1 Minute Futures Method Series – Episode 2
These episodes are to encourage designers to learn about Futures Methods to enable them to include Futures in their design processes in their workplace.
The role of Futures Thinking in Design plays a different role to other research in design. Daniel Fallman describes this type of enquiry as Design Exploration (Fallman, 2008). Where we are less concerned with market or user needs and are more interested in what is possible through observation and engagement with material, people, and contexts (Kozubaev, 2018).
In this 2nd episode of 1 Minute Futures Methods we build on the knowledge of Drivers and Trends from Episode 1, by applying the use of PESTLE1 analysis and developing finer insights through the use of Relevance Trees. This process is called Driver Mapping.
Driver Mapping is about exploring current drivers, trends, and megatrends today and systematically examining the dimensions of their context.
PESTLE analysis (TEEPSE2 analysis could also be used) is a good starting point to breakdown the subject’s dimensions. Further detail may be required to gain fuller understanding of complex trends and drivers. In this instance, Relevance Trees are a good technique to subdivide each broad subject of the PESTLE analysis. By showing relevant paths to each part of the PESTLE analysis, further trends and drivers may be discovered, or the finding of knowledge gaps in the trend being explored. These gaps could provide direction for further research or reaching out to experts in the field.
Remember, an open and inquisitive mind with curious observation of the world around you is needed to capture potential drivers and trends. Observing social behaviours and social quirks is a great way to see product and service gaps and potential trends. The news cycle and news headlines are also a quick gauge of emerging trends like moral and ethical issues around new technologies, and the accelerating rate of environment and social change.
Between Now and…
…are drivers and trends that make the scenario in Future X plausible. The type and likelihood of drivers and trends determine the type of plausible future being explored; Possible, Probable, and Preferable.
To understand and to systematically consider the dimensions of drivers and trends, the application of PESTLE analysis can be used.
Finer detail can be uncovered through the use of Relevance Tree models.
Understanding trends and drivers are one of the most important aspects of Futures Thinking as they drive the plausibility of the Future Scenario.
Weak drivers and trends will create unlikely futures.
 PESTLE stands for ‘Politics, Economics, Social, Technology, Legal, Environment.’
 TEEPSE stands for ‘Technology, Economy, Ecology, Politics, Society and Ethics.’
Fallman, D. The interaction design research triangle of design practice, design studies, and design exploration. Design Issues 24, 3 (2008), 4–18
Kozubaev, S. 2018. Futures as Design : Explorations, Images, and Participations. Interactions. ACM.org: ACM.