Overijssel Province Goes Extreme

I wrote about a very interesting project we have developed together with the Trendbureau Overijssel, a future think-tank of the Dutch province called Overijssel. By now we have prepared and conducted the first phase, a pilot session together with the team from the Trendbureau and a group of representatives from different cities of the province and other organisations and creative teams.

The Future Probing session was kindly hosted by the Design Lab of the University of Twente, and the heads of the Lab also joined the session, adding additional expertise to already very diverse group of participants.

As often happens, I don’t have any pictures of me presenting the method of Future Probing, but of course we have started with the Why’s and How’s of the approach. And then of course came ‘future signals’, galore!

In this case we also went through the first domain together, analysing ‘future signals’ and subsequent search of the ‘future portals’:

In this case we have arranged many more sharing moments than in an average pilot session, to make sure that all the participants would understand the principles of the method, and learn not only from us but from each other, too.

The Big Fun part started when the teams began to construct their ‘extreme future worlds’, using diverse materials that we have prepared. This part was, perhaps, the least ‘conform zone’ for many folks from the governmental organisations, but we have arranged the teams in such a way that there would be some ‘creative folks’ in each team, too.

All in all, it went very well, with some of the ‘future worlds’ becoming not only 3D and tangible, but even ‘interactive and ‘multimedia’ (well, to some extent).

These ‘worlds’ (and the ‘future probes’ developed by the teams) may look toyish but the stories they enabled, and the debates they triggered weren’t. The conversations went quite deep, and surprisingly (or perhaps expectedly for people familiar with the method) were dealing with a very different set of themes and issues than the initial set of ‘future trends’ the teams started with.

Time for reflection and transition to the next, not so pilot a stage!

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