Near Future Laboratory: Our ServicesNear Future Laboratory Services
We believe that the best way to anticipate the future, is to prototype it.
Design Fiction is a futures design methodology that can prototype futures possibilities.
It is a cost-effective way for organizations and teams to get awareness of the kinetics of social, cultural, and technological changes.
By prototyping futures, an organization can begin to imagine how their business could be impacted or transformed as current vanguard trends settle in to normalcy.
Design Fiction allows us to have strategic conversations and preparations even in the midst of challenging, dynamic, and even chaotic conditions.
We adopt this perspective in all of our engagements with our clients.
Below are the ways we have "packaged" ourselves for commercial engagements. We are always amenable to customizing what fits to you and your organization's needs.

We've developed several platforms for bringing our value, practice, and methodologies to you. Things like our Futures Of..X Programs, Workshops, Keynotes, Summits, Retreats, Design Sprints and Collabs.

These are containers for structuring ways of finding your way to effective strategy, guiding product and program decision making, and harnessing you and your organization's greatest asset: human ingenuity and imagination.

Futures Of..X

What Are Possible Futures Of..

Overview

Our Future Of..X programs work from a fundamental principle: Everything has a future. Evolution happens. It takes Vision, Audacity, and Imagination to truly sense into the 'not true..*yet'.

Anticipating futures — or participating in shaping what is possible — is an advantage you can obtain when we work together with a Future Of..X program.

Structure

Futures Of..X is our most robust futures program. It provides you with the richest set of insights, assessments, synthesis, and evocative knowledge objects — tangible artifacts from the Future Of..X — that augment rich traditional research with our unique Design Fiction approach.

Outcomes

You'll be well-situated to not only anticipate emerging practices and relevant trends, but we'll be Imagining various and multiple futures that will inspire out-of-the-box thinking, considerations of adjacent possibilities. This increases your likelihood of developing new products, services, and processes that may not have been considered otherwise.

  • Catalyzing Discussions with NFL, endemic interlocutors, domain experts, thought leaders, inspirational & provocative contributors from our expansive network (entrepreneurs, business leaders, professional musicians & athletes, award-winning authors, artists, academics, creative leaders in fashion, filmmaking, and further.)
  • Strategic Insight, Perspective Shifts that help you sense-make and sense-into Innovation Opportunities.
  • Identifying & Mitigating Risks: By considering a wide range of futures implied by artifacts and analysis of trends, you'll be able to identify potential risks and challenges early. This can also lead to developing resilience systems, protocols, and processes to help you manage the unexpected and unanticipated vagaries of change.
  • Cross Team / Interdisciplinary Collaboration Opportunities: By involving participants, experts, interlocuters and colleagues from different practices within your organization, Futures Of..X programs increase opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of diverse perspectives.
  • Learning Opportunities: You'll gain skills in critical thinking, creativity, and strategic foresight, which are existentially critical skills if you hope to navigate kinetic, chaotic, and uncertain futures trajectories.
PREVIOUS FUTURES OF..X PROGRAMS

Futures Of..AI

Futures Of..Autonomous

DESIGN FICTION RESEARCH EXPLORATION STRATEGY DESIGN CLARIFY

Near Future Laboratory Workshops

Tech Concept Lab Design Sprint
Small     
Design Fiction 101: Introduce your team to the value of a futures-oriented mindset and how Design Fiction can make strategy tangible and actionable.
Time: Variable from 1/2 to 1 full day engagement.
Medium 
Fast Futures Of.. 2 Week Design Fiction Sprint & Workshop. Let's go to a future and bring back some insights, inspiration — and artifacts to make the future tangible. We work closely with your immediate stakeholders to develop context for a specific future.
Time:~1-2.5 days together, and final artifact delivery in 2 weeks.
Large    
Future Of.. A deeper Design Fiction dive into the Future Of.. with expert participants from our extensive network, multiple stakeholders, and a broad, wide range of surface area research into social, technological, economic, environmental and political change vectors.
Time: Typical programs run 8-16 weeks.
XXXL     
Bespoke Futuring Custom workshop development specific to your immediate needs and in collaboration with your team. Typical engagements are related to precise assessments of specific strategic aspirations, directions; assistance with futures vision statements, videos, tradeshows; technical advisor for film, television, and entertainment contexts. We workshop with your team to develop insights, artifacts, expert assessments, reports as needed.
Time: Variable.
PREVIOUS WORKSHOPS

