Design Fiction on the futures of the bioeconomy

Science Communication,
Trend and future research,
Concept development and implementation,
Participative workshops,
Creation of design fictions, Graphic design
Services
April – December 2021
Duration
Funded by
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Project partner

IZT – Institut für Zukunftsstudien und Technologiebewertung, Wenzel Mehnert

Challenge
The bioeconomy is a dynamic field of innovation that opens up new technological, economic and social development paths. With regard to current and future societal challenges - such as food security, climate and environmental protection, resource conservation or sustainable management - it offers a wide range of potential solutions. But how these potentials can be realized in the best possible way is still widely open. Due to the multi-layered nature of the bioeconomy, its negotiation represents a challenge that cannot be implemented along the lines of just one discipline. Bioeconomy affects us all! For this to happen, however, the topic must be brought out of its niche and given a broad audience. Therefore, a format is needed through which as many people as possible can discuss its design. Through the multi-stage process and especially the cooperation with the influencers, we were able to make an important contribution to science communication in the sense of publicizing and spreading the concept of the bioeconomy with bio:fictions.
Process
The project partners developed a multi-stage project concept that is intended to contribute to the current debate and to the shaping of tomorrow's biobased economy and way of life.

First, innovators in the bioeconomy were interviewed about future developments within defined innovation fields in order to process their expertise and bundle it for the workshops. Then, in co-creative workshops, various stakeholders were actively involved in shaping the future and encouraged to solve problems. The multilevel nature of the workshops initiated a learning process that enabled complex issues of the bioeconomy to be opened up. Based on this, future scenarios and narratives of the bioeconomy were created, which in turn served as the basis for the creation of design fictions. Three design fiction scenarios, each with two future narratives, were then translated into Instagram stories and shared with the communities (25,000 to 133,000 subscribers) of seven influencers.
Process steps

Interviews with experts

Identification of innovation fields

Design fictions from future scenarios and narratives of the bioeconomy

Dissemination via influencers and closing event

Innovation field specific workshops

Outcome
Together with stakeholders from business, science, politics and civil society, we were able to generate alternative future scenarios to discuss the opportunities and risks, as well as the needs and value conflicts that may arise in the possible development paths of the bioeconomy. The fictional visions of the future open up spaces of possibility and pose the question "What if?". On social media, the resulting design fictions gained wide reach and carried the topic to a broad public. Through the collaboration with the influencers, a reach of 282,829 contacts was achieved, including a multitude of interactions and responses to the respective topics.
More about the project can be found here: www.biofictions.de
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