The Masterclass by Nicolas Nova: Design Fiction

Design Fiction is the representation of future scenarios through fictional products/services with the aim of sparking a debate.
Nicolas Nova, Co-founder of Near Future Laboratory and Associate Professor at the Geneva School of Art and Design, held this Thursday the first of six Service Design Masterclasses, a special format of the Master in Service Design that aims at investigating cutting-edge topics connected to the world of Service Design.
The focus of the Masterclass was on Design Fiction, with Nova dedicating the first part of the lecture to a brief history of the discipline, mentioning the origins of science-fiction and speculative design. According to Nova, Design Fiction finds its uniqueness in its ability to lead to some kind of debate or discussion and not just being a show-off of a product or service.
The following step was an explanation on how Design Fiction can be integrated in a project, starting from a description of the methodology that the team at Near Future Laboratory adopts; a method that moves from inspiration to projection to questioning and that has at its core the notion of weak signals. These are the still-not-fully-developed indicators of change in behaviors and norms, and spotting them allows to adopt new perspectives on the future. In the words on Nova, odd behaviors matter because they could become the new norm in the future.
The last part of the lecture concentrated on few case studies from Nova’s own work, that clarified how Design Fiction can successfully be implemented and lead to unexpected and useful insights. Some tips were given on how to imagine and trace the evolution of a current product/service in the future, and on how to map and gather proof during the course of a project.
It was a pleasure to hear about this contemporary topic from an expert in the field and we look forward to the next Masterclass!
Good Design Fiction is not to project technologies in the future, but to predict the consequences of those projections.