Episode 02: Anticipating solutions for future problems with Speculative and Critical design approaches

This talk was broadcasted on the Dubai Design Week website on 11 November, Wednesday 5pm and on Dubai Design Week’s YouTube Channel

As one of the main themes of this year’s Dubai design week edition, this second session invited experts in the fields of future studies and speculative design to demonstrate and offer insights on how to future. Joined by futures researcher Scott Smith, FRAMTID futures school founder Jósepsdóttir, Design Researcher Simone Fehlinger and Strategist Selim Aykut, this panel demonstrated how thinking in the future could impact the present and ensure a safe future for all.

This talk’s objective was to highlight the importance of transitioning from reactionary measures often taken after problems occur, this new approach tries to anticipate future problems by studying signals, patterns while invoking social experiments in order to anticipate what problems we will face in the near and far future, and start tailoring solutions for them today, as a preventive response.

Speaker Biographies

Helga Jósepsdóttir

Helga is a creative future strategist, specialized in creative solutions & future anticipation. With more than 10 years of experience in management and strategic leadership in the fields of innovation, design & creative education. She aims to have a positive impact on the world - the planet, people, society, businesses & work culture. She helps organisations synthesise what is happening in the world today, into actionable roadmaps for innovative products and service proposals using creative agile methodologies of Futures Thinking.

She has international experience working with organisations like IKEA, SPACE10, Vitra Design Museum, Fjord, Choví, Abu Dhabi Excellence Council, The Future Food institute, Marel, Redbull & Airbus, and has just founded FRAMTID - the futures school, which will launch its first program in 2021.

Simone Fehlinger

A designer-researcher at the Deep Design Lab, Cité du design Saint-Etienne, France, Simone Fehlinger develops a research methodology at the intersection of art, design, and social sciences. She explores fiction-based realities by questioning the performativity of design and its ability to create ideologies through the form. With a particular interest in the imagery of the Anthropocene, political fictions, and contemporary visual and material culture, she understands design as a discipline defining the interactions between human and nonhuman actors. She is conducting a design-research project performing a new weather channel with the intention to re-design ‒ to post-produce ‒ the images of the weather forecast that incorporate modern ideologies in our daily reality and structure hence modern attitudes.

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the founder and managing partner of, now Netherlands-based, Changeist, a futures research and consulting partnership established in 2007 in the United States. Scott has consulted to a range of global institutions, including SWIFT, UNICEF, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, The Royal Society, Nesta, and the Dubai Future Foundation. He has also led engagements with some of the largest and most respected global financial, retail, telecoms, technology and media brands, such as the BBC, The New York Times, ASOS, AXA, VF, and Comcast. He has designed and delivered futures projects, talks and workshops in over a dozen countries and facilitated projects and workshops multiple languages. Scott has more than 25 years’ experience in forecasting and has lived in three countries over that time. He currently makes his home in The Hague, where his spare time is currently devoted to developing several fiction and documentary projects. He is also the author of "How to Future: Leading and Sense-making in an Age of Hyperchange”, published by Kogan Page Inspire in September 2020.

Selim Aykut

Strategy professional by trade, designer by proxy, systems-thinker by nature. Creates value and finds joy in his work by combining the more strategic and inspirational elements of 'service design' with the more structured and process-driven components of 'business & operations'. Thinks "big picture" (while breaking it down to its building blocks); thrives in chaos (while working to bring order to it); leads by example (while looking to learn from others).

Moderated by Ghassan Salameh