Futurists Dan Hill and Radha Mistry discussed the use of strategic foresight and storytelling in design in the first of a series of live talks produced by Dezeen for Exhibit Columbus.
Called New Middles: Futures and Technologies, the talk was the first in a series of conversations created for Exhibit Columbus' New Middles symposium, which looks at the designed future of the centre of the USA.
"This conversation is premised on an idea attributed to science fiction writer William Gibson: the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed," said the curators.
In a live conversation moderated by Dezeen's editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs, Hill and Mistry explored questions surrounding the design industry's uses of fiction and strategic foresight – the term given to the practice of analysing current trends in order to predict and prepare for future scenarios.
"What new normal realities from education and equity to mobility and manufacturing will shape what's next?" asked the curators. "Whose voices are represented? How might we extrapolate emergent technologies and contemporary conditions facing the Midwest into a speculative future of the middle?"
Dezeen columnist Dan Hill is the director of strategic design at Vinnova, the Swedish government's innovation agency. A designer and urbanist, Hill has previously held leadership positions at Arup, Future Cities Catapult, Fabrica, SITRA and the BBC.
Alongside his design work, Hill is also a visiting professor at University College London's Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, an adjunct professor at RMIT University in Melbourne and one of the Mayor of London's Design Advocates.
Radha Mistry has a background in architecture, narrative environments and strategic foresight. She currently leads the Foresight practice at Autodesk, which explores the impact of emerging technologies and how they will change the way people design and make in the future.
Prior to Autodesk, Mistry focused on the future of work with the Steelcase Applied Research group and was part of the Arup Foresight + Innovation team in London and San Francisco.
Mistry has also exhibited during the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and worked on design-led community engagement initiatives in cities across Europe.
This talk was produced by Dezeen in collaboration with Exhibit Columbus as part of its New Middles online symposium, which takes place from 15 September until 29 October 2020.