By engaging a plurality of voices in exposing present tensions and expanding the possibilities for the future, designers can create spaces to engage in deeper and meaningful conversations about what ‘could be’ and collectively navigate the uncertainty and multiplicity that comes with tomorrow.

However, the space of participation in speculative design is complex and only partially explored. This toolkit aims to support the exploration and navigation through this space. Here you can find information about the contents of the toolkit and the rationale behind it.

Three Challenges

The starting point for exploring space of participation in speculative design are three overarching challenges:


Stuck in the Singular View explores the positional challenge of dealing with plurality and nuance when creating or discussing alternative futures/scenarios.

Stuck in the Context refers to the contextual challenge of engaging participants in reflexive behaviour and facilitate self-critical perspectives beyond their own biases.

Stuck in the Now describes the temporal challenge of distancing oneself from how the world looks today and imagine how things could be different.

Four Levels

In addition to the three challenges, the overall set of issues is divided in four levels related to different aspects of the process of participation in speculative design:

CONTEXT relates to the project’s preconditions that might influence the participatory efforts. This includes the initial intentions, the framing of the project and the issues it deals with.

PARTICIPANTS relates to who is included in the participatory moments and how that might influence the critical aspects of the project.

ENGAGEMENT relates to the participatory moments themselves and how the process of engagement is curated and the discussion generated and maintained.

OUTCOMES relates to the different outputs and the afterlife of participatory speculative design projects.


The issues are the main elements of the toolkit. They represent trigger questions about a specific aspect of the process and can be used to reflect on particular moments and help deconstruct the overarching challenges.

You can explore them individually here.