26-28 Sept.

Saturday, 28 Sep. 9:00–12:30


What kind of future do you want? Planning a preferable future

/ Dan Ramsden



Technology seems to be supporting faster and more radical social changes. As the architects of technology we need to be conscious and intentional in our choices. We should try to anticipate the impact that our decisions might have on the contexts which contain but also result from our designs.

We all contribute to the future in every decision we make – what kind of future do you want?

In this workshop we’ll share our experience working in the world’s largest public service broadcaster alongside a set of techniques we’ve been using to consider the future. The BBC exists to inform, educate and entertain. But in recent years media consumption has led some to feel the need for a digital detox. And media coverage and “fake news” have been accused of supporting the manipulation of democracy. We care about the future and the information architecture that will underpin it.

In this workshop we’ll look at psychological needs and drivers that are deep, core and affected by the environment. Alongside these we’ll consider contextual and shifting social, technological, economical, environmental and political factors. We’ll share tools to adopt a critical outlook to consider ‘now’ and what’s around the corner. Charles Eames said that “recognising the need is the primary condition for design”. We don’t think he’s wrong. But needs shift at different rates. While fundamental needs remain static, it’s easy to get diverted by fashionable needs that drive an industry obsessed with innovation.

We’ll use a modular kit of speculative design tools that allow us to map out future alternatives through a human values lens, in order to inform debate around what’s preferable. 

This workshop is not about predicting the future – it’s about preparedness and intention. What kind of future do you want? And how will you make it happen?


Dan Ramsden

As Creative Director for UX architecture (UXA) and Design Research at the BBC, Dan Ramsden leads a team of information architects who are committed to making the BBC’s tools, content and experiences more meaningful and connected. He’s responsible for defining the professional practice of UXA at the BBC and ensuring that the organisation is creating information architecture that delivers the best possible experiences to its editors and audiences.


Dan has previously worked for agencies and ran a theatre company. He now designs labels, vocabularies, URLs, navigation, strategies and processes. He likes jokes, magic and making the most of moments. He also like alliterations. He lives just outside Sheffield (UK) with a wife, a child, and a cat called Rosa.

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