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Next Design Lab

Are you curious about your future role and potential as a designer, artist or educator in a changing commercial landscape? Some current developments: consumers and individuals play an increasing role due to social media and networked digital technologies. Besides, new technologies like AR, robotics and biomaterials become more accessible through open source and public (science and technology) labs. How will future consumer behavior and technologies like robotics and biomaterials affect the way we design, produce, consume and live?  Which new ways of designing, knowledge and attitudes does this future commercial landscape require from you? Which and whose values are important for this context?

The minor ‘Scenarios and stories for future markets, materials and makers’, focuses on designing for new, sometimes yet undefined questions from the commercial field. It introduces a design approach aimed at the future of markets that focus on ‘sharing’, materials that are alive (bio, algorithm) and makers that share authorship with audiences (bottom-up, DIY). For future design practices, the program includes developing scenarios for interaction and behavior, experimenting with new materials and exploring new formats for markets. To bring these speculative scenarios into real life, ‘Next Design Lab: Scenarios and Stories for future markets, materials and makers’, positions itself in the actual work field where you as a student will be working once you graduate.

Context: Changing commercial landscapes

Next Design Lab investigates and questions new developments in future commercial contexts: 

- Markets: How do consumers and individuals change the traditional (top-down) markets? What new economical

  and production models does that bring?

- Materials: Which new materials and technologies can be used for more sustainable production systems? What is the role of science and sustainable alternatives?

- Makers: How to design within the context of new technologies (AI, robotics, algorithms)? And what increasingly

  ethical and central role does the designer play?

How do these questions change the way we design, produce, consume?


Topics we will explore: 

The future of retail in times of online consumerism; that makes traditional retail spaces redundant, new materials and collaborations with science, participatory design for involving stakeholders and consumers in the design research and process as well as new, yet undefined questions from the commercial field.


New questions from the field 

The Next Design Lab is a multidisciplinary field lab where students from different departments will collaborate on future scenarios for “real life” cases and yet undefined questions with actual companies, scientific (public) labs other professionals as well as with consumers. Examples of collaborations include the Hema Foundation (defining inclusive design), start- ups (Venture Café) and retailers in Rotterdam (the Future of Retail spaces), the Rabobank (creating valuable customer experiences) and Erasmus Medical Center (communicating scientific research to a broad audience).


 Next Design

Which innovative design perspectives does our future need? Which new monetary and production systems will determine this future? How and for which future markets will you design and whose markets? What is your distinctive role as a designer and maker, compared to other stakeholders?

‘Next Design Lab: Scenarios and Stories for future markets, materials and makers’ investigates new ways of designing for a changing ‘commercial’ landscape. We will challenge interactions with consumers by conducting provocative design research, exploring participatory ways of storytelling, designing meaningful experiences, behavior and interaction, for and with consumers in future markets. Examples of such a hybrid practice include Superflux (IN/UK) and Near Future Lab (USA, CH), design studios that merge speculative stories, interactions and science with real people and participatory scenarios for brands like Ikea, Sony and Samsung.

Field Lab
The Next Design Lab is a field lab; we will work on location to enable constant interaction with different stakeholders. We will be working with clients, consumers, external professionals from the fields of design, (networked) storytelling, economics sociology, psychology and other relevant disciplines. 

The cases/questions/ problems are developed together with these companies and institutions so they stay current to our changing Commercial Landscape. They will always be based on the theme “Scenarios and Stories for future markets, materials and makers”.


1. Creative ability
You, the student, demonstrate the ability to semi-independently: 
       -    Develop concepts for a design, based on an original idea, vision or theme as well as the requirements of the      

              intended user and future consumer and markets.

-        Apply new knowledge and insights of future markets, materials and makers in your research and implementation methods.

-        Develop your personal artistic vision in relation to a variety of assignments and activities, related to future commercial contexts: markets, materials and makers.

-        Are able to assume responsibility for the vision and the work.


2. Ability to grow and change: 

You, the student, demonstrate the ability to semi-independently:

  • Integrate insights from your major and practice in your artistic vision regarding scenarios and storytelling for future markets, materials and makers.
  • Explore and apply innovative contexts, bottom up design (research) methods, specific technologies, materials and tools aimed at creating scenarios and storytelling, develop a convincing artistic perspective on designing interaction, behavior and experiences with and for several stakeholders.


Ability to reflect critically: 

You, the student, demonstrate the ability to semi-independently:

  • Systematically and critically reflect upon your work, in relation to that of others within the minor’s context: the possibilities for designers in future markets in the context of innovative technologies.
  • Gain insight into the professional roles of designers and other stakeholders in the future economical landscape and be able to position yourself.


Communicative ability:

You, the student, demonstrate the ability to semi-independently:

  • Communicate to others (stakeholders, clients, consumers etc.) your vision as a designer.
  • Develop a (participatory) design research method to interact with your audience.

Give presentations for professionals, clients and consumers in order to promote your own work using appropriate communication media.

  • Demonstrate the insights, processes, methods and (design)technologies acquired during the minor.


Context awareness:

You, the student, demonstrate the ability to semi-independently:

  • Research and identify various professional design roles, future creative and economical practices and current debates in relation to your work and position yourself.
  • Research and analyze several methods and theories related to the theme of the minor. (speculative design, interaction and behavioral design, networked storytelling).
  • Complete assignments in various professional design contexts and for various clients and audiences.
  • Reflect upon and substantiate your own performance in the professional practice in relation to the work of others.


Organisational ability:

You, the student, demonstrate the ability to semi-independently:

- Make the necessary preparations for the realisation of a design.

- Plan and structure your own design process in an inspiring and result-oriented fashion, whether working individually – as a start-up- or within a collaborative effort with users, experts, companies and other stakeholders.

- Realise a design, taking into account your goals as well as the (multidisciplinary) collaborative effort.


Collaborative ability:

You, the student, demonstrate the ability to semi-independently:

- Engage in collaborative efforts within various professional contexts related to innovative markets, consumers and other stakeholders in order to further develop and deepen his/her professional profile as a designer.

- Recognise any common ground with other disciplines, focusing on new materials,  and express this in your professional behaviour.
- Initiate and maintain collaborative efforts with future users, consumers, developers of new materials and companies (start-ups) , in terms of content as well as process.


Students are required to send a portfolio and motivation. You will receive more information about this after you have registered for this minor on Kies op Maat and after approval of the Kies op Maat learning agreement (leerovereenkomst).


Two grades: one for research/theory (research document including references) and one for practice (experimental use of materials and technologies, relation to users, approach of new markets).