by Filippo Sanzeni, Ashley Hall, Paul Anderson
Design can be characterized as ‘knowledge for future transformation’ and is a discipline concerned with developing new products, systems and services that change the future. However, the methods we use for generating foresight are underdeveloped and some gaps and issues remain. This is especially true between more speculative approaches to designing futures and applied industrial approaches. This paper explores these issues in relation to addressing wicked problems in design, specifically the emphasis on qualitative methods and how these lack measurable indicators of problem improvement. The use of mixed methods offers possibilities for combining the power of abductive thinking generating alterative visions of the future alongside quantifiable improvements. We review methods for future forecasting in other fields including economics and business management and explore how these can be transposed into design practice to address some of the issues raised. A proposal is made to achieve this via an interdisciplinary mixed method approach by instigating a process of gap analysis within a new design futures framework.