Dexign the Future

Peter Scupelli, Arnold Wasserman, and Judy Brooks

As corporations, governmental organizations, and non-government organizations face rapid change and uncertain times they are looking for new ways of thinking and acting. For designers trained to shape futures defined by change and uncertainty there are unprecedented opportunities. In this course, students explore the forces that drive change in the future (i.e., social, economic, political, environmental, technological), and learn to align innovation strategically with the trajectories of those forces on long-time horizons. In this course, we focus on developing design agility with design methods for long time horizons. Traditional design methods such as Human-Centered Design and Design Thinking do not prepare designers to think systematically about long-time horizons. The goal of this course is to teach designers design methods for long time horizons. Design for long time horizons is of particular interest for challenges like transition design towards sustainable futures or more generally to design in turbulent times characterized by rapid change.

Visit the Dexign the Future and Intro to Dexign the Future course blogs to learn more about the design the futures courses.

For open source course materials for the Dexign Futures courses go to:


Scupelli, P. (in-press) Teaching to transfer causal layered analysis from futures thinking to design thinking. IASDR 2023: LifeChanging Design. October 9-14, 2023. Milan, Italy.

Scupelli, P. (2022). Does When and How Design Students Learn Causal Layered Analysis Matter? Journal of Futures Studies. link

Scupelli, P. (2021) Teaching Designers to Anticipate Future Challenges with Causal Layered Analysis. IASDR 2021: With Design: Reinventing Design Modes. December 5-9, 2021. Hong Kong, China.

Barbara, A., & Scupelli, P. (2021). Teaching to dexign futures in cities. TECHNE – Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, (2), 112-116. pdf download

Scupelli, P. (2020) Teaching to Find Design Opportunities for Behavior Change Through Causal Layered Analysis. Proceedings of the 2020 Human-Computer Interaction International Conference. 2020 HCI International Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Scupelli, P. (2020) The Faster Ones Don’t Always Win: Dexign Futures Thinking for Innovation in Urban Context. 10th United Nations World Urban Forum. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. February 8-13, 2020.

Scupelli, P., Candy, S., & Brooks, Judy (2019) Teaching Futures: Trade-offs Between Flipped Classroom and Design Studio Course Pedagogies. IASDR 2019: Design Revolutions. September 2-5, 2019. Manchester, UK.

Scupelli, P., Fu, Z.,  Zheng, Y & Brooks, J  (2019) Teaching to Dexign Futures in China: A Vision for a Blended Learning Pedagogy to be Deployed at Scale. 9th International Conference the Future of Education. Florence, Italy.

Scupelli, P., Wells-Papanek, D., Wasserman, A., & Brooks, J. (2018) The Futures of Design Pedagogy, Learning, and Education.  Academic Design Management Conference ADMC18, London, UK, (August 1-2, 2018)

Scupelli, P., & Brooks, J.  (2018) What Features of a Flipped Course Improve Design Student Learning Experiences?, Academic Design Management Conference ADMC18, London, UK, (August 1-2, 2018) presentation

Scupelli, P., Wells-Papanek, D., Brooks, J. & Wasserman, A. (2017) Opening a design education pipeline from University to K-12 and Back IASDR 2017, Cincinnati (October 31 – November 3, 2017[60% acceptance rate (173 accepted, 287 submitted)] presentation

Scupelli, P., Brooks, J. & Wasserman, A. (2016) Making Dexign Futures learning happen: A case study for a flipped, Open-Learning Initiative course. Design Educators IDSA International Conference 2016: Making Things Happen. August 17-20, Detroit, MI, USA.  [25% acceptance rate (10 accepted, 41 submitted)]

Scupelli, P., Wasserman, A., Brooks, J. (2016). Dexign Futures: A Pedagogy for Long-Horizon Design Scenarios. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.
[11% accepted with revisions,(53 accepted with revisions, 478 submitted)]

Wasserman, A., Scupelli, P., & Brooks, J. (2015) Learning to Dexign the Future. Design Educators Asia Conference 2015. December 1-2, Jockey Club Innovation Tower, Hong Kong, China. [30% acceptance rate,(31 accepted, 105 submitted)] presentation

Wasserman, A., Scupelli, P., & Brooks, J. (2015) Learn!2050 and Design Futures: Lessons learned teaching design futures.  Design Educators IDSA International Conference 2015: Future of the Future. August 19-22, Seattle, WA.
[50% acceptance rate,(21 accepted, 42 submitted)]

Scupelli, P. & Wasserman, A. (2014). Dexign the future: lessons learned from teaching a design studio course on human-centered innovation for exponential times. Oxford Futures Forum, OFF2014, Saïd Business School, Oxford University, May 30-31, 2014.