Short Course

Speculative Design for Businesses (1 day)


Intensive 1-day course

Map the future of your business in a meaningful way!

The future is uncertain. Recent environmental, societal and technological developments give us a hard time understanding the changes our world goes through. For Businesses, it can be challenging to keep up. A focus on products, services and customers isn’t enough anymore: it also means understanding the world and our relationship with it, and within it, in a different way.

Speculative design is an approach that offers tools to map the future in a meaningful way. Instead of focussing on problems in the present, speculative design imagines how developments change over time and affect the future. By building a both possible and preferable future you combine business vision and practice. It enables you to describe your role in the near future as a business and offers speculation about matching products or services. It opens up ways of thinking about business beyond an immediate attempt to solve current problems, and instead see opportunities to effect longer-term change in the world.

We will use the intervention design approach, a method that aims at (re)shaping a new practice that is useful now, not in the future.

What you will learn:

  • Introduction to Speculative Design;
  • Relevant developments in the design field;
  • “Holistic” Impact measurements;
  • World Building;
  • Creating inventions for the citizens and systems in place;
  • Translating the inventions back to the now;
  • Evocative prototyping;
  • Turn the inventions into interventions in your current business process.

Covered DSS competencies:

  1. Applied Human Centered Design,
  2. Collaboration and Co-creation,
  3. Create solutions for social impact.

What you will do:

The course consists of 3 sprints that are trained in blocks of 2 and 3 hours. 

  1. Getting to know the theory and methods of Speculative Design,
  2. World Building for (better) futures,
  3. Utilizing the present to create impact.

During the sprints, you and your team will work on a predetermined challenge (related to the Sustainable Development Goals). In the sprints, you will be guided by theory, practical examples, useful methods and fun!

Whom is this course for?

You are a professional who wants to discover the power of predictive trends. You want to learn how to apply fictional world-building to create applicable business ideas to make your business adapt to the future.

Questions you may have:

Q: I have no idea what Speculative Design is?!

A: That’s good, neither do we! Speculative design is a relatively new form of design that has started to influence current design practice. Together, we will discover how it can benefit you the most! 

Q: How will this course help me forward in just 1 day?

A: We will harness the power of predictions by utilizing realistic, present-day blocks.

Q: How useful can the outcome of this course be?

A: That depends! We can not promise to turn your business around or invent your next big venture. What we would like to achieve is for you to get a grasp on the methods of speculative design and see if it can inspire a new way of thinking in your business!

About us

Digital Society School is a learning community connecting design, technology and social innovation. We offer modular, trend-driven, short-term education for anyone who is keen on leading a life of continuous development and learning in the light of our digital society with its complex challenges and exciting opportunities. 

We have been working with the UN Sustainable Development Goals since 2016, when we started directly collaborating with UNDP on designing for ánd with the SDGs. Learning from our international projects such as the Global Goals Jam (, we have developed a tailored methodology on how to approach global challenges from a local perspective, combining methods from the design and co-creation with the context of sustainable development. 

Meet your instructors

Theo Ploeg
Telling stories about possible futures is my trade. As a media and design sociologist, I use speculative design as an attitude to investigate and explore the near future and bring my findings back to the now. I teach the practice of doing so at different media and design schools. Co-Founder of Speculative Futures Amsterdam.

Mick Jongeling
I research the visual and social impact of rapidly developing technologies on individuals and society. I strive to create pieces of work that questions the current state of the Internet and our involvement in it, being it by speculative design, participatory design or field research. Co-Founder of Speculative Futures Amsterdam.