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Our Futures

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Our Futures is a game for discovering new ways of engaging the public in thinking about alternative futures. The basic premise of Our Futures is that participants are randomly offered a series of constraints by drawing cards and rolling a dice, which serve as a primer for imagining a participatory futures activity. The game is played either with a group of individuals competing against each other or in teams in 30-75 minutes. The game has three different gameplay models of varying scope and complexity. The resource includes a printable card deck, game board, instructions booklet, and video explanation. The editable materials are also available on Github.

Hero HERO:
Editable source files available
Publisher

Nesta

Discipline or practice

Futures and Foresight

Design

About this resource

Country/Territory

United Kingdom

Date Published

2020

License

CC BY-NC-SA Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Formats

PDF publication

Game

Card deck

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One review for "Our Futures"

  1. Our Futures plays just like a board game. It’s easy to setup and play, and while fun and playful it’s also an invaluable tool for public servants or anyone else interested in discovering new ways of engaging public imagination about alternative futures. The game has three increasingly complex modes — although even the most advanced version is quite intuitive. In the simplest version of the game, you try to imagine participatory futures activities based on a dice roll and two cards: a technology card (e.g. holograms) and a challenge card (e.g. loss of biodiversity). The dice roll dictates what kind of approach you have to use (e.g., ‘it has to involve creating something’ or ‘it has to be immersive’). Other modes play much the same but introduce new cards that offers new constraints like partners you have to collaborate with (e.g., indigenous communities), design variables you have to follow (e.g. it must have an individual impact), and guiding metaphors (e.g. “Slow and steady wins the race”). Being able to introduce new types of cards after you’ve let people familiarise themselves with the game mechanics is great, as you can start out simple and then ramp up the complexity in another round, once people have tried the simplest version. Each round is about 15 to 25 minutes, but you should expect to use some time to get people introduced beforehand as well have plenty of time to discuss the different ideas afterwards. The point of Our Futures is not necessarily to come up with the best participatory futures activity, instead it’s about letting your imagination run wild and exploring interesting alternative what-ifs. A combination of cards might look odd or impossible at first glance but by pushing yourself to imagine an activity you might discover some exciting new perspectives — even if it is not directly applicable in reality.

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