Designing Preferable Futures

Imagining a sustainable future

Designing Preferable Futures considers the psychology of creativity and differentiates between three types of future: mundane futures, possible futures and preferable futures.

Mundane futures concerns the everyday. You might imagine where you’re going for your holiday or what you’re having for your tea. Mundane futures involve using our creativity and imagination but for planning rather than trying something radically new.

Possible futures are ways of idea generation; where you can think of all kinds of directions and things. We can imagine all kinds of possibilities: these scenarios could all happen.

Preferable futures are where we say what should happen or what we want to happen. In this context we use the ethical imagination because if everything is possible, we have to ask “on what basis are we going to decide what to do?”

The Institute of Design Innovation’s research in this area focuses on the common good and how we can design and create sustainability for communities and improve their quality of life – a preferable future.

Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam
(2016)