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[Overview] Vision concepts, a design-led futures technique, for SMEs #futurethroughdesign

Category : #FutureThroughDesign / PhD project · (1) Comment · by Feb 22nd, 2017

Siga el link para ver un video explicativo en español – Another video (in Spanish) following this link.

Over the last few decades, design has gained a prominent strategic position. Organizations have started to look at design as a process, which adds value to the front end of innovation (Verganti, 2009). As a process, Deserti (2011) distinguishes between situational and visionary design. The latter, also known as design-led futures, is a form of design, interested in ideas and not just products (Dunne & Raby, 2011), which experiment on speculative futures (Auger, 2012) to stimulate radical innovation. Prototypical examples are concept cars, traditionally used to guide automakers through change.

Small and medium-sized enterprises have lagged behind in applying design (De Lille, 2014), especially in nontraditional forms, e.g. design-led futures, largely because there are no established methods to facilitate their implementation. We propose a tailor-made, design-led futures technique that assists designers through developing vision concepts for SMEs (Mejia Sarmiento, Pasman, Hultink, & Stappers, 2017), called DIVE. It builds on our inquiries on vision concepts in large corporations (Mejia Sarmiento, Hultink, Pasman, & Stappers, 2016).

Vision Concepts within the landscape of design research #futurethroughdesign

Mejia, J.R., Pasman, G., Stappers, P.J. (2016). Vision Concepts within the landscape of design research. In P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia (Eds.), Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society – Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 4 (pp. 1659-1676), ISSN 2398-3132, DOI: 10.21606/drs.2016.390

Keywords: vision concepts; concept cars; speculative design; design fiction; critical design


In the landscape of design research, several techniques of speculative design -or design about ideas- have been positioned, each with a different time frame. Design Fiction and Critical Design, for instance, emerged as making activities that explore the near and the speculative future, respectively. We previously defined Vision Concepts as a design-led technique that explores and communicates speculative futures. Even though Vision Concepts, such as long-term concept cars and products, have been part of the industry since 1938, previous work has failed to identify and understand them from the design research perspective or compared them with other speculative design techniques. This study intends to identify which spot Vision Concepts occupies within the landscape of design research. To that end, we developed a multiple case analysis that includes examples of Vision Concepts, Design Fiction, and Critical Design. This paper will help design researchers identify the similarities and differences between Vision Concepts and the other speculative design techniques and gain knowledge about when and why to apply this technique.

Concept Cars as a design-led futures technique #futurethroughdesign

Mejia, J.R., Hultink, E.J., Pasman, G., Stappers, P.J. (2016, June). Concept Cars as a design-led futures technique. In Proceedings of the 23rd Innovation and Product Development Management Conference Volume 1 (pp. 1–21). Glasgow, U.K.

Keywords: concept cars, futures studies, speculative design, strategic foresight


Innovation forces organizations to think about the future. The many techniques guiding these explorations are named futures studies, which are inquiries into images of the future and their surrounding elements. Although futures studies help organizations to change, their results are often difficult to interpret, and they frequently fail to involve middle-level managers or the public at large. As design is a future-oriented discipline, it is remarkable that the futures studies and innovation management literature do not cover design-led techniques to boost the innovation process. This paper fills a part of this gap in the extant literature by discussing Concept Cars in the automotive industry, a phenomenon in which design plays a prominent part. Since the first Concept Car, it has become clear that automakers do not make these tangible models to mass-produce and sell them, but they mainly view them as a brand builder.

Although Concept Cars are broadly recognized as an interesting phenomenon, little academic work has been conducted on them. This paper discusses Concept Cars as a design-led futures technique, and aims to understand their purposes, outcomes, and development process. Our study used multiple methods, including ten interviews with design experts, observations on Concept Cars at a motor show, and a review of three Concept Cars.

#Design4Enterprises Diseño para las empresas, una herramienta para el desarrollo de las MIPYME #futurethroughdesign

La Comisión Europea presenta el proyecto Diseño para las Empresas (#Design4Enterprises). Este proyecto consiste en un conjunto de cursos para apoyar la innovación impulsada/liderada por el diseño en las MIPYME. Estos cursos, que son totalmente gratuitos, se orientan a: (i) MIPYME europeas, que quieran mejorar sus habilidades de gestión del diseño, y a (ii) negocios intermediarios, tales como Cámaras de Comercio, que se convertirán en futuros formadores para otras MIPYME. Este programa de formación se centran en el diseño como el elemento clave en las estrategias para el desarrollo de las MIPYME en el mercado global.

Tengo el gusto de ser el consultor experto para España en temas como “innovación guiada por diseño” y “diseño estratégico”. Adicionalmente soy el coordinador para toda la Comunidad Europea del módulo “diseño de conceptos futuros”, temas central de mi proyecto doctoral en TUDelft.

Saber más sobre el programa http://www.designforenterprises.eu/

Más información sobre el módulo ”diseño de conceptos futuros” acá:

The atlas of practicalities by Ricardo Mejia – #RefugeeChallenge @WhatDesignCanDo

The atlas of practicalities is a public YouTube channel that collects, promotes, and manages micro-documentaries to inform people about practicalities of a host country. The channel can attend a broad audience like refugees, expats, tourists, among others.