trend lab.

Welcome to Trend Lab #2. You are going to use speculative design to explore subcultures, trends and come up with prototypes.The approach we use is called Intervention Design.

During the upcoming weeks, you are following the path below. Every step you take in the Intervention Design Process is explained with a video. The assignments are there to help you to keep on track. Make sure to present everything on your Team’s Miro board.

Have fun!

PART #0: preparations

You are co-creating in a team of three or four junior trendwatchers. To make this project a success, you first how to get to know each other and work on your team spirit. Take the following steps:

0.1 Get to know each other by sharing your values, the things you love, and your goals (and anything else that is relevant).

0.2 Now think about a name and logo that represents you as a team. Also, think about your team values: they are crucial in shaping the direction of your project. Agree on team rules: how do you want to work together and how do you communicate.

0.3 Take a look at the subcultures you already explored and add new ones if you want. Pick one subculture that all of you find interesting enough to dive into in the upcoming nine weeks. Also, make sure the subculture is rich enough and has potential trends to explore.

0.4 Now, create your own team Miro board and invite your coach to your board.

— — — — —

PART #1: introduction

1.1 Watch the video below (sorry about the horrible synchronization).

1.2 Read the first chapter of ‘Speculative Everything’ by Fiona Raby and Anthony Dunne: PDF.

1.3 Answer the following questions:

  • Can you give a description of speculative design in your own words?
  • What’s the difference between the approach in the book and in the video?
  • Can you link the essence of speculative design to Marshall McLuhan’s idea of ‘the medium is the message’? (here is the book: PDF)
  • How can, according to you, speculative design contribute to trendwatching?

— — — — —


We are using Intervention Design as a speculative design approach.

2.1 Watch the video below.

2.2 Answer the following questions:

  • How would you define intervention design?
  • What is its relation with speculative design?
  • How do you think intervention design can be beneficial to trendwatching?

2.3 Now, decide which subculture you want to explore and fill in the Subculture Map with your first impressions and the information you can easily find. The Subculture Map is here: PDF.

2.4 Watch the video below.

2.5 Fill in the DESTEP to get insights in the transformations your subculture is related to. Only map the relevant ones. The choice is up to you as a team.

2.6 Use the 3Ms to map the meso and micro levels of your subculture: what behavior and rituals belong to the subculture? What artifacts are used?

2.7 Now dig deeper: do desk and field research:

  • get to know every detail of your subculture by reading about it, watch documentaries, see movies,
  • engage in your subculture by becoming part of it or be a fly on the wall,
  • place your subculture on the K-Hole Brand Anxiety Matrix and describe what the position tells you about the subculture (PDF),
  • find tropes in pop culture that are associate with your subculture: what do they tell you?

2.8 Perform step 2.7 over and over again until you have enough knowledge of your subculture and fill in the Subculture Map again.

2.9 Now, identify what trends in your subculture are the most interesting. Pick max three and make a FRAME (use the FRAME Board for that).

— — — — —


Watch this lecture by Amsterdam based designer Ruben Pater.

According to Ruben Pater, all design is political.

Answer the following questions according to your own FRAME:

  • Focus on the trends you identified: what deeper values are related to them?
  • What values do you find important to relate to the trends?
  • In other words: in what way are those trends ‘political’?

— — — — —


Now, finish the EXPLORE phase with a poster. A poster is a visual representation of your exploration and the result for communication purposes. Only mention the most imported insights you gained, what steps you took and what your FRAME is (and why). Present your poster during our workshop.

— — — — —


Watch the video below.

3.1 Take your FRAME and, if necessary, redefine your trend. Make sure to describe your trend in a way that shows its potential outside of the explored subculture. Add everything to your Miro board.

3.2 Now, try and think about a point in the future (or an alternative reality now) where this trend has become mainstream. Describe the trend, by using the Future Cone, in terms of both possible and preferable futures. Add everything to your Miro board.

3.3 Answer the WHY of your trend. What makes it so important for you as a team to understand what the trend will look like in the future? What values are involved? What value changes will your trend provoke? Add everything to your Miro board.

3.4 Watch Koert van Mensvoort explaining the pyramid of technology.

3.5 Translate your trend to the situation in which it becomes ‘natural’. Describe this situation as detailed as possible. Now, go back to the tipping point. What needs to happen to make your trend go from trend (applied) to normal general behavior (accepted). Again: be as detailed as possible. Add everything to your Miro board.

3.6 We now have all the material for our fictional world. Watch one episode of Black Mirror and identify the protagonist, antagonist, incentive, complication, and resolution. Discuss this with your team and add it to your Miro board.

3.7 Pick a protagonist and fill in an empathy map. A protagonist can also be non-human. Then, tell the story by using the story scheme. Add it to your Miro.

3.8 Make a moodboard and a storyboard and add them to your Miro.

3.9 Finish the IMAGINE phase with a poster. Share it on your Miro and present it during our workshop.

— — — — —


Watch the video below.

4.1 Define the essence of your fictional world and story. What message do you want to bring across to your target audience?

4.2 Define tour target audience and explain why.

4.3 You want your target audience to step into the shoes of your protagonist. Brainstorm about ways to do this (IDEATE), write them down and choose the, in your opinion, best ones.

4.4 Translate these best ideas into possible products or services and turn them into a lo-fi prototype.

4.5 Find people from your target audience and EVALUATE (test) the lof-fi prototype. Then, gather feedback.

4.6 Use the feedback from your target audience to build a hi-fi prototype. Make sure this prototype works as an intervention.

4.7 Now, create your last poster: a visual representation that explains your prototype to go with your prototype.

4.8 In your end presentation you show your prototype and last poster and explain the process your went through (you can use your other two posters and Miro board in this explanation but that’s up to you).

— — — — —