Back to All Events

[SOLD OUT] Future Thinking as a Mindset for Service Design | Zoë Prosser

  • Barbican Centre Silk St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS London United Kingdom (map)

About the session

Service Designers operate within a user-centred world, where design challenges are driven by human behaviours, attitudes, needs and wants. However, people are always changing; shaped by the socio-cultural, technological, political and economic influences from their surroundings. Some of these influences might be predictable or obvious, but they might also be unexpected or subtle.

User-centred designers are masters of researching and understanding the ways in which people behave right now, but design challenges are often complex, ever-changing, and rarely do they only exist in the ‘now’. This session proposes the concept that designers tackle challenges best by considering not only how people behave now, but how external influences change these behaviours and needs over time. In contexts where the pace of change is increasing, Service Designers must respond by thinking in even longer terms. By exploring Futures Thinking principles, designers can create services that are more resilient to potential change and may even take an active role in shaping the change that affects them.

This workshop invites Service Designers to consider three core principles of participatory Futures Thinking:

  • Taking interest in the possible, and not only the actual

  • Understanding the changing systems that we design within

  • Exploring the preferable future visions of our stakeholders and users

In teams we will explore these principles in terms of our existing design processes to envision new ways of working that are future-focussed and resilient to change. From asking our clients to imagine the improbable to mapping the unexpected consequences of our designs, what new ways of working do you want to explore?

Together, we’re building a future vision of Service Design that goes beyond human-centredness.

About the hosts

This workshop builds upon the work of Zoe Prosser and Santini Basra of Studio Andthen, ‘Futures Thinking: A Mind-set, not a Method’ published originally in Touchpoint Vol.10 N.2 – Designing the Future.

Illustration by Lizzie Abernethy, Studio Andthen


This session has sold out but you can still book your day pass for Friday 25.10. You will be asked to pick 5 sessions of your choice for the day.