2023 Work Kit of Design Fiction2023 The Work Kit of Design Fiction
2023 Work Kit of Design Fiction
The Near Future Laboratory's Work Kit of Design Fiction, now in its 4th spectacularly artificially intelligently crafted yet fully illuminated EDM remix edition.
Illustration of dogs playing with the 2023 Work Kit of Design Fiction
Isra Viadest made this fun illustration of Inspired Canines Ideating.

Project Summary

The Work Kit of Design Fiction comes from a long line of ideation-style prompt cards — a whole sub-culture unto its own. I've created four editions of this since the very first one created in the summer of 2012 for the TBD Catalog workshop in Detroit. I made this as I was intrigued by the possibilities of generating thought-provoking and potentially preposterous concepts for products that would have to fill what would become TBD Catalog. The fun I felt about creating a generative idea generating tool was too much to ignore. It was so popular that I created 3 additional 'editions' of The Work Kit.

Client: Near Future Laboratory

Client URL: https://nearfuturelaboratory.com

Team: Near Future Laboratory

Project Year: 2023

Project Duration: 8 Weeks

Published On: Jun 7, 2024, 16:12

Updated On: Jun 10, 2024, 09:39

Written By: Julian Bleecker


The Project

100 Algorithmically Augmented and Illuminated Prompt Cards, each one an evocative representation of a parameter of a possible future product, service, user-experience scenario, artifact from the most curious, righteous, meaningful, and seriously hilarious, and well-intentioned possible/probable futures.

The Outcomes

A project that has spanned 12+ years with each edition more successful than the previous. As an ideation tool, it has been extremely well received. The Work Kits serve as a great tool during workshops, both remote and in person (although much better in person, I personally think.) It has been revealing to see how challenging free-form ideation can be for some folks, which is why I look at these as 'Like Pilates, but for your Brain 🧠' and started putting that on the packaging. From the back office it has been fantastic to use this as a means to learn how to sell products of this sort, the logistics complexities of manufacturing globally and shipping to all corners of the earth — and to learn that 'media mail' does not include decks of cards in the US, even if they do seem like media!

Check out this show 👆🏽 in which Dré Labre and I run through using using The Work Kit of Design Fiction in a one show that seemingly never got picked up after the Pilot Episode!


A Rough Approach To Game Play

Chose one from each major category including: Archetype, Object, Attribute, Action and a unique, proprietary 70/20/10 “Fool” Cards that will seal the deal! A total of 102 cards all together — 27 Archetype, 26 Object, 23 Attribute, 21 Action plus 3 70/20/10 Fool Cards. That means there are 916,038 unique possible future products, services, experiences, scenarios and situations in this one 9 ounce box of possibilities.

Let me say that again — 916,038 possibilities. Staggering. Simply staggering how much possibility is in this one box.

”So…what?”, you may ask.

Well, I’ll tell you what.

This work kit is uniquely suited and useful for ideation, stretching the imagination, and bulking up your foresight futurist sense-making musculature. It will prolong your ability and capability to think outside of the box — any box, really. It will slim your waistline and build up your immune system. You will feel like a new you within days.

Where did this come from, you may wonder? Is it organic? Are pets and small children allowed? Well, this kit was made in robust collaboration with the Near Future Laboratory Discord community and our genial robotic artificially creative studio assistant, and has been revised based on user feedback and our infinitely constant regression testing. The raw components here have been updated, hardened, and field tested to create the latest generative tool in our constantly expanding load-out of equipment all designed to help YOU imagine thick, robust, pourable, possible near futures.

Many of the world’s foremost authorities consider this to be the definitive construction kit for imagining material cultural artifacts representing the symptoms & implications of all kinds of futures, including but not limited to intelligent futures, overwhelming futures, metaversian futures, autonomous futures, vertical take-off futures, non-carbon futures, and many, many other futures.

Perfect for doing your Daily Design Fiction exercises! Just ask Dré Labre who rocks The Work Kit of Design Fiction like kettlebells, only for his brain. That is, it hurts to Imagine Harder, but this kit will let you get your Jack LaLanne brainercise on real proper like.

Contained within this Work Kit are precisely those 916,038 possible combination leading to the most innovative Design Fiction Product Designs. (I asked ChatGPT to do the math, so that might be the right number.)

100 Cards, 63×88mm, Custom Smooth Laminated Box.

Want to learn more? Curious how we work? Feel like your organization could use a bit more Imagination to help make sense of the dynamic character of a kinetic marketplace?
Use the Contact Form below to discuss how you can engage Near Future Laboratory to help you make sense of your organization's possible futures.