My better half Tijs works at Bureau Moeilijke Dingen (translates to bureau of difficult things but it is usually abbreviated to BMD). They are a growing Industrial design studio that focusses on solving difficult questions through the design of quality user experiences. The founders of the company were our fellow students at the university. So often it feels like we moved to Eindhoven to be closer to our friends, instead to be closer to Tijs his job.
As designers we all want to stay on top of things and so BMD has introduced Moeilijke middagen (“difficult afternoons”) as a network / learning event. During these Friday afternoon they invite a speaker to do a presentation on an interesting/innovative topic.
The speaker of the day was René Noortman, a doctoral candidate at the Technical University of Eindhoven. In her presentation she shows how the explorations of design fiction can be used as a pragmatic user-centred design method to generate insights on future technology uses. This is linked to the broader trend of speculative design. We learned of the origins of this trend and saw some examples on how this trend is used in design research.
Her project HawkEye was an awesome inspiration. In three weeks René gathered so much insights on the amount of personal data from clients caretakers can receive without feeling uncomfortable and intrusive into someones privacy. It also shed light on the emotions and stories behind their decision making process. And thus allowed her to make some strongly supported recommendation to the use of data in healthcare design. I believe that it is amazing that we can use these fictional scenarios to support a better future reality.
I am curious to learn more about speculative design as I have had a fascination with design fiction when I was in my bachelor studies. I am hoping to dive more into this topic by reading the much recommended book : Speculative everything. If you want to borrow my copy or reach out for a discussion, you know where to find me!