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Speculative Design Basics

42 Online Lessons / At your own pace
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An introduction to understanding speculative design and creating organisational impact
£ 250 
£ 250 

Speculative Design is the design of future products and services to understand the impacts of emerging technology and social, cultural trends. In this course you learn about the basics of using Speculative Design within business and organisational contexts to create meaningful impact. You'll get up to speed on new thinking, methods, and techniques related to futures practice. We focus on practical applications of the approach, and prepare you to apply what you have learned to your own practice or organizational settings. This course is perfect for researchers, strategists, designers, product leads, program managers, and business leaders. You'll leave with a deep understanding of what speculative design is and how it can be applied in your work as well as a toolkit of frameworks and approaches. Speculative Design is fast becoming an essential and critical tool for today's business in our complex world.

42 Online Lessons / At your own pace
Enroll Now

★★★★★ (5 Stars) (18)
100% of our past participates would recommend this course to others. (Seriously, it's true!)

You will leave with:

- A new approach to product and service development & innovation

- An empathetic approach to systems thinking

- Frameworks for connecting  long term considerations and near term action

- Freshly ignited creativity and energy for change

- An approach to shaping organizational change, strategy and purpose

- Opportunities for networking around deep purpose with other alumni through forum access

- Lifetime Access to the material

Course Outline:

- Basics _ You'll review the basics of Speculative Design, Intro Theory, Names, Amara's Law, Future Cones, etc. (7 Chapters)

- Process _ You'll learn the overall process of Speculative Design, how its similar to existing design processes, and understand new time horizons. You'll be able to see the whole process and how it aligns with your own practice and work. (4 Chapters)

- Tools & Methods _ You'll learn the details of the Speculative Design process and methods, from Signals, to Future Wheels, to Future Prototyping, to Backcasting, and more. You'll have everything you need to start doing the work. (14 Chapters)

- Creating Value _ You'll learn about how Speculative Design can create value in organizational settings, and how it relates to existing practices, like foresight & strategy, user research, product & service development, and leadership activities (4 Chapters)

- Case Studies _ You'll learn about a number of Speculative Design case studies, from future mobility, sleep, and climate change, across various industires and topics, and covering top practitioners like Superflux, Ted Hunt, Extrapolation Factory, Near Future Laboratory, Neeley Worldwide, & Tellart. This will give you a number of speculative design projects to refer to and examples to inspire your own work. (13 Chapters)

- Pep Talks _ You'll get a few personal perspectives from experience partitioners to encourage you on your journey. (2 Chapters)

- The Ethical Imperative _ You'll explore why we think speculative design is a critical practice, and the reasons why we believe speculative design should be normalized, and that everyone should be spending more time in the future. (4 Chapters)

- Additional Resources _ You'll also get a list of additional resources to further your study of speculative design beyond the course.

- Opportunitie

Course Format:

- We've designed the course to be as concise and accessible as possible, rendering the material in primarily text and images, with some supporting video. Q&A with the instructor, and virtual office hours are also available to support and clarify any material. Forum access for conversations with other students and the instructor.

This course is for:

- Designers, Strategists, Product Managers, or Researchers, or anyone interested in using speculative design in their work

- Leaders and managers looking to develop skills for thought leadership and product or service vision.

- Anyone interested in learning about the basics of speculative design

- Anyone interested in learning about the commercial applications of speculative design

- Anyone with experience in Design Thinking, Service Design, Systems Design, or Innovation practices.

Your Teacher:

J. Paul Neeley - Speculative Designer & Researcher

J. Paul has 14 years of experience working with Speculative Design and has focused his practice on its use and impact in industry, organizational, goverment, and commercial settings. He has worked with companies like Google X, Microsoft, Honda, Target, and many others on speculative design explorations. For the past 6 years J. Paul has been evagelizing the "Normalization" of speculative design, that everyone should be able to understand the basics and see opportunities to use future practice to create value, and that we have an ethical responsibility to spend more time in the future. J. Paul is a regular speaker on the subject at conferences, and lectures on Speculative Design at the Royal College of Art (World's #1 Art & Design School) where he supports the Service Design program and leads the school wide Design Futures elective. J. Paul holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art where he studied with Tony Dunne & Fiona Raby.

What People are Saying:

"An outstanding course to learn about Speculative Design."

"Very inspiring!"

"I loved how concise it was."

"Information was really easy to understand and digest."

"It gave me a great wholistic understanding."

"It helped me figure out that I didn't need to go to college again to study futures."

"You can be be part of a vibrant community."

"It is a must if we want to consider and enhance our profession as relevant for the future."

Which Speculative Design course should I take?

Many people are curious if they should take our Speculative Design Basics, Speculative Design Introduction, or Speculative Design Masterclass.

Our Basics course covers the same material as the Introduction, but is run as an online self administered program, allowing participants to complete it anytime at their own pace. This is also helpful for individuals living and working in timezones not supported by the Speculative Design Introduction course, which is a live and interactive version of this material hosted by our instructors.

The Speculative Design Masterclass is for individuals with some background understanding of or experience with Speculative Design. They may have read about or studied Speculative Design, they have familiarity with the basic methods, they may know example projects and practitioners, or they may have even done Speculative Design projects. The familiarity with the approach allows us to have a more in-depth discussions about the methods, tactics, and meaning. Participants can make their own determinations on comfort with masterclass. and while taking the Speculative Design Basics or Introduction course is encouraged, it is not a strict prerequisite.

Accessible Pricing:

We are finding ways to make School of Critical Design a more inclusive and representative forum as we address the critical challenges facing our planet, people, and organisations.

We understand that income and means and time is unequal across personal, regional, and global contexts. To accommodate these differences we've created this virtual self completed course that is more accessible than our in-person and live virtual workshops.

While top university design masters programs like the Royal College of Art (Where we also teach) will cost students tens of thousands of pounds a year, We hope this version of the our teaching material and experience can allow participation and world class development without financial anxiety.

With this said, if there are particular situations where this pricing is still difficult, please reach out and we'll look to work with your individual context.

For Companies:

For more information on discounts for multiple spots on a program or to discuss a bespoke version of this course for your team please contact hello@critical.design for details.

If you would like to be invoiced for spots on the course as some companies require, please contact us at hello@critical.design before purchase.


Interested in bringing speculative design or other emerging innovation approaches into your wider organization?

Skill up your team

We can run any of our open enrollment courses or lectures as a dedicated session for your organization or in-house teams.

Custom Experience

We can develop custom topic and futures explorations for your organization.

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