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Vision Concepts within the landscape of design research #futurethroughdesign

Mejia Sarmiento, 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 (Vol. 4, pp. 1659–1676). Brighton, U.K. https://doi.org/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 Sarmiento, J. R., Hultink, E. J., Pasman, G., & Stappers, P. J. (2016). Concept Cars as a design-led futures technique. In Proceedings of the 23rd Innovation and Product Development Management Conference (Vol. 1, pp. 1–21). Glasgow, U.K. Retrieved from http://jrms.pktweb.com/?p=3583

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.

5th CIM -Creativity and Innovation Management- Community Workshop #futurethroughdesign

I had the opportunity to present the paper “Design of Vision Concepts to explore the future: nature, context and design techniques” during the 5th CIM -Creativity and Innovation Management- Community Workshop, which was held in the campus of the University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands on 1 September 2015.

Here the video of Teresa Amabile from Harvard Business School who welcomes the participants of the workshop.

I presented the paper: Mejia, J.R., Simonse L., and Hultink, E.J. (2015). Design of Vision Concepts to explore the future: nature, context and design techniques. 5th CIM –Creativity and Innovation Management– Community Workshop, Enschede, The Netherlands.


More information about the event here: http://www.continuous-innovation.net/events/cimworkshops/2015.html
Javier Ricardo Mejia Sarmiento