Teaching how to design values-driven futures
How Future Scouting evolved
Future Scouting is a values-driven approach to designing futures that combines speculative design, futures and foresight, life-centred design, and design thinking. It is the passion project of Damien Lutz, a UX/UI designer and sci-fi writer in Sydney, Australia.
Combining design with writing science fiction since 2014, Damien discovered speculative design as a practice when he began mapping his design processes for creating future scenarios and technologies. Struck by the purposeful combination of sci-fi with design thinking, and its foundation in designing for values, Damien immersed himself in learning the practice’s history, practitioners, and tools. He also explored life-centred design as an essential component to designing preferred futures. Finding access to the tools and methods difficult at the time, he began experimenting with this own tool design and then set out to share his research via articles on Medium, to make the practice more accessible to others.
Damien also developed a simplified method, as few could be found at the time that weren’t heavy with academic language and/or reliant on data analysis skills. Testing the method on designer friends, he found it still too heavy as an introduction, so he randomised some steps and discovered he’d created the Future Scouting team game. Having facilitated the game sessions for Speculative Futures Sydney and other groups, Damien’s game has spread the word of values-driven futures design to players from Australia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, and elsewhere.
The Future Scouting team game received a Notable Design Education Initiative Award from Core77 Design Awards in 2021, and Damien’s One Heart Treaty concept was a semi-finalist in the UN’s 2021 Futuring Peace initiative.
Evolving the game into an end-to-end process, Damien combined speculative design and life-centred design into a values-driven approach to designing futures. He designed and re-invented tools specifically for the Future Scouting approach and published his Future Scouting design guide book with downloadable resources in early 2021.
Future Scouting continues to evolve and is now offered as customised workshops for businesses and causes wanting to explore values-driven futures.