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Research

Our research is guided by two fundamental questions:

  1. What characterizes a practice of design foresight, and what are the implications for engineering design, technology invention, and vision-led innovation?
  2. How does the practice of design foresight affect team performance, judgement, and outcomes?

Research Areas

We are currently studying and seeking research partners willing to go boldly into the future on five specific research areas, guided by these questions:

Stanford SVIA showcase
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Moonshots

  • What are the best practices of visionary, technology-seeking teams?
  • How can a “moonshot” ethos boost community-led innovation efforts in developing regions?
  • What are the shared characteristics of big technological visions across different industries?
  • What can we learn from the full collection of DARPA’s technology-led visions?
Stanford Design Foresight research areas

Learning

  • How do future scenarios lead to better user-centered designs?
  • How can scenario-based learning (versus case-based learning) be used to prepare teams for future actions?
  • What effect do future prototypes have when benchmarking today’s products, inventions, and breakthroughs?
  • How do perspectives from the past and specific community heritages influence our views of future possibility and action?

Serious Games

  • What is the role of "wargaming" and red-teaming as part of a broader foresight analytical toolkit?
  • How can serious games be used to make future decisions inside organizations?
  • How do we structure and generalize foresight knowledge gained from serious gaming and scenario-based designs?

Diversity

  • Do minority groups emphasize different styles or categories of future narratives?
  • Do women imagine and evaluate future possibilities differently from men?
  • How do the future visions of today’s young generations compare to those of other generations?

Neuro-Foresight

  • What is the brain science behind making future-based design decisions?
  • Are there neuro-biological affects when dealing with future-oriented ambiguity and uncertainty?
  • How does the ability to imagine big ideas change with age?

Past Projects

Stanford SCPD Pune workshop
Stanford Foresight workshop in Pune, India

Our team has explored multiple questions in the context of foresight with various corporate sponsors and other partners, such as:

  • Future of premium transportation in mega-cities (with a major auto manufacturer)
  • Future consumer habits of Millennials (with a major home security company)
  • Future travel scenarios of Millennials (with a major technology company)
  • Urban futures
  • Future of the past and memory