IKEA Home Futures

An IKEA catalog from a possible future

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Convenience Futures

Future products from a convenience store
LEARNING & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ONLINE DESIGN FICTION COLLABORATION EVENTS WORKSHOP

Keynotes & Talks

Overview

We often give team talks, keynotes, and presentations on topics related to strategic innovation, maintaining creativity and imagination in the enterprise, Design Fiction, 'Future of..' topics, and deep-dives on specific projects we've done. An inspiring talk (virtual or in-person) on these and related topics can be part of a standalone keynote, team building exercise, internal events, or as part of an offsite.

Outcomes & Deliverables

Our keynotes provide provide employees encouragement and practical approaches to increase their creative thinking and problem solving. Our approaches provide a protocol for activating the imagination in order to navigate the unexpected vagaries of "what's next", the uncertainty implicit in any consideration of "the future" of any sector, industry, company, or products.

Near Future Laboratory talks specifically provide an experience that:

  • Inspire new perspectives by showcasing how Design Fiction pushes boundaries through speculative prototypes and narratives. This sparks ideas employees may not have considered previously.
  • Allow employees to envision how their company and industry may evolve 5, 10 or 20 years from now. This influences strategic planning and product roadmaps.
  • Demonstrate how Design Fiction and speculative design can identify unintended consequences of new technologies. This promotes discussing ethics and responsibilities.
  • Highlight how Design Fiction is a powerful team ideation technique. Coworkers can collaboratively craft stories and artifacts imagining desired futures.
  • Provide takeaways, such as books and work kits from our publishing department, with material and creative ideation systems that employees can apply in their daily work to inject more creativity into problem solving and concept generation.
  • Encourage interdepartmental collaboration, as Design Fiction brings together diverse skillsets in research, design, writing, prototyping, and more.
  • Inspire attendees with examples of innovative companies using Design Fiction, showing its growing relevance.
  • Allow employees to engage directly through a Q&A session to explore use cases tailored to their company's needs.
PREVIOUS KEYNOTES & TALKS

Innovation Summit

Julian Bleecker Keynote Address ANDI Innovation Land Summit 2024

Keynotes & Talks

A cover slide image for a Design Fiction keynote
LEARNING & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ONLINE DESIGN FICTION COLLABORATION EVENTS WORKSHOP

LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT

Overview

Near Future Laboratory Learning & Development programs are designed to foster a deep understanding of futures thinking, enhance innovative capabilities, and facilitate meaningful discussions among participants. The program comprises remote lectures, complemented by two unique event formats: SuperSeminars and GeneralSeminars.

SuperSeminars are alon-like discussions that delve deeply into topics designed to apply a futures mindset. We bring in noted domain experts from our extensive network who are able to offer their expertise and experience, insights, case studies and best practices.

General Seminar is platform for sense-making through structured discussion and active participation: a facilitated 90-minute discussions focused on a single evocative topic in and around the context of change, futures, and associated idioms.

Outcomes

These Learning & Development program aim help you build-up a futures mindset, develop your critical thinking skillset so that you can think expansively and creatively about futures. Through remote lectures and interactive events like SuperSeminars and GeneralSeminars, past participants have shown that they are better prepated to make sense of dynamic contexts, and transform inspiration into actionable innovation. All of our Learning & Development programs foster collaborative learning and active engagement through discussion and deep engagement with topics areas.

    Our Platforms

    Remote Facilitation

    Presenting to a remote audience in Sweden for Tech Concept Lab's AI Design Fiction Design Sprint

    SuperSeminar & General Seminar

    A Facilitated Zoom Discussion for SuperSeminar with a group of 18 participants and expert interlocutors and presenters Scott Smith and Mike Milley.
    LEARNING & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ONLINE DESIGN FICTION COLLABORATION EVENTS WORKSHOP

    DESIGN SPRINTS

    Overview

    Design Fiction Design Sprints adopts the traditional Design Sprint while harnessing the tools, methodologies, and Imagination-forward sensibilities of Design Fiction. By combining the rigorous, results-driven structure of a Design Sprint with the expansive, speculation-based Imagination-fed thinking of Design Fiction, we help you create inspired solutions that are not only effective today but also resilient and relevant in the near future.

