We see an opportunity for a different kind of design and research practice that operates between traditional long-term research studies and short-term commercial product development. In between — 12 months to 4 years — is a gap we call “the near future”.
At the Near Future Laboratory, our goal is to understand how imaginations and hypothesis become materialized to swerve the present into new, more habitable near future worlds. We are a technology-based practice that combines insight and analysis with design and research with rapid prototyping to create potent provocative sometimes preposterous ideas into material form.
As part of our methods:
- We explore how people behave and interact to design better technologies and service experiences. This is primarily done using field research methodologies that enable clients to better understand their users.
- We map possible future changes to highlight new opportunities and prepare for them. Using tools and perspectives from near futures research, we look for emerging social and technological shifts that indicate possible changes.
- We create instantiations of possible near future applications. Based on prototyping methods, we materialize product ideas or insights coming from field studies.
- We assess innovation through products audit, review and testing to recommend improvements and new paths. We provide a detailed critique of the project at hand based on our expertise and the target needs through field or desk research.
- We share our insights through dedicated events, lectures and courses. We organize events and lecture widely about specific technology topics, innovation, design research and social changes.