products with my personal goals and interests in mind; I am invested in spreading solar technology and encouraging fitness in everyday routines and visualizing schedules and lifestyles on large scales and flexible mediums. However I did not consider the values of those who may be unlike me and live in this city. 

Week 3 In-Class Activity (Friday Sep. 16)

Blockchain scenario brainstorming…


Week 4 In-Class Activity (Wednesday Sep. 16) FINAL



Week 4 In-Class Activity (Friday Sept. 23rd) FINAL






Week 5 Activity (Wednesday Sept. 28th) FINAL

Revised timeline incorporating potential hopes and fears of the persona from the years 2013 to 2050.


Week 5 Activity (Friday Sept. 30th) FINAL

Critique of my persona’s future scenario life based on Sohail Inayatullah’s six concepts of futures thinking…

In applying the concept of used futures to Keith’s future hopes, or his desired future, it is important to understand that these ideas have not originated solely from this future scenario. Keith’s drive to become successful and financially stable is one of many working people. Having stability encourages steady progress and typically a more flexible lifestyle. The hope of having a family stems from our society’s model of what the life of a typical person should look like. Family offers emotional support as well as our human desire to carry on the race with people who are genetically similar to us. Since Keith got an education from both high school and college and has seen success and stability from attending, it is only natural that he believes in the power of education for his own children.

There are several things that I overlooked in terms of what values and concepts were continued in Keith’s desired future. For example, I did not include his religious and spiritual practices nor his potential pursuit of videography as a passion and possible future career. I focused more on his familial and work-related futures, mostly because I see Keith as a guy who is driven to be financially stable and then settle down with someone and maybe have a kid. Religion is probably still important to him, however I don’t see him turning to it as a daily practice like his father does. Unlike Keith, Claude needed a stable and guiding force in his life to help him through hard economic and social times. Another thing I didn’t really consider was the fact that having Keith be very career-ambitious like running for mayor could potentially be detrimental to his family dynamic, as he probably wouldn’t be spending as much time with them.

One alternative future for Keith could be that his office suffers job cuts and Keith can no longer make a decent amount of money each year. This would then push his plan for the future back even further. Another alternative future could be that Keith realizes he can pursue his political and other passions more easily in DC so he decides to move out of Milwaukee. This could potentially change his family dynamic as well has what kinds of opportunities his kids have for the future. Another alternative future is that Keith’s child (once he has one) has Asperger’s syndrome and cannot pursue a viable career or educational opportunities. Keith and his wife are forced to support their child for much longer than anticipated and Keith’s goal of sending his own child off to college is an unrealized one.

I chose to measure Keith’s desired future in terms of the two categories I found to be most important to him; work and family. Obviously income stability is incredibly important to him, he does not want to endure the same hardships that his parents did during his upbringing and continue to endure today. I believed that one goal for Keith in the future might be to make enough money to not have to work two other jobs in order to feel secure. As previously stated in the disowned futures paragraph, I think that although religion may be important to Keith in some regard, it does not seem to be one of the biggest forces in his life, so I did not foresee him pursuing something like speaking at church as another career or passion.

With regards to the theory of social change, I think many of the decisions that I made when imagining Keith’s future did in fact deal with the stages of Keith’s progress; his predictions and assumptions about what his future may hold before college, the steps he took to either avoid or uphold those assumptions, and how things actually ended up turning out. As a teenager, Keith clearly had goals of graduating high school and attending college. He seemed determined to not have to live the rest of his life like he lived his childhood. I believe that his future will yield similar results of accomplishing goals as long as Keith is able to stay focused on them and continues to be responsible with his decisions. With the small things he chooses to do, like work a couple more jobs even though he doesn’t really need to, and putting off marriage and kids for a little longer, he can reach smaller goals that will help him get to his bigger goals such as lifelong stability, a sound family life, and prospects for his future kin. When exploring Keith’s relationship to the theory of social change, I am reminded by the speaker from the TED talk video we watched in class; both he and Keith made it out of difficult social and economic situations with the encouragement and support of family, their own personal drive, and their foresight into how things could potentially play out for them based on the decisions they make now.