    • Envision Future Scenarios: Develop a strategic vision for the future, identifying potential opportunities and threats.
    • Foster Innovation: Encourage creative and out-of-the-box thinking to generate groundbreaking ideas.
    • Align Stakeholders: Create a shared vision of the future that aligns stakeholders around a common goal.
    • Test Viability: Prototype and test ideas in a future context to ensure they are robust and adaptable.
    • Drive Strategic Decisions: Inform long-term strategic decisions with insights gained from exploring future possibilities.

    What makes the Design Sprint distinct from a traditional Design Fiction Workshop, or 'Future Of..X' Program is that the Design Sprint is a short, sharp, focussed excavation of a specific targeted question and a specific goal: to create a viable prototype that helps refine and define the solution space.

    Outcomes & Deliverables

    Design Sprints provide a rapid ideation context for you and your team to test a hypothesis, explore a trajectory or trend, and develop a hands-on sensitivity to a particular topic or problem space. Outcomes will vary, but we emphasize the value of tangible artifacts that are actionable 'souvenirs' representing the time, effort, creative thinking, and intelligence that represented the sprint's activities, the discussions, and the actions.

    Examples of outcomes from previous Design Sprints include a catalog of possible future artifacts that are implied by a trend and an illustrative, vivid and augmented report of clear responses to initial questions.

    PREVIOUS DESIGN FICTION SPRINTS

    Netflix Sci-Fi Film Production Design Sprint

    Atlas film poster

    24 Hour AI Design Sprint

    Hyper Island Design Sprint Participants
    LEARNING & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ONLINE DESIGN FICTION COLLABORATION EVENTS WORKSHOP

    IMMERSIVES, SUMMITS & RETREATS

    Imagine Harder Summit Group 2023

    Overview

    Immersives, Summits, Retreats are intended to foster reflection, focus efforts, establish cohesion, refresh or kickoff new endeavors, and peer into possible futures. We can provide a context and the conditions to debrief, coordinate and collaborate on new efforts or seek new opportunities in a focussed facilitated context.

    Immersives are suitable for short, 1-2.5 day intensive sessions to achieve a particular tangible outcome. An example of a Futures Summit would be to analyze and synthesize a body of consumer, trends, or markets research and construct the 'bones' of a set of artifacts that represent the future implications of this research. A Futures Summit might also be constructing a deeply engaging event or 'room' that depicts research in an experiential form, for example as a component of delivering a strategy to executives and key stakeholders.

    Time: 1-2.5d

    A Summit provides an opportunity to bring together conversations across a range of perspectives on a specific top, with external experts from our expansive network participating to bring in fresh insights that can activate the imagination, inspire innovation, and reveal the strength and potential of interdisciplinary collaboration.
    Summits allow us to put brilliant thinkers, filmmakers, artists, academics, researchers, social scientists, successful entrepreneurs, professional athletes and more engage in rich discussions on areas of human endeavors that have wide implications and impacts. A broad confluence of knowledge and expertise, revealing the unexpected linkages across domains, seeing beyond the edges of the map of the known world — this is the path to unexpected breakthroughs, new perspectives, and ultimately that which drives meaningful change.

    Time: 1-2.5d

    Retreat provides an opportunity to refresh, rejuvinate, and refuel. Retreats are ways to get away to invigorating, activating destinations: out-of-the-way places or in the vibrant centers of global culture, and in between. Retreat are ways to focus on specific topics, engage in deep thought, discussion, reflection. Along with turning the senses back on with food, exploration, walks, and discovery, we can arrange for stimulating interlocutors, presenters, and domain experts to provide fresh perspectives and engaging discussions.

    Time: 2-5d

    Outcomes & Deliverables

    Cohesion, Connection, Clarity, Action-Plans, Skills, Development, Refresh, Reboot, Reinvigorate, Focussed Work

    LEARNING & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ONLINE DESIGN FICTION COLLABORATION EVENTS WORKSHOP