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Global Innovation Design (MA)

Finn Strivens

I am a multidisciplinary designer, futurist and creative catalyst, with a passion for working with people. I collaborate with
stakeholders and members of the public to craft projects that empower them to grapple with complexity and think differently about the future. I combine the academic rigour of my scientific background with a designerly playfulness to approach complex questions from unusual directions. My work aims to find new ways for people to shape their futures, and to share these ways so others can do it too.    


 • MA/MSc
Global Innovation Design, Royal College of Art and Imperial College London (2020)

• MBiochem, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Oxford (2018) 


I have professionally facilitated futures workshops for the Royal College of Art and previously worked as a facilitator for the Good Lad initiative, running conversations to drive behaviour change around gender. Iwas a recent speaker at Primer 2020 futures conference and a judge for their speculative design competition. 


• DE Summer Show, Dyson School of Engineering, Imperial College London, June 2020

• Work in Progress Show, RCA and Imperial College London, January 2020

• Mars Symposium, The Design Museum 2020 


Blink as you Sync - Uncovering Eye and Nod Synchrony in Conversation using Wearable Sensing, Gupta, A & Strivens,
F et al. International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC). London, United Kingdom 9-13 September 2019.




Degree Details

School of Design

Global Innovation Design (MA)

I am researching how designers can facilitate both innovation and democracy with futures methods. Futures methods let people think plurally letting us acknowledge that we don’t understand the future and opening us to a range of new possibilities and perspectives. I create spaces for new kinds of conversations by bringing people together to collectively imagine the future.

Participatory futures projects have power to uncover new insights about the way people think, but also to make people think in new ways, explore new issues and uncover new solutions to complex problems.

Of particular interest is using these tools to explore the relationship between scientists and non-scientists. Thinking about the future can bridge the barriers of complexity that sometimes makes science hard to access.

I am always looking to start new projects so If you are interested in futures thinking or making science more accessible then I would love to chat!

Members of the public extrapolate scientific research to imagine possible futures

The research comprised a written dissertation and three participatory experiments

The result is an emergent framework to inform a new kind of interaction between scientists and members of the public

Scientific and technological developments shape the future. How can members of the public shape the directions of scientists and have a say in their future?

I am researching how participatory futures methods can be used to augment and democratize interactions between scientists and the public. Most of these interactions, for example at talks, science festivals and late events, are based in one-way communication: scientists explaining their expertise and fielding questions. However, the ideal interaction is one where members of the public contribute to the scientist’s understanding of their work in equal measure.

I am developing participatory futures methods to allow members of the public to uncover new possibilities or threats that might arise from a scientist’s directions. Collectively imagining the future can generate new research ideas or opportunities for innovation, while also voicing public concerns.

The challenge is that the work of individual scientists is often incredibly focused. It can be difficult to imagine futures that are relevant to their research topics. My method is to collaborate with scientists to communicate their work through near-future speculations and future prototypes. Members of the public can then react to these visions, imagining related threats or preferable alternatives for the scientists to reflect on.

This research project comprises all the interventions and experiments shown below, as well as methods to allow others to build two-way interactions between science and the public.

September 2019-Present
Art and ScienceCo-designdemocracyDesign researchforesightFutureParticipationparticipatory futuresScienceScience FictionSpeculativeWorkshop

Participants joined a large zoom call to learn and deliberate about space mining

A deliberative framework allowed participants to have a guided discussion yielding hopes, concerns, and ideas for the future of space mining

Participants designed objects to communicate their ideas and perspectives for space mining

Objects 2

Project process

Unearthing futures is a public investigation into possible futures of space mining. Future visions of space mining were created with scientists, before being used as the basis of a virtual workshop with members of the public to create new ideas.

The project was based on a foresight process with 15 space mining researchers from around the globe. By virtually mapping drivers of change, we created 4 future scenarios for space mining. These scenarios were illustrated as a speech given by someone in that future.

In the second, participatory phase, members of the public joined a virtual workshop where they experienced the scenarios, explored new aspects of them, and reflected on the desirability of these futures. They later designed speculative objects to communicate their discussions and the new possibilities they had imagined for space.

The project was run in collaboration with Dr. Kathryn Hadler, a space mining scientist at Imperial College.

February 2020- May 2020

Diners experienced dishes from a future with lab-grown meat

Lab-grown meat prototypes inspired by scientific interviews

Diners imagined future restaurants serving lab-grown meat

Diners' images of the future were prototyped as speculative websites

Counter Culture is a workshop and accompanying tools, to enable members of the public to imagine unconsidered implications of lab-grown meat. Participants dined at a future Brooklyn restaurant where ‘lab-grown’ meat was served using scent to sustainably augment the flavour. This experience helped diners think more openly about the future.

The workshop was held in New York for 50+ participants who created 7 new visions of future restaurants. These were then transformed into speculative websites for future restaurants. The websites allowed diners to share their own contributions to the field of lab-grown meat.

The workshop format continues to be used by the Research Director of New Harvest in public events and with university students.

September 2019-November 2019

Co-created stories about life on Mars

Newspaper headlines about future breakthroughs on Mars

Prototyping Martian Objects

Participants discuss possible futures

Other Martian Futures was a day-long drop in workshop at the Design Museum in London. The session was designed to explore how participatory futures could influence science by imagining consequences of scientific research. The workshop used an ‘instance database’- a collection of assorted facts, events and predictions - to let participants create their own visions of the future. The challenge was to end up with meaningful futures through very short interactions. To do this participants built on one another’s ideas through short exercises and connected the ideas together with red thread to build up complete worlds.

Each interaction was structured in two parts, a self-reflection exercise and a creative exercise, to channel the participants’ own lived experiences into their ideas.

February 2020



A toolkit to promote design x science collaboration

The toolkit was part of the Design x Science project at DLX Design Lab, University of Tokyo

Use of the toolkit by industry professionals

Scientists and designers can have difficulty communicating when they collaborate. They often operate on different timescales and can struggle to understand the goals, activities and terminology of each others’ discipline. With the DLX Design Lab at the University of Tokyo, I developed a tool to enable people to reflect on and discuss their ways of working.

The exercise uses custom made card decks to enable potential collaborators to map their processes, skills and outputs along a timeline. The timelines are compared to start a discussion about how they might work together. The toolkit is then used to plan a productive collaboration by combining elements of each other’s process into one coherent project plan.

April 2019-July 2019
20 July 2020
13:00 (GMT + 0)

Global Innovation Design Graduates Present: Participatory Futures

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