Looking back at the journey and reflecting on what lies next. What was learnt and provocated, and how can that be caked by Affirmative Design. Taking the next step and closing the loop.
Design cannot exist in isolation. It is absolutely essential for a designer to understand fully the social, cultural and physical environment in which the respective design is to operate
for it to be relevant to the people. Speculative design comes with a preconception that thinking and talking about the future is necessary, whereas the for the communities that were studied, the anticipated future challenges were to some
extent challenges they face at present. When designing for such contexts it can often be paralysing. Rural communities and indigenous knowledge is often absent in plans for the
future that are discussed around the world. Both the case studies examined through this paper explore futures that are based on local knowledge systems. While working with a rural community ‘Speculative Design’ can often be overwhelming and is often hard to have a conversation about. To overcome this challenge, stories that revolve around local culture were developed. In retaining traces of the present, the future seems far more familiar, closer to home and heart, allowing for discussion about the future to take place. These projects are small steps rather than one massive leap towards radical change that these communities need.
What did we do?
This project started with an inquiry and tried to create scenarios around these inquiries with tangible realistic objects fabricated with an experience of a hopeful future. Looking forward in time allowed us to imagine opportunities that might still be beneath the surface or factors that are unknown but plausible or possible, as demonstrated in the futures cone diagram by Joseph Voros. Design was used
to understand emerging technologies and to explore the social cultural impacts they could bring in Melghat. The people of Melghat were included in initiating a discussion around whether that object would be desirable.
Future Scope for Provocation
These objects and scenarios can be used within foresight practice making it useful for the policymakers where the second loop of provocation would initiate. It would offer a platform to tell the stories of the marginalized communities of Melghat, their dreams, hopes, needs and desires. An exhibit followed by a group workshop with specially designed probes and props could be executed to conclude the second loop.
How to create an impact today?
What after the provocation? What after speculating futures? How can you convert the provocation into an actionable plan? How do you close the loop? Nowadays governments need new ways to approach the future, and their processes
could take advantage of speculative design Not only could they find out what possible consequences some actions may have, but together with the public they could materialize all the fears and hopes that citizens have about the future. This could help to move beyond the plausible future and shape the possible future. Two workshops were conducted to take the further steps