I believe Keith does apply foresight and futures thinking to the ways in which he makes choices throughout his life, which definitely influenced the way I chose his desired future to play out. Keith prepared for the future, career-wise, by taking on multiple jobs and renting out a property he had invested in. He knew that he needed multiple sources of income in order to account for potential unexpected consequences or events later. This pays off for him because he is able to hold a job long enough to show progress and promise and be promoted to a higher paying job. Keith also clearly understands how he was able to reach his goals from childhood through adulthood; living in a supportive family environment, working very hard in order to support oneself, and not having too many children to support while not fully being able to support a partner or even yourself.

Week 6 In-Class Activity (Wednesday Oct. 5th)


Week 6 Activity (Sunday Oct. 9th) Final


Week 7 In-class Activity (Wednesday Oct. 12th) Final

Futures wheel: considering the multiple alternatives and scenarios from pursuing design and research as a career.


Week 8 In-class Activity (Wednesday Oct. 26th) Final

Futures wheel branch examined through causal layered analysis (CLA).


Week 8 Assignment (Friday Oct. 28th) Final

Understanding futures of products, lifestyles, etc. from a minimalist perspective.

What are the qualities of things that you have when you go for fewer things? 

  1. Durable
  2. Timeless in design (not part of a fad)
  3. Usually more expensive relative to other similar products on the market
  4. Something with emotional or memory-related ties to it, has a story
  5. Not single function usually, or if it is that function is useful on a daily basis

What makes an heirloom? 

  1. Something that was passed down to me
  2. Something with a story behind it, something with history
  3. Tangible object

What was luxury in the past? 

  1. Something that revealed high class and status
  2. Usually materialistic things, like clothing, gems, objects, estates, etc.
  3. A non-necessity

What might luxury be in the future of zero-waste, local manufacture, minimalism? 

  1. Something hand crafted
  2. Partaking in something that lost momentum in the economy because it was cheaper and easier to source it somewhere else, but is making a comeback now as “high end”
  3. Supporting local businesses that charge more for their service or product because you have the economic and cultural resources to do so

Brainstorming a product….

  1. Composting is becoming a bigger and bigger practice globally, if there was more economic motivation for people to compost they would probably do it; if you invest in getting a community composting center and set up collection systems for households, they money put into that initial set up could maybe encourage tax deductions or perks from the federal government to give to these participants. Could also encourage the conversion of these composted materials into fertilizer and soil.
  2. Filtered water stations set up throughout a city that are funded by the purchase of a renewable water bottle.

Day in the life for minimalists….

  1. Bike, walk, or take subway to work, or maybe a community carpooling initiative with a community hybrid car or bus
  2. Bring reusable containers to work for lunch
  3. Solar powered computers and desk light
  4. Go home and hand wash clothes to wear for tomorrow
  5. Locally sourced food for dinner
  6. Reading books from the local library before bed

What wouldn’t be necessary? 

  1. Disposable plates, napkins, eating utensils
  2. Television
  3. A car
  4. A washing machine
  5. Costco membership card

What will the shopping environment look like? 

  1. For food shopping, urban farming might become very popular, possibly rooftop gardening. People may have to pay higher taxes or prices on goods that were sourced from further away, making buying local more appealing.
  2. For clothing shopping, prices may be higher naturally based on the quality of material being used, recycled materials may be used more often in manufacturing, there may be fewer options in the store based on access to certain materials or dyes.


Wednesday, November 16th Assignment

Mapping steep forces to James’ college and financial situation.




November 18th Assignment, In-class, Final

Using the Business Model Canvas to understand “free” things


November 30th Assignment, In-class, Final

In Class Activity Link


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