This is a newsletter for designers and time travel facilitators. It has insights about the speculative practice and tools we use in our method that they could try as well. Today we funnel confidence.
This transmission is about sparking la confianza.
Speculative scenarios are often unusual, curious, occasionally even disturbing, but desirable and attractive prompts that create the suspension of disbelief about change. They are open-ended, offer the audience the possibility of personal interpretation, and frequently include humor, which activates the audience on an emotional and intellectual level, in a way similar to literature and film.
The designer’s challenge during Phase 1 of time traveling (scenario design) is a difficulty from participants to come up with original stories, stories distanced from utopia/dystopia, when participants feel intimidated to blurt out storylines amongst peers, or when the storyspace is not divergent enough.
Here’s one more way you could use any visual-card game (or in this case Plus and Minus) to get stories going.
Kindly observe: this is not a check-in exercise. This is part of scenario design leaning on play and divergence.
Give each participant one card. Important: write/document nothing of this.
Taking turns, ask participants to describe what they see in their card until they settle on one thing (i.e. until they get to a noun).
e.g.: this is a hole > it’s a hole in the earth > it’s a sinkhole > Cavern
e.g.: this is a bird > Bird > Wing? Bird?
Ask everyone to be their noun for 10 minutes (by themselves). This works well IRL or online (cameras and mics off).
Prompts: think about you are made of, what your texture feels like, what you sound like, what it feels like if a human steps on you or carries you…
e.g. a Cavern is silent until there’s a sound and then there is an echo forever, “I feel like a cold crystal”, “Humans stepping on me tickle me”
e.g. “I am a bird”, “I sound like qkweee qkweee”
The facilitator ties all the nouns into one story, which starts giving a tone to the scenario.
e.g. A bird goes into a cavern and when it makes its usual qkweee qkweee and notices its echo, it transforms it. The day after, it goes back to the cavern and walks around instead of flying, and the cave is tickled and starts to tremble… this is a story of natural consequences.
How does this start a relevant scenario, perhaps about teamwork or the future strategy of an organization?
What do the nouns represent? What are the relationships between the nouns? How do the storymakers react to their effect on other nouns around them? What if a new noun enters and disrupts the scenario?
Where could you take the story until the nouns start talking about themselves from the future? The point is to get there, and then start “working”.
This activity will indeed take you to a conversation about future and decisions and actions, you are just betting on a different enough outcome by choosing a different departure.
Phase 3 of time traveling is about rapid-prototyping. Artifacts are a view into a time traveler’s heart and soul… and into values and fears and hopes and a conviction that they are indeed creative (a conviction which we as designers must protect at all times). In speculative design we communicate ideas with artifacts. During rapid prototyping we think with our hands and build physical objects that contain a fiction, a scenario, a challenge inside that scenario, and a proposed answer.
This is how we make artifacts rapidly, how prototyping works at The Time Travel Agency, or how this weird stuff is created:
Mentoras Creativas, a mentoring program for Cuban women in the creative industries, is a recent project in post-production. As we work on its final prototype we thought it’d be cool to showcase an individual artifact part of it.
In this time travel, artifacts were created using only challenges and strengths that each woman brought with them. Once in their final container, other women will be able to use these artifacts or add their own by following the same instructions we did while traveling.
How did we get to the artifacts?
Our client wanted to learn about challenges their participants had had, and how they had solved them. The time travel was a 5-step process that started with showing a photograph that captured a moment of strength and summarizing the moment with one word. Next, they had to expand that memory until they found a word that represented the challenge that the strength defeated.
Once everyone had their two words, we prototyped a combination using the objects they brought to the trip (of course this was the messy fun part, prototyping online with 16 humans :)
Here is Chabeli Farro’s:
Do you fear that everything you have to do will overwhelm you to the point of breaking down? Do you lack a supporting mechanism providing energy to avoid overthinking? The Funnel of Confidence is what you need 😎👌🏻
This artifact gives you the confidence you need to face the change of circumstances or fortune in life and work. It helps you reproduce thoughts that give you strength to continue in moments close to burnout.
Confidence is the fuel, and we all have it inside, The Funnel of Confidence simply helps you channel it when you need it most.
How does it work? Check out the diagram below:
Place the funnel close to your mind; use the shutter to spark the confidence you have inside; let this confidence fill your mind with light, power, and support; channel that energy to face life or to get to work.
Getting to the artifacts:
What we see when we aren’t seeing into a specific project.
We borrow from film, literature, games, the zeitgeist, the bus…
Acorn by Yoko Ono as a significant source of design scripts.
Pick any page, add to any part of your facilitation– as an opener, as a scenario base, as mythology from a world you’re exploring or prototyping, as a transitional exercise, as a check-in exercise, as a closer, as homework, as part of what a prototype does when it malfunctions, as a performance to deliver the discussion stage of the speculative process…
From our community!
Future Based is an interdisciplinary philosophy platform. Scientific Imagination is a new project hosted and curated by Sabine Winters. The philosophical quest of this project is based on the wish to understand more about the role of imagination in our understanding of the world. Their sites are full of nerd content that can jumpstart research or a new peer connection.