Designing the future. Orienting scenarios and cultural prototypes Ezio Manzini, ciris politecnico di Milano



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Designing the future. Orienting scenarios and cultural prototypes Ezio Manzini, CIRIS Politecnico di Milano


in turbulent times, the only way to forecast the future is to try to design it. What does it mean to design the future? Who deigns the future?



the present contains many possible futures. With our actions we give a “possible future” more or less possibility to influence what will be the “actual future”.



to design the future means to make some strategic moves ... … to give a favourite possible future more potential to influence the actual future that will appear.



the future is open, but its building materials and building forces are around us just now, in the present. the problem for us is to recognise these building materials and the drivers of change.



to design the future does not mean to invent the future … … it means to re-orient and re-conceptualise some existing drivers of change.



specific future-orienting design tools: > scenario building > cultural prototyping



“scenario building” as a new design activity







experiences … 3 research on scenario building and solutions development ….



1. Sustainable Households (the Sushouse Project) funded by the Environment and Climate Research Programme of the European Community



2. Highly Customised and Contextualised Solutions (the HiCS Project) funded by the Growth Programme of the European Community



3. The Chinese Network on Design for Sustainability (the Leapfrog Project) funded by the HK Polytechnic University























































system innovation in the network society ...





the system innovation as the result of a strategic conversation …



the strategic conversation as the tool to enable different actors to converge on the same shared vision







sustainable scenarios ?









criteria for sustainability 1. low energy-material intensity: it is related to the consumption of environmental resources for ‘unit of service’; it is mainly a technical issue



criteria for sustainability 2. high regenerative potentiality: it is related to the capability to improve the quality of the contexts; it is a technical and socio-cultural issue



how to imagine meta-scenarios based on regenerative solutions?



new attitudes towards: 1. care and user empowerment enabling vs. relieving 2. social relationships and community empowerment collective vs. individual







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