For an innovative product to achieve market breakthrough, it has to be presented to potential users in an easily understandable and convincing way. This often takes more than words alone. With the right creative approach, it is possible to build up expectations even before the research project or innovation process has gotten underway – by conveying futuristic ideas so vividly and tangibly that they come alive even for the layperson. This works both ways, in that such approaches allow the public at large to become stakeholders in tomorrow’s innovations and thereby spark an interdisciplinary debate on future developments.
Through a combination of visual, textual, haptic and experimental methods, we empower people to express their needs and expectations regarding the future. In this way, we can develop realistic needs-based scenarios and concretize the potential of innovations. This approach also enables us to integrate user experience into the development process and encourages dialog between all parties involved. This in turn generates feedback that allows user aspects to be taken into account in the expert discussion forums. We use these methods to support the development of new user-centered technologies, sustainable business cultures, and social innovation.
Moreover, because we have a policy of continuously improving our scientific methods and subjecting them to critical analysis, we can adapt our processes to any application. Our use of transformative methods enables us to develop new approaches to needs-oriented innovation.
Our working methods are based on three main principles:
By choosing suitable workshop formats and holding events in specially designed venues, in which the participants are “inoculated” with positive images of the future, we help people imagine possible future worlds and see themselves as part of them. We use transformative methods to break down barriers to understanding. We explain the technology behind envisaged solutions, making it easier for people to formulate their needs in terms of future enhancements. This is an essential prerequisite for the development of novel human-centered solutions.
The needs-based scenarios and/or technological solutions worked out in collaboration with the participants are condensed and presented in visual or text form. We then translate them into various types of future narrative, tangible objects, or other non-verbal communication formats. The possible outcomes of this transformation process include design prototypes, model processes, catalogs of ideas, storyboards, or short films.
The prototypes we design can be experimental, provocative or speculative. They can serve as the starting point for discussions open to all about our vision of a desirable future society. We then go on to develop communication concepts that will enable future-oriented solutions to be communicated effectively to customers, stakeholders, and public audiences.