Design Epistemology









Design as Anticipation and Innovation: Co-creating a future by learning from the future as it emerges 

Markus F. Peschl, Thomas Fundneider 

University of Vienna, theLivingCore Innovation Architects, Vienna

Keywords: anticipation, change, design, future-oriented, innovation, skill, uncertainty


In this theoretical and conceptual paper we claim that there is a close connection between design, innovation, and anticipation. What they have in common is that they want to make sense of a future and they want to bring about change to a future that is only partly known. This applies even more, if design has to come up with completely new solutions for highly complex problems, such as the big challenges of our current economic or social systems. We will develop a future-oriented perspective on innovation and design. Both design and innovation are operating in the field of uncertainty. That is why we will take a closer look at anticipation and how it deals with various forms of uncertainty. In highly complex domains it turns out that the future is not only unknown, but also unknowable. For design this means that we need completely new strategies and skills that have to go beyond problem solving and rather involve the notion of potentials and the creation of new niches and new problem spaces leading to new spaces of meaning. In the final part we will develop the notion of design as “co-creating the future by learning from the future as it emerges” and derive an alternative set of (epistemic) attitudes and skills. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Author, F., Author, S. and Author, T. (2016). Design as Anticipation and Innovation: Co-creating a future by learning from the future as it emerges. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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