Using Futures Methods in Design Thinking Processes

Using Futures Methods in Design Thinking Processes

This is a short animation introducing the overlap between the 2 systems of innovation; Futures Thinking and Design Thinking.

Further information on Driver Mapping is available on the Driver Mapping post in the form of a 1 Minute Futures Method episode. More 1 Minute episodes will be coming soon covering Back Casting and Horizon Scanning.

In the video above the Double Diamond process is referenced as a simple way to describe the Design Process. The Double Diamond is not meant to be a literal and linear process. Design is inherently messy but the Double Diamond provides a language and a reference point to help drive the process when multiple stakeholders are involved.

An important factor to bear in mind when using any of these methods; they are a framework that can be modified to suit the context of your situation.

During the act of animating these processes it is essential to break down each facet of the method to be able to articulate it visually. To do so, I research a variety of opinions and approaches on the same method. This is vital to gain a general understanding and not be bound to any particular point of view.


Our world is undergoing an ever accelerating rate of change from multiple sources like technology advancements, highly intwined infrastructure and economic systems, and climate change triggered events…in this complex environment, we need new ways to use-the-future and design better decision making systems.
This animation is a quick look at 2 different, but converging innovation processes; Futures Thinking and Design Thinking. They share some common attributes at their core, which make them compatible to integrate – there is growing interest in how these 2 systems can work together.
Futures Thinking and Design Thinking can be described as a series of participatory divergent and convergent methods. Design Thinking can be visualised via the Double Diamond process….
The Double Diamond process is often applied in a sequence of these stages; research, define, develop, and prototype…each cycle, offering opportunities for feedback to inform refinements to take place…
This collection of processes used in Design Thinking can be applied to achieve many different outcomes. It places designers in key roles of researcher, facilitator, and strategist among others…
Taking in customer and stakeholder feedback, each cycle of the Double Diamond process offers opportunities to create deviations and improvements.
As we see rates of change increase, and demand for development grows, so does the pressure on the delivery of products and services to stay ahead.
With our increasingly fast moving and complex world, long term thinking is needed to anticipate behavioural drivers, supply chain disruption, or rapid changes in the operating environment…
Futures Thinking has some essential tools to help investigate longer term trends and to explore plausible futures.
– driver mapping
– horizon scanning
– and backcasting are 3 examples.
Introducing Futures Thinking into the Double Diamond process allows for additional methods within the research and definition phases; delivering practical, holistic, and long range ways of framing and resolving problems.
Futures Thinking methods will help anticipate the needs of the near future and guide your long term aspirations.
Together, Futures Thinking and Design Thinking can help produce real. tangible, forward looking solutions for today’s complex world..


British Design Council’s Double Diamond process
Modified Mapping of Design Futures graph is based on: View Elliott P. Montgomery’